For the third consecutive year, employees from the Sussex-based technology manufacturer, Paxton, have volunteered to be mentors for young people through the Dare to Dream programme, an initiative by the Love Local Jobs Foundation.
This year Paxton mentors are paired up with Year 9 students at Willingdon Community School in Eastbourne, to challenge the way they think about their future and help them set life goals.
Jack Hayes, Head of Programme Delivery at the Love Local Jobs Foundation, said: “The Love Local Jobs Foundation are delighted to be working with Paxton for the third year on the programme. By working with people who care and want to listen to young people talk about their world, and their struggles they really do make a huge difference, to the confidence, belief and dreams of those young people.”
Olivier Awah, one of the Paxton mentors, took part in the programme to share his own life experience with the students: “I didn’t have the best school experience especially after moving to the UK from Cameroon. It was a little hard to adjust, and because of that I joined the wrong group of friends to try and fit in, and it didn’t lead me down the best path. Later in life, I made the decision to change for good. Joining Dare to Dream is a way to share my story with young people.”
Steve O’Rourke, another Paxton mentor, said the Dare to Dream initiative resonates with him: “Aspects of my childhood were challenging, and I struggled to focus on school. I had a good adult role model who helped me make positive changes, so I’d like to try to do the same for the students.”
Molly Barker also volunteered to be a Paxton mentor, she said: “From my experience, I found school challenging, so the thought of stepping into the working world seemed very daunting. I would love to share some of my learning and experiences with young people so I can hopefully offer some reassurance.”
Paxton worked with Willingdon Community School last year on the programme and is partnered up again this time due to its success. The students will be invited to tour the Paxton Technology Centre in Brighton and the Paxton mentors will take part in workshops.
Alison Borrell, Director of Learning for Technology and Enterprise, Associate Assistant Head at Willingdon Community School, said: “We are really pleased to be collaborating with Paxton once again and are extremely grateful for their continued sponsorship and mentoring of our students. Our students really benefit from professionals providing valuable insight into the different employability skills and careers that a forward-thinking worldwide manufacturer can offer.”
Steve O’Rourke said he hopes to see the students grow and become more confident through the programme: “I’d like to help provide them with some positive perspectives about life’s challenges.”
Olivier Awah said: “I just want to be there for the students. I thought if I had a mentoring opportunity, maybe I would have gone a different route. I am just doing what I can to inspire the next generation to make smarter choices.”