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Breaking Down Barriers

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Midlands
Decorating the ‘Celebration Tree’

Starting in Dudley, the Breaking Down Barriers programme has flourished and expanded into additional HMRC sites and other government departments in the Midlands. The aim of the programme is to help students develop their confidence and improve their employability prospects, fostering a positive attitude towards the world of work and its benefits. The programme runs over a 3 – 6 week period, tailored to the needs of the students. It can be delivered on school or departmental premises, with each weekly session typically lasting around 2 hours.

A small team of staff from Merry Hill Customer Service Centre organised and delivered the latest programme, working with Brier School. They took on roles including project manager and pupil mentors, supporting the students throughout the various sessions.

At the end of the programme a celebration event was held. Students were awarded a certificate and folder of achievement, plus a small gift which was financed from fundraising activities. Staff, students and teachers shared their personal experiences of the programme and the students completed a final activity. The genuinely inspiring testimonials showed that the programme delivered mutual benefits. HMRC staff developed skills and competencies they might not otherwise have had the opportunity to do, and students grew in knowledge and confidence from the mentoring support.

Students work on their personal statements for college, or C.Vs

If your department is interested in the schools engagement project, or developing stronger links with local schools, contact Civil Service Local for more information:

Schools Project Leads

East Midlands   Jo Whitten

West Midlands  Jo Robinson



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  1. Comment by Dawn Parker SDM posted on

    Extremely proud of the team at Merry Hill Tax Credit Customer Service Centre - the commitment and dedication to making sure the pupils of the Brier School got lots out of their involvement was evident, it was a great collaboration which clearly benefitted everyone. Very happy to support a local school doing great work

    Well done all

  2. Comment by Nicola Cooper posted on

    I'm so proud to have been one of the leaders of this programme, it was lovely to spend time helping students prepare for interviews etc. The programme itself was an experience I would thoroughly recommend. It was a great opportunity to build relationships with other organisations and really make a difference to students and mentors.
    Time spent on the project was a pleasure, I gained so much personally from the experience. It's great to see the success, I hope other departments take up the opportunities as this work really did make a difference to the students.
    Well done to everyone on the project, we had a fantastic team which I'm very proud to have been part of.

  3. Comment by Stephanie Hale posted on

    I can honestly say that being a lead in the recent programme was a fantastic experience, working with the children was great, seeing what they got out of it on a weekly basis was really pleasing. It gave me so much back on a personal level, having the opportunity was great and I would certainly do it again if given the chance, I would recommend doing such a project to everyone. Thank you to everyone that took part in the project, you all did an amazing job, well done.