An entrepreneur is planning to roll out a North East-founded summer schools programme across the UK to reach thousands of youngster and aid their development of enterprise skills.
Lindsey Dunn’s Skills to Shine programme bringing business expertise into the classroom to inspire 11-year-olds during the summer holidays, has proved a hit with more than 400 youngsters at seven schools across the North East and in Birmingham.
Trips to museums, open-top bus tours through Newcastle and a visit to St James’ Park to sit in Magpies manager Alan Pardew’s dug-out seat are all designed to make learning real, relevant and inspiring for children about to make the leap from primary to secondary school.
Managing director Dunn now has ambitious plans to expand the Skills to Shine hands-on learning into many more schools across the country next year to raise classroom attainment levels.
The businesswoman spent four years working in 35 schools across the Wansbeck area of south-east Northumberland as an enterprise coordinator before deciding to start up Skills to Shine, which has been awarded £270,000 of National Lottery funding to expand its work.
Dunn is employing 27 youth workers, business experts, actors and teachers to enthuse pupils with the practical skills they will need to succeed in their future careers and everyday life, bringing empty corridors and classrooms to life while the schools are closed for the summer holidays.
Forty pupils from surrounding primary schools recently attended a two-week summer enterprise challenge at Burnside Business and Enterprise College.
During term time, she works with businesses such as Dunelm Homes, Frank Haslam Milan and Dicksons Butchers to bring business people and schools together to inspire children with first hand accounts of working life, raising children’s aspirations, motivation and desire to learn. Dunn said: “We work with schools and business to develop skills that are relevant to the world of work – when learning becomes real the young people become more engaged and inspired.
“We are looking at different ways of learning, to show kids that there are so many other routes into employment other than just university, such as apprenticeships.
“When I was at university, I supported young people in care as an outreach worker and I could see these young people really struggling in the education system and it just wasn’t working for them.
“Skills to Shine teaches skills such as team working, confidence building and decision making through enterprise challenges from writing a book or producing a play to running a football club and making £5 grow in an enterprise market.”