Lifelong leadership learning in Cumbria

Dream Placement Alumni


Dream Placement is a unique Cumbria initiative. This leadership development opportunity is open 16-18 year olds and gives you a chance to connect with employers and showcases the breadth of opportunities available in Cumbria. Now in it’s 8th year we have vast network of Alumni. But where are they now?

Ella Batey

‘You can’t make choices without knowledge and experience.’

Ella Batey from Nelson Tomlinson School Sixth Form secured her Dream Placement in 2019, with Story Contracting. Ella also went back in summer 2020 for work experience as part of the Story summer school. Ella is due to start a Project Management Degree Apprenticeship with cost estimating at BAE systems in Barrow on the submarines later this year.

Ella explains: “My week-long placement with Story organised opened my eyes to the huge variety of roles available within the organisation, which is a major employer in Cumbria and also operates in other locations across the north of England.  I had been set on a career in finance, but I realised is not the route I want to take.  Making choices is not just about deciding what you want to do, but also what you don’t want to do, and you can’t make those choices without knowledge and experience.  Since Dream Placement I have completed work experience in Liverpool, Carlisle and Chester, but it was the Centre for Leadership Performance Dream Placement programme that gave me the confidence to reach out to those companies and would like to thank the Centre so much as I believe this experience played a huge role in my success in gaining two offers for project management degree apprentices in Cumbria.”   

Emily Hagan

I am having the time of my life doing a job I love’

Emily Hagan already had her sights set on a Sellafield apprenticeship in project management when she took part in the Centre for Leadership Performance Dream Placement programme in 2019.  She beat 200 other young people to the job – and is absolutely certain that coming into contact with people from so many different businesses gave her an edge in the application process.

Emily was 17 and in year 13 at the Nelson Thomlinson School in Wigton when she took part in the programme.  Now she is in the second year of her 4-year project management apprenticeship which will lead to a degree.  She is also having the time of her life!

Emily says: “I love what I am doing now and I have already learned so much, but it was Dream Placement which helped me to secure the career I love right here in Cumbria.

“I learned so about the career opportunities in Cumbria and about the workplace environment, things that school simply can’t teach us.  It gave me new skills and a huge confidence boost.

“For example, someone I now work for within Sellafield was in the audience when I did a presentation at the 2019 Dream Placement celebration event.   He remembered me – and that sort of exposure and experience is invaluable.”

Thomas Shaw

‘I want to help other young people develop the qualities that will take them forward’

Tom, now aged 20, is a Dream Placement ambassador having completed a placement with James Fisher Nuclear in 2017.   He went on to become an apprentice design engineer with the company in 2018 after leaving the sixth form at St Benedict’s School, but is now studying international business law at Manchester Metropolitan University.  However, his driving ambition is to pursue a career in politics. 

Tom says: “I have always been interested in politics and the way that impacts on the nuclear industry in Cumbria.  The Centre for Leadership Performance Dream Placement programme was a terrific experience and I really enjoyed working at James Fisher Nuclear, but I realised that wasn’t the career I wanted.  However, that year in industry has given me a solid base, and some financial security.  I have also had placements with Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and Jamie Reed at Sellafield Ltd.  Dream Placement and my time in the St Benedict’s sixth form was a great grounding for me – creating the emotional maturity to approach adults on equal terms and be taken seriously.  That’s one of the reasons why I am supporting Dream Placement and the Cumbria Future Leaders Forum – to help other young people to develop the important qualities that will take them forward.”

Lifelong Leadership Learning in Cumbria