From Blue Skies to pounding pavements for JET
JET CEO, Dr Emma Egging reflects on the growth of the Jon Egging Trust as she heads towards completing her 5th Great North Run since 2011…
“This year’s GNR is particularly meaningful for me as I’ll be running with Nathan, one of our fantastic Blue Skies graduates. Now 18, Nathan was on our very first Blue Skies programme in Norfolk. Hosted and delivered in partnership with RAF Marham, the programme develops teamwork and communications skills. I was with the group on the first day of the course. Nathan, then aged 15, turned up looking sheepish. His leg was in plaster. He had broken his ankle over the weekend when he and his friends had been daring each other to climb up trees and on top of buildings. Nathan had fallen off and was worried that he couldn’t be part of the Blue Skies course because he was on crutches. What Nathan experienced on day one of our programme started him on a journey towards becoming the confident and articulate young man he is today. Instead of missing out on the teamwork tasks he and his Blue Skies colleagues were set, they helped him to be part of the team by carrying him over obstacles and supporting him throughout the activities. Nathan’s plaster, rather than being a hindrance, emphasised the importance of teamwork, communication and trust. Three crucial life skills that so many of our students lack but develop in bucket loads by the end of our three-year early intervention programmes.
All of our young people are carefully selected by schools because, like Nathan, things are starting to go wrong for them. Nathan was getting into the ‘wrong crowd’, his grades were going down and he didn’t see the point of behaving in school. Through our partnerships JET provides young people with opportunities to see what career options are out there and to meet inspirational role models linked to aviation, engineering and science, to understand how school can help them become the best they can be.
Pretty much all of our students come to JET with low confidence and self-esteem. Some may have been bullied, others have issues going on at home. For many, looking someone in the eye, let alone putting their hands up to ask a question are big steps for them. At the end of his first year with JET the difference in Nathan was huge. He had started to believe in himself. During his second year, when he was on the leadership Blue Skies programme, he was voted Head of House. Three years later Nathan is completing his business studies course at college and hopes to gain an apprenticeship in accountancy.
Nathan is just one of the thousands of young people who have been through our programmes since JET was established in 2011. We have now worked with 350 young people through our Blue Skies programme and more than 10,000 through our Inspirational Outreach work. Our programmes support young people in 15 counties across the UK to overcome the challenges they face in their lives and be the best they can be. When Nathan and I are at the GNR starting line nervously lacing up our trainers on the 10th September, we will be running to raise awareness for all those young peoples’ achievements and to raise funds to help ensure we can continue to change young peoples’ lives for the better, long into the future.“
You can find out more about the Jon Egging Trust by listening to this audio interview with BFBS.