Student leaders of tomorrow host conference for school students

Students from Suffolk One who organised the Business Leadership Event

Students from Suffolk One who organised the Business Leadership Event - Credit: Archant

Industry leaders attend business event at One sixth form. organised by students.

Speaker Graham Kill of the Institute of Directors

Speaker Graham Kill of the Institute of Directors - Credit: Archant

Industry leaders attended a conference organised by the business leaders of tomorrow that aimed to inspire the school children of today.

It took place at One sixth form in Ipswich where 14 learners – who are all students at One and student members of the Institute of Directors (IoD) – invited 100 year 11 students from Suffolk to an event based around culture and leadership.

This was the second year such a conference has taken place.

Guest speakers included representatives from the IoD, Graham Kill (chair of the Suffolk branch of the IoD) and Joe Fitzsimons (national student membership executive) and Sally Butcher (managing director of Realise Futures).

Joe Fitzsimons (IoD) with One student Ellen Steesma.

Joe Fitzsimons (IoD) with One student Ellen Steesma. - Credit: Archant


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After the speeches, group discussions took place to give insights into this subject to attendees.

Paul Hinchcliffe is a teacher of accounting and business and Institute of Directors Co-ordinator. He said, “Everyone has an idea of what business and leadership is, yet the insights that were given during the conference gave attendees a better understanding of what skills and qualities the successful business leaders of the future will need in an ever-changing business world. I’m really proud of the students who put this all together. It was a really professional occasion.”

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Joe Fitzsimons is the IoD student membership executive. He said: “One was the very first sixth form in the country to have a link with the IoD in terms of offering sixth form students membership opportunities and this has paved the way for other schools to have a similar relationship with us.

In terms of the One link up, it’s been fantastic. The students are very aspirational and the work that they have been doing has been great. They all seem to have passion for the future and with that passion and drive they can achieve great things. It was a pleasure to play a part in the conference.”

One student, Ellen Steensma, helped organise the conference. The 18 year old from Ipswich, said, “When I came to One I was more focussed on the arts but since the link up with the IoD, my mind has been drawn to the world of business and ideally I want to combine my passion for fashion with business in my future career.

“It was great to play a part in organising this event and some of the discussions we had on leadership and culture were incredibly useful,” she added.

One of the year eleven students who attended was Esther Francis. She said, “I came along because I was interested on the views people had on leadership and wanted to get their take on it. I’ve learnt from this that you have to be confident and level headed if you want to run your own business.

Former One students - who are now working in business - were invited along to take part in the conference.

They included Connor Betts who is now a client advisor in leisure hospitality at Willis, Towers, Watson. He said, “I left One in July 2016 and really enjoyed studying business at One. I’m really lucky to be in a job that I enjoy and I came along as I want to help people get the job that they want. I think a good leader is someone you can connect with. That’s was a theme that seemed to come out during this conference.”

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