‘Opportunities Without Limits’

IMG_3720Tonight Dame Christine Braddock, Chairman of Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, opened the first ever Aspire@BCH Star Awards.  The awards celebrate the contribution young people and staff have made in providing ‘opportunities without limits’ in the many inspiring projects run under the banner of Aspire@BCH.

I feel privileged to have been part of Aspire’s journey since it was a glimmer in the eye of the Education Team at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. In just 18 months it has grown into an established part of BCH offering support for young people to help them gain the skills, knowledge and confidence to enter the world of work via a range of innovative programmes and opportunities.

IMG_3730UFA have been involved in several projects with BCH over the last 5 years ranging from facilitating staff training, running the annual Challenge Week for apprentices, interns and trainees and working with their Young People’s Advisory Group to train them up to be researchers. Several groups of young people have also been part of our UFA Step Up To Serve programme devising and running social action projects in and around the hospital.  So, we were delighted to be able to sponsor and present the award for Young Leader of the Year tonight at the inaugural Aspire@BCH Star Awards Ceremony.

Of course we’d like to make special mention of the 3 nominees for the UFA Young Leader award and the winner Lisa Lee. Congratulations to you all!

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There were so many worthy winners and nominees in the spotlight tonight, including staff who have been great Youth Ambassadors and gone out of their way to support young people in their departments, fantastic mentors, managers, apprentices and graduate interns.  Special mention should also go to the winners of the Chairman’s Award for ‘innovation and working with young people in a remarkable and ground breaking way’ which went to Calthorpe Vocational Centre who have worked with BCH to provide learning experiences that develop key employability and supported living skills for students with moderate/severe and ASD needs.  This is a fitting tribute to the great work Calthorpe do.

If you’re a school in the West Midlands or an NHS Trust from further afield, get in touch and check out Aspire’s website – it’s a fantastic way to engage a wide range of young people and schools in exciting work-related learning.

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Sarah Burgess,

Director of Learning, UFA & rather proud Steering Group member of Aspire@BCH

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