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Career dreams one step closer to becoming reality

By Clare Fuller

THIRTY FIVE students from across Cumbria have won work placements with some of the county's leading companies.

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PROBLEM SOLVING... Faye Watson and Adam Wozencroft from Maryport during the Dream Placement interviews at Energus, Lillyhall, in Workington (Tom Kay)

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TAKING PART... Students at the Development Day event are put through their paces with exercises involving teamwork, leadership and incisive questioning. Christine Love from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, left, works with Luke Barton from Millom School who is going to Sellafield Ltd (The Centre for Leadership Performance)

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BRIGHT FUTURES... Al Mather, right, managing director at the Centre for Leadership Performance with students on the Dream Placement programme, from left, Jade Goodwin a student at Whitehaven Secondary School and Anna Morgan from Millom School who are both going to Sellafield Ltd, and Adam Wozencroft, who attends Netherhall Sixth Form in Maryport and is looking forward to his placement with nuclear specialist REACT Engineering (The Centre for Leadership Performance)

Andrew Bernard

Andrew Bernard Dream Placement interviews at Energus, Lillyhall, Workington

Al Mather, Managing Director of the Centre for Leadership Performance

Al Mather, Managing Director of the Centre for Leadership Performance

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Interviews taking place at Energus, Lilleyhall

The Dream Placement scheme, run by the Centre for Leadership Performance, saw all 35 applicants make it through as part of a rigorous interview process.

The county's leading business chiefs said they were so impressed by the standard of applicants that they have taken on more students than originally intended.

Sellafield Ltd set the bar, after an interview panel day held at Energus, Lillyhall, by offering 10 work placements.

Some other firms also offered numerous places through the initiative, including three with Nuclear Management Partners.

The panel day saw young people aged from 16 to 18 spend the day learning interview and confidence-building techniques, before spending the afternoon holding speed date-style interviews with 14 companies.

Enterprise coach Andrew Bernard helped the cohort with interviewing skills, tips and techniques - including using positive language in an interview situation and coping with questioning.

Media businesses, to engineering and manufacturing companies made up the hiring firms which spent just 10 minutes grilling the students.

The young hopefuls were due to be whittled down to just 14 successful candidates, with each business taking on one student.

But the firms were so impressed by the standard of applicants that some of them decided to take on more than one placement.

The scheme will see students spend time in different departments and shadow some of the firm's leading employees.

In a bid to prepare the youngsters for the workplace, the Centre held a development day this month.

Josh Wareing, of West Lakes Academy, is spending a week at BAE Systems in Barrow.

He said: "I am hoping to secure a high level apprenticeship and was very keen to gain the experience of spending time inside BAE Systems. The development day has taught me the importance of asking the right questions, and how to get the most out of the placement."

Adam Wozencroft, of Netherhall Sixth Form in Maryport is looking forward to his placement with REACT Engineering, one of the region's nuclear sector specialists.

"One of the exercises during the development day was to identify three objectives for the placement, and I am now confident that I can really get full value from working at REACT," he said.

Jade Goodwin, of Whitehaven School, was spending half term with Sellafield Ltd.

She said: "The development work reinforced the fact that it is up to us what we get out of the placement not the company we go to.

"I will be asking lots of questions and this is the sort of experience that will really expand my ideas about what I want to do in the future."

The programme is aimed at investing in tomorrow's potential leaders while encouraging talented young people in the area.

Al Mather, the Centre's managing director, said: "We had a fantastic day and all of the companies involved continue to be impressed by the calibre of the young people on the scheme, their intelligence, talent and commitment.

"Those young people now have a unique opportunity to gain experience which will benefit them whatever their choices are for the future, and for the employers it gives them a chance to take a close look at some of the county's most talented and ambitious young people."

Gary McKeating, head of stakeholder engagement and socio economics at Nuclear Management Partners, also attended the development day and said: "The Dream Placement programme is massively important to the Energy Coast and the rest of Cumbria.

"We need good leaders and we need talented young people to recognise that there are fantastic career opportunities right here in Cumbria.

"The young people taking part in this scheme are hugely impressive and I am certain they are the leaders of tomorrow so it is important for local businesses to engage with them."

Whitehaven News, Friday, February 28, 2014

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