Sarah, aged 15
Sarah* joined the Hampshire Blue Skies programme when she was in Year 9 because she had developed severe anxiety and lacked confidence. In school, this was manifesting itself in a lack of resilience, poor behaviour and an unwillingness to work with others. In 2021, the Hampshire Blue Skies 2 (Leadership) programme only took place in a school setting due to Covid, and while Sarah attended all of the sessions she did not really contribute to discussions and activities.
In 2022, the Blue Skies 3 (Employability) programme was again impacted by Covid, but visits to partner sites were able to take place in May and June. The final visit of the programme was to Bremont, where – as well as learning about the business and touring the facilities – the students got ‘hands on’ in the lab. Despite the intricacy of the tasks, Sarah flourished in this environment and clearly had an aptitude for the fine detail of the work. Everyone noticed and commented on her skill and the transformation in her was immediate. She was beaming from ear to ear and there was a noticeable change in her attitude having discovered that she was good at something everyone else had found so tricky.
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Sarah’s Head of Year reported that this change in attitude continued in school and has inspired her to look at career paths she would never have previously considered. At her graduation at RAF Odiham in June, Sarah stood up and spoke to a packed room of peers, parents and VIPs about her experiences on the JET programme. She spoke about how inspiring her visit to Bremont had been and joked that she had learned that she should be a watchmaker! The anxious Year 9 who joined the JET programme would never have been able to stand up and present to that room full of people. Following the BS3 programme, both her own self-evaluation and her teacher’s evaluations showed a significant improvement, with increases of 100-150% in her confidence, resilience, attitude to learning and ability to work with others.
*Name changed to ensure anonymity