Over the course of the last year, Eton College and partner school The London Academy of Excellence have hosted a leadership programme to inspire 16-17 year olds from all different backgrounds to come together and develop leadership skills.

Druhvit, Year 12, tells the Press Office about his experience with the programme.

The programme is more than just leadership workshops – it has also allowed us all to develop strong relationships with others inside Eton and the LAE. Speaking from personal experience, the Eton and LAE Leadership Institute (ELLI) has been crucial in inspiring the way I think and allowing me to develop relationships that will follow through into the future. The inspiration not only comes from world recognised speakers, but also individuals at Eton and LAE.

Initially, the programme started with LAE students coming to Eton where they participated in workshops and tours, and got to know some of the boys. This led to us forming the groups in which we would embark on this leadership journey. What was, to begin with, a quiet and formal interaction developed into a solid team effort with the aim of benefiting the local community or even a global project.

After enhancing our leadership skills, our team are now working closely with a company to label drone images and help detect potential areas of malaria. After completion of this project, we will deliver a presentation at Eton on the progress we have made as individuals and the impact it has had on the wider community – which I and many others are really looking forward to!

The initial stages were followed by an Eton and LAE day out in London, where we explored the Saatchi Gallery and also the National Army Museum. Whilst learning about teamwork and leadership in the Second World War, and also about the history of the US, this part of the programme was a great experience for us all. This day out also allowed Etonians to learn about LAE students and LAE students to learn about us. This was very interesting for me as I could see the commitment and drive other students have, with one boy even travelling from Milton Keynes all the way to London at 5am every morning!

More recently, we also had a very inspiring talk from Adrian Wickham. Adrian Wickham is a Director of Corporate Development, meaning he is a leader within his own field; however, this did not come without difficulty. Adrian spoke about the social issues he faced growing up, but then becoming inspired by many leaders and later going on to graduate with an MBA. Such a talk allowed us to learn that, as long as we stay committed, we too can overcome barriers and become leaders.

Overall, the programme has given us insight into new perspectives and has been a great success in enhancing not just our leadership skills, but also our communication skills and friendships with others. We hope the group presentations work out to be just as successful!