Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) has welcomed a new school to its groundbreaking Young Chamber Programme with the backing of one of the county’s largest employers. Gillingham School, in North Dorset, has become the latest to sign up to the trailblazing initiative.
Lighting and luminaire specialist Dextra, which is based in Gillingham and employs 550 people, has sponsored the school’s membership of the Young Chamber scheme.
With schools countywide signed up, DCCI’s Young Chamber Programme bridges the gap between business and education.
Sixth form students from the school’s business studies courses will lead the Young Chamber Programme supported by teacher and head of department Rachel Hopkins.
Dextra Group chief executive Keith Brownhill joined DCCI members and local business people for one of the school’s regular Meet the Professional events.
The 30-strong group of business leaders also included former DCCI past president Paul Collins, of the Westover Group.
Dextra contributes around £20m to the local economy. It welcomes local students on work experience and work observation days – including groups from Gillingham School.
Mr Brownhill said:“As the largest employer in North Dorset, the Dextra Group considers itself as part of the local community.
“We recruit locally where we can and aim to give local people career and job opportunities.
“Our partnership with Gillingham School will help us develop our local connections whilst helping young people to become better prepared for the world of work.
“We’re delighted to sponsor the school for the Young Chamber Programme.”
The Young Chamber Programme was launched by DCCI – the voice of business in Dorset – in September.
Gillingham head teacher Lorna Lyons said:“Young Chamber membership will build on the valuable links already developed with the local business community.
“Our main aims from the Young Chamber Programme are to help students develop transferable workplace skills and customer service skills for real world situations.
“Our great thanks to Dextra for sponsoring our membership, and we look forward to a strong and fruitful partnership.”
Young Chamber is sponsored by DCCI Platinum Business PartnersTeamJobs,BUand theQuantum Groupand supported byAnsbury Guidance.
The Dextra Group, based at Brickfields Business Park, is a leading luminaire development and manufacturing company with several subsidiary companies.
They include Dextra Lighting, Dexeco, Dexretail, Dexreco, Dexsor, LEDextra and Ledex.
Gillingham School, in Hardings Lane, has about 1,800 students aged 11 to 18.

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