Portsmouth youngsters are given a passport to future success

ALL DRESSED UP City of Portsmouth Girls' pupil Bethany Barnes tries on the mayor's robe and chain with city Lord Mayor Cheryl Buggy.     Pictures: Paul Jacobs (112215-2)
ALL DRESSED UP City of Portsmouth Girls' pupil Bethany Barnes tries on the mayor's robe and chain with city Lord Mayor Cheryl Buggy. Pictures: Paul Jacobs (112215-2)

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PUPILS have taken their first steps towards earning a Passport to Success.

A total of 230 pupils from Year 8, chosen from Portsmouth’s 14 secondary schools, visited the city’s Guildhall yesterday, for the launch of a scheme which aims to show them how to succeed in business.

SMILES Dexter Way, Sol Francis and Matthew Milford fill out a questionnaire.     (112215-4)

SMILES Dexter Way, Sol Francis and Matthew Milford fill out a questionnaire. (112215-4)

The city’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Cheryl Buggy, who is leading the ‘Positively Portsmouth Passport to Success’ project, said she is trying to help young people understand what is going on behind the scenes in Portsmouth.

She said: ‘I’m really happy with how the day went. It’s exciting to get this started.

‘Qualifications are important, and they can get those at school, but attitude can be just as important, and we hope this will help teach them how to approach challenges.

‘If they can present this to a potential employer, and show them what they did, it could be the extra factor in them winning a job they want, and an opportunity to succeed.

‘If this pilot is successful we could roll the programme out to all the city’s children.’

At yesterday’s event, the 12 and 13-year-olds met the Lord Mayor, as well as business mentors who will guide them through the year-long programme.

Pupils received a guided tour of the Guildhall and had to decide which of its historic artefacts is the most valuable. They were also given 10 questions to discover the profession of a local businessman, and learned about fundraising and debating.

Dexter Way, 13, from Wickham, said: ‘I thought we should debate how to make the entrance to the city look better. The day was really good because we were learning new things, but people were also listening to what we had to say.’

Forty-four businesses including The Listening Centre, IBM, Astrium, the Historic Dockyard and The News have signed up to help the youngsters through the scheme, providing the mentors who will work with them throughout the year.

In the next 12 months, the children must complete six compulsory challenges, including a team fundraising activity, 10 hours of volunteering, and a creative project. Each challenge they complete will earn the youngsters a ‘stamp’ in their passport.