The Mark Bruce Company is a cutting edge “professional dance company offering high quality training for students serious about becoming professionals in a very competitive field”, proclaimed Eleanor, Assistant Director and professional dancer, to the audience of business professionals in the room.
Residing in a lofty warehouse building on the Vallis Trading Estate, the MBC is a fine example of the hidden gems within Frome’s fertile lands which can awaken our young people into the realisation that dreams really can come true if you can identify your gifts and are dedicated.
Next up was Jonathon Black, Assistant Principal at Frome College in a smart suit and spotty socks (shoes off on the dance mat please), beaming an eternally positive attitude and humorously "beginning his "sermon” with how "incredibly blessed Frome College is to be in such a wonderful, vibrant and brilliant town, supported by such an amazing community offering great opportunities to young students that you just wouldn’t know about or expect to exist" (like the Mark Bruce Co.)
Black went onto explain that although academic achievement is at the core of their focus at the college, the ultimate goal is to inspire and empower young people to discover their purpose and head on to a “suitable destination”.
Unfortunately though, a small percentage of students at Frome College lack the grades and confidence to move forward (NEET – Not in Employment, Education or Training), at which point Black quoted Einstein...
“Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability
to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”
But solutions are being found with the World of Work programme, which was set up to help young people who haven’t succeeded academically, gain the confidence to understand what they are truly capable of with the support of partners within the local business community.
Then last but not least was the equally passionate and articulate Jane Haines, Acting Deputy Head at Critchill School, which trains 5-19 year olds with additional needs and learning difficulties.
Haines informed us that from 16yrs onwards, Critchill teaches its students “work skills” and runs a successful polytunnel and mobile catering van, which was recently nominated to be a finalist in the Mendip Business Awards, but a shocking 0% of these young people go on to be employed, resulting in expensive care packages and frustrated lives. So, similarly, the school has set up the the Working Futures Programme which aims to match students with businesses.
Haines went on to explain that special needs students do take longer to learn a task, but come with their very own support worker who takes on the responsibility of teaching the student the tasks that you need them to do until they’re ready to fly alone.
So if you're a business that is possibly able to offer a placement to a motivated student that wants to work, it could make a real differece by taking away their need for care services and enable them to be independent.
Find out more about funding and the benefits of apprenticeships at the Apprenticeship Conference at Frome Town Council on Thursday 19th July from 6-8pm or contact the institutions directly.