Sophie’s Story – The Transformative Impact of The Inspiration Programme 

The Inspiration Programme works with schools in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes to broaden the horizons, thinking, and experience of young people. It enhances existing provisions and creates opportunities for young people, providing direct and meaningful experiences with unique and unprecedented access to important elements of our community: working life, arts and culture, police and criminal justice, and environment as well as personal health and wellbeing. It is a valuable addition to a young person’s life experience, CV, and understanding of the wide range of careers available to them. 


Sophie, a year 12 student from Aylesbury Vale Academy took part in The Inspiration Programme as part of the sixth-form curriculum. Before taking part, Sophie was a shy and withdrawn student lacking in confidence and very insular. This case study explores Sophie’s journey through the programme and how she experienced a boost in confidence, self-esteem, and learned skills she will take into her future career. 


Sophie moved to AVA from her previous secondary school to do a triple extended diploma in creative digital media studies.  Before taking part in the Inspiration Programme, Sophie struggled with shyness and a lack of confidence. However, throughout the programme, she underwent a significant change, coming out of her shell and ultimately being able to present to over 30 of her peers on a subject she was passionate about.  

Building Relationships and Communication Skills

One key aspect of the programme is taking students out of the traditional classroom setting and making them interact with people, not in their immediate circle of friends or to places they may not have experienced before.  As part of one session, students visited a local garden centre. It was there that Sophie built relationships with other students she would not normally have worked with or spoken to. It brought her out of her shell and improved her communication and teamwork skills. 

Overcoming Presentation Challenges

At the outset of the programme, Sophie was asked to do a presentation for her media class. Struggling with confidence, she initially couldn’t complete the presentation, requiring her teacher to step in. However, as the weeks progressed and relationships strengthened, Sophie managed to confidently present a topic she was passionate about to over 30 of her fellow students and members of the school’s Senior Leadership Team. As a result, she became extremely passionate about the environment and the war on plastics. 

Positive Outcomes

As a result of taking part in The Inspiration Programme, Sophie not only conquered her fear of public speaking, grew her confidence, and expanded her social circle but she also won the Outstanding Achievement Award at the Annual Action4Youth Big Challenge Lunch. She was initially nervous about standing up to receive the award and £100 prize money, but then she said she thought There is only one award like this, and I am really proud of myself”. 


Sophie has learned skills from taking part in The Inspiration Programme that she can take into her future career and personal life. It has given her practical skills and improved her confidence and self-esteem. 

This case study illustrates the profound impact of the Inspiration Programme on the personal and academic development of a once-shy student. From overcoming presentation challenges to finding a passion for environmental issues, the programme created positive change, empowering Sophie to become a confident, engaged, and socially aware young person and member of society. Her plans for the future are to do an apprenticeship and work within the media industry, hopefully the BBC. 

Please share this page to help us become even more visible to young people 

Scroll to Top