A trailblazing Dorchester school has become the first in west Dorset to join the new Young Chamber Programme bridging the gap between business and education.
Winfrith-based Atlas Elektronik UK (AEUK) has sponsored the school’s membership to put it on the map along with 12 schools and colleges countywide.
Apprentices Ben Lawrence and Charlotte Cox, who started at AEUK six months ago, gave a talk to sixth formers at the launch of the programme at the Thomas Hardye School.
Mike Foley, who is Thomas Hardye headteacher, said: “Atlas Elektronik UK’s approach to apprenticeships is exemplary.
“It is important that students really do consider all of their choices and it is great to have two shining examples of Atlas Elektronik UK’s apprenticeship scheme at our launch event.
“We are very grateful to Atlas Elektronik UK for sponsoring our membership of the programme and we look forward to developing a close relationship with them.”
Bright business brains
The school has signed up to the Young Chamber Programme as part of its ongoing work to forge closer ties with business and inform students of their career options.
Head Mr Foley, head of Year 13 Katie Taylor and careers co-ordinator Catriona Brady welcomed DCCI Young Chamber Programme co-ordinator Will Montgomery and the AEUK delegation to the school.
As well as Ben and Charlotte, they included head of HR Russell Warren and learning and development officer Emily Gollop.
Ben, 20, and Charlotte, 19, both taking NVQs at level 3 and HNCs at level 4, outlined their career paths at Atlas Elektronik UK and told sixth formers about the benefits of apprenticeships.
Charlotte, who is an engineering apprentice in the sonar department, said: “Apprenticeships can be the best way to gain hands on experience and gain qualifications rather than going down the degree route.”
Ben, who is an engineering and mechatronics apprentice, added: “For students considering their future, it important that they understand that apprenticeships can be a very positive career choice.”
AEUK, which employs more than 300 people at Dorset Green Technology Park, has stepped up its apprenticeship programme and will have 21 following its next intake in September.
The company has a world leading engineering and scientific capability that supplies innovative maritime systems for such customers as the Ministry of Defence and the Royal Navy.
Mr Warren said: “Schemes such as Young Chamber help bridge the gap between education and the workplace.
“They can support the development of employees of the future with benefits for companies and the community. It is a pleasure to be involved.”
DCCI, which is Dorset’s leading business support organisation, launched the Young Chamber Programme last September.
Thomas Hardye has more than 2000 students aged 13 to 18, including 700 in its sixth form.
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