The RSA, has, over a number of years been advocating the establishment of local “Fellows” groups, to encourage activity that meets the needs of local communities.

In the autumn of 2011, a series of meetings were held in Banbury for Fellows in the North Oxfordshire area. After some discussions a small group of Fellows felt that they wanted to get involved in “some kind of project” that would have a benefit for the local community.  A number of us felt that education could be a possible area, we all felt that we had skills and experience in industry that could complement the teaching in local schools.

Rather than take it for granted that we would be welcome in local schools, we invited several teachers to our meetings to discuss how this might work. They were enthusiastic about getting people from industry involved in helping “drive the ambition” of their students. We then held a meeting at the local Academy, where sixth form students were invited to join the meeting and give their feedback on our discussions, one of the students summed up their views “With all respect Miss, these people have all been in industry doing the stuff you teach us” and so with that endorsement we decided to move ahead.

Our first event was held at the North Oxfordshire Academy in Banbury 2nd May 2012.

May 2012 – May 2013

The event was supported by three local schools:

The event was great success and from it a number of Driving Ambition projects were started.

North Oxfordshire Academy

The Warriner School

  • Supporting the delivery of Stem Curriculum  - One f the fellows, Jon Carlton, who has over 35 years experience in the Electricity and Gas industry , was asked to support staff at The Warriner School with additional content for the STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) curriculum. (Dan, we will have a link here to the project section)

RSA Surrey

The project was presented to the RSA Surrey regional group, where interest in starting similar project was expressed.

RSA Funding

The RSA runs a funding programme, Catalyst, to which projects can apply for funding to help develop and promote their work. The Driving ambition team applied for funding and was granted funds to produce a video based on the work of the project. Click here for the video.

May 2013 – May 2014

 A second event was held at the Academy on May 8th 2013.

This event gave rise to the following projects:

  • World of Work – A photographic project, supported by Robin Lawrence, a photo journalist, aimed at helping students express themselves through capturing the world of work through photographs.
  • Brighthouse – world of work based on team work, CV writing and interview techniques
  • NFU – creation of a video showing the consequences of young people mixing drinking with driving.
  • Mentors I Careers Academy
  • Russell Group
  • Art Project
  • Banbury Literary Live 2014

May 2014  - May 2015

The third annual event was held on 8th May 2014.

This event and subsequent activities gave rise to the following projects:

  • Activities in the STEM curriculum area
  • Mentoring
  • Launch of Driving Ambition Website
  • Exploring ways to work with Banbury and Bicester College
  • Catering/Business orientated project.

The fourth annual event was held on the 2nd July 2015


During 2106 we have tended to concentrate on some key projects:

-  Supporting Banbury Literary Live

- Supporting ABC week with industry input

- Helping develop and run an "Assessment Day" for students to get them acquainted with this recruitment methodology

- Supporting NOA in the IGD (Instituute for Grocery and Distribution) schools programme "Feeding Britains Future"

- On going mentoring with the Careers Ready group

Also in 2016  the Driving Ambition project in Surrey got underway 






RSA Fellowship