I Am Looking For

Developing Skills for Future Success

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Year 12 students in the Girls’ Division spent a morning developing a wide range of skills for the workplace and discovering why these soft skills are important. The year group split into three for a series of helpful workshops before reconvening in the Great Hall for a keynote speech from Old Girl Hannah Sutcliffe (Class of 2011), co-founder of virtual reality training company Moonhub.

Hannah also ran one of the morning’s sessions in the Leverhulme Suite. After a brief introduction to what Moonhub does, she challenged the girls to imagine themselves as marketing agencies and asked them to come up with a pitch to help her company go global. The groups came up with lots of creative advertising campaigns and marketing strategies to introduce Moonhub to businesses in another country.

Working with Miss Jones, the Girls’ Division Director for HE and Sixth Form Careers, students discussed the traits and abilities that are encompassed by ‘soft skills’ and talked about ways to build a strong CV and increase their employability. The workshop ended with a fun ‘bin bag challenge’ where the girls were asked to create a fashionable outfit with a theme using only a bin bag and craft supplies, which they then presented to the rest of the group.

Outside at the Green Pavilion the Sixth Formers worked on their teamwork and problem-solving skills through physical and mental challenges in a group. They were also encouraged throughout the session to think about the differences between leadership and management and their place within a team.

The morning concluded with an engaging and informative talk from Old Girl Hannah Sutcliffe. After leaving Bolton School in 2011, she went on to study Modern Languages with Management at Leicester University. She talked about being ‘thrown in the deep end’ by her years abroad in France and Spain, and the confidence she gained as a result. Similarly, after graduating in 2015, she gained valuable experience while working for a design company, travelling the UK and Europe by herself and holding meetings in French, Spanish and English.

Hannah gave an overview of her career so far and spoke briefly about job-hopping, reassuring the audience that ‘there is not necessarily a point when you know what is for you’. She said that keeping options open and not being pigeonholed is no bad thing, and advised that continuous self-development is necessary even beyond school and university.

Moving on to the creation of Moonhub, she described how she and two friends found a gap in the market and decided to fill it. She talked about what this experience was like, the difficulties they faced and the skills that came in particularly useful. She also discussed how the business has grown and developed in the past few years. Since co-founding Moonhub, and because of all the skills she has gained as a result, Hannah has been listed as an Influential Woman in Business, an Influential Woman in Tech, and a Leader in Sales and Training.

She also shared her life lessons, one of which was: ‘It’s your life: it’s not your family’s, it’s not your friends’ and it’s not your teachers’, so don’t choose a career path because any of those extra people outside of your life are encouraging you to do that … Wherever you go with your work and career and life, you have to enjoy it.’

Hannah’s talk was followed by a question and answer sessions, in which the Sixth Formers asked her more about Moonhub, what she looks for in interview candidates, and about the challenges she has faced as a woman in business and tech.

Hannah’s full keynote speech and the Q&A that followed are available to watch again on Bolton School TV or via the play button below:

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