Business scheme for Hackney pupils inspires Westminster schools thanks to PM’s praise

Bridge Academy wins Big Society Award pic: Number 10

A Hackney school scheme that pairs Bridge Academy pupils with big business UBS to prepare them for the world of work has inspired a new project to benefit six Westminster schools.

The Hackney partnership won a Big Society Award last week and David Cameron applauded the scheme, saying: “Congratulations to UBS, Bridge Academy and all involved in this hugely successful partnership. They have created an excellent school which will leave a lasting legacy for Hackney.”

Drawing upon Hackney’s success, charity Business in the Community has launched a similar scheme, in which six Westminster schools will work with companies Visa and Prudential over the next three years. Staff will mentor individual pupils, giving mock interviews and career guidance.

Elizabeth Philips, head teacher at St Marylebone Church of England, one of the schools involved, said: “It’s vitally important that we prepare students for the real world of work.”

Over the last 27 years, more than 1,700 UBS employees have worked with students at the Bridge Academy.

They help to increase literacy and numeracy skills through career workshops, trading seminars and specialist sessions, such as the Hackney Maths Challenge, which encourages students to study maths at university.

Commenting on the partnership, Stephen Foster, head of the Bridge Academy, said: “Every day we see the benefits to students and staff of this exceptional partnership with UBS. Students’ lives are being changed because of it.”

The Big Society Awards were set up by the PM in November 2010 to acknowledge individuals and organisations that promote social action, empower communities, and open up public services.


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