One of the guest speakers presenting to the students during our Inspire Week.

Inspire Week: Rotherham College Host Series of Motivational Speakers

13 May 2022

Recently, Rotherham College hosted a variety of motivational guest speakers as part of its ‘Inspire Project’. The series of talks were held to inspire students to realise their potential in college and beyond.

Rotherham College, along with its partner Colleges North Notts College, Dearne Valley College as well as University Centre Rotherham (together forming RNN Group) hosted five highly renowned guest talks from field experts in mental health, ambition, positivity and careers.

The talks are part of the education Group’s initiative to help students believe in themselves and seek greater career opportunities. As well as taking part in guest talks, students are also given the opportunity to work in one-on-one sessions with the guest speakers over the next four weeks. 

Inspire Week began with a talk from Steve Sallis, author of ‘Educating Football’, and England Men’s U-15 Mental Conditioning Coach, discussing how to overcome setbacks. On Tuesday, Oliver Newton spoke to the students about how running has helped him overcome his battle with depression and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), encouraging them to speak out to any member of staff if they are struggling. 

On Wednesday, Leonie Lightfoot from Chimpmanagement spoke to students about understanding their own mind, and how to battle some of the more negative ‘inner chimp’ thoughts. This was followed by a speech from former professional footballer Luke Staton on Thursday, discussing how a career-ending injury within football has never stopped him from achieving his best.  

Finally, the week was rounded off by Positive Psychologist, Martin Burder, who roused students and staff with intriguing questions and the science behind happiness, positivity and success, and how, with the right mindset, students can help each other. 

Students, staff and the speakers were full of praise for the Inspire Week, with many commenting on the importance of incorporating these types of guest talks in the students’ College experience. 

Entry Level 3 in ESOL student Mansour Mafi-Balani was one of the students who felt inspired by the series of talks. 

He said: ‘’I want to be successful, and the talks during Inspire Week have helped me believe in myself even more that this is possible. I wasted my time too much when I was younger, and I know I can achieve more, which is why I came back to College at the age of 47. 

‘’It is so important to me to be successful and the talks were really motivational.’’ 

Level 3 Health and Social Care student Jess Rollinson was another that felt the talks were empowering. 

She said: ‘’I found the talks really interesting and very helpful to understand tackling challenges and feeling confident with how the mind can work.’’ 

Positive Psychology speaker Martin Burder added: “I’m proud to play a part in helping young people realise and understand that every skill they possess has a value. Whatever skills they are learning in college now, they can translate into their careers and daily lives.”

Oliver Newton, who spoke to Rotherham College students on the Tuesday of Inspire week said: “Being honest about my story and knowing that I am helping others is what inspires me to continue with Run4YourMind and with my motivational talks. I find talking in front of large groups difficult and daunting, but knowing I’m inspiring and helping others keeps me going.” 


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