Spear is a programme, developed by Resurgo, which helps members of the local community aged between 16 and 24 develop the necessary skills and mindset to be successful in securing and remaining in employment.
The partnership between Harrow School and Spear Harrow began in 2013 with the establishment of a Spear classroom at St Peter’s Church in West Harrow. Spear Harrow first opened its doors to trainees in the Spring term of 2014 and Harrow boys have volunteered their time in a variety of leadership and service roles ever since. Some serve on the Harrow School Spear Committee. Other roles include organising and hosting an annual Spear Celebration, producing job bulletins for past and present trainees, staffing the volunteering rota for each new cohort of trainees, fundraising for Spear and raising the profile of Spear by writing articles for publications or speaking publicly about the volunteering experience. In addition, all boys are expected to volunteer their time at the centre to support the trainees directly. All volunteers receive a comprehensive induction and training at the beginning of their Lower Sixth year.
The relationship has flourished and the Harrow Spear centre is one of the most successful in London with 81% of Spear graduates still in work or education a year after finishing the course. The partnership model is being considered for another London centre.
For the 15 or so Harrovians who take part in the Spear project every year, youth unemployment is no longer just something they hear about in the media. They will have had the opportunity to work with young people struggling to deal with unemployment and will have learned an enormous amount from this experience.
Christina Bird (Spear Centre Manager) on the contribution volunteers make:
“The boys make excellent role models in the training room. They have a natural confidence and strong communication skills that raises the overall level in the sessions and gives our trainees an example to work towards. The boys represent a world that our trainees are trying to enter by finding work. Meeting the boys and getting to know them helps break down negative stereotypes and makes the working world seem much more accessible. When not in sessions, the boys help in practical ways and they provide an invaluable link to the wider Harrow network from which support for mock interviews, company visits and other initiatives can be accessed. The partnership is invaluable to us.”