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A year in the life of StateTalking – 2022’s round up of events

This year has been the busiest yet for StateTalking and the first where the impact of the pandemic has started to lessen.

Our impact report shows we have now reached almost 5,000 Greater Manchester state school students.

Since we launched in 2020, a total of 4,866 pupils have listened to an inspirational talk from a relatable StateTalking speaker. Our speakers have given 99 talks – free of charge – to 42 schools across the county. Thirty seven talks were held in secondary schools, two in primary settings and three in sixth form colleges.

As of the end of 2022, we have 237 speakers signed up to volunteer their time.

Here’s a month by month round up of just some of our activity in 2022:

– In January, Justin Onuekwusi, a top fund manager in the financial services industry, spoke to a group of 40 students at St Monica’s RC High School in Prestwich, Salford, about his career path. Graduating from St Monica’s in 1998, Justin has been awarded the Freedom of the City of London for his work on diversity and inclusion

– In February, StateTalking supported St Matthew’s RC High in Moston, Manchester, to hold a creative industries careers day. Aimed at year 9, students listened to talks from a wide variety of successful creative professionals. These included hairdressing expert Catherine Boden and architect Mark Stancombe.

– In March, StateTalking arranged for two women with successful careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) to speak to pupils from St Kentigern’s RC Primary School in Fallowfield, Manchester. Part of the school’s STEM Week programme, Naomi Timperley, who co-founded Tech North Advocates and GSI, two expert groups of technical and digital consultants and Stella Smith, a design engineer with Transport for Greater Manchester, talked to year 5 and 6 students.

– In April200 Levenshulme High School for girls students at gathered to hear how music writer Lisa Durrant worked her way from shifting vinyl in Manchester’s Piccadilly Records, to writing for the bands who played on the discs.The year 9s, who had just started studying media literacy, also heard from Lisa how they can navigate through media bias and about the dangers of fake news.

 In June, three young female apprentices from construction company Russell WBHO spoke to students at St James Catholic High School in Cheadle Hulme, Stockport. Twenty year olds Megan Boyden, Isabelle May and Lydia Ashley talked about the changing image of the industry and how more women than ever are signing up to work in careers including surveying, construction project management and civil engineering.

– In July, Matthew Whitaker gave a virtual talk to his old school St James RC High in Cheadle Hulme, Stockport, about his career as CEO of a charity and fashion designer Zara Street visited Levenshulme High School students and

– In September, Nik Basran, MD, The Authentic Food Co, spoke at Levenshulme High School, Manchester as part of World Languages Day and music writer Lisa Durrant went to Ellesmere Park High School in Eccles, Salford, to speak to their journalism club.

 In October, we sent a second speaker to Ellesmere Park. BBC 5Live presenter Chris Warburton, who presents his weekend breakfast shows from MediaCity, commanded an audience of 120 at the Salford school.

– In November, radio presenter and producer Daryl Morris visited St Peter’s RC High in Belle Vue, Manchester and gave a motivational talk to a group of year 11s and Jamie Watson, MD of branding agency Pixel8 spoke to students at Manchester’s Chorlton High School about working in the creative industries.

– In December, Jonathan Boyers, VC of KPMG Corporate Finance, had the honour of being our last speaker of 2020. Born and bred in Wigan, Jonathan spoke to year 10 and 11 students at St Monica’s RC High School in Prestwich, Salford.

Looking ahead, January 2023 is already set to be a busy month, with Greater Manchester’s schools planning ahead to start the new year with a burst of inspiration.

Parrs Wood High School in Didsbury, Manchester, has booked three separate speakers. Year 9 and 10 computer science students will hear from international online fraud prevention company Callsign, a futurist and a former Parrs Wood pupil who now runs a tech company.

Students and staff at Matthew Moss High School in Rochdale are looking forward to a series of free talks in the new year on a range of subjects, including diversity, bereavement and health eating.

And St James RC High School in Cheadle Hulme, Stockport, is holding a careers cafe towards the end of the month. Amongst the attendees will be a number of former pupils who are now back in contact as a result of their new alumni network.

Would you like to book a free inspirational and relatable speaker into your Greater Manchester school in 2023? Contact StateTalking at info@statetalking.org

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