Ex-students from Ormiston Ilkeston Enterprise Academy returned to inspire current students with their success stories.
They talked to Year 10 about their lives, education and career pathways after leaving OIEA and offered students some helpful tips for the future as part of a Raising Aspirations day.
Local employers also came in and each Year 10 student was given a mock interview to prepare them for the future.
Nina McNelis, teacher at OIEA who helped organise the Raising Aspirations day, said the aim of the day was to show students that anything is possible if they work hard.
She said: “We’ve got a motto in our school and on our Alumni display board that says ‘work hard, dream big, anything is possible’ and we really want every student to believe that if they work hard enough there is nothing in their way to stop them.
“Ex-students who have gone on to be really successful agreed to come back and talk to our Year 10 students as part of our Raising Aspirations day. They ranged from a fashion designer who designs gowns in LA, students who went on to university, an architectural technologist and an associate at a major firm in London to Young Businessman of the Year and students who went travelling.”
Ex-student Michael Wallace, fashion designer, said he was delighted to return to his former school to inspire current students.
He said: “I left school 12 years ago and they asked me to come back in and inspire the students and help them progress and follow their dreams.”
Charlie Parker, associate at Ernst and Young in London, said she thought it was important to share her experiences with current students.
She said: “I think it’s so important for people who have the experience and who have managed to do something really good to come back in and talk to students. I was the first person in my family to go to university and I’m not from a particularly wealthy background. I’m really happy to share my experiences with the students and hopefully inspire them.”
Robert Hodgkinson, commercial director at Hodgkinson Builders, said he enjoyed speaking to Year 10.
He said: “I talked to the students about their future careers and aspirations and where they want to be in life and gave them a few tips in terms of working hard and being enthusiastic about what they do and never giving up on their dreams.”