Largest Graduation of Blue Skies students for the Jon Egging Trust in Dorset

Largest Graduation of Blue Skies students for the Jon Egging Trust in Dorset

On 5th July 2017, we held the Graduation Ceremony for students from our Blue Skies Teamwork and Leadership programmes. The students celebrated all of their hard work and achievements at the ceremony hosted by Bournemouth University. 54 students had the opportunity to give a final presentation to a room full of parents and VIPs. Each student spoke about their experiences on the Blue Skies programme, from flight simulators to an archaeological dig, low ropes to tank building and explained what those opportunities had meant to them.

The Mayor and Mayoress of Bournemouth Councillor & Mrs Lawrence Williams attended to congratulate the students, as did the Deputy Mayor of Ferndown Cllr Steve Lugg. All 54 students, aged between 12 and 14, completed the course and were awarded their graduation certificates by JET Trustee Dawn Egging and Wg Cdr Vincent Thomas, Chief of Staff of the Air Warfare Centre Flying Division. Other members of the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy were able to join the Graduation to celebrate the impact of their work with the students throughout the course. The Dorset programme is very well supported by local companies and representatives from Cobham, Farrow and Ball, Wessex Archaeology, The Tank Museum, National Trust, HMS Victory, Moors Valley, Winchester University, Dark Blu Inc. and Breaking Ground Heritage were able to join the students to hear about the impact of the days that they organised to support the Blue Skies programmes.

Wg Cdr Vincent Thomas said ‘The Jon Egging Trust and Blue Skies initiative offers amazing opportunities to school children to do things they would never have imagined possible.  At the same time, there is a wonderful focus on instilling confidence and self-belief in each individual.  It was clear that the Blue Skies students had been inspired by their experiences and really appreciated the chance to develop life skills such as leadership, teamwork and communication.  It was humbling to see how Blue Skies has affected the students.  I was very impressed with the Trust and its aims.’

At the end of the ceremony, Headteacher of St Aldhelm’s Academy Jon Webb said ‘Our students thoroughly enjoyed the JET experience this year. Their resilience, independence and knowledge has increased dramatically and this is already impacting positively on their academic achievements.’

The students were similarly enthusiastic:

Alicia, 13 ‘I have always tried to be an independent person but going on these trips has helped me develop teamwork skills and to get involved more with the activities. I have made friends because of this and it has given me more confidence at school.’

Troy 14 ‘Something I have learnt about leadership is that you have to be confident but also be ready to listen to what your team has to say.’