New programme encourages school students to 'become role models' in Chichester

Be the Change programme. Picture by Skye Brackpool
Be the Change programme. Picture by Skye Brackpool

Year 9 students have learnt how to be role models for younger students as part of an on-going programme to 'improve their confidence and resilience'.

As the first in the city to take part in the 'Be the Change' programme, run by Love Local Jobs, students, aged between 13 and 14, were taught how to be positive role models by working together to have a 'positive influence and impact in their respective schools and communities'.

Be the Change programme. Picture by Skye Brackpool

Be the Change programme. Picture by Skye Brackpool

The schools involved in the programme on Tuesday (March 26), were; Bourne Community College, Midhurst Rother College, The Academy Selsey, Chichester High School, Bishop Luffa and Chichester Free School, whilst year 6 primary school students took part in the Stepping Up activity from Chichester Free School and Petworth Primary School.

Lisa Humphries, director of student services and pastoral support at the Chichester College Group, said: “We are pleased to be able to support the Be the Change programme.

"It’s a really motivational project which is working with businesses, like ourselves, with the ambition to build young people’s employability skills and open doors to them. Together, we aim to raise confidence and the aspirations of young people in the area, which reflects our own efforts here at Chichester College.

"Our college vision is to ‘change lives through learning’ and it is great to see other organisations in the area demonstrating their own commitment to doing just that.”

Be the Change programme. Picture by Skye Brackpool

Be the Change programme. Picture by Skye Brackpool

Sharon Bell, work experience coordinator at Bourne Community College, said the programme gives 'huge inspiration to young people'.

She added: "[It shows] them how to gain confidence and show respect to others – giving insight to the fact there isn’t a limit to what they can do. ‘Believe you can!’”

A Love Local Jobs spokeswoman said the conference 'helps young people to develop life skills and create positive cycles'.

She added: "The year 9 students were also taken by surprise and were joined by local primary school students for them to mentor at the The Weald and Downland Living Museum.

"In partnership with Graham Moore of metamoorephosis, the programme has more than 40 volunteers from local businesses and the public sector acting as business guides helping young people fulfil their potential and improve their life chances.

"Be the Change focuses on happiness, confidence, hope, relationships and employability by identifying and removing barriers to success, encouraging self-belief and raising aspirations."

The spokeswoman said that over the course of the school year, the students work with the business volunteers at 'inspirational conferences', one-to-one mentoring sessions and workplace visits.

"This year’s programme would not be possible without support from this year’s sponsors and volunteer business guides from some of the leading local employers, including Chichester District Council, Chichester College, Petworth Vision and Vitacress." she added.

Graham, who led the delivery of the programme, said the group's vision is 'for every young person' is to increase hope and confidence, to have the chance to develop life skills and create positive cycles that will 'prepare them for life'.

He added: "Working with the younger children brings out the positive role model in our students. It promotes qualities such as leadership, team working and a sense of responsibility to
those around them, especially younger and more vulnerable people.

"This activity also offers a great chance for the younger students to develop their confidence and experience of being around secondary school students in preparation for moving into higher education.”