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Careers fair sets students up for Year 9 options

Year 9 students at a Stockport school enjoyed a timely careers fair right before choosing their GCSE options.

Pupils at St James Catholic High School in Cheadle Hulme listened to talks from a number of inspiring professionals and spent time networking with some of the schools’ enthusiastic alumni.

Altogether, the students heard from nine speakers, who represented careers from the worlds of law to influencer marketing.

Five alumni gave talks and answered students’ questions. They were social media and influencer marketing expert Hannah O’Donoghue from Hannah Is Social, Lizzie Lowe, whose embroidery has been featured on designs by Hussein Chalaya, Zandra Rhodes and Burberry, solicitor, Gemma Whitby (Horwich Farrelly) and Paul Payne, who is an import clerk with Allseas global logistics.

The former students are newly engaged with St James since signing up to be a part of their alumni network, which is coordinated by State Talking. Around 100 former pupils  have been back in touch with the school, pledging to support similar events and to offer individual talks and Q&As.

Other speakers at the careers fair included Aidan Bannon, senior estimator, Russells Construction, Duncan Anderson, CEO, technology company CGI, John Cooper, artist and illustrator, Rocket Steps and Patrick Boyers, business crime and regulation solicitor, JMW Solicitors.

Dominique Rarity, Head of Faculty at St James, said: “This was a really special event and the students found it very helpful to start thinking about potential career directions before choosing their GCSE options.

“It was particularly exciting to see five of our old students back in school, all of them happy and doing exceptionally well in a number of very varied careers. They were a true inspiration to our Year 9s.

State Talking has done a wonderful job in establishing our alumni network and I am sure the ongoing benefits to the school are going to be enormous.”

Fran Kennedy, founder, State Talking, said: “St James’ new alumni network gives the school access to the most relatable role models it can offer current pupils.

“It is hugely impactful to young people to see people who were once in their shoes and are now thriving in a number of careers that they may not even have considered.

“State Talking brings relatable role models into state schools. And who could be more relatable than people who walked the same corridors and lived in the same streets?”

Contact State Talking at info@statetalking.org to enquire about free inspirational speakers for your state school