Dream Placement 2017 celebrates life-changing experiences for Cumbrian teenagers

The achievements of 70 Dream Placement 2017 candidates who won placements with forward-looking and enterprising companies and organisations across Cumbria were celebrated on Friday with a special event at Energus attended by almost 200 people including representatives of host companies, students, parents and teachers.

Students gave presentations detailing their February half-term week learning about leadership and businesses in the county, and discovering career opportunities for the future.  The Centre for Leadership Performance which runs the Dream Placement programme also arranged a Youth Forum to get feedback from young people and the rest of the audience on key issues affecting the future of the county.

Dream Placement is now in its fourth year helping to raise aspirations and build confidence in young people, while enabling employers to make connections and forge relationships with the county’s future leaders.  The programme equips young people to make informed choices about their futures, and gives them an often-life changing vision of what they can aspire to within Cumbria.  

The Forum Panel included two former Dream Placement students who later gained jobs with their host companies: Georgina Goulding, a DP 2016 student now a Civil Engineer Apprentice with the BEP delivery team at Balfour Beatty, and Flo Hanlon, a DP 2015 student and now a Project Management Apprentice at Sellafield Ltd. The rest of the panel were: John Grainger - Chair of Governors at Cockermouth School and BEC Cluster Stakeholder Director, Craig Ivison - Head of Employability and Skills- Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, and Ian Corrie, Principal Lecturer at the University of Cumbria. The final member of the panel was Kate North, Workforce Futures Manager with Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust who gave the keynote address at the event, talking about the challenges of recruitment for health care trusts in Cumbria, and explaining how working with the Dream Placement programme had shaped their strategy for the future.

Kate North, Workforce Futures Manager with Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust told the celebration audience: “Dream Placement has changed the way we think about recruiting young people into the NHS.  There is such a lot of talent within the county, and the young people we meet are so full of energy and enthusiasm. The programme plays a vital role in opening their eyes to opportunities, and creating links with companies and organisations which need those talented people.”

Jasper Lithgow (St Benedict’s Catholic High School) recounted: “Our understanding of leadership skills was developed by Dream Placement and the discussions we had with people like GlaxoSmithKline site director Phil Wilson who told us about his leadership style. It was great just to be able to talk one-to-one with someone in such a high position within that organisation.  
“For many years I had been looking at a career in medicine, but more recently I thought that wasn’t the right thing for me.  My experience at GSK was sensational and it convinced me that I want a career in the pharmaceutical industry, science-focused with problem solving and team working.  When we were in the manufacturing centre in Barnard Castle watching the tablets ready to go into the blister packs, I realised that those tablets could save someone’s life, and it cemented in my mind this is what I want to do.  You don’t get this chance in any way other than Dream Placement - to go into industry and see how business changes people’s lives.”

Aoife Bannon (West Lakes Academy) added; “It was fascinating to see how the science we learn in schools works in the real world, and it cemented the fact that I really want to work in a scientific career.  We got the chance to see the labs which was fascinating but we also got the chance to see all the other roles within manufacturing and other areas across the offices which you aren’t aware of when you think of a company like GlaxoSmithKline.”

For more information on Dream Placement and the Centre for Leadership Performance visit www.cforlp.org.uk