Students were inspired by BBC ‘The Apprentice’ finalist and TV presenter Kate Walsh at a practical careers conference at Burgess Hill.
The ‘Pushing your Boundaries’ Conference, in association with global aviation company CAE, was held for Year 10 girls from local schools.
The purpose of the conference was to broaden the girls’ horizons and highlight the impact that different experiences and various opportunities have on people as individuals.
Kate Walsh, finalist of the 2009 ‘Apprentice’ programme, attended the conference and gave an inspirational speech about the path she took from working at a fish and chips shop at the tender age of 15, to the corporate career ladder she is now rapidly climbing.
Emma Atkinson, as the Royal Air Force’s youngest female pilot, also spoke to the girls about the experiences she has had so far, her incredible achievements and how they have helped to shape her career to date. The speeches raised the girls’ aspirations and both women advised them to make the most of any opportunities that come their way.
All the participants then took part in two workshops, which introduced skills which they had probably never considered before; the girls did everything from ballroom dancing and buggy driving to cupcake decorating and wallpapering. The girls then had the opportunity to discuss what they had learnt from these challenges, with successful women who were also present at the conference, from Law graduates to women working in the financial sector, to the entertainment industry. The girls reflected on what they had gained from the experiences and were encouraged to aspire to their dreams; whatever they may be.
The day was rounded off with a Question and Answer session with a panel of successful women role models, including Emma Atkinson, Kate Walsh and the Headmistress of hosts, Burgess Hill School for Girls, Ann Aughwane. Many queries about the working world and how to get there were raised and discussed.
Georgie Little, Year 10, said, “The speeches were both interesting and very inspirational. They really reinforced that we should grasp any opportunities that come our way.”
The conference was attended by 14 and 15-year-old girls from Downlands Community School in Hassocks, Oathall Community College in Haywards Heath, Warden Park School in Cuckfield, Oakmeeds Community College in Burgess Hill, Chailey School and Burgess Hill School for Girls.