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Former world sailing champion to mentor Sixth Form Centre students

Two A Level students from City College Norwich’s Sixth Form Centre will receive guidance and support from former World and European Sailing Champion, Sam Brearey, after being selected for a life-changing mentoring scheme run by AQA and the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust.

Ellie Chettleburgh and George Watson were selected out of over 100 applicants for the AQA Unlocking Potential programme. The students were nominated by their tutor, Charlotte Andrews, who saw their outstanding potential and passion to succeed.

Ellie and George will now work closely with their mentor, Sam, who has achieved a number of impressive sailing feats which include becoming world champion in 2012. Sam will provide personal mentoring for the students over eight months to help unlock hidden attitudes and skills. He will also help the students to deliver a community project towards the end of the programme.

George Watson, 19, from South Norfolk, commented:

“When I found out that I had been selected for the scheme, I felt so proud and nearly ended up breaking down when Charlotte told me. I also felt pleased that all of my hard work had been recognised. I hope that the scheme will help me improve my confidence in achieving my goal of becoming a chemistry teacher in a secondary school.”

Ellie Chettleburgh, 16, from Dereham, said:
“I hope to gain confidence building skills as well as learn valuable skills that I can apply further on in life. I feel like this is also something that will be useful for my university applications.”

Sam Brearey, said:

“I have been really impressed with how Ellie and George have responded to the programme so far. I was particularly impressed with how they both responded to the introduction day in Guildford as it is quite a daunting environment to be in yet they both just got stuck in with the tasks and relaxed quite quickly.

“The AQA Unlocking Potential programme is an amazing opportunity for young people to be involved with as the transformation of the students who I have worked with so far is incredible. It’s amazing when you see the students at the end of the project compared to how they were at the start. I’m looking forward to see similar transformations in Ellie and George as the programme progresses.”

Charlotte Andrews, Sixth Form Centre Group Tutor, City College Norwich, added:

“I’m really pleased that Ellie and George have been selected for this scheme. After seeing what a positive impact the programme has had on other young people who had participated, I knew that this was something that could really benefit these students. I can’t wait to watch them succeed as they progress through the programme.”

The AQA Unlocking Potential provides mentoring for young people aged 14 to 19 who have faced personal challenges or disadvantages. Students are paired with specially trained mentors who have competed at world-class sporting events - including the Olympics and Paralympics - and have overcome their own significant personal challenges.

Of the students who took part in last year’s AQA Unlocking Potential programme:

• 98% of students stated that they now work well in a group, can communicate with others and can take personal responsibility
• 90% of students now feel motivated about their education
• 92% of students now feel confident in their own abilities
• 84% of young people now feel connected to their local community.

Andrew Hall, Chief Executive of AQA, said:

“As an education charity, we’re proud of the work we do through AQA Unlocking Potential. By mentoring young people at these crucial times in their lives, we can make a real difference to their confidence and attitudes towards the future. I can’t wait to hear all about how the students are getting on over the next eight months and beyond.”

Dame Kelly Holmes, double gold Olympian and founder of Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, said:

“AQA Unlocking Potential is not aimed at developing the potential of future sports stars, but is targeting young people who need an inspirational helping hand. The athlete mentors know what it takes to overcome adversity and have the will to succeed not only in sport, but in life too.

“I’m really excited that this fantastic programme is now in its sixth year and to see more young people transformed through our life changing programme!”