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Local volunteers help Middlesbrough pupils raise their aspirations

Macmillan volunteers June 2018.docx

The National Literacy Trust partnered with Macmillan Academy in Middlesbrough in summer 2018 to run the Key Stage 3 Words for Work programme.

Words for Work aims to give young people the literacy and communication skills they need to be successful in the workplace. Year 9 students at Macmillan Academy took part in five workshops, focused on developing verbal and written skills and becoming more prepared for the workplace.


Samantha Lambert, the literacy co-ordinator at Macmillan Academy who led the sessions, commented on the impact of the programme on the students and their increased confidence. “Students have most definitely developed in confidence and are much more informed about their future prospects,” she explained. “It was a truly valuable, engaging and confidence-building programme.”

The students took part in various interactive activities, including interview preparation, workplace roleplays and presentation skills.

The students were mentored by ten volunteers, including four from Barclaycard. Others volunteers from law, health care and advertising supported the students to develop their literacy skills.

Barclays have supported two schools in the local area and have showed incredible support for the Words for Work programme in Middlesbrough. Amanda Newman, a volunteer from Barclaycard, reflected on the progress that students had made. “The students were really engaged and interested to learn about us and what a typical day at work was like, and it was great to see their confidence in talking in group situations increase over the weeks,” she said. “Myself and my colleagues also learned a lot from the experience and would definitely volunteer again.”

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One volunteer, Adam Foster from the Calm Digital agency, commented: “Volunteering our time to help Year 9 students with their speaking, interview and presentation skills has been a privilege… Teesside is an amazing hub of digital talent, with the majority of Calm Digital's staff made up of people who were born and studied in the area, so it’s good to help shape the next generation of talent”.

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