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Latest News

Focus Five seeks inspirational business leaders to become mentors

15th January 2015

Categories: Latest News

Focus Five, created by the Torbay Development Agency (TDA) in partnership with Education Business Partnership South West, is an award scheme focused on developing key workplace skills for young people in Torbay.

The pilot programme has already attracted interest from key local employers including Sainsburys, Cavanna Group and Rowcroft Hospice and due to a high level of interest from schools further mentors are sought.

Gordon Oliver, Elected Mayor of Torbay, said: “It is encouraging to see businesses and schools working together to improve the skills of our young people, who will in time become candidates for local companies looking to grow their business. The award benefits not only the individual students but the business community.”

Designed and delivered by businesses, Focus Five rewards achievement of skills which are valuable to many companies including communication, working as a team, problem solving, organisation, and customer service.

The mentor role will involve offering support and guidance to students as they gather evidence and progress through the award at specially designed mentoring surgeries in their secondary school. Mentors are only required to give one working day of their time although they are welcome to be more involved if they wish to.

For anyone interested in reviewing portfolios and interviewing students at the end of the award, there are also assessor roles available.

Debbie Passmore, Partnership Executive at the TDA said: “As an organisation the TDA is very proud to be able to support delivery of this innovative approach to developing young people’s key employability skills.

“It is a fantastic opportunity for young people and businesses to work together to develop the talents and highlight the potential of our young people to employers, whilst also dispelling any negative stereotypes that businesses may have previously had about them.

“I am delighted by the popularity of the award so far and would encourage more businesses to get involved.” While the award will equip Torbay’s future workers with essential skills, there are also benefits associated with becoming a mentor or assessor. Recognition of the company’s commitment to support the development of young people in the Bay will help raise the profile of the business to potential future employees.

Yvonne Paddon, Volunteers Coordinator at Education Business Partnership South West said: “Having run this programme before in other areas of Devon I have witnessed what the impact of working with employers has had on the young people. They have shown interest in not only the skills that they need to accredit but also have enjoyed the opportunity to work alongside a business mentor who can give them ‘real life’ advice. It is a wonderful opportunity for local employers to be involved with the young people in the Bay.”

To find out more about becoming a mentor or assessor contact Yvonne Paddon on or download the information pack at

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