Business Ambassador Henkel Hosts Skills Breakfast for Students

On Wednesday 24 January, leading manufacturing and FMCG company, Henkel, hosted a Skills Breakfast at its premises in Hemel Hempstead. The meeting was for students of The Astley Cooper School to meet with prospective employers, and was part of the Hemel Hempstead Business Ambassadors’ commitment to bring local employers together with local educators.

The breakfast event saw 17 students from The Astley Cooper School at St Agnells Lane, meet informally with twelve local business leaders to discuss their aims and aspirations for life after school, and to hear the expectations of potential employers.

Richard Boyle, Global Technology Champion for Henkel commented: “This was a fantastic opportunity for students to engage with businesses to explore job roles and qualifications they require. It also gave companies an opportunity to reach out to a local school and help potential future employees.”

Those businesses which participated in the Skills Breakfast are all Business Ambassadors and included: Henkel, Bourne Leisure, Smiths Detection, Dacorum Borough Council, West Herts College, NOVO UK Recruitment, Sopra Steria, Furnells Transport, Underwoods Solicitors and Epson Europe BV.

“I really enjoyed the morning and I learnt about some of the different businesses in Hemel Hempstead and how their current and previous jobs have influenced their careers”said a Year 11 student at The Astley Cooper School.

The students at The Astley Cooper School participate in work-based learning – a unique and innovative programme that aims to bridge the gap between school and employment by providing long term, high-quality work experience. The one-year course is aimed at post-16 students as an alternative to A-levels.

Deputy Headteacher, Matt Stevens, said, “the event was fantastic! The students we chose to go are those who would really benefit from work-based learning but are unsure of what they want to do next year. With 6th forms and colleges having their last open evenings over the next two weeks this was the perfect time to expose these young people to prospective employers who could give them great advice – which is exactly what they got.

“I was very pleasantly surprised by the level of engagement of the often shy, quiet, reserved students, and the feedback was 100% positive. It was brilliant! Thank you.”

Students spend September in school in order to get ‘work-ready’. They then begin their work experience for three days a week. The remaining two days are spent in school studying towards BTEC qualifications in Life Skills, which employers demand and students will benefit from throughout their career.

The school is looking to build on its success; work-based learning compliments corporate social responsibility (CSR) and community engagement programmes for businesses. If your business could support a student, or would like to know more about the course, please get in touch with Erica Hodges via email to:

For further information on the Hemel Hempstead Business Ambassadors, visit or contact Gary Stringer, Ambassador Place Manager, on tel: 01442 228808.

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