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Five-star academy celebrates jobs accolade

FIVE STARS: Avonbourne Trust has been awarded a five-star charter for how well it prepares its students for employment. Trust CEO, Debbie Godfrey-Phaure, celebrates the award with a team of entrepreneurial students – team Project Emerge. Project Emerge will be entering its business, in which it raises funds to give loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries, into this year’s national Peter Jones Foundation, Tycoon in Schools competition.

It’s already been dubbed the most enterprising academy in the country and now Bournemouth’s Avonbourne Trust has been awarded five stars for preparing young people for work.

Avonbourne has become the first  in Dorset to be awarded the Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole (BDP) Employment and Education Charter to add to its many other entrepreneurial accolades.

The Trust – which is also the first in southern England to become a Peter Jones Foundation School – was assessed earlier this year and given the highest possible score of five stars.

CEO of Avonbourne Trust, Debbie Godfrey-Phaure, said: “We are delighted to be the first academies to receive this award.  As a business and enterprise trust, one of our core aims is to encourage an entrepreneurial spirit in our students and get them prepared for the real life of work.  It is something we are all extremely proud of and is what makes us that little bit more distinctive.”

Avonbourne Trust received this charter in the same week Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw said preparing students for work will now become a key factor in how schools are assessed.

And Avonbourne has a long record of receiving recognition for its entrepreneurial pursuits.

In 2014, when Avonbourne College won the national Tenner Challenge competition for the fifth time in a row, the competition’s founder, Oli Barrett MBE, said: “Avonbourne College, it’s got to be one of the most enterprising colleges in the country!”

Avonbourne has now gone on to win the challenge, in which students have to make the biggest profit from a £10 loan, six times.

The Trust has also scored national success in Dragons’ Den star Peter Jones’ Tycoon in Schools competition.

In 2014 a team of its sixth formers took the top honours for its social enterprise Funnelling 4 Fuel, collecting their prize from Prince Andrew at Buckingham Palace.

Avonbourne has also achieved a runner-up spot and a top 10 finish in the same competition.

Next year it will be entering a team of students called Project Emerge which raises funds to give to entrepreneurs in the developing world.

As well as taking part in these competitions, the Trust also holds an annual enterprise week for all its four academies – Avonwood Primary, Harewood College, Avonbourne College and Avonbourne Sixth Form.

Its Year 10 students also take part in a real-life job interview challenge, in which they are interviewed by local employers.

As a Peter Jones Foundation School, Avonbourne Trust’s record as a business academy has been officially endorsed by the TV-star and tycoon and supported by his Foundation.

Avonbourne Trust also links its students with major employers, such as JP Morgan, AFC Bournemouth, LV= and Bournemouth University.

Caroline Foster, Chair of the Dorset Young People’s Forum, said: “It is imperative that schools and employers work more closely if we are to tackle the skills gap and give all young people the best possible start in the world of work.  So often schools are criticised for not providing good careers’ education and impartial advice and guidance so it was very gratifying to see that Avonbourne Trust has developed a careers’ programme to inspire students and help them to make informed choices.”

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