President's Heartbeat – 13th August 2018

On 9th August, as part of my mission to bring education and industry together, I met with Amy Norris, 6th Form Teacher at Fiveways Special School in Yeovil.  Amy is seeking employment opportunities for physically and mentally disadvantaged children who normally would not have the chance to shine.  I was briefed on the patient, supportive work at Fiveways, how they deliver life and learning, and their aims for the children (and their carers), which has recently brought Fiveways a £7,500 grant.  I have already put Amy in touch with the Quedam and SSDC for opportunities for the children to show what they can do (watch out for their Candy Shack in town), and I am awaiting a date for a meeting at Yeovil College.

Chamber is already working with, and supporting Yeovil College, and Stanchester and Preston secondary schools, to bring industry and education together.  Fiveways will now colour my story about Chamber support work with Yeovil education facilities, aligning the output of the curriculum at every opportunity, to match local and area employment requirements, and enable our children to ‘hit the ground running’ when they enter the world of work and careers.  As part of this support work, I will meet again in September with Jonathan Higman, CEO Yeovil Hospital, to discuss ways of home-growing healthcare professionals.

I fully endorse any initiatives which positively alter people’s perceptions, and empower young people such as those coming through Fiveways, with opportunity to make a difference to themselves, and ultimately, our future prosperity.  Our children are our most precious resource; they are our future, and our future leaders, and empowering our children with life skills is something the UK education system falls spectacularly short on.  Academic skills are fine, and A-C grades can open doors, but vocational skills are equally as valuable.  Still relevant from my time in the 20th century as an aircraft electrician at Westland Helicopters, they said to me as a young apprentice: “Knowing the square root of a can of beans is all well and good, but no use at all if you don’t know how to use the tin opener.”

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Released on 13/08/2018