Companies based at Wellington Place are enriching the lives of the next generation in Leeds, having hosted the first-ever Enrichment Festival which was created by asset manager and developer MEPC alongside social enterprise, Ahead Partnership.
Welcoming 90 students from five different inner-city schools and colleges across Leeds, including Mount St Mary, Leeds City College, John Smeaton Academy, Wetherby High School and Leeds West Academy, the festival gave young people the opportunity to learn different life skills from business volunteers from a variety of organisations, allowing them to ask questions and gain further insight into wider areas which are important to the life of young people, both during education and as they enter the working world.
The Enrichment Festival was the first of its kind in the city, bringing together schools with businesses from across the development including Wates, Shulmans, Buro Happold, Mazars and Equifax, hosting workshops over the three-day period. Students were able to develop transferable skills and learn how these, coupled with their personal attributes, can be of real value to employers and themselves as they begin to build their future.
The festival also focused on the importance of wellbeing, with dedicated workshops on social media, building resilience and coping with the pressures that students face in everyday modern life. Students were able to understand how to identify stressors and given coping strategies which could be implemented in their academic career and beyond. There were also sessions which offered practical advice around handling and understanding personal finance, including budgeting and debt management.
Dominique Simcox, Head of Customer Experience at MEPC Wellington Place, said: “We were delighted to have partnered with Ahead Partnership on the Enrichment Festival at Wellington Place. As a community-based development, it was great to bring together everyone at Wellington Place and the wider area to help to provide students with the problem-solving skills to overcome any obstacles they may encounter and to highlight the importance of good mental health.”
Matthew Such, Audit Assistant at Mazars, added: “It was a privilege to be part of the Enrichment Festival. It is important that we equip students with this knowledge and the wider life skills that are hugely important to their futures. We hope that we encouraged the students to set goals, to aim high, and have confidence to be able to achieve their career aspirations.”
Andrew McCann, Work Experience Officer at Leeds City College, commented: “The Enrichment Festival at Wellington Place has been a fantastic experience for the students involved. It’s been inspiring to see how enthused the students were about the opportunities available to them in the city’s business district and see them thrive within a workplace environment. There should definitely be more events of this nature available to young people, and it’s great to see the companies at Wellington Place taking the lead on this.”
Ahead Partnership is a Leeds-based social enterprise, helping to forge links between schools and the business community. Working with young people throughout the region, and across the UK, the organisation focusses on raising aspirations and helping to inspire career choices.
The student feedback from the enrichment festival was extremely positive with 100% of students surveyed stating that they would use the information they learned at the event in the future and that the event left feeling inspired by the opportunities available to them.
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