A fantastic and inspiring event for Sponne School Year 8 students

“Thank you so much for giving up your time on Tuesday to come into Sponne and work with our Yr8 students. The feedback from the students has been really positive. They enjoyed all the activities, so thank you to those of you who prepared a session for them. The students also loved speaking to those of you who were involved in the speed interviewing sessions so thank you if you were part of this.” –  Ann Warner, Progress Learning Leader for Year 11 and PSHE Lead, Sponne School.

“Anything is possible” – A student

There was great excitement about the Inspiration for Innovation Event ‘Succeeding in the 21st Century World of Work’ which took place at Sponne School last Tuesday 3rd March, and that’s not surprising as we had tremendous and widespread support from our Silverstone volunteer network sponsored by MEPC, Silverstone Park and also from the Automotive 30% Club Outreach network sponsored by CDK Global. Along with the co-sponsorship of the event by The University of Buckingham, there was a fantastic atmosphere around the school on the day.

Headteacher Iain Massey opened the day, encouraging his Year 8 students to be inspired by all of the role models that they would meet, and to realise that these successful businessmen and women may give them a glimpse into what they could be in future. Julia Muir, CEO Gaia Innovation acknowledged the extreme challenges and pressures faced by youngsters and encouraged them to develop their life skills and to be an interesting and rounded person and maintain a healthy life balance. To do that they should identify what they are good at and do what they are passionate about and try and find an occupation linked to those things that will pay decent money and be what society needs. Julia reminded them to ask for help when they need it and reassured the pupils that their future was bright.

The Year 8 cohort was shown an upbeat video outlining the plethora of exciting opportunities at CDK Global and their ethos.  An interesting, fun and interactive keynote speech followed by our Automotive 30% Club VIP guest Stuart Miles, MD for UK & Ireland at CDK Global. Stuart included many pointers on how to succeed in the advancing technology/automotive sector, the many job types available and the challenges that he has faced throughout his career. Stuart’s energetic and motivational speech also included a strong message around the requirement for gender equality and diversity in the workplace so that the pupils understood the importance of a gender balanced workforce for innovation and the future world of work.

The Students spent the morning taking part in four activities, Automotive Future Technologies, The Future World of Engineering, Entrepreneurialism and Enterprise and a Career Speed Networking session. Each activity was carefully curated to ensure that the children were given sufficient topical and forward-thinking information and the opportunity to interact with the ‘real-model’ volunteers. Every activity included a hands-on activity supported by our volunteers from CDK Global, Glanville Consultants, The University of Buckingham and our Silverstone Park Volunteer Network, with the overarching aim to inspire students to make informed GCSE option choices which reflect their interests and abilities and will lead to jobs of the future.

We took an interesting look at four personal stories during the afternoon. Hosted by Cathy Walker of Gaia Innovation, each of our guests spoke to the whole year group about their individual journey. This was a fantastic way for the relatable ‘real models’ to show the students how they overcame barriers to follow their dreams and to get to where they are today. We heard from Maisie Shaw Graduate Research & Development CDK Global, Jonny Zimmerman Undergraduate from the University of Buckingham, Sophie Oak Degree Apprentice Events Manager from Gaia Innovation and also Adam McGill, MD at Fizz Group who supports the University of Buckingham via ‘Buckingham Angels’ to grant ‘start up’ funds for students on the 2 year BSc Business Enterprise course. Each brought their own thoughts on the importance of believing in yourself, asking for help and turning perceived failure into a learning experience to help elevate your potential. The children then took part in a Q and A with our guests bringing an open and inclusive presence to the session.

Commercial Director of MEPC, Silverstone Park, Roz Bird helped close the day with a look at the opportunities available at Silverstone Park and the surrounding technology cluster, informing the students about what future employers are looking for and encouraging the whole year to carry the day forward by looking further into the opportunities available, checking out websites, speaking to the volunteers and to their school careers advisor. Roz also included information about International Women’s week which had coincided nicely with the Inspirational Event. The creative and enthusiastic Dean Jones, Partnerships and Outreach Manager, BEIU then showcased the winners of the Entrepreneurialism and Enterprise activity and relayed an inspiring, original poem to round off the day and encourage the youngsters to raise their aspirations.

Initial results from the student feedback indicate a great level of meaningful encounters has been achieved. We really look forward to analysing all of the data from the day and sharing that with you in the coming weeks.