Leigh Academy was delighted to host the 3rd FSB  Skills 30:30 event on Friday 27th January. Skills 30:30 is an initiative designed to bridge the gap between business and education. Paul Andrews, CEO of Jobs in Kent, www.jobsinkent.com ,began proceedings by welcoming students and giving them an over-view of the event.



Within a packed schedule, students attended two workshops:

  • Darrel Linehan of the Marketing Link on “How to stand out in work- the unwritten rules of the office and how to survive”. His key message to students was to make themselves indispensable.
  • Deborah Turner of You Image Consultancy on “How to present yourself at work”.

Deborah commented:

“What a fantastic morning at Leigh Academy. I ran a workshop to students highlighting the importance of presenting yourself in the workplace.

The students were brilliant, really engaging and genuinely interested in understanding employer expectations. They asked lots of questions and gained valuable tips for creating a great first impression for interviews.

The students then put this theory into practice with a speed networking session. They all brilliantly delivered a 2 minute pitch to over 30 businesses in a confident and effective manner.”

Darrel stated:

It was a great day and Leigh Academy should be proud of the students- they all came across so well!

“Being a Dad, a business owner and someone who over the years has taken on apprentices and worked with young adults starting out at work, I found the Skills 30:30 program to be an amazing platform for businesses to break their perceptions of young people. Talking to this inspiring, passionate and excited next generation not only gave me confidence in the people who will be running things when I am older, but also allowed me to share some of my thoughts and ideas with them. If each of them takes one think from the day that helps them it was all worth it.

Being involved doesn’t mean you have to employ a student, however it will allow you to start seeing how they could now or in the future be a valuable asset to your business. Get involved if you get the chance!”


Whilst students were enjoying their workshops, some 30 businesses gathered to hear presentations on apprenticeships , the new KCC guilds and the Schools Enterprise Network. Organiser, Alison Parmar of the Federation of Small Businesses , www.fsb.org.uk/regions/kent-medway ,went on to enlighten delegates upon the services provided to businesses by the FSB and the benefits of membership. She later commented this was the best Skills 30:30 event yet!

After a short break, students and business guests came together for a session of facilitated speed networking.





Mrs Lester, Head of Post 16 commented “Thank you so much for organising Friday’s Skills 30:30, it was such a success. The students were really buzzing with the advice and guidance they were given. Some of those students really put themselves out of their comfort zone and blossomed”

Participating businesses commented:

Nicola Coppen, Diligence P.M “Amazing students and great way to offer ideas and talk to young people about opportunities. All the very best to each and everyone of them. Also great to meet other business people and hear about ways to bridge gaps between education and the workplace. Thank you for letting me be a part of the day.”

Pam Manwaring, Orchard Garage “I really enjoyed it. I know some of the students were nervous, but they conducted themselves so well. It was brilliant to hear their plans and ambitions and so good to hear so many with entrepreneurial spirit. Very impressed.”

Bryan Allworthy, Yanall “ The Academy did themselves and you proud.”

Chris Pollard, Communications Consultant “I thought the students were interesting, interested and confident…… Well done to the FSB for arranging the day. When is the next one ?”

Carl Lincoln, Wiser Wealthier, Leigh Academy alumni- “It was a pleasure to be back at my old school meeting some fantastic Kent Businesses and outstanding students. There is a clear change happening at the Leigh Academies Trust schools and I think that bringing students and businesses closer together is going to reap huge rewards for all concerned. I’m not yet an employer but I have no doubt that there will be some job offers flying around after what I experienced. What a fantastic day!”

We would like to sincerely thank the FSB and all the businesses who attended for providing an inspiring opportunity for our year 13 students- we very much look forward to working with you again.