14th March 2017

A group of ambitious pupils from South Devon High School are currently working towards a ‘Focus 5 Award’. The award has been designed by employers to focus and develop five key skills: communication, organisation, team work, customer care and problem solving.

The students work in teams of four with a local business mentor, and are required to complete an evidence- based portfolio on the 5 key areas. The mentors are; Jason Parry- Manager at Salcombe Harbour Hotel, Jonathan Taylor- Manager at Westaway Sausages, Merlin Allen- Retired Engineer, Kathy Snow- Independent Consultant and Paul Palmer- Estates Manager, Torbay Development Agency.


Co-ordinated by Torbay Development Agency in association with Education Business Partnership – South West, the Focus 5 programme is personalised to the individual and aims to give them the chance to develop their confidence and to help them showcase their personal commitment, enthusiasm, incentive and drive. It will benefit the students in many ways and nurture a number of key skills they can transfer to all areas of their life.

Yvonne Paddon, Careers and Enterprise Manager at CSW Group said, “The Focus 5 scheme is a powerful model for young people to not only be able to evidence key employability skills but also to gain in confidence and self-esteem. Using business mentors from the local community adds to the students’ experience and I am very grateful for their support through the STEM ambassador scheme.”


Maggi, 14 is working towards the Focus 5 award she said, “It’s really great having a mentor to interact with on a personal level. They provide specific and relevant information to help improve my employability.”


Kathy Snow an independent consultant and volunteer mentor said, “It’s a fantastic opportunity for students to focus on the skills needed for employment. School students don’t always feel like they have anything to offer an employer so Focus 5 concentrates on the skills employers are looking for to help prepare them for future employment.”


Tony Hobson, Tutor at South Devon High School said, “This is a fabulous opportunity for the students in the High School to gain real life work experience alongside their academic studies.  By working in small groups with local employers they will gain a valuable insight in to the skills and qualities local employers are looking for when they are recruiting, giving them a significant advantage when they enter the competitive local job market.”



Achieving the award will allow employers to know that a student has been through a rigorous, evidence based, employability assessment. It will also provide future employers with valuable information and serve students when the time comes to apply for work, further education or volunteering opportunities.


For more information about South Devon High School, visit the next Open Evening on Wednesday 15th March – 5pm-8pm at the Vantage Point Campus, Long Road, Paignton, TQ4 7EJ. Alternatively, you can call the team on 01803 540332 or email enquiries@southdevonhighschool.ac.uk


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