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Thriving for tomorrow: Thornhill Academy's Business Breakfast nurtures aspirations

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and Thornhill Academy has taken this one leap further with an exciting Business Breakfast initiative.


Established on 5 December, the school’s new breakfast project will be a regular occurrence designed to inspire students to plan ahead for an ambitious career. To ensure the Business Breakfast initiative is a success, staff have collaborated with further education providers and local businesses.

Also described as a casual mini careers fair, the termly breakfast event was set up to provide students with valuable insights into diverse career paths and opportunities. Students joined a relaxed conversation with exhibitors at the Breakfast Club, held from 08:00 to 09:00, to gain helpful insights and information on diverse roles and sectors.

Featured exhibitors included:

  • Sunderland College: Further education
  • East Durham College: Further education
  • Springboard: Training and apprenticeships
  • Sunderland Care and Support: Health and social care
  • RAF: Military
  • Canford: Audio visual manufacturing

During form time, students from years 9 and 10 visited the exhibitors, engaging in interactive activities designed to encourage questions and discussions to help them understand the different opportunities.

Chris Zarraga, Director of Schools North East, said: “We’re a huge fan of this hands-on approach to equipping students with the knowledge and tools they need to really understand the different career and education paths available to them.

“School is about preparing pupils for the next chapter of their lives post education, so we should be actively encouraging initiatives like the Business Breakfast and similar projects. We can’t expect our students to achieve beyond the school gates if we’re not giving them all the information they need before they leave.”

One exhibitor was the RAF, who showcased apprenticeships and careers in the Royal Air Force, highlighting the diversity of available roles and incredible opportunities.

Flt Lt John Richardson RAF, who attended the event, said: "I was a student of Thornhill from 1987-92 and have to say I had a really great time. I enjoyed school and had a great relationship with all my teachers.

“I believe I have achieved what I have as a result of my time at this school and the teachers who prepared me for it. The opportunity to come back and offer anything that may be of help to the school is both an honour and a privilege. Thank you for having me."

Cherry Crooks, Assistant Head Teacher at Thornhill and the organiser of the Business Breakfast, said: "We're committed to preparing students for the exciting next chapter in their lives post GCSEs, and it's never too early to start thinking about it. That's why our inclusive Business Breakfast, open to all year groups, features different employers each term.

“This ongoing initiative is crucial to broadening horizons and opening minds, giving students a clear understanding of the diverse options open to them so they can make informed decisions about their futures."

Thornhill Academy remains committed to fostering an environment that encourages ambition and success, and welcomes local businesses to get in touch if they’re interested in exhibiting at the next Business Breakfast in January.

We look forward to hearing more about the positive impact of this initiative and how it continues to inspire and motivate students!