New mentoring scheme to help Devizes students find jobs

This Is Wiltshire: Head teacher Malcolm Irons, left, with Margaret Bryant, working with the area board, and head of sixth form Glyn Evans Head teacher Malcolm Irons, left, with Margaret Bryant, working with the area board, and head of sixth form Glyn Evans

Sixth formers at Devizes School are to receive help to improve their prospects of work or further education in a new mentoring scheme jointly funded by the school and Devizes Area Board.

The scheme follows a successful pilot started about 18 months ago that linked sixth formers with businesses in the town.

Margaret Bryant, of Long Street, Devizes, has been appointed as consultant to deliver the scheme. She is a former assistant headteacher of George Ward and Melksham Oak schools, and latterly worked as a director at Vaughan’s Kitchen, the cookery school in Devizes, although she still freelances there.

She said: “My job is to improve and increase the mentoring that is going on within the local business community. The aim is that students are really focused on what they are doing when they leave school, whether to go to university, do an apprenticeship or go into employment.

“We want to show the students that Devizes is a thriving town and there are lots of opportunities here, joining the school up with local businesses to raise its profile.”

The school and the Area Board are contributing £2,500 each and the aim is to increase the number of businesses taking part from 11 to at least 20. It will involve students working with businesses who will mentor them while giving CV and interview guidance.

Devizes School headteacher Malcolm Irons said: “We employ two fully qualified careers advisors (specialists) in the school, which, combined, offer high quality careers advice to all students, including the sixth form.

“The mentoring scheme is additional to this provision, offering the sixth form students contacts for local careers and training opportunities. There is a growing need for this type of provision due to the changing economic climate both nationally and locally.”

Simon Jacobs is chairman of the Area Board and, as a partner at Winkworth estate agent, launched the pilot mentoring scheme.

He said: “If we can get this to work in Devizes I would like to roll it out across the county. To my mind these guys (sixth formers) are our future. We need to give the networks and the opportunities we had.”

Mrs Bryant would like to hear from businesses who would like to be part of the scheme. Email her on marbryant37@hotmail.com

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