Marshall Skills Academy awards 50 schoolchildren with new football kits after skills challenge success

Marshall Skills Academy awards 50 schoolchildren with new football kits after skills challenge success

A group of 50 schoolchildren from St Laurence Catholic Primary School, in Arbury, have been awarded new football kits by Marshall Skills Academy as part of a special site visit to Marshall’s headquarters.

The Year 6 pupils, aged 10-11 years old, were awarded the football kits after accepting – and winning – a special skills challenge set by Marshall Skills Academy General Manager, Dan Edwards.

He challenged the pupils to break the current record of Marshall Skills Academy’s ‘nut and bolt’ test – a manual dexterity test which the Academy uses to assess potential apprentices. If the pupils succeeded, Dan Edwards pledged to supply them with branded football kits.

Rising to the challenge, the Year 6 pupils were determined to work hard and beat the record, which they did.

Keeping his promise, Dan Edwards duly invited the pupils to Marshall’s headquarters at Cambridge City Airport to enjoy a tour of its hangars and be presented with their prize.

“For us, this visit is about more than just giving the pupils new football kits,”

Dan Edwards said.

“We want to show them all the possibilities for future careers in STEM that are waiting just around the corner from where they live, and we hope that it will inspire them to one day apply to our world-renowned engineering apprenticeship programme.”

The site visit follows a partnership between Marshall Skills Academy and Cambridge United Community Trust (CUCT) that delivered a STEM workshop to pupils earlier this year, as part of CUCT’s Aspirations project.

The session marked the start of a six-week programme aimed at primary school pupils across Cambridgeshire designed to inspire them to think positively about their future careers and expand their horizons.

CUCT uses the power of sport, especially professional football, to inspire young learners. Its Aspirations project helps pupils identify potential career paths they may wish to pursue in the future, as well as suggesting ways to develop new skills.

Tim Walker, Head of Education and Skills at CUCT, said: "Since partnering with Marshall in September 2021, this project has been delivered to over 240 pupils in four local schools. Feedback from teachers and pupils has been overwhelmingly positive, with teachers identifying the project as a fantastic transition tool for their pupils. In the upcoming academic year, we are hoping to expand our delivery across a range of new schools, inspiring a wider range of young people to consider their own aspirations for the future."

Dan Edwards added: “Marshall has always been committed to supporting social mobility within the local community and helping to raise the aspirations of the young people who live in it. I was personally inspired by the tenacity and enthusiasm demonstrated by the pupils at St Laurence Catholic Primary School, who got stuck into all the STEM activities and clearly also loved their football.”

Commenting on the visit to Marshall’s headquarters, Simon Pepper, a teacher at St Laurence Catholic Primary School, said: “This opportunity to visit a huge and multi-faceted working organisation such as Marshall was an incredible experience for our children. It gave each of them a real experience to remember, and the new football kits will excite the children and give them a renewed sporting spirit at St Laurence, especially at the beginning of our new school year.”

The day was full of surprises for the students, which included a visit from Marvin the Moose (Cambridge United mascot) and Cambridge United defender Jubril Okedina. Jubril spent time signing autographs and chatting to the students who were beaming with smiles. Cambridge United were also generous in gifting the students and their families free tickets to watch Jubril and the team in action at the Cambridge United Stadium.

The day was highly enjoyable for all involved. Marshall and CUCT are privileged to inspire the next generation to aspire to build extraordinary futures.