A group of Bexhill College's Politics, Economics, Business and Law (PEBL) students were recently invited to attend the Working Options in Education fifth annual Leadership Symposium on Thursday 7th November. It was held at the Rothamsted Research Centre in Harpenden, and hosted by Sky News presenters Anna Botting and Jeremy Thompson. Anna Botting even found time to speak with Bexhill College Politics and Economics student, Stan Wilson, about a career in sports journalism.
The students were given the opportunity to rub shoulders and network with some of the retail industry's biggest players, including marketing directors of Kellogg's and chief buyers for Asda, as well as entrepreneurs from rapidly growing companies such as Oppo (Healthy Ice Cream) and BurnMark (fintech).
The main objective of the symposium was to hear from some of the world's leading experts on various topics related to retail. They heard from Steve Murrells of Co-Op, Kate Swan former head of WHSmith and CEO of SSP Group, Managing Director of Warburtons', Neil Campbell and Sir Terry Leahy former CEO of Tesco. Many of the speakers enlightened the audience on their own lives and the personal obstacles they have overcome to be where they are today. Speakers such as Ash Amirahmadi (Manging Director of Arla), Jenny Costa (Founder of Rubies in the Rubble) and Andrew Hawes (founder of Newton) gave incredible aspirational messages to the young adults in the audience about hard work, positive mindsets, work life balance and mental wellbeing, and the importance they all have of being successful.
Many of the businesses spoke about sustainability and environmental issues that many organisations face, and explained what they are doing to change perceptions and, ultimately the world. The highlights of these talks about sustainability was the talk from Andrew Isaac Thornton of Thornton's Budgens, an industry pioneer in plastic and waste reduction, and Fiona Ball's talk on Sky's Ocean Rescue project.
The students also heard from former MP Nicky Morgan on her views around the government's influence on the retail industry, leadership and collaborate-working, and the impact of Brexit. Former England cricketer Matt Prior spoke about the leadership and teamwork skills he learned in sport and how they helped shape his business career since retiring from professional cricket.
The whole event was very valuable for all the students that attended across the various subject areas within the PEBL Section at the College.
Ethan Williams studies Economics, Geography and Religious Studies. He said:
"Thank you for the opportunity to go to the symposium this year. It has helped me to open my eyes more to the world of business and has given me some inspiration to a potential career path. This was an opportunity I could not refuse as it allows me to embellish my CV. As well as this, the booklet is helpful in writing my personal statement. All of the speakers were very good at what they did, and with them being complete experts in their field, it allowed me to understand the differences between the roles in a retail business. All of what I have gained today will benefit me massively in the long run.”
In addition, Greta Beecroft, who studies Politics, German and Mathematics commented:
"I really enjoyed the Symposium because the talks were very interesting and taught me a lot about leadership skills, which is a very important skill to have and doesn't really get taught to most people, so this was a valuable opportunity. It was also an interesting day because I spoke to lots of people about their job roles and I had never ‘networked' before so this was a new experience, allowing me to become more confident.”
Congratulations to these Bexhill College students for being invited to attend the event and making the most of the opportunity.
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