BTE Student Stories

Medical Dilemma Challenge

This month, we’re highlighting our Sustaining Site in High Wycombe, U.K.

Starting with a 3-year BTE program in 2016 which hosted 50 students, the team has since run 4 additional 1-year programs with a little over 20 students each, with the latest one still in progress. As a result, High Wycombe has supported over 100 participants in preparing for brighter futures.

The key to the High Wycombe site’s success is strong partnerships: Janssen, 7 Elements Global, Highcrest Academy, and a number of committed individuals, including Gill Manning, Darshini Sharma, Rob Evans, and Dr. Rakish Rana, and many others, have worked closely over the years to ensure the Bridge to Employment program continues to support students in the community.

Virtual Session
Students Attend a Recent Virtual Session

The team has continued the BTE High Wycombe legacy by successfully sustaining a 1-year program model that includes a variety of STEM2D activities, career coaching, mentorship, and professional and personal development components. Some of the programming highlights BTE youth engage in include a health dilemma project, Janssen-facilitated Insights psychological profile session, Mindset & Resilience curriculum focused on post-pandemic mental wellbeing, and career development activities that use part of Johnson & Johnson’s Career Development resources. Through these activities, BTE youth develop research, presentation, problem-solving, and decision-making skills, as well as develop an understanding about CV preparations, interview best practices, and more. Topics such as mental health and resilience are built into customized sessions.

Insights Session

Students and Mentors Complete an Insights Session

When reflecting on her experiences, BTE High Wycombe Class of 2018 alumna, Maria Rana, shared, “BTE has shaped me into a better me. I have learnt key skills that are the foundations of future success in the workplace – resilience, teamwork, communication, leadership, critical thinking, and problem solving.”

These sessions have proven to be invaluable to the students served.

The impact of the sustaining BTE High Wycombe program has surpassed all expectations across partnerships. In addition to meeting all outcomes included in their program model, the program has had additional impacts which include the local charity MIND training students at Highcrest Academy to be mental wellbeing peer mentors, Janssen’s hiring one-year BTE interns who can then serve as super mentors for younger BTE cohorts, and the creation of Janssen’s degree apprenticeship positions, which two BTE alumna began last year.

BTE Class of 2019 alumna, Linchy Pakeerathan, shared reflections from her experience, stating, “Through the programme, I managed to learn things which have directly impacted me and allowed me to improve who I am in a workplace or a professional setting. I have also gained networks which is crucial to thriving in a work environment. Moreover, the people I have met, from J&J and also from ABTS – another opportunity given to me through BTE – have become important people in my life and a constant source of inspiration and motivation for me!”

Committed to their students’ success and exposure to cross-site and career development opportunities, the BTE High Wycombe leadership team has embedded ABTS into their sustained model. This has proven to be extremely advantageous to the BTE High Wycombe youth, as not only have they had meaningful and memorable experiences like Linchy, but in 2020, BTE High Wycombe’s participant, Noor Khan, was elected by her fellow ABTS peers as the first BTE Youth Leadership Council member for 2020-2021.

Most recently, at ABTS 2021, BTE High Wycombe participants Sammaya Ansari, Fatima Hussain, and Amy Ditta won the ABTS Student Ambassador Innovation Challenge and were awarded US$3,000.00 in funding to bring their innovation, FASFood, to life. Their project addresses childhood food poverty in their local community, with an initial plan to design and deliver allotments to encourage sustainable and long-term supply of produce that would be used in local primary schools. Since October 2021, the FASFood team has been working with their local BTE leadership team, FHI 360, and Wycombe Food Hub to bring their innovation to life. As BTE celebrates 30 years this year, their team is a wonderful example of the BTE program living the Johnson & Johnson Credo by giving back to the communities in which we live and work. The team is excited to share their global reveal live on Friday, April 29th at 12pm EDT with the broader BTE family – be sure to join us! The event will stream from our YouTube channel.

Congratulations and kudos to the BTE High Wycombe leadership team, program partners, and students for modelling and exemplifying successful sustainability, as well as building lifelong relationships and impact!