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Driving Ambition: Working through the pandemic

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The RSA Driving Ambition project, which started as a collaboration between a small group of Fellows in North Oxfordshire and local schools, is now going into its tenth year of mentoring and supporting Oxfordshire’s young people to reach their potential.

The project works as a partnership between Fellows, businesses, and schools to help raise the level of ambition among students and help them understand the world beyond school. Peter Jordan FRSA and his team have successfully navigated the hurdles of the last year.

How did they cope with the pandemic?

Due to the various restrictions on team members, staff and pupils, they had to be creative in finding effective ways to continue supporting the students. This included preparing presentations for the students in the staff’s specialist subjects and adding voice-overs to PowerPoints to create oven-ready lectures which teachers could use in remote learning modules. The ‘Market Research Business Studies’ module continued using the expertise of one of the group members, who ran a successful virtual Focus Group activity.

Unfortunately, the very successful mock Assessment Centre Day activity had to be abandoned in 2020. However, 2021 brought the opportunity to run a hybrid event, with some of the team at the school and some interviewing, observing, and giving feedback virtually. The feedback was fantastic with one student commenting “I enjoyed the challenges of the day and think I gained valuable skills that will do me well in my future endeavours”.

What next?

The team will continue to support the students at North Oxford Academy in Banbury and Oxford Spires Academy in Oxford and look forward to resuming mentoring activities.

How can RSA Fellows get involved?

Your skills can always help! If you would like to help young people understand the world outside school, either by working with classes within a school or one-to-one mentoring, the Driving Ambition Project Team would love to hear from you. Whether you live near Banbury or Oxford and would like to get involved in their Fellow-led project, or you are interested in starting a Driving Ambition project in your local area, please email valuechainvision@gmail.com.

Driving Ambition was a south east local area grant winner in 2018. You can read about previous activity, and for more information please visit their website.