Words for Work & Dream Big

In 2019, £14,500 was secured for the North East through Provident Financial, to run a Primary Words for Work (Dream Big), a KS3 and a post-16 Words for Work and Middlesbrough was chosen to benefit.

Words for Work: Dream Big develops literacy skills, raises aspirations and challenges stereotypes  with children in Key Stage 1. Through a variety of interactive play and skills-building activities, the programme provides an authentic way to practise language and literacy. Words for Work: Dream Big helps young children imagine their futures and how they will use the skills they are learning at school when they are older. At the start of the programme, children enjoy a trip to a nearby workplace to help them visualise their futures and explore the world of grown-ups. Children go under cover and become detectives for the day, tasked with hunting for specified objects in the workplace and discussing ways they help adults do their job. Year 2 from Newport Primary visited Scrann Pizza Restaurant in Norton. With help from head chef, the restaurant manager, and the accountant, the school children were taught about lots of different jobs within hospitality. By the end of the day, they all understood that many different roles are needed to run a restaurant, and they really enjoyed discovering a workplace beyond a typical office environment. Back at school, the Year 2 children had a Dream Big day exploring different jobs through role play and literacy activities. As part of the programme, we provide the schools with props and dressing up kits to create six makeshift workplaces in the classroom.

At the end of the programme, Newport School invited parents to attend a celebration assembly where children were awarded with certificates. The children were given the opportunity to read aloud what they had learnt about the importance of literacy in all jobs.

Dream Big helps children visualise their futures, and in one survey 97% teachers said that learning about work first hand helps their pupils broaden aspirations. When asked about how the programme will guide their approach in the future, a teacher from Newport Primary School said:

“I raise more awareness of jobs around our local area on a more regular basis and look more opportunities to discuss jobs within the classroom.”  Year 2 teacher, Newport Primary School

In recent years four secondary schools have participated in the Key Stage 3 Words for Work programme. In Spring 2019, 28 more-vulnerable Y8 UCA students participated in Words for Work, working with members from local business/employers.  They developed in confidence and were much more informed about future prospects. There was a visible positive shift in their behaviours and attitudes.