MORE than 50 students from four Dorset schools have graduated from the Blue Skies Youth Engagement programme.

Young people from Ferndown Middle, St Aldhelm's Academy, Ferndown Upper and the Glenmoor and Winton Academies completed the awards, established in memory of Red Arrow pilot Jon Egging.

Since his death at the Bournemouth Air Festival in 2011, hundreds of young people have taken part in the initiative, which concentrates on teamwork, leadership and employability skills, raising aspirations and confidence in young people who face significant barriers to reaching their full potential.

The awards were presented to the 12-14-year-olds by Dawn Egging, mother of Jon Egging and Trustee of JET, and Wing Commander Vincent Thomas, Chief of Staff of the Air Warfare Centre Flying Division.

Wing Commander Thomas said: "The Jon Egging Trust and Blue Skies initiative offers amazing opportunities to school children to do things they would never have imagined possible. I was very impressed with the Trust and its aims."

Head teacher of St Aldhelm’s Academy, Jon Webb, added: "Our students thoroughly enjoyed the JET experience this year. Their resilience, independence and knowledge has increased dramatically and this is already impacting positively on their academic achievements."