Inspired to Aspire Programme

We were recently invited to take part in an ‘Inspired to Aspire’ programme led by Salford Foundation and Business Mentor Christine Baldwin from Asda.


A group of students who were working in school during lockdown took part in the programme over a seven week period to learn about employability skills and how they related both to the work place and school. Each week the focus was on one skill.

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Anthony Hemmerdinger, Chief Operating Officer from Asda
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Saeed Atcha MBE, Charity CEO, deputy lieutenant and social mobility commissioner

In week 1, students learned more about Christine’s role at Asda. They looked at the key employability skills and qualities used in the workplace. They took part in ‘Who’s the boss’ where they had to decide what skills a boss would look for when recruiting new employees.

In week 2, students worked on Team work recognising their own strengths and how they could contribute to a team. They enjoyed taking part in the bridge building task and worked really well together and all succeeded at the task. The winners were the Year 7 team who all contributed to the task and listened to everyone’s ideas in the planning stage before building the final bridge.


In week 3, students learned about the importance of time management for both school and the work place. Students had to complete a series of tasks as part of a competition. Points were awarded for completion of each task and so students needed to prioritise the tasks in order to achieve the most points.  Students loved taking part in this ‘time sweep’ and had a lot of fun completing the tasks.

In week 4, students were encouraged to  be more self-aware and learned about resilience. The ‘brick wall’ activity facilitated a discussion around overcoming challenges and help them to focus on their positive experiences and qualities. They then took part in a peer interview to practise talking about their positive qualities. They also enjoyed looking at celebrities who had all experienced ‘famous failures’ but all gone on to succeed in life.


In week 5, students looked at communication skills and took part in the ‘tell me about this scene’ activity to learn more about positive and negative body language. They then selected a product that they were asked to present in a pitch. All the products were ‘Pointless’ which added to the fun of the activity as students really needed to ‘sell’ their products convincingly using effective communication.  

In week 6, students took part in a series of problem solving tasks and showed a real flare for this skill! They had to think outside the box to come up with a range of solutions to problems and eventually crack the code by completing a quiz.

Whilst all the weeks were filled with fun and enjoyment week 7 was a fantastic finale! We celebrated the students achievement over the last 6 weeks, reviewed their strengths and received breakfast treat bags, kindly donated by Christine from Asda. We also took part in an employer engagement. Christine had lined up two inspiring employers; Anthony Hemmerdinger, Chief Operating Officer from Asda; and Saeed Atcha MBE, Charity CEO, deputy lieutenant and social mobility commissioner. It was a fantastic opportunity for students to hear about their journey from school to employment and learn about their experiences along the way that made them the successful people they are today.

We have thoroughly enjoyed being part of the programme and it gave us all much appreciated escape from the covid pandemic each week! Many thanks to everyone who contributed to this with special thanks to Christine Baldwin and Victoria from the Salford Foundation.

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