This month, we held our first ever AQA Unlocking Potential mid-point events at our Manchester and Guildford offices.
AQA Unlocking Potential is the mentoring programme we run with the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust to give young people who have faced difficult circumstances extra support and encouragement from a trained mentor.
The students taking part in this year’s programme arrived bright and early with their teachers and got stuck into a day of confidence-building activities with their mentors from the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust and AQA staff volunteers. First they were sorted into teams, with students from each school pairing with other schools to work together.
The AQA volunteers helped with the confidence and team-building activities throughout the morning, including brainteasers where adults could encourage the young people, but not give ideas.
In the afternoon, the students prepared and then successfully presented Dragons’ Den-style pitches to get funding. This funding is a small amount of money, managed by their teacher, for use in their community projects. The ‘Dragons’ were a mixture of mentors and AQA staff. All of the students stood up, explained their projects passionately and went through rigorous questioning from the panel. Pitches included one for setting up grievance counselling within their school, as students had lost parents, and another for organising a buddy scheme for year sevens.
Laura Bury, AQA staff volunteer, said:
“My colleagues who were at the AQA Unlocking Potential launch events last December recognised massive differences in the students already. They were more confident and willing to make suggestions during the problem solving exercises and more open to interacting with others. After all the fun of the morning activities, the pitches really brought to life why AQA run this programme. The events demonstrated just how hard the young people have been working with their mentors over the past three months. The progress the young people had made so far was impressive.”
Please email Alana Pavy for more information about your students taking part in the AQA Unlocking Potential programme.