Take a Chance

on Jan 24, 2014 . 0 Comments.

Take a Chance – this award winning programme that has been running since 2007, managed by the Education Business Partnership West Berkshire in partnership with Vodafone. The programme aims to increase the confidence and motivation of students aged 14-15 in West Berkshire and enables them to broaden their skills and horizons by providing personal development opportunities within a business context.

This is achieved through coaching/mentoring by trained Vodafone staff in a series of workshops and mentoring sessions hosted at Vodafone HQ in Newbury.

The real power of the programme is in the way it provides exposure to new and diverse ways of thinking and behaving, not only for the students but also for the Buddies.

Now in its seventh year – the story so far…

  • 300 students, from 10 West Berkshire schools, have benefited from the full programme.
  • 50 students, aged 14-15 years, have joined the programme this autumn.
  • Over 900 students have so far participated in seven Enterprise Skills Days, (Take a Chance student selection events).
  • Since 2007, over 275 employees from across Vodafone have given 6,870 volunteering hours to Take a Chance.
  • 17 Vodafone volunteers and 100 students from 4 schools have participated in 5 TaCTICS Workshops (2 hour in-school workshops developed from main programme).
  • Material developed from programme used in 2 schools for Interview Preparation Sessions has benefited 652 students (14-16 years)

Benefits of the Programme

Benefits to Vodafone

  • Helps fulfil the corporate responsibility of giving something back to the local community.

  • Demonstrates Vodafone’s desire to improve its links with education, to inspire others to believe in themselves and achieve more, and to help shape a future workforce better equipped for business.

  • Supports employees in their volunteering ventures.

  • Enables employees to challenge and develop themselves by coaching and mentoring outside the business and inspires new ideas and fresh approaches.

Benefits to Vodafone employees

  • A rewarding experience.

  • A well-managed and highly valued volunteering opportunity brought to Vodafone HQ.

  • Makes use of the 3 days’ volunteering time to support personal development, to give something back and make a difference to the local community.

  • Opportunity to work with others from different areas within Vodafone with a wide range of skills.

  • Pick up new skills and improve existing ones through coaching and mentoring young people.

  • Practise skills learnt in a safe environment.

Benefits to Schools

  • Provides a highly valued link to Vodafone as a local business with global influence.

  • Opportunity for students to be involved in an innovative personal development programme, recognised by Ofsted.

  • Opportunity to network with staff from other West Berkshire schools and benefit from covert learning at workshops.

Benefits to Students

  • Inspires and motivates them to stretch themselves, achieve their potential and raise aspirations.
  • Challenges and encourages them.
  • Helps build self-confidence and a ‘can do’ attitude.
  • Equips them with skills for use in school and beyond.
  • Provides an insight into how businesses work.

Review of 2012-2013

How the Students felt Take a Chance had helped them improve…

Average Perceived Improvement after Take a Chance

Personal Development Area

% Perceived Improvement

Confidence in yourself


Motivation level and effort you put into things


Confidence in working with others


Confidence in speaking in front of others


Ability to identify and solve problems



How the Buddies rated their experience…

Personal Development Area

Average score out of 10

How much have you enjoyed your involvement in Take a Chance?


How valuable has your experience on the programme been?


How valuable do you think the Students’ experience on the programme has been?


How well do you feel you are being supported by the business, your manager and your colleagues to enable you to volunteer?


Headteacher Testimonials

Mr P G Dick – Headmaster - Kennet School

The Kennet School students who are lucky enough to gain a place on the Take a Chance Programme are given numerous opportunities to develop important skills individually and in teams. We see quiet young people, who can lack in confidence, grow into assertive and competent teenagers by the end of the programme.

In our experience, while there are many opportunities for this type of event for young people, none have the quality, depth and impact of the Vodafone scheme; it is great to see a multi-national company having such an impact in its home area.


Mrs V Houldey - Headteacher - The Downs School

Take a Chance has been an unreserved positive experience for students at The Downs and has had a significant impact on the improvement of their skills and confidence.  An element of the experience which appears to have been particularly successful was the use of ‘Buddies’. They trusted them and students found their encouragement meaningful.


Derek Peaple - Headteacher - Park House School

Our recent Ofsted survey inspection report on use of alternative provision (November 2013) commented, “the impact of the 'Take a Chance' scheme is closely monitored and shows considerable gains in students' academic success and personal development.

Business Buddy Testimonials

Lucy Hegarty - Business Consultant Better Ways of Working - Vodafone Ltd

The Take a Chance programme offers the opportunity for employees to do something of real value with the time we have allocated to volunteer. It makes me proud and enthused to work for a company that supports an initiative like this.


Jo Ritchie - Commercial Implementation Manager - Commercial Delivery - Vodafone Group Services Limited

The TaC Programme gives the students the opportunity to take on-board skills that aren’t taught in the classroom, or PE field – they’re skills that are refined over years of experience outside of school and in the business environment – like understanding your learning style and how to get the best out of the teams you work in. Vodafone has given me the time to work with the students and share my experiences both from the office and outside to help them understand how best they can study for their exams (as they’re at the critical school year) get them to step outside of their comfort zone in a safe environment and work through the exercises in a team and mix with other schools.


Jon Buckthorp - International Account Manager - Global Accounts - Northern Europe - Vodafone Global Enterprise Ltd

The program has delivered so much for the students it has touched and for me as an individual…it has helped us all grow, try new things and meet new people across both students, educators and professionally within Vodafone.  The opportunity to help and support in this manner is unique, and something I and the students continue to grab with both hands.


Phil Burr - Networks Project Manager (Commercials) - Networks - Vodafone Limited

It is truly a privilege to be part of a team which delivers a fantastic and beneficial programme to young adults of differing backgrounds. The proof of the success of the programme can be easily seen in the students themselves, and the feedback they give. It can take a student whom may be unconfident, unstructured or unfocussed and provide them with tools and techniques in a format they understand, so that they may really tackle these issues.
From a VF perspective, it harnesses employees’ strengths in a different scenario with a challenging audience, whilst pushing comfort zones and skill sets which can only be a benefit when brought back into the organisation. This programme, not only is extraordinarily well administered, but delivers a truly win-win outcome.

Contacts to find out more about Take a Chance

This programme could be replicated in your region, to find out more please contact:

Amanda Richards, CEO, Education Business Partnership West Berkshire
Email: amandar@ebpwb.co.uk                 Tel: 01635 277480

Helen Roy, Take a Chance Programme Manager, Education Business Partnership West Berkshire
Email: helenr@ebpwb.co.uk      Tel: 01635 277488


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