The Highcrest Academy

Johnson & johnson's bridge to employment

Highcrest Students Engage in Unique Project with Healthcare Giants Johnson & Johnson 

In 2018, Students from The Highcrest Academy completed Bridge to Employment, a unique three-year project with healthcare company Johnson & Johnson that aimed to bolster their future career prospects and prepare them for the world of work. 

Johnson & Johnson set up the worldwide programme in 1992 to inspire young people to enrol in higher education, excel academically and pursue health and science careers. The initiative has now been run in thirty countries, but Highcrest was the first school in England to take part in research by The University of Derby which has proved that this programme provides significant improvements in students’ academic performance and helps develop the wide range of skills that today’s employers need. 

The first programme was such a success that Highcrest and Johnson & Johnson agreed to continue a shorter version of the programme so more students could benefit from it. Highcrest now offers the new Bridge to Employment Programme to its Year 12 students who have to apply for a place. 

Volunteers from the firm act as personal mentors to support and guide students through various activities and sessions.  Sessions have included team challenges based on solving healthcare problems, presentation skills, research skills, financial awareness, negotiation, problem solving, CV preparation, personal branding, interview practice and mental health and resilience. Individual students also enjoy personal support from their mentor and the opportunity to undertake work placements at J&J’s offces in High Wycombe. Students who successfully complete the programme can then apply to be a Student Ambassador at ABTS, Johnson & Johnson’s global student conference, which is held in a different country every year. Two students attended the 2018 conference in Portugal. Two from the 2019 programme attended a conference in New York and this year the selection process is currently underway to select two students who will go to the 2020 conference in Washington DC.

Rob Evans, Careers Leader @ Highcrest  

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Rob Evans, Careers Leader at Highcrest explained,

The main aim is to get the students ready for the workplace and higher education through a structured programme of guidance, skills development and academic support. The students have learned how to conduct themselves at job interviews, write CVs, improve their presentation skills and build up a work ethic. It is really rewarding seeing the students develop skills and confidence  and realise their potential as they rise to the challenges of the programme.  I think it’s a fantastic opportunity to give these students a really enriching experience that we know makes a massive difference for them.

Mark Hicken, Managing Director of Janssen UK & Ireland, a pharmaceutical company of Johnson & Johnson, said,

We are delighted to be partnering with The Highcrest Academy on the Bridge to Employment scheme. Many of our employees will be volunteering their time, helping to inspire young people within our local community to stay in full time education and increase their awareness of the career opportunities that exist in the healthcare sector. 

Johnson & Johnson has been running this programme for more than twenty years with proven results.  We are proud to have launched this initiative here in High Wycombe and offering these students academic and career support that will enable them to realise their full potential.

Here are comments from some Students on this Year’s Programme: 

The experience I had was amazing and something I will take into the future. It made me more confident and broadened my skills.

Without you guys, I would never have gained the skills to be able to be in this position....I learned so much about myself as the experience went on and ways I could improve my weaknesses and strengthen my strengths.

The BTE programme has enabled me to develop skills and learn new ones. I recommend it to every young person as it’s great.