The Fund consists of the DCF Bursary Scheme which supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds by providing bursaries for transport costs to and from college, cost of tools, IT, books etc. and also the Raising Aspirations Mentoring Programme which is currently being piloted at Wey Valley School in Weymouth. The programme helps students improve their communication skills, self-esteem and also raises career/further education aspirations.
Tracy Melling, Chief Executive at the Foundation commented: ‘We are delighted that J. P. Morgan and ASM have contributed to our Education Fund. Our Hidden Dorset Report identified that specific areas of Dorset have high levels of young people not in education or training and not enough young people training in the skills required by Dorset employers. By donating to this Fund companies are helping to plug skills gaps.’
Since the launch of the DCF Bursary Scheme in 2015 the Foundation has provided bursaries for 52 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds across Dorset.
Sandra Hartnell, Senior UK HR Manager from ASM, explained: ‘We are based in Weymouth and a large percentage of our employees are local residents. Parts of our town are amongst the top 20% most deprived in the country and education and training deprivation is an issue also. Supporting the Education Fund not only supports our corporate social responsibility, but also enables us to assist in developing skills in local young people.’
Over 50 pupils from the Weymouth based Wey Valley School are taking part in the Raising Aspirations mentoring programme. They recently participated in a workshop with the internationally acclaimed artist Stuart Semple who is an Ambassador for the Foundation.
Alison Moore, joint Head of Art at Wey Valley said: ‘Stuart’s visit has been truly inspirational for our students. To hear Stuart’s journey and success through art will certainly motivate our students – we have a number of excellent artistic students at the school who have a passion for this subject and wish to pursue future career opportunities.’
As part of the Raising Aspirations Mentoring Programme the Foundation is also working with volunteers from the business community who would like to join the scheme and engage in one to one mentoring.
Read more about our Education Fund here.