Fifteen students from partner schools in The Wyre Forest and Hagley’s ContinU Trust have just returned from a once-in-a-lifetime fact-finding study visit to Geneva, Switzerland, where they met agencies from the United Nations and visited the cutting edge experimental physics centre at CERN.

The students – a joint group of Sixth Formers from ContinU Trust partner schools Baxter College, Kidderminster and Stourport High School – spent three days meeting representatives from seven different key UN agencies including UNICEF, the World Food Programme and the High Commission for Refugees in their offices in Geneva’s huge Palais des Nations, where thousands of global organisation staff work in almost three thousand offices.

Stourport Sixth Form student Elliott Vale, aged 18, said “Being able to discuss critical global issues with key staff, in the place where decisions are made, was empowering and richly rewarding.” Jasmin Smith, aged 17, from Baxter College Sixth Form said: “It was an amazing experience. It has definitely made me think about being a human rights lawyer.”

In addition to the United Nations meetings, the students also spent half a day at the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN), where they were guided on a tour by Dr. Mario Campanelli, Reader in Physics at University College, London and a familiar face at CERN, where he has spent many years working on many its ground-breaking experiments.

The visit was organised by The ContinU Trust of Wyre Forest and Hagley’s ‘Opening Doors’ programme, and is the fourth such visit by local students to the UN European headquarters.

Opening Doors Coordinator Michael Conroy-Harris said: “One of the things our consortium is about is working together in imaginative ways to offer our young people – whatever their starting point – the best and most relevant enrichment opportunities.

These young people were a credit to their schools and to the area. Through our Opening Doors programme we hope to keep identifying world class opportunities for our students – as well as the activities and projects we engage with a bit closer to home.”

The students, who are studying a range of A Levels including law, sciences, literature and geography, will be feeding back to their fellow students on their experiences at the UN and CERN through newsletters, assemblies and presentations.