As part of its commitment to raise the aspirations of young people across the borough, St Helens Council held a successful career fair where a number of businesses and organisations were on hand to provide support and advice to over 100 school pupils.
Run through the council’s Invest in St Helens Ambassadors programme, the ‘Believe and Achieve’ event at Saints’ Totally Wicked Stadium provided the chance for secondary and special needs school pupils to engage with over 30 businesses and organisations to find out the many exciting opportunities available to them after education and guide them on the path towards a successful future.
Among the stall holders in attendance included St Helens Chamber, Merseyside Police; Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service; businesses from the world of engineering and construction – as well as Rainford-based award-winning O2 franchise, Communications Plus Ltd, which scooped Employer of the Year and the Pride of St Helens Business Award at the inaugural Pride of St Helens Business Awards in November 2018.
Earlier in the day, pupils heard inspiring speeches from influential figures of the borough including St Helens Council Chief Executive Mike Palin; St Helens R.F.C. and St Helens Economy Board Chairman, Eamonn McManus; Communications Plus Ltd Chief Executive Steve Roberts; Steve Prescott Foundation Trustee, Linzi Prescott; and former local care leaver turned consultant social worker, Rachel Springford, who also read out a powerful speech delivered by the late, great Carole Hudson during International Women’s Week, 2010. All speeches followed the theme of anything can be achieved – no matter your background – if you put your mind to it.
CV writing tips and interview techniques were also shared with pupils, courtesy of Sue Haunch, a senior recruitment consultant from Lucam Consultancy.
Stressing the need to change the perception of the borough, which has the second highest jobs growth of anywhere in the north of England, Mike Palin said:
“There are lots and lots and lots of opportunities available in St Helens. When I speak at events like this, I say that it’s the most important place in the country at this moment in time.
“Our economic growth is greater than that of anywhere in the north, certainly. Now is the opportune time to be a young person in the borough.”
After informing the youngsters in attendance of the ‘ordinary school children from an extraordinary town’ who have gone onto do great things throughout history, Mr McManus said:
“My one piece of advice is that if you think you’re good enough to do something – you are good enough to do something. There’s no rush to make any decisions in life, but think what lies ahead.
“There are limitless opportunities – great opportunities in this town – and the education you will receive here will stand you in good stead.”
Providing positive feedback after the event, Rainhill High Deputy Headteacher, Louise Aylward, said: “Our students really enjoyed themselves and got so much from the day. They returned inspired with a replenished level of motivation.”
Launched in February 2018, the St Helens Ambassadors programme – which to date has over 100 local businesses and organisations, including schools, on board – works closely with local primary and secondary school head teachers and was set up with the sole purpose of attracting investment, business and visitors to the borough to create a more successful economy for the benefit of everyone.