Longdean 1 smallLocal businesses teach pupils how to land a job

Two Hundred Year 10 pupils from Longdean School took part in an Employability Skills event on Thursday 4th May organised and run by Connect Dacorum. The pupils were in groups of around 8, and each group had a facilitator or two from local businesses who had given up their morning to help the children with CV writing and interview skills.

All students were in the hall which instantly created a buzz. The event was interactive for the pupils – interviewing their facilitators before moving on to looking in more detail at their own CVs and giving advice. The second half concentrated on interview skills with mock interviews and also a fun “speed interviewing” game. The pupils came away with lot of helpful feedback and advice directly from employers about what they look for in a CV, covering letter and throughout the interview process.

Cindy Withey, Manager of Connect Dacorum praised the pupils and facilitators for a great day “Longdean School will be very proud of their Year 10’s who were well behaved and engaged in the session. It’s a pleasure for Connect Dacorum to organise these events as it benefits the pupils but is also very rewarding for our facilitators to help shape the future workforce”.

The pupils also completed a feedback sheet at the end of the day with most of them of them saying that it was really helpful. One wrote “I have found about interviews and a variety of skills needed”. Another said “I will apply the communication skills that I have developed.”

Longdean School said “This activity gives our students an amazing opportunity to learn future skills needed in the workplace. It gives them the chance to spend 2 hours with a local employer in a small group situation where they are able to ask questions and find out information that is important to them.”

The facilitators came from a wide variety of backgrounds and businesses (full list see below), all willing to give up their time to help shape the future generation and pass on valuable advice.

“Really enjoyable day spent with the students at Longdean School – very bright futures ahead.” Said Jane O’Gorman from Ten2Two

If there are any businesses who would like their staff to be involved and become a facilitator for these events later in the year at Hemel Hempstead School in June and Kings Langley school in July please contact Cindy Withey at Connect Dacorum on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Karen Gosen – Gaddesden Place RDA

Ash Vekaria – Lumina Technologies

Jane O’Gorman – Ten2Two

David Harrop – One Stop Doctors

Jane Mills – Groundwork

April Harbour – Atlas Copco

Mark Rickard – Robert Dyas

Tim Edwin – Dacorum Heritage Trust

Polly Chapman – Epson

Winners of 2017/18 Challenge announced after budding entrepreneurs pitch to SuperDragons at Aubrey Park Hotel finals

Dragons Apprentice

26th March 2018 – Team Ignition from Hemel Hempstead School has been proclaimed the overall winner of the 6th annual Dacorum Dragons’ Apprentice Challenge which is organised by ConnectDacorum. The team was one of eleven who completed the challenge and invited to present to the SuperDragons - leaders from the world of business, education, local government and charity- at this week’s Challenge Finals at Aubrey Park Hotel.

All teams from Dacorum secondary schools were supplied with £100 stake and challenged to turn it into £1,000 or more, with support and advice from mentors within the borough’s business community.

The teenage tycoons in waiting stepped up to tackle a charity challenge and were showered with praise on Monday night. The SuperDragons were impressed with their all round business abilities as well as the confident way in which they presented themselves, always representing their charity.

Cllr David Collins, Mayor of Dacorum, presented the awards and inspired the audience of young people, businesses and charities by emphasising the practical value of the Dragons’ Apprentice Challenge. Presentations at the finals night at Aubrey Park Hotel revealed the wealth of business lessons learned by the pupils as they staged everything from cake sales and quiz nights to leg shaving and film nights.

Named as overall winners on the night were the team from Hemel Hempstead School, who scooped a Snow Centre session for their efforts in support of Waterways Experiences charity. Their Dragon was David Robinson from Riverside Shopping Centre who said “I am delighted of the hard work that Team Ignition has done over the past six months and the teamworking skills that they have now developed.”

Other winners were:

  • Most Money raised: No Excuse for Abuse team from Cavendish School who won a Paintball session donated by Delta Force and raised a whopping £2,741.25
  • Best Business idea: The Zesty Lemons team from Cavendish School who won an experience in a supercar donated by Drift Limits
  • Close Co-operation with Charity: Astley Phoenix team from Astley Cooper School who won a game of Footgolf donated by Sportspace
  • Best Display: Carers@Heart team from Adeyfield School who won a voucher from Costa for drinks
  • Best Presentation: Dinero Haciendo Dragones team from JFK School who won a meal at Nando’s in Jarman Park

As they celebrated their successes all the teenagers agreed that the Dacorum Dragons Apprentice Challenge – now in its sixth year – was both a lot more work than they had ever realised but a test that both developed their skills and gave them a chance to get involved in their community.

Schools who completed the 2017/18 Dacorum Challenge include: Adeyfield, Astley Cooper, Cavendish, Hemel Hempstead, JFK, Kings Langley, Longdean and Tring.

