Kingsthorpe College students inspired to succeed in the 21st century world of work

“Our teaching and support staff were in awe at the scale of the event and were impressed with the professional feel the students experienced throughout the day. Students are still talking about it now sharing their experiences of the day with each other, teachers and parents” –  Scott Wade, Senior Deputy Headteacher at Kingsthorpe College

“It has taught me anything is possible.” – a student

There was a lot of excitement about the Inspiration for Innovation Event which took place at Kingsthorpe College, last Thursday 6th February, and that’s not surprising as we had fantastic 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 great buzz around the school in the lead up to and on the day.

Senior Deputy Headteacher Scott Wade opened the day, encouraging his Y9 students to soak up the amazing insights that they were about to receive, to aim high and make the most of the opportunities presented to them. Julia Muir, CEO Gaia Innovation acknowledged the extreme challenges and pressures faced by youngsters and encouraged them to develop their life skills and not to get caught up with being perfect, but 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 Y9 cohort was shown a short video outlining life at Perrys Motor Group, their ethos and the opportunities available within the company.  An interesting and informative ‘fireside chat’ followed involving our keynote speaker Darren Ardron, Group MD Perrys Motor Sales. Julia hosted Darren who told his personal story and the children followed his journey through education and into the world of work. Darren included many pointers on how to succeed in the automotive sector, the many job types available and the challenges that he has faced throughout his career, with pointers on how he overcame those. Darren 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 4 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 Perrys Motor Group, Silverstone Composites, 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 4 personal stories during the afternoon. Hosted by Julia Muir 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 Alexandria Smith, Apprentice Marketing Executive at Perrys Motor Group, Owen Davies, Design Placement Student at Delta Motorsport,  Malika Motwani, Product Management Graduate at CDK Global 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. 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.

We are looking forward to analysing all of the feedback from the day, including the questions that the students answered throughout the day in their work booklets and comments from our volunteers and the school from the follow up feedback issued. Initial results indicate some great Meaningful Encounters have been achieved.