There has been some fantastic feedback from speakers involved in Lifetime’s ‘Barnsley Businesses Inspiring Students’ project.
Following the official launch at Horizon College in September, the ‘BBIS’ venture is now really kicking into gear – and causing a major stir in and around the borough.
Lifetime have now managed to attract around 70 ‘committed speakers’ – 15 of which have already been into Horizon to ‘tell their tale’ and inspire the students.
These include: Ben Mansford (Barnsley FC chief executive), Ian Dickinson (Lifetime MD), Andy Nicholson (MD, Doyle Consultants), Darren Padgett (Team Activ), Ashleigh Porter-Exley (BBC’s Young Apprentice Winner/Claire Young’s Schools Speakers), Josh and Jake Ingamells (musicians and owners of Big Sky Records), Milly Johnson (author), Jonathan Lee (author), Rebecca Sykes (owner, Blush Photography), Liz Paton and Jon Preston (Tarnished Studios), Sarah Goldthorpe (BBC Look North Assistant Editor).
A lot of the above – and other BBIS speakers such as Laura Davies (CopyCat Costumes) – have also helped out in other areas, including going into Primary Schools as a Horizon ‘partner’ and doing workshops and ‘mentoring’.
Sarah Goldthorpe has even managed to get horizon students into the BBC Look North studio!
Next up at Horizon on Thursday (March 27) is Birdwell-born Helen Clarke, who is the Production Director of London-based fashion company Margaret Howell. She contacted Lifetime to say that she was busy putting her presentation together while sat waiting to board a plane back to the UK from New Zealand!
A list of all the BBIS speakers can be found on the Lifetime website, at: https://www.lifetime-fm.com/bbis/
Lifetime’s Communications Director William Bottomley enthused: “We have managed to attract some great speakers; some of our top business leaders; people who love their jobs; and many who have grown up in our community and would regard themselves as successful – not necessarily materially but also that they lead happy and fulfilling lives.
“They are willing to share their experiences with the students, to inspire them to become the best they can be. And that’s fantastic!
“We also have people from Barnsley who now live elsewhere but who are more than willing to come back into Barnsley schools and tell their story.
“We have been amazed at the enthusiasm our speakers have shown. Everyone at Lifetime would like to issue a big, big thank you.”
The feedback from our speakers who have been into Horizon has certainly been very encouraging.
Barnsley FC chief executive Ben Mansford (pictured below with Lifetime’s William Bottomley and Andrew Lodge) delivered his talk to Horizon’s Year 7/Year 8 master class.
Ben reflected: “I was very pleased with the way the event went. All was set in good time, in advance, and I was well looked after.
“I started things off with a ‘game’ and I am pleased I managed to avoid starting a full-scale riot! I found sound, attentive students, willing to get on and take an interest in life beyond school.
“I am very happy to keep working with Lifetime and the BBIS. Please keep me posted on any further events that you might think are suitable.”
Best-selling Barnsley author Milly Johnson said: “Talking to a room full of year 7s and 8s is possibly the scariest ‘gig’ I’ve ever done. But, I reminded myself, these kids are here not under duress as if I was some sort of punishment, but under their own steam. They actually wanted to be there to help themselves. Of course some of them chattered and some of them left early – I couldn’t enchant them all. The life of a novelist isn’t a subject that hooked them all but to see a few faces in the crowd hanging onto my words was all I needed.
“When I was their age I would have killed to have a novelist standing in front of me so I could ask him/her questions about what their job was really like, what it entailed, if I’d have a chance of ever being one. The least we can do as professionals is to be that person for the generations to come and hope we inspire.
“My big tip for speakers to follow – don’t worry that your whole audience are not enraptured by you – if you can make even one child think that your job is the one they want and are going to go for it, then that is a result. And force/encourage the kids to ask you questions – don’t let them sit there wishing they dare. As soon as one question is asked, the floodgates open.
“I went into that room with legs shaking, I left feeling that more kids should benefit from an experience like that. Especially older ones who are under more pressure to pick a career. It would be great to be able to speak to Year 11s.
“The more kids hear first-hand about what a variety of jobs are really about, the more it helps them make their choices. That can only be a good thing. And talking of good things, the BBIS project is a shining example!”
Fellow author Jonathan Lee said: “I really enjoyed giving my talk and would like to thank everyone for their support. I had been approached by Andrew Lodge to be part of the BBIS project and I’m only too happy to be involved. I’m more than willing to come back again and speak to other groups!”
Liz Paton, the Animation director for Barnsley-based Tarnished Studios Ltd, gave a talk at Horizon on animation, focussing on the different types and uses within the creative industry.
She said: “The children particularly engaged with the topics of computer generated animation and its use within films and the up-and-coming indie games world, with four of the students showing a keen interest in developing their own indie games in the future.
“I was really glad to see the strong creative and technical knowledge shown by the students and how they are being given the opportunity to join in with the growing CDI network and companies that are emerging within South Yorkshire and particularly Barnsley.
“Since the talk we’ve held a workshop with year 7 students covering basic 2D animation and Internet safety. During this the students produced their own short animations that can be seen on Tarnished Studios’ Youtube channel. I was really impressed by the students’ abilities and the content they created.
“We’ve had a few students ask us if we would run more animation, VFX, and games workshops in the future so that’s definitely something that Tarnished will be looking into in the coming months. Once again I can’t stress enough how fantastically creative the students are. I’m sure that we will be seeing great things from them in the future.
“As for the BBIS programme, it gives such a great opportunity for schools and local businesses to work together in educating the workforce of tomorrow in the many diverse industries that Barnsley has to offer them. Creating strong links and future opportunities with work experience and apprenticeships.
“We at Tarnished feel honoured that we could be part of the first year of the programme and look forward to working with local schools like Horizon and the BBIS in the future.”
Musicians Josh and Jake Ingamells delivered their story to the Year 10 assembly on
Said Josh: “Although we are part of the band Hitomi we actually came into the school representing our recording company, Big Sky Records.
“I found our visit to Horizon was a great opportunity to meet and network with a whole new circle of people who I wouldn’t have had chance to meet before.
“The students there were welcoming and the group we got to speak to after our presentation were genuinely interested in our business and had questions about furthering their own careers. It was great to hear so many of them had ambitions for their future already.
“I’d recommend any business in the area to get involved in Lifetime’s BBIS project and talk to the students at Horizon College.
“Although I enjoyed the chance to discuss my business to a large audience in the theatre I think it would be good to follow up presentations with workshops/meetings to smaller groups of students.
“The opportunity to discuss things further with students interested in our specific area of business would be beneficial for both our business and the students.”
Here are some of the ‘BBIS success stories’ that have been told so far: