Went to the launch last night of Project Aspirations, a positive new scheme that will offer business "internships" to 50 children in London. The brainchild of veteran entrepreneur John Harris (founder of consumer electronics group Alba), the initiative was launched by Lord Jones at the House of Lords. As the irrepressible DIgby put it, "the single biggest problem encountered in our schools is the lack of aspiration among students". Project Aspirations will select two kids from across 25 London schools to participate in the scheme. Kids will be chosen, explained Digby, on the basis of their ability to influence and inspire other children once they come back into school. The internships will involve working in business, one-on-one mentoring from senior executives. The kids will also be required to put together a business plan, all of which will be assessed; the winner will enjoy a trip to New York to visit the NY Stock Exchange and other business locations. Against a grim economic backdrop, I have a strong sense that successful businesspeople are lincreasingly aware that business must play an active role in addressing the social problems that inevitably flow from recession. Already this new year, I’ve spoken to three entrepreneurs campaigning or engaging with the criminal justice system – Real Business columnist John Timpson, for example, is establishing a training academy within Liverpool prison. Grange Park Opera founder Wasfi Kani, who has been taking opera into prisons for the past decade, is this year performing at Wandsworth prison. We will be doing our bit by supporting Project Aspirations, offering internships to two schoolkids. If you want to support this valuable project, the details are here.
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