Sunday, 12 September 2010


Since joining the teaching profession, where every lesson is a series of presentations, and latterly since 1998 when I took on the role of leading the Careers Department at Bablake, I have delivered hundreds of talks to parents, pupils, colleagues and those involved in careers guidance. A reticent, shy child for most of my time at school, it is a part of my life that I now thoroughly enjoy, although it is obvious to state the advent of the internet and presentation software like PowerPoint has allowed analagous imagery to help convey the necessary messages.

I enjoy delivering presentations though am aware that these need careful presentation, practice for delivery and timing and for some this is a more natural skill.

This led to me thinking about which speakers I had enjoyed listening to in my life. Earlier in my life this would have been Richard Williams commenting on Virgil for instance when I was at school or the inspirational Dr Susan Braund, my tutor at Exeter for my Classics degree.

Whom would you include in your list? We have all sat through some tiresome lectures where we knew from the first sighting or first word that the next 30 minutes or hour would be spent planning our lives, cooking that dinner for the evening or merely propping our eyelids up with matchsticks.

In my Careers work, I have been privileged to hear some fantastic speakers, so I began wondering who would be in my Top 10? Well, here goes and apologies to those who have not made the list- there were so many to consider!

  • A cliché perhaps but... Your former pupils, parents of current pupils and partners of your own colleagues would top the list. They are quite simply the best resource any school has since they understand the current pupils' interests and anxieties and are at the heart of a rich menu of professions. As for particular individuals:
  1. Paul Redmond- LHU/ What Graduates Do- tremendously engaging and charming with some excellent theories about the working world.
  2. Tom Griffiths- director and founder of whose wit and refreshing views on how to stay ahead have driven me forward.
  3. Stella Barnes & Brenda Stephenson- Angels of the North, advisers with hearts of gold, a wealth of experience and the ability to engage any audience.
  4. David Hodgson- Buzz- a Northern legend with presentations for all ages based around the Buzz personality test.
  5. ‘Karma Nirvana’- Jasvinder Sanghera's mission to make the world aware of the Forced Marriage is admirable and draws on her own experiences. Her refuge delivers talks that are harrowing but widen our blinkered horizons.
  6. Rasheed Ogunlaru- Lifecoach. Rasheed's calm delivery and sparkle delight all his audiences.
  7. ‘Nomad’- travel/ life safety. I have enjoyed talks on this topic and the best involve practical displays of some of the scams/ protections.
  8. Sarah Medley- DMU (or local equivalent)- every University or HE institution will happily assist with talks on many aspects of life after 6th Form. Sarah has been a fantastic help at Bablake but your own local university will offer similar. Aston, Northumbria and Teesside have all received fantastic ratings from some of my fellow careers peers! 
  9. Rob Brown/ Mike Chant (careers consultants)- mild-mannered, humble people with so much experience and advice to deliver. 
  10. Mike Nicholson- Head of Admissions at Oxford University. Another humble man with a delightful sense of humour and sound, practical advice to impart.
It is harsh to list the following as reserves but they are all excellent: Gapforce; Jean Baxter- Leicester; Push; UCAS;  local councillors; Tim Davies (technology); Pete Hulse; Hektor Krome; David Andrews;   What’s My Line/ Q and A; Tom Mursell/ Not Going to Uni; Alan Bullock- HE advice; Richard Wiltshire- Wiltshire College.

Whom would you add? Let me know!

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