One sixth form college in Ipswich celebrates three-year IoD link

Graham Kill and Anna Birdd with One student IoD members.

Graham Kill and Anna Birdd with One student IoD members. - Credit: Archant

A pioneering partnership between a Suffolk sixth form and the Institute of Directors (IoD) has celebrated a third successful year.

In 2012, students from One in Ipswich were offered the chance of becoming part of the first group of 16- to 19-year-olds in the country to be offered membership with the IoD.

A total of 26 students joined the scheme in its first year, and the latest group set to benefit from the partnership have now attended an initial meeting at the college, in Scrivener Drive, Ipswich to find out more.

They were joined at the event by the incoming chairman of IoD Suffolk, Graham Kill, and the vice-chairman of IoD Suffolk, Dr Christopher Johnson.

Mr Kill, who started out as a mining engineer before working in technology for television and media, said: “It’s important for the IoD to engage with young people – they are the future.

“Getting connected, meeting people and learning from others is what belonging to the IoD is all about. I’ve found it very helpful in my career and I’m sure One students will feel the same.”

Dr Johnson added: “In my opinion there is nothing better than asking a young person for their business ideas. Their view is often uncluttered and refreshing. This ongoing project is unique and it’s great that Suffolk is leading the way.”

Most Read

Anna Bird, from One, who helped organise the launch, said: “This came about partly because of the reputation we have gained in supporting young people in business. Organisations want to work with us and this is obviously a great opportunity for our students.”

A former student from One who benefitted from this link up is 19-year-old Jordan Holder from Ipswich. He spent three years at One and set up his own yearbook business while still at school. He became the youngest committee member of the IoD student board in history and is currently an IoD Suffolk committee member.

He said, “Joining makes you more business savvy. I actually met my current boss thanks to being a member. I work (for Portcullis) supporting businesses and being part of the IoD helped me more ready for the world of work. I’m still involved with One and will be helping current students as much as I can.”

Also at the event was IoD student membership manager Rebecca Sharpe. She said: “One sixth form was looking to engage more with the business community and three years ago we joined forces and the link is still going strong.

“At the moment they are the only sixth form in the UK where students are offered membership. However, owing to the success of this partnership, we are looking to extend the offer to other sixth forms in the UK.

“The idea is to equip students with commercial awareness and contacts – we provide a platform to help them succeed. We also get them to see business leaders as people and look to break barriers and help people connect.

She added: “Recent national successes in terms of our student membership include Chris Rea, who secured financing for his Onesie business from Duncan Bannatyne on the TV show Dragon’s Den.

“Our student members also include a millionaire property magnet in his twenties and someone who is developing new products with Apple. One students and all our members can only be inspired by achievements like this.”

Jenny Milsom, vice principal at One, added, “Our job is to provide our students with as many opportunities to achieve great things in terms of education and business. We are naturally delighted to be associated with this unique offering.”