Low aspirations among people in disadvantaged areas are often seen as a way of explaining their educational and work outcomes.
But Blackswan CEO Maurice Duffy is working to ensure people are not held back by the area in which they live.
It is thought that aspirations have a significant influence on educational attainment in communities deemed to be deprived.
But the author of New Mindsets for New Times is keen to make sure people's negative preconceptions of communities are not a lasting legacy.
A review of Further Education is currently taking place affecting the core curriculum, funding and apprenticeships at East Durham College in Peterlee, and staff have raised concerns over job security and prospective budget cuts.
A statistical profile of East Durham conducted in 2012 that found youth unemployment was higher in the area that the rest of the county, with 15.4 per cent of the 18-24 population out of work.
In light of this, Blackswan has taken on the college as a project within our Corporate Social Responsibility programme in a bid to build resilience and change mindsets.
“Very well researched, diverse and immensely engaging. This is the probably the best training day I've experienced in the last 20 years.” – Vice Principal Graeme Blench
During a presentation at the college this week, Maurice worked to break down those stereotypes to help the management team at the college understand how a change in mindset can instill a positive ‘can do’ attitude in their students.
To its credit, the college is doing everything it can to change the outcomes, but needs help embracing change.
Maurice gave a workshop on resilience and new mindsets, working to affect the mindset to accept change as normal, necessary and exciting.
“The staff need to learn how to first work through the current climate of chaos in order to breed a climate of change,” says Maurice.
"The UK education structure is about to experience significant alterations – EDC’s possible merger with other local colleges among them. The college has no choice but to adopt new approaches to meet the challenges that will come.”
Maurice worked to inspire the staff to move forward both creatively and strategically on all fronts, including the core curriculum.
“Truly inspirational - brilliant presentation and I will be one of the three applying the training!” – Quality Manager Ellen Fishwick
Maurice added: “We want to bring significant development not only to the teaching structure, but also to the educational framework.
“EDC has provided us with the perfect opportunity to influence change at a grassroots education level and we relish the chance to help this institution bring a better education to its students and a rewarding environment for all its staff.”
“An outstanding event, the most useful continuing professional development in 20 years both on a personal and professional level.” – Anthony Mills, Director of Employer Engagement
Alistair Cummins-MacLeod from the college said: “The college faces very aggressive competition for the reducing key market of 16 to 18 year olds, due to a historical falls in the birth rate.
“This, coupled with the up and coming Government’s Area Review process in the North East, means the college needs to ensure it is operating as effectively as possible in all areas of the organisation and the management team are a key element to help ensure this is happening.
“The session with Maurice was a fantastic way to energize the team and to help them focus on the fact that anything can be transformed from ordinary to extraordinary with the right focus and determination.
“The team need to be nimble and resilient in these ever changing times and the session helped give a clear focus on what it important.
“We would like to thank Maurice for a highly motivating day and lending us his considerable expertise.”
“Good session without being invasive. Deep reflection without feeling exposed.”