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Inspiring Old Girl’s Advice for Year 10 and Year 9

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Girls in Year 10 began their day with a Zoom call connecting them to Old Girl Hannah Sutcliffe (Class of 2011), a co-founder of VR training company MOONHUB who has been nominated as an ‘Influential Woman in Tech’. Hannah spoke to pupils as part of a series of World of Work talks for the year group.

Hannah admitted that she initially had no idea of what she wanted to do, whether to go to university or get a job, but eventually decided to study Modern Languages with Management at Leicester University. She knew she didn’t want to go down the obvious route of becoming a translator, interpreter or teacher, but felt that this course would keep her options open.

She said, ‘I would encourage you to think about languages and don’t just brush them off to one side, because the skills you get from studying a language are amazing.’ Though she was very shy at school, spending four months in France and six months in Spain for her year abroad at university threw her in at the deep end: these experiences were hard, but helped her to grow as a person and developed her bravery and confidence.

After graduating in 2015, she still didn’t have a career path in mind and gave her audience a whistle stop tour of the various things she tried. She worked for a design company where she travelled Europe and held meetings in French and Spanish, completed a Marketing internship, and even tried primary school teaching! She said, ‘Take any single piece of work experience that gets thrown at you. You might try it and love it or you might not like it, but it’s something to put on CV and you will always gain skills from it.’

After deciding that teaching was not for her, she joined a friend from university who was setting up MOONHUB, a virtual reality training company. Hannah is MOONHUB’s Relationship Manager: she talks with companies to develop training scenarios for them to use in virtual reality. By using MOONHUB, their staff can feel like they are doing their training on the shop floor without physically being there, which is a definite plus now that Covid and lockdown have required a shift towards remote learning. At the age of 27, Hannah has been nominated as an ‘Influential Woman in Tech’ and one of the top ‘Female Sales Professionals in Training and Coaching’.

She commented on the huge amount of confidence she had gained in just ten years, despite the hurdles she has faced. She now wants to encourage more young women to enter the worlds of business and tech.

At the end of the session, there was time for each form to ask a question. In answering, Hannah spoke about her favourite parts of her job, how studying languages has helped her in her current role, her expectations about her career and her lack of regrets, and the biggest challenges she has faced. She also advised her younger self to believe in herself.

Hannah’s talk no doubt opened the Year 10 girls’ eyes to the confidence that learning another language can bring as well as the broad spectrum of possibilities it opens up in the world of work. She also provided an inspirational female role model for those interested in entering business or the field of technology.

A few weeks later, on 1 March, Hannah once again Zoomed with Bolton School girls: she addressed the whole of Year 9 across two morning sessions to speak about her education, career path and how languages have helped her. She encouraged and inspired the girls to continue learning a language at GCSE.

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