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Hounslow teenagers get a leg up on the careers ladder

Talented Hounslow students had the chance to quiz captains of industry as part of an intensive project aimed at kick-starting their working lives.

Hounslow Council’s 14-19 Team has joined forces with Hounslow-based charity Spark! to lead sixth-formers through a challenging three-day course designed to improve their career prospects.

The Kickstart Express programme tailors the teenagers’ talents to the needs of local businesses to give them the best chance of securing jobs and apprenticeships once they’ve left school or graduate from university.

The programme also helps employers to make closer links with Hounslow’s talented 16 and 17-year-olds, with the potential for increasing the number of local employment opportunities taken up by residents in the future.

Over 100 students from Kingsley Academy, Heston Community School, Cranford Community College, Lampton School, The Green School  and The Heathland School; along with their teachers; took part in the programme.

The highlight of the programme was day two, when students spent their time with a local company.

They were able to meet and question staff about their roles, interview senior company managers, undertake an enterprise challenge and take part in role play exercises.

Heston Community school student Asad Rasool said: “I got to do new things that were out of my comfort zone and got to find out information from employees that I wouldn’t have done if I did not have this opportunity.”

Sky, Discovery, Worley Parsons, EMC, Holiday Inn (Brentford), Octink, Dewhurst, Metro Bank, and The Practice – Heart of Hounslow GP surgery, all made senior staff available for the Kickstart Express project.

Andrew Dakers, Director of Spark! said: “Kickstart opens up major companies to young people, giving them a valuable insight into real life work experiences and the chance to sit down with senior executives and talk about their roles and working lives. They meet a mix of employers that reflect the local labour market and thanks to the generosity of funders and businesses; the supporting resources are extremely high quality.”

Hounslow Council Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services, Councillor Tom Bruce said: “This type of project is invaluable in helping young people get a feel for local industry so they can forge their first steps of their working lives locally. The market may be picking up but it is still a very tough time for students leaving school and university. They need a helping hand to get a footing in industry and there is still high unemployment levels in 18 to 24-year-olds as Government figures revealed on Wednesday.”

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