Saluting the partnership between schools and business

Samuel Ward Aspire event at The EpiCentre

It is always an interesting talking point…

Should we be doing all we can to encourage our youngsters to stay in and around Haverhill to improve the local area and economy?

Or should we be offering and promoting opportunities further afield to showcase a life outside our town?

The simple answer is that it’s probably a bit of both. Individual choice is key with some preferring to stay local for further education and wider career options, and others opting for the bright lights of a big city, or maybe even a different country.

What I think is key is that we at least showcase all the great things that Haverhill can offer our youngsters. Give them all the exciting opportunities that lay before them and show them all the choices they can make.

A perfect illustration of this came last week when Samuel Ward Academy held their annual Aspire event (photo above).

More than 100 students attended the EpiCentre and met with local businesses from across many different sectors.

It was a great opportunity to showcase the world of work and local opportunities and also a rare chance for parents to accompany their children and aid their own awareness of what is out there on their doorstep.

Of course, this form of school-business partnership is nothing new. It can come in the form of mock interviews, another great way of getting young people ready for the world of work, where local business leaders ‘interview’ students.

And it can come from events in the community such as last month’s holiday activities in East Town Park that saw students from Castle Manor Academy take part in volunteering, Duke of Edinburgh, activity days and reading initiatives.

It is great to learn about these events taking place on our doorstep and offering such great opportunities for young people.

Another great event heading our way this weekend is ‘Keeping Haverhill Happy’ which takes place at Haverhill Leisure Centre on Saturday 7th May, between 10.30am and 2.30pm.

The group’s first ever wellbeing event offers a great opportunity to highlight what is going in Haverhill and has been supported by a number of local businesses via a free goody bag and raffle for attendees.

Keep Haverhill Happy was set up to bring together local people and organisations that support people’s mental health and wellbeing.

The group was set up to join up existing community-based support services in Haverhill, ensure that local people know what is available in town and understand what services they want and need and identify gaps in services and deliver new projects together – with the overarching aim to make Haverhill a happier and healthier town.

To find out more about Keep Haverhill Happy, or to join their working group, please contact

Andy Hunter, Chair of ONE Haverhill Partnership.

Photo credit: Russ Bennett.