Students from a Horsham college turned out for a business conference attended by top chief executives, entrepreneurs and leading sports personalities.
The 2019 Leadership Symposium, organised by education charity Working Options, treated Collyer’s students to a host of talks from industry experts.
Presenters included Fiona Ball (Sky), Neil Campbell (Warburtons), Devie Mohan (Burnmark), Kate Swann (SSP Group), Andrew Thornton (Thornton’s Budgens), Jenny Costa (Rubies in the Rubble), Steve Murrells (the Co-op) and former England cricketer Matt Prior (One Pro Group).
The event was facilitated by Sky News presenters Anna Botting and Jeremy Thompson.
Lucy Hargreaves, employability programme co-ordinator at Collyer’s, arranged for the students to attend the day.
She said: “We work very closely with Working Options in Education, who have run numerous workshops with Collyer’s.
“This kind of access to top-level business is such a privilege. The kind donation of thousands of pounds worth of tickets for this event made this a wonderful opportunity that our students simply jumped at.”
The industry experts shared their personal philosophies, taking time during breaks between presentations to offer advice to groups of students.
The event covered a wide range of topics, with broadcaster Anna Botting speaking ‘passionately about gender equality and the need for resilience in the workplace’.
Collyer’s deputy principal Steve Martell, who teaches the employability programme at the college, said: “We have enjoyed an amazing, inspiring day. Huge thanks to our very own Lucy Hargreaves for making this trip possible.
“Thanks also to the amazing Lauren Monk at Working Options for her continued support of the important employability work we do at Collyer’s. I am also incredibly proud of our students, who made a very positive impression indeed.
One of the speakers, Ash Amirahmadi, who students chatted with during lunch, even gave Collyer’s a special shout-out during his presentation.
“Our amazing students really were a credit to Collyer’s and our region.”
Student Jess Bhatti said she found the day very inspiring and had learnt a lot from the experience which has also helped her have different options for her future.”
Another student, Matt Forster, said: “I found the motivational speakers really engaging.”
The event was held at the Rothamsted Research Centre, Harpenden, and was sponsored by Grocery Aid as well as the Working Options in Education charity.
Working Options organises employability and life skills programmes to encourage young people to aim high.