Six of the best put their chal­leng­ing ideas to test

HOME WIN: Bethany School stu­dent tri­umphs with con­fi­dent speech on cli­mate change

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - RECRUITMENT & BUSINESS -

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.

Crit­i­cal role

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.

pd1162759 Buy this pic­ture from ken­ton­

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

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