Breaking Barriers is in it's fourth year and is becoming one of LYR's most powerful and engaging programmes. Read more about how our corporate mentors and rowing coaches are working together to help young people flourish as they prepare for further education and careers. 

Brampton Manor

For the fourth year in succession, Breaking Barriers has partnered PwC mentors with students from Brampton Manor Academy to great effect. The school’s background of rowing with LYR has again created a strong cohort of year 10 students who enjoyed the new opportunity to get out on the water at the Royal Docks. Since half term they’ve travelled to the Embankment Place office each Wednesday afternoon with Andy from LYR and have benefited from the various PwC mentors’ insight and experience. They've even enjoyed tours of the PwC building with views over the River Thames and London Eye, and our pre-Christmas social activity was trampolining at ZapSpace in Stratford!


Lucy, PwC mentor said: 'I have really enjoyed being able to see the students grow and become more confident throughout the sessions. As a new joiner to the firm three months ago it was something really nice to get involved with and I have been lucky to attend almost every week. It was really nice to share our experiences with the students and see that they had a real interest in listening.'

Ark Walworth Academy

In September 2017, students from Ark Walworth Academy learnt to row at Surrey Quays Watersports Centre. The school have been partnered with mentors from CostainVinci Construction Grands Projets and Bachy Soletanche, who also learnt to row so that they could mentor students from the very beginning of their Breaking Barriers journey. Students were initially very nervous on the water, but soon mastered the skills of the sport whilst simultaneously boosting their skills in communication and teamwork. After six weeks on the water, students began office-based mentoring in Bermondsey at the Chambers Wharf construction site of the Tideway project, learning about the project and focusing on skill development. They can actually see some of the construction going on from the window of the visitor’s centre!


Students have benefitted enormously from the Breaking Barriers programme, and with the fantastic support of Mr Dockery, are growing in confidence in every session.

‘Students understand the full benefits of working in a team and the positive effects of good communication skills. They have all developed their leadership skills as their confidence and self-esteem developed week by week’, said Mr Dockery, Director of Progress, Year 10. Ark Walworth Academy.

St Michael’s College

Students from St Michael’s College, also paired with Costain mentors, are thoroughly enjoying their rowing and mentoring sessions. There is always a constructive and positive energy in their Breaking Barriers sessions, with excellent attendance from the students and support from the school. House points are awarded to students as part of the school’s recognition of their commitment to the programme.


Commenting on his rowing experience, Shokare said, 'My coaches helped me feel confident, and I understood everything.'

The students will be considered for work experience placements with their mentors towards the end of year 10.

Another student, Emmanuel, said ‘Rowing was not only about the sport, it was about developing skills for everyday life. It made me happy.’

St Angela’s Ursuline School

9 girls from St Angela’s Ursuline School developed their confidence through rowing sessions at the Royal Docks Adventure. Sessions were relaxed and encouraged the girls to enjoy themselves out on the water. All students had taken part in indoor rowing before, but this was the first time on the water for most of the group. LYR’s motivational speaker Phinnah Ikeji visited the school to inspire the girls, preparing them for the mentoring part of their journey and encouraging them to raise their aspirations.  


Mentoring sessions began in October at the Port of London Authority office on Tower Pier. They began their experience with a boat trip, learning about the river and the numerous careers it provides. Since then, they have had a brilliant time learning directly from their 4 mentors at weekly sessions and are looking forward to work experience opportunities after exams. They went ice-skating just before Christmas as their reward for excellent attendance at sessions.

One parent said: ‘I’ve really seen a change in my daughter since September. She’s much more sure of herself and so positive about Breaking Barriers! Thank you so much for this opportunity.’