Winston Churchill said “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give”, and no truer word was ever said.  There are, of course, different degrees of giving but the most rewarding of all is the kind that comes from the heart with genuine good intent.

It is also often the giving of time, expertise and energy that is most valuable; the positive impact of material things can be short-lived, while the commitment to providing support, so that others can build a better future for themselves, is more profound and lasting.

Through our work in education and, in particular, with schools with in communities where aspiration and life chances are limited only by the accident of birth, we are humbled by the unstinting commitment and ‘giving’ of school staff for whom teaching is not just a job but a vocation and a passion, and who choose to dedicate their time to helping children to find their way to a positive and fulfilling adulthood through education.  Here our work isn’t about feel-good gifts that have no long-term worth.  It’s about dedicating time, expertise and resource to developing initiatives and innovations that will have a lasting positive impact.

One such initiative in its early development stages in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is involving schools, colleges and industry in collaborating to provide a comprehensive package of combined technical/vocational and academic qualifications through the International Baccalaureate’s Career-related Programme (CP).  This is a truly remarkable and transformational new programme which is achieving phenomenal success in Kent schools and which we want to see made available for our children in the East of England.  So our team is working hard, on our own time, to bring all the relevant parties together so that by 2018 a CP programme, relevant to our high growth industry sectors, can be made available.

In Cambridge we have some of the UK’s most exciting technology and creative digital businesses – ARM, Frontier Developments, Jagex and Sony Interactive Entertainment to name a few.  These businesses are growing fast and attracting talented programmers, designers, artists and writers to our city, yet there are many young people in our local schools who are unaware of the future career opportunities these businesses offer and who will remain that way if engagement between education and industry doesn’t improve – what a potential waste of local talent and opportunity!  We want this to change, so last year we set up our own pilot project – FXP Festival, designed to upskill teachers, inspire students, and forge closer links between schools and game development companies.  We learned valuable lessons through the pilot which helped us to refine the Festival concept and materials and get ready to roll the concept out to schools all over the country in 2017.

This all means we now have our work cut out but the enthusiasm our team has for these initiatives stems from their genuine purpose and the truism of Churchill’s words.

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