From education to employment

James Acaster delivering comedy training programme for state school students in hometown of Kettering

  • Celebrity comedian partners with the social mobility charity Speakers for Schools to deliver a five-week programme culminating with a recorded performance, in a bid to inspire and shake-up the standard type of work experience available to young people

Leading social mobility charity Speakers for Schools has joined forces with renowned comedian James Acaster to launch a stand-up comedy training programme for state school students in his hometown of Kettering.

While the charity is known for its roster of high-flying speakers covering business, academia, the arts and politics who deliver inspirational talks to state school students nationwide, this represents the first-ever work experience initiative it has delivered with a celebrity.

The programme is available to five students and include: Catherine, Skye,  Charlie, Marcin and Corey from Kettering Science Academy (KSA), part of Brooke Weston Trust, giving participants the rare and unique opportunity to train with a celebrity comedian, who will coach them on the art of making people laugh.

Running throughout March, the programme involves five in-depth sessions where the students will work closely with James to practice, develop and learn the fundamentals of a good stand-up routine, helping to inspire the next generation of comedians, while equipping them with vital soft skills like confidence, creativity and resilience.

The programme culminates with a live performance at the school delivered to James, along with two of his comedy friends where they will give final rounds of tips and advice.

Reflecting on their experience so far, Catherine Abrahams aged 14 comments: I have always been interested in performing arts and I am really pleased to have this opportunity to improve my comedic skills and stage presence.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would have the opportunity to be coached by a famous comedian! James has been so supportive during our workshops, and I know I’m not alone when I say that we all really appreciate him taking the time to share his advice and top tips.”

James Acaster, comedian and workshop host, comments: “Work experience doesn’t have to be in an office or corporate environment. For young people hoping to follow a different career path, it can be tough finding any opportunities that help you get there. 

“Back when I was first starting out in comedy, I managed to attend a workshop in Kettering which enabled me to grow in ability and confidence. This is exactly what I wanted to replicate with this programme, helping students find their individual voices and hopefully achieve their dreams.”

Jason Elsom, Chief Executive Officer at Speakers for Schools, comments: “We are utterly delighted to collaborate with James on our first-ever celebrity work experience initiative, developing a bespoke comedy workshop that gives state-school students a truly unique opportunity to boost their CVs. Having arranged over 60,000 work experience opportunities in the last 18 months, we know first-hand the impact they have on young peoples’ futures. James really has gone above and beyond with this programme, giving up his time to ensure young people in his hometown have a rare and engaging career opportunity that equips them with vital life-skills such as confidence, creativity and adaptability.”

Tony Segalini, Principal of Kettering Science Academy said: “I am really pleased to support James Acaster with this project. It is a unique and outstanding opportunity that I feel is really beneficial for our students to help with their knowledge of employment and employability, leading to the right career choice. This forms a large part of our Personal Development programme at KSA, one which is vital to educate the citizens of tomorrow.”

The programme falls within Speakers for Schools’ wider drive to encourage businesses and government to increase the roll out of work experience across the UK, particularly amongst disadvantaged students, to support social mobility.

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