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Latest News

Focus Five raises employment skills of Torbay’s young people

10th August 2019

Categories: Latest News

The Focus Five Celebration Event awarded 82 students at an inspiring graduation ceremony.

The event recognises young people for planning, evidencing and demonstrating core employment skills throughout the Focus Five Award programme. This is the fifth year of the programme.

Delivered by TDA, with thanks to co-funding from Cavanna Homes this year, the programme continues to support young people in Torbay.

Debbie Passmore, Senior Economic Development Officer at TDA, said: “Focus Five rewards achievement for participants around the five key skills of communication, team working, problem solving, organisation and customer service, all of which are incredibly valuable to many companies.

“The programme enhances the skills of these young people and will most definitely support them when considering their career choices for the future. TDA would like to thank the schools, mentors, the National Citizen Service and sponsors Cavanna Homes and Effect Photonics, who dedicated their time to making the programme such a success. 106 students participated in this year’s programme, more than double of last year. This demonstrates its value to the young people of Torbay.”

More than 200 people attended the ceremony to share the experiences of the graduates, mentors and assessors of the programme.

Tom Adams, Careers and Industry Liaison Officer at Brixham College, said: “Following the Focus Five Celebration Event, Brixham College Year 10 students participated in mock interviews with external employers. Four of the boys that took part in the Focus Five project received nominations for outstanding achievement. I think the boys have done themselves proud but their success also reflects the time that you spent with them and it proves that the Focus Five programme has definitely had a positive impact on these students.”

The Focus Five programme was delivered to a cohort of year 10 students from Torbay Schools. These students, who are facing personal and academic challenges, benefit from the personalised one to one support that the programme offers.

The Award places an emphasis on activities outside the classroom encouraging young people to take responsibility for their own development and supports the aim of enterprise learning. 26 independent business mentors supported the students in developing their employability skills.

Martin Cavanna, Director of The Cavanna Group and Focus Five mentor, said: “Schools concentrate on academic achievement and this is rigorously measured. For an employer this only buys an interview. What employers are looking for are candidates that can demonstrate their willingness to learn, can work as part of a team, can manage their time and is capable of communicating clearly and concisely. The Focus Five awards have been developed to give students a head start when they apply for a job by addressing claims that students do not appreciate their transferable skills.”

The awards ceremony culminated with an award for one student from each school who demonstrated the most progression as part of their studies and participation. Effect Photonics kindly sponsored this award and Tim Durrant was on hand to present £10 Amazon vouchers to Amber Dolby, Lily Dyke, Josh Larby, Chloe Martin, Harley Stuckey and Harry Vooght.

The programme was originally commissioned by TDA in 2015 in response to employers repeatedly stating that a lack of core, generic work place skills is a major skills gap and a barrier for employing young people. Delivery of this programme directly links to Torbay Council’s Economic Strategy and supports Gatsby Benchmarks as part of the governments Careers Strategy 2018.

TDA and Cavanna Homes are looking at how this valuable programme can continue year-on-year to further develop and support the young people of Torbay.

If you have an interest in being part of the programme please contact

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