Six of the best put their challenging ideas to test
HOME WIN: Bethany School student triumphs with confident speech on climate change
TOUGH challenges facing the county from climate change inspired six students to give memorable public speeches in a contest that saw a 16-year-old would-be business leader triumph over his rivals.
Tom Hutchings, a lower sixth student at Bethany School, Goudhurst, won the 2007 Kent County Young Enterprise Public Speaking Competition with a confident talk on this difficult topic. Greg Chambers, 18, from Invicta Grammar School, Maidstone, was runner-up.
Cllr Alex King, deputy leader of Kent County Council and president of Young Enterprise (YE), presented the trophies.
He said that the ability of young people to communicate would play a critical role in the county’s future.
“It is your determination, your ability to persuade, your belief in what you do and how you argue your case that will take our county forward,” he said. “You have these skills. Use them.”
For Tom, it was a notable home win in a contest staged for the first time at Bethany School.
Communication in business life is amazingly important... Young people needed articulate role models like Nelson Mandela and Tony Blair
Tom’s seven-minute speech impressed the judges Robin Gibson, from BBC South East Today, Stephanie Bedford, former head of Angley School, and Trevor Sturgess, business editor of the Kent Messenger Group.
Tom admitted he had been nervous in the moments before giving his speech to an audience of nearly 100. “But as soon as you’re out there, you’ve just got to enjoy it,” he said.
Tom is managing director of Vertigo, a YE company he set up with fellow students at Bethany School. He hopes to join a multinational company after university with the ultimate goal of becoming a company managing director.
Good speaking skills would be vital in that role, he said.
“Communication in business life is amazingly important, as it is in school.”
Current role models like footballers and pop stars were often less good at public speaking.
Young people needed articulate role models like Nelson Mandela and Tony Blair, Tom added.
He now goes on to his deliver his winning speech at the Kent Institute of Directors annual dinner in Canterbury on March 15.
For Greg, from Detling, his interest in renewable energy helped his talk. He is involved with YE company Plethora at Invicta and hopes to study mechanical engineering at Cambridge after leaving school.
“I settled into the talk quite quickly but when I realised I was going over time, then the nerves started to kick in,” he admitted.
The other finalists were Jonathan Dauncey, from Skinners School, Tunbridge Wells; Jon Shepard, from Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical School, Rochester; Tara Marti, from Simon Langton Girls Grammar, Canterbury; and Daria Mironova, from Dover College.
The event was organised by the Ashford Area Board of Young Enterprise and its chairman, Phil Mummery. Penny Britland of HSBC Bank was the timekeeper.
Cllr Alex King, president of Young Enterprise, at the Kent County Public Speaking Competition, with winner Tom Hutchings, right, of Bethany School, and runner-up Greg Chambers, of Invicta Grammar School
Cllr Alex King with finalists in the public speaking competition