Words came easy for Sheffield Park Academy students when they took a top award for the second year running in the ‘Speak Out’ competition.
Run by the University of Sheffield Management School in partnership with local businesses Irwin Mitchell, Jaywing, BHP and Andy Hanselman, the ‘Speak Out’ project seeks to develop academic, employability and active citizenship skills in young people, helping to enhance their academic and career aspirations.
Competing against other Sheffield students, Sheffield Park Academy students were set the challenge of developing a project to tackle loneliness in their local community.
Over six weeks and with support from mentors at the University and local business, the Sheffield Park team devised ‘Brighten Up’. Their idea involved introducing a ‘safe space’ in school, training volunteer students to act as buddies and mentors and developing an app to facilitate support and interaction.
They then presented their innovative idea to representatives from the University of Sheffield, local business, BBC Radio Sheffield and Age UK at the University’s ‘The Edge’. During their presentation they demonstrated the sustainability of their proposal and showed how it would make a difference. Impressed by their creativity, ingenuity and understanding of the issue, the judges awarded the academy’s team the Pioneering Award.
Congratulating the students, Sheffield Park Academy Principal Debbie McShane said:
"Here at the academy we are committed to providing our students with an Education with Character, which helps to broaden their horizons and enhance their personal development. ‘Speak Out’ is a perfect example of that and I would like to congratulate all of our students who took part – well done!”
Commenting on the event, Dr Andreana Drencheva from the University of Sheffield’s Management School said:
“‘Speak Out’ is a unique opportunity for the young people involved to develop new employability and citizenship skills, to experience university life first-hand and to meet authentic role models who share their experiences to demystify the multiple options young people have after school.”