The Leigh UTC held its latest business event of the academic year last week with a brunch themed on celebrating the year’s successes.

Chaired by governor Clive Barker of CSB Logistics, attendees were given a raft of information on current engineering apprenticeships as well as those that will be begin next year in ICT. Principal, Steve Leahey gave glowing reports on students many positive destinations in terms of jobs, apprenticeships and university places whilst Rebecca Warner explained the new UTC hub and Sophie Dickinson explained the academy’s excitement in the forthcoming IBCP.

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Business mentor, Chris Ward, Managing Director of Hemlow (www.hemlow.com) illuminated delegates on the many positive aspects for both mentor and mentee in being involved with the business mentoring scheme.

As part of a blog article, Chris writes-

“I am just completing my first year as a mentor for The Leigh UTC and highly recommend it to anyone in the local area from my industry. 

For those who don’t know The Leigh UTC, it’s a University Technical College in Dartford and part of the Leigh Academies Trust. They take students from the age of 14 who want to peruse a career in engineering, and if you are an engineer, take a look around, their facilities are pretty special!

Excuse the cliché but I really feel that becoming a mentor has made a difference both to the student that I have been working with and myself personally.

Last year I was paired with a 17-year-old student to offer some independent guidance and advice over 6 one hour sessions. What difference can you make in that time I thought to myself?

Well it turns out you can make quite a bit- life skill, advice and guidance to start with. It struck me that the things that I have helped my student with have been the things that mentors in my career have helped me with and I possibly took for granted as a slightly rebellious air conditioning engineer apprentice.

In fact, once we covered the basics, my student was so enthusiastic that we explored some more practical aspects of the M&E industry. Mark, our Hemlow engineer took him around the plant rooms of the UTC to show him the HVAC plant and what a maintenance engineer does. 

We got so much positive input that we included him on some ROSPA accredited health and safety training with our trainee engineers at head office. His enthusiasm has gone up a notch and the next step is a three-day work experience package within the Hemlow business both in the office and out on site with more members of our team.

I have had the satisfaction of witnessing the student, gain confidence, direction, life skills, land a part time job and hope that he will make the choice to become an engineer of the future in the M&E industry.

All of this has taken up less than 24 hours of my life in total, spread over a 9-month period, surely this is a good thing for anyone in the local engineering industry to do?

I’m already signed up for next year and looking forward to it. If you are interested email louisa.felstead@latrust.org.uk and sign yourself up for the Leigh UTC mentor inductions in September; you won’t regret it!”

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Key dates for business events, including The Leigh UTC’s awards evening in November were publicised. All concerned took the opportunity to participate in some useful business networking.

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