Mrs Lester, Head of Post 16 at the Leigh Academy writes
“On Monday 5 September, one of our LAT16 Alumni spoke at our Year 12 Induction programme, it proved to be the best received presentation of the two days. Suraj Gokani, of Currencies 4 You, a former Leigh Academy student spoke to our students about his Post-16 journey. He was very honest about his casual attitude to his studies and the subsequent disappointment with his results. He also give a personal insight into the impact that had on his family; not only explaining how they needed him to help support them financially but also the disappointment he felt in underachieving. His message to the Year 12s, while similar to those explained by our Principal, myself and a university representative had more impact due to the personal journey he took them through. The failure, the setbacks, the resilience and determination to succeed and gain his family’s respect – the students were truly inspired. What was really impressive was how Suraj took responsibility for his own actions and worked menial jobs to earn money and gain skills and contacts, until eventually he found he had a flair for working in the stock markets. The Leigh Academy students were visibly inspired by his story and success in building his own business to be worth millions and also then wanting to ‘give back’ and give other students an opportunity.
Following the presentation, one student commented this had really impacted on him and he was going to adopt a different attitude this year, while another two contacted the ex-student directly, thanking him for his time and asking him for advice and possibly a work experience place. Suraj was more than happy to help these students and has also agreed to attend our Higher Apprenticeship Evening on Tuesday 18 October, as a potential employer.
Using the LAT16 Alumni to inspire the next generation is something we, at The Leigh Academy wish to do even more in the future; it has such a positive impact on our students”
The Leigh Academies Trust is pleased to be working with Future First

Future First’s is a national education charity that helps state schools and colleges to build thriving, engaged alumni communities. Former students can have a transformative effect on young people’s confidence, motivation and skills.  Having grown up in the same area and perhaps having had some of the same teachers, alumni can prove to students that ‘people like me’ can succeed and prosper.

Through access to an online platform and specialist support from the Future First team, Future First works with schools to plan and deliver the most effective interventions to meet their students’ needs. Former students return to act as inspirational but relatable role models, careers speakers, mentors, work experience providers and more.