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Dronfield Hall Barn works with local school to improve links with a range of businesses.

Dronfield Hall Barn has formed a partnership with year 12 business students at Eckington School, who have been able to help the team form strong links with the local business community.

In 2019, the first group of Year 12 business students began researching how the Barn could become more attractive to business users. By understanding the needs of local businesses, the Barn has seen a gradual increase of commercial bookings in recent months. In 2020, the students’ project was handed over to another group of Eckington School business students.

This year’s group have built on their predecessors’ work, by researching over 130 nearby businesses. This has achieved firm links between the community hub and a range of local businesses from manufacturers to distributors.

Through the projects, Eckington School students have been able to develop their understanding of how businesses work. The relationship between the Barn and Eckington School is mutually beneficial, and allows students to get hands on business experience as well as developing key attributes such as leadership, initiative and communication.

Students have access to fields they are interested in and would like to pursue further. This is useful, as schools can only provide classroom education; having this business experience can make all the difference on CVs, personal statements or job applications.

This close bond played a role in the school achieving a gold award for careers education. As a result of this, Eckington School has nominated the Barn for an Education and Business Partnership Award from the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce. The Barn has been shortlisted, with the winners to be announced in October.

Every year group that passes through Eckington School will provide new ideas and unique skillsets. Although the Barn will face new challenges, the school is confident every group of its students will work hard to solve them.

In addition, it is hoped that new departments will take the opportunity to work with the Barn, with digital media or photography students helping to enhance the marketing of the Barn, to further build on the corporate links already in place.

Claire Wilks, Commercial Manager at Dronfield Heritage Trust said: “Dronfield Hall Barn and Eckington School a have worked together over a number of years now on a variety of projects. These projects have benefited both organisations and the students have gained vital skills- in terms of employability; they have used their experiences on personal statements and being able to discuss their involvement in job interviews, and their confidence and presentation skills have had a real boost.

“We look forward to seeing how we can build on the relationship in the future and the exciting projects we will undertake together!”

Dronfield Hall Barn supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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