Dozens of students from a High Wycombe secondary school are taking part in a unique three-year project with healthcare company Johnson & Johnson which aims to bolster their future career prospects.

Almost 50 Year 10 pupils from The Highcrest Academy were welcomed to the company’s base in Holmers Farm Way in January for a launch of the Bridge to Employment scheme which is jointly co-ordinated by Young Enterprise and Johnson & Johnson.

Johnson & Johnson set up the worldwide programme in 1992 to inspire young people to enrol in higher education, excel academically and pursue health and science careers.

The initiative has been run in 13 countries but Highcrest is the first school in England to take part.

Volunteers from the firm act as mentors to support and guide students through various activities and sessions. Buckinghamshire New University will support the programme in terms of facilities and trips.

Alex Merrick, head of Year 10, said: “The main aim is to get the students ready for the workplace through guidance and academic support.

“There will be 50 on the scheme in total and they will learn how to conduct job interviews, write CVs, improve their presentation skills and build up a work ethic.

“They will be taken on various trips including one to the Johnson & Johnson site in Leeds where they will also be given opportunities to undertake work shadowing.

“I think it’s a fantastic opportunity to give these 14 to 15 year-olds a really enriching experience.”

Mark Hicken, managing director of Janssen UK and Ireland, a pharmaceutical company of Johnson & Johnson, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Highcrest Academy on the Bridge to Employment programme.

“Over the next three years, many of our employees will be volunteering their time, helping to inspire young people within our local community to stay in full time education and increase their awareness of the career opportunities that exist in the healthcare sector.

“Johnson & Johnson has been running this programme for more than 20 years with proven results.

“We are proud to be launching this initiative here in High Wycombe and offering these students academic and career support that will enable them to realise their full potential.”

Last month's launch was also attended by parents, representatives from Young Enterprise and about 30 staff from Janssen who will act as the mentors.