TWO sixthformers have proved to be leading lights when it comes to thinking about their future.

While many of their friends head for holiday hotspots, Rachel Pratt and Iona Borer will be taking their places on a prestigious leadership academy organised by global management consultancy McKinsey and Company.

The pair, both 17, have beaten off competition from around the country to land places on the two-day residential workshop, which is being held at Wellington College, Berkshire, next month.

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Rachel, of Melsonby, near Richmond, and Iona, of Romaldkirk, near Barnard Castle, were urged to apply for the leadership academy by their head of sixthform at Barnard Castle School.

Rachel said: “Nationally, there are only 100 places available and we were told that each school offered applications has just a one-in-40 chance of getting someone on the course.

“For us to get two onto the course is really good.”

Iona said they had to submit a number of personal statements as part of their application, outlining how they would benefit from the course and their aspirations for the future.

Rachel is studying politics, maths and economics at A-level and hopes to pursue a management degree at university which includes a year in the USA.

Iona plans a study philosophy and possibly law after completing A-levels in maths, geography, philosophy and ethics and physics.

The company says a place at the academy will give the pair a chance to learn about leadership and develop practical work skills as well as looking at management consultancy as a possible career.

At the conclusion of the workshop each participant leaves with an action plan for the year ahead.

Then, in the summer of 2014, Rachel and Iona will be invited to a reunion where they can share experiences with the students they will meet next month.

They will also have the chance to enter a competition for a McKinsey leadership award.

“Hopefully the academy will expand our horizons – we can't wait for it,” said Iona.