The teams are supported by Dragons from local businesses including: Riverside Shopping Centre, Ecoservice UK Ltd, Barnard & Co Employment Law, Witts Moloney Solicitors, Robert Dyas, AubreyPark Hotel, Ten2Two, Abode Bed, No More Ifs or Buts, The Snow Centre, Dacorum Borough Council.

Charities/Community Groups to benefit include: Community Action Dacorum, Gaddesden Riding for the Disabled, Waterways Experiences, Carers in Herts, Domestic Abuse Helpline, Druglink, The OLLIE Foundation, DENS, Age UK Dacorum, Sunnyside Rural Trust, Woodfield School.

The Challenge is organised by Connect Dacorum and runs annually from September – April. Anyschools, businesses or charities across Dacorum that are interested in taking part in Dragons’ Apprentice 2018/19 should contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Notes for Editors
Originally conceived in St Albans, the Dragons’ Apprentice Challenge offers Year 12 students the opportunity to experience setting up and running a business, gaining organisational and job related skills and learning about the work and beneficiaries of their designated charity.

The Challenge is being run simultaneously across Hertfordshire

The SuperDragons for the 2017/18 Challenge were:

  • Dave Gaze, from the Dragons Apprentice Challenge St Albans
  • Lesley Crisp, Assistant Team Leader in Strategic Planning and Regeneration from Dacorum Borough Council
  • Claire Dutton, Business Teacher at West Herts College

About Connect Dacorum
Connect Dacorum is a partnership between the business, public and voluntary sectors that actively participates in creating a better quality of life for all in the Dacorum and surrounding area.We provide information and expertise on community involvement opportunities for organisations of all sizes and support our members in the delivery of their Corporate Social Responsibility objectives.We are a project of Community Action Dacorum.
Contact: Cindy Withey
Tel: 01442 228216
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Jan 18 Opp ListHere is the latest Connect Dacorum Opportunities List for your consideration. There is a wide variety of needs listed below which I have put in categories for your easy reference, and if you can help with any, have any of the items or money to pay for them, then please come back to me initially.

If you have any items that are not listed below but you do not need anymore and would like to give to charity, please let me know. 

January Opportunities List

v12 picture smallLocal company V12 Tech Ltd have answered a recent call for help from Herts Vision Loss and have funded some specialist computer-based access technology worth over £1,000 to help visually impaired job seekers.   On Friday 16th June V12Tech, Herts Vision Loss and South Hill Centre came together for the launch of the equipment at the Strive, a drop in hub which helps local people to build confidence, overcome barriers, personal development and search for jobs.


Herts Vision Loss are working with the South Hill Centre to provide visually impaired job seekers with services, advice, and assistance in looking for work in the Hemel Hempstead area and to enable them to demonstrate to visually impaired service users technology that would allow them to overcome barriers they face. South Hill Centre is a Christian community charity based in the heart of Hemel Hempstead. It runs, amongst other things, a number of regular drop-ins, courses and support for unemployed / under-employed / self-employed people in the local area which are open to all. For more information or help people can contact them on 01442 234728.

They identified the Dolphin SuperNova Magnifier and Speech as the ideal solution to their requirement and the cost for this would be around £1,000. The South Hill Centre put in a request for funding to Connect Dacorum and once the request went out Adam Painter from V12 Tech got in contact.

V12 Tech specialise in providing IT support to small and medium sized businesses in the Dacorum area and beyond. Adam Painter, Managing Director from V12 Tech Ltd said “when the request came up on Connect Dacorum’s Opportunity List we were happy to help as I am aware of the effect that this has on individuals and how the use of technology can help people affected live a more enjoyable life. As a small local company we have limited ability to help within the local community but do like to help where we can.”

Will Davis from, Herts Vision Loss said “It’s great to have this support from V12 Tech. Accessible technology opens up doors for visually impaired people in the world of work; and facilitates finding work as so much of the job market is now on line. I know the equipment will be put to great use at the South Hill Centre.”


osborne 1 smallBack in March 2017 Connect Dacorum received an unusual request.  A local agency, Dacorum Education Support Agency, were supporting a family in Tring, a single mother with three children one of which is disabled. They had secured from the Family Fund a selection of garden play equipment, however it arrived and required assembly. 

After first going through the Volunteer Centre, the request came to us to see if a local company would be able to send a couple of people to volunteer and put the equipment up for the family.  Osborne's jumped at the opportunity.

At the beginning of this month Osbornes put up the play frame and made it secure which means that this summer all three of those children will be able to use the play frame and enjoy the summer months, and years ahead.  Well done Osbornes.  Thank You.

osborne 2 small


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