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Meet the Cheshire and Warrington heroes handed Pledge Partnership awards for transforming young people’s lives

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Cosmic’ Scouts and “out of this world” schools were among award winners honoured for transforming young people’s lives across Cheshire and Warrington.

The Cheshire and Warrington Pledge Partnership which connects all 86 schools and colleges in the region with 550 businesses, uses its Celebration Awards to recognise the contributions of individuals and organisations across the region who inspire and support youngsters from all backgrounds.

And the winners in nine categories were unveiled in front of around 200 delegates at the “Bridging the Gaps” Cheshire and Warrington Pledge Partnership & Careers Hub Annual Conference 2023 at Alderley Park.

The awards were judged by a panel comprising a mixture of businesses, education and local authority representatives and presented by Chair of youth charity Youth Fed’s board of trustees Jim Bisset MBE alongside former Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire David Briggs CVO MBE KStJ who serves as Governor at the University of Chester and is chair of Knutsford Together and Chester Cathedral Council.

Congratulating all the winners, Grace Sheldon, Strategic Hub Lead said: “These awards are so inspiring. Each and every one of the winners has contributed an amazing amount to the lives of young people which is what we at The Pledge Partnership and The Cheshire and Warrington Careers Hub are all about. The breadth of ways you are transforming outcomes for future generations is out of this world.”

Full list of winners and what the judges said:

Cheshire Scouts took the Inspirational Youth Organisation / Charity of the Year 2023 Award after judges praised its volunteers for offering “a range of interactive and inspirational activities to build skills, confidence and allow people to have fun”.
This included last summer’s Chamboree which saw thousands of Scouts, Guides and volunteer leaders from across the UK and beyond descend on The Royal Cheshire Showground for an action-packed week themed around the solar system ranging from beatboxing and photography lessons in the Mercury zone to STEM activities supported by employers and The Pledge in the Uranus zone.

Cheshire Scouts - Award Winner Annual Conference

Bank of America – whose bases include Chester Business Park – was named Inspirational Large Business of The Year in recognition of its “outstanding contribution” which includes supporting Chester Pride, mentoring programs and enabling project-based work experience with more than 130 of its employees supporting over 50 events in 2023 alone and meeting over 3000 young people in the past 12 months.

Bank of America - Annual Conference Winner

Residential Management Group, one of the largest property management companies in the country and whose bases include Gadbrook Park in Northwich took Inspirational Medium Business of The Year with judges concluding it was “an example of an organisation maximising the opportunities The Pledge create for the benefit of the young people, the schools and colleges and the business” including launching an apprenticeship scheme, recruiting five interns and encouraging employees to represent the organisation at events.

The Red Cow, Nantwich – a stunning 16th Century Old coaching inn – took Inspirational Small Business of The Year with judges noting staff have “supported numerous events for the Crewe and Nantwich Pledge” ranging from mock interviews to careers fairs and the business “employs a lot of young staff and provide some great insights into the recruitment and training of young people and the skills gaps that employers are facing.”

Red Cow Winner

Judges added: “Their passion and wealth of experience in the hospitality industry is extremely inspiring to young people.”

Archers Brook SEMH Residential School in Ellesmere Port took the title of Inspirational Alternative/SEND School of the Year with judges impressed that it was providing “an education and a nurturing, encouraging, motivating and supportive environment in which the students can thrive and reach their potential.”

Pupils were embracing opportunities to team up with businesses through work experience, fundraising and volunteering and judges said their “enthusiasm and manners is testament to the staff at the school and they should all be very proud of the work they do on a daily basis”.

The Inspirational Mainstream School /College Award went to Sir Thomas Boteler C Of E High School in Latchford, Warrington after judges said careers education was embedded in the school and “all teachers in the school are teachers of careers education”.

Sir Thomas Boteler Winner

Headteacher Beverley Scott-Herron was praised for “setting a great example” including offering her time as a key influencer across the careers network” and supporting a national pilot with the Careers and Enterprise Company reviewing the impact of quality careers.

Judges said the school’s efforts around careers education had seen “a decrease in NEET (students not in education, employment or training), a rise in aspirations and an increased confidence in work readiness”.

The Young Professional Award winner was Lucas Anderson, an apprentice science manufacturing operations technician at AstraZeneca in Macclesfield.

Judges said the 19-year-old from Macclesfield had embraced opportunities before taking up the apprenticeship including The Pledge’s Employment Readiness Programme and attending a Mock Assessment Centre as a student.

Judges added: “Since starting his level 3 Science Manufacturing Technician apprenticeship he has shown commitment, enthusiasm and support to a wide range of Pledge activities” and added the former Tytherington High School pupil is “professional and dedicated to supporting the career opportunities in the local area for other young people and has proven to be a true ambassador. He is a real advocate of what The Pledge sets out to achieve and is a great example to other young people. “

The Inspirational Enterprise Adviser of the Year Award went to Anna Marie Murray, owner of MentorAbility, a mentoring service helping young people to build their confidence towards employment.

Impressed judges said she was a “key player in careers delivery” at Blacon High School in Chester and has been an influential in promoting the school and engaging employers to support numerous career initiatives”.

The winner of the Individual Award went to Kalini Kent, a Communication, Presentation Skills, Public Speaking and Vocal Coach who chairs Macclesfield-based CYGNETS (Cheshire Youth Group for New and Emerging Talent on Stage).

Judges said she has “given up so much of her time and resources to help support the Pledge over the last year” – even taking on an apprentice after meeting them at a Macclesfield Pledge careers fair.

Her other contributions have ranged from giving talks on leadership roles in the workplace to joining other employers interviewing young people at a Mock Assessment Centre.

The Cheshire and Warrington Pledge Partnership is calling for more local employers to help inspire the next generation.

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posted: Thursday 13 July

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