Dream Placements for teenagers with Cumbrian businesses set new record

More than 60 teenagers are set for potentially life-changing Dream Placements over the February 2022 half-term break after impressing interviewers from host companies at the Selection Day event on Thursday (Dec 9th, 2021).

Dream Placement is Cumbria’s unique leadership and business experience programme organised by the Centre for Leadership Performance in collaboration with businesses and schools and colleges across the county.

A record 38 companies joined almost 100 motivated and ambitious 16-18 year olds in business problem solving and networking activities at Energus, before the interviews both face-to-face and on-line which resulted in the highest ever number of teenagers being selected.  

CforLP Executive Director Sarah Glass said: “The companies and organisations making the selection were so impressed with the young people they saw that many of them increased the number they were taking.  It was a brilliant response from our fantastic business partners and set a new record for placements in a single year.”

Her view was endorsed by Mark Ritchie Waste & Technology Director with Jacobs who commented: “The calibre of the students was very high.  I have been involved in Dream Placement for successive years and the standard keeps getting better. I interviewed six young people and it was really tough selecting two for our placement.  Like many other companies we have a massive recruitment drive, and Dream Placement is part of our longer term vision to ensure we encourage young people within Cumbria to join our business.”  

Tracy Badham, Social Responsibility Manager at Radioactive Waste Management added: “The quality of all the students was extremely high – they were engaging and genuinely eager to understand more about the organisation.  We really enjoyed the event and are very excited about our students and cannot wait to welcome them to RWM & the Low Level Waste Repository in February.”

Almost 150 16-18 year olds applied for placements and they all had the opportunity to take part weekly in dynamic online activities and individual engagement prior to selection, designed to deliver maximum benefit, in terms of personal development and gaining new life skills.

Special training sessions have also been taking place with host companies to help them organise meaningful placements and get the best out of their students.

Sarah Glass adds: “Dream Placement would not exist without our partners within the county’s business community who recognise the need to connect with young people and have demonstrated the value they place upon it by their outstanding support.”

Dream Placement 2022 will offer a blend of face-to-face encounters and virtual online engagement, building on the feedback from hosts and students before and during the COVID crisis. Online activity in 2021 expanded the opportunities offered by the programme but there was unanimous agreement on a return to face-to-face engagement, with appropriate COVID-safe measures in place.

More than 2,000 young people have so far been involved with this unique Cumbrian development programme which is funded by businesses committed to investing in the county’s young people.

Dream Placement was co-created with businesses and educators nine years ago to address the brain drain out of Cumbria and to help young people see the breadth of amazing opportunities across the County.   The scheme is all about leadership, so vital elements are helping young people to build confidence and self-belief, and develop key leadership skills. 

Teenagers learn about career opportunities and interact with leaders within companies operating in Cumbria, while bosses connect directly with their future workforce, to discover their dreams and ambitions.

Applicants also benefit from engaging with other young people and with business leaders through Cumbria Future Leaders. The active youth network now involves almost 1000 young people connecting and brokering links with employers and other groups for dialogue and discussions. To find out more visit www.dreamplacement.org.uk