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The Driving Ambition project in Surrey, led by Life Fellow Adrian Rickard, connects schools and local businesses to help tackle youth unemployment.

The project has continued this year with a series of career talks at Collingwood College, Camberley. RSA Fellows in Surrey have been very supportive of the programme. Speakers have brought a diverse wealth of experience and insight to the talks, which were much appreciated by the students.

Providing feedback on the project, Collingwood College said:

"Thanks to Adrian Rickard and the RSA, we have been very fortunate to have had a number of speakers from industry to come in to Collingwood College. The speakers have been from Social Work and Housing, Travel, Politics, Finance, Charity and HR. The talks have ranged from small informal drop-in sessions in the library open to all students from years 7 to 11, classroom talks to students studying a particular subject and formal presentations to post 16 students in the sixth form centre. It has been great that all the speakers have been very flexible with their approach and adapted it to the audience.

“Without the partnership with RSA the students would not have benefited from meeting such a wide variety of people with many years of experience. All the feedback from the students has been very positive. We did find that having some background information about the speaker before they come in helped to promote the event and this is something we would like to build into future visits."

Two priorities for the next phase of Driving Ambition in Surrey are under consideration:

  1. to help build state schools' competence (and confidence) in staging career events; and
  2. to give greater prominence to women in STEM careers.

Get involved

There has been a great interest in terms of Fellow volunteers, sometime even exceeding the demand of local schools due to the difficulty in organising and resourcing career events. However, as the programme is devised for the next academic year, Driving Ambition is keen to hear from Fellows interested in getting involved, particularly if from a STEM background. The project is also keen to be extended on a national basis.

If you would like to be involved in the next phase of Driving Ambition in Surrey from September 2017, or are thinking of setting up a similar programme in your area, please contact Adrian Rickard at adrian.rickard@btinternet.com.

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