10 February 2020

Former College student Richard Blackmore is proving a real inspiration to our current students - as the school’s Enterprise Ambassador from major local employer, Babcock International.

The College has linked up with Babcock to help champion careers and enterprise and prepare students for the world of work. To formally mark the partnership, a special sign has been unveiled in reception.

Mr Blackmore is working closely with College staff to ensure that students are as prepared as possible for the rapidly evolving requirements of the workplace. He is also presenting talks and interactive events to students, sharing his expertise and illustrating the opportunities that are available at Babcock and elsewhere, if young people have the necessary skills.

His own story is helping to get that message across. Mr Blackmore was at Stoke Damerel Community College from aged 11 to 18. He is now a senior manager at Babcock, responsible for engagement, diversity and inclusion.

“We started this partnership with the College last year and it is going extremely well,” said Mr Blackmore. “As one of the biggest employers in our community, we feel we have a duty to work with local schools in this way. For me personally, it means I can give something back to the College, because it did so much for me - that is why I chose to partner with Stoke Damerel.

“What I find really exciting is being able to talk to the students about the jobs of the future and guiding them on the knowledge and skills they should be acquiring. At Babcock, there is a wide range of rewarding job roles, so it’s about preparing them to take advantage of those career opportunities right here on their doorstep.”

Principal Miss Frier said: “It’s great to have Richard and Babcock working in partnership with us, they are both aspirational for our students - Richard as a former student and Babcock because it is so much a part of our local community. Our motto is ‘Aspire, Achieve, Thrive,’ and that sums up this partnership.

“There is also a real feeling of connection with Babcock because a lot of our students have family members who work there, and some families will have connections with Devonport going back generations.”

The partnership has come together with the help of Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership Careers Hub. The Hub links businesses with schools to help them strategically with their careers provision. Nicky Henderson, from the Hub, said: “As a former student, Richard is a perfect Champion for Stoke Damerel Community College, and we are sure the partnership will be a great success.”