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Pupils at a Preston school learned that not all pies come with custard at a special careers assembly.

Ten credit card-sized Raspberry Pi computers were donated to Fulwood Academy’s coding club by Geoff Oldham, chairman of local business Suresite. The miniature devices can be used to master skills including programing, robotics and computer networking.

Organised as part of North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce’s Young Chamber programme, the year 7 and 8 pupils also found out how former oil company manager Geoff set up his own business after experiencing a heart attack aged just 27 – and took that business from £14,000 to £14 million turnover.

Speaking at the careers-focused event were four inspirational young employees from the Millennium City Park Company. Adrian Godby, 23, who attended Runshaw College before going to Lancaster University, and Adam Henry, 22, previously a pupil at Parklands High in Chorley, talked about their roles in the IT department.

Former St Cecilia’s RC High School, Longridge, pupil Meg Fletcher, 20, spoke about the customer service and administration skills she has picked up, and Blackburn College student Nathan Dacre Pool, 19, discussed landing his new marketing apprentice role within the business.

Continuing the relationship between the local company and the school, pupils will later this year be invited on themed office tours, exploring opportunities in IT, finance, administration, sales and marketing. Suresite, which provides payment card services to retailers, has also offered to provide vital job interview experience for pupils higher up the school.

For company chairman Geoff, it was not his first time through the door. His three children attended the school in the 1970s and 80s whilst he himself served as chair of governors.

He said: “Working with our local chamber, I am keen to do whatever I can to help give pupils the best chance possible when they leave the school. My children went on to achieve great things, as I’m sure this generation can too.

“Some of the most important advice I gave during today’s assembly was not to be scared to make big decisions. I told the pupils that they won’t always be right, but that if they use their common sense, they will make more right decisions than wrong ones.”

John Moss, director of CEIAG (Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance) at Fulwood Academy said: “It is vitally important that Fulwood Academy continues to work with local businesses.  Special assemblies like this one help our students to start thinking about career pathways post-education.

“It was particularly inspiring to hear the young employees speak about their transitions from Lancashire schools into the workplace.”

Fiona Langan, Young Chamber manager, said: “National research from the British Chambers of Commerce shows a growing frustration from businesses about young people being unprepared for the workplace.

North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce’s Young Chamber programme for schools and colleges, builds upon our belief that young people require contact with the business community to gain the skills, knowledge and experience to complement their academic qualifications.

We aim to demonstrate the range of potential opportunities that exist once students leave education and to give Lancashire pupils a competitive edge by allowing them to develop the range of employability skills to complement their academic qualifications.”

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