The special guests headlining this year’s Student Conference are…

The special guests headlining this year’s Student Conference are…

A leading line up of national and local community champions are bringing students a landmark event for the College calendar that promises to be bigger and better than ever before.

This year the Student Conference is being opened up to even more learners due to its scheduling over the Microsoft Showcase College’s Teams platform on Thursday 4th February.

Following a welcome by the College Principal and CEO James Scott, learners will be able to break out into virtual rooms to quiz leading lights: MP Navendu Mishra on his political journey, the Association of College’s North West director Richard Caulfield on his work on mental health, entrepreneur and influencer Oba Akinwale on events and public speaking, assistant site manager of the College’s £24m redevelopment Seddon’s Zoe McArdle on construction work in a male-dominated industry, and the Manager of Nationwide Gayle Bray, for insights into working in financial management.

Soundbites are also expected to play from peers to inspire learners about the opportunities College life has to offer, and all participants will be given the chance to get their voices heard via online feedback forms.

Student Engagement and Student Voice Lead, Michelle McLaughlin, said: “This is a key opportunity to get student voices out there and celebrate how our young people have demonstrated our College values during these challenging times.”

Students interested in participating in this year’s Student Conference should contact their tutors to register.

Guest Bios

MP Navendu Mishra

Navendu Mishra was elected as the Member of Parliament for Stockport at the 2019 General Election. He is deeply honoured to be able to represent the area where he and his family live. Before entering politics, Navendu worked as a shop-floor trade unionist in Stockport, before becoming an organiser for Unison trade union, where he organised care workers in precarious employment fight against their conditions. Navendu was a member of the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee between 2018 and his election to Parliament in December 2019, serving as one of the nine Constituency Labour Party representatives. Since being elected, Navendu joined the Socialist Campaign Group of MPs, and is a member of several All Party Parliamentary Groups, including Rail, Fairtrade, Woods & Trees, Cricket and Beer. In addition, he is a member of Unite and USDAW trade unions. Navendu was previously the Parliamentary Private Secretary to former Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner, and later held the same position when she was appointed Chair and Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. Navendu’s policy interests include transport, the environment and housing.

Oba Akinwale – Loud Speaker

In my time so far, I have spent two years as the Deputy President of the University of Liverpool, started an events company and digital marketing agency as well as Loud Speaker – a public speaking and confidence-building workshop that delivers across the country. Students can expect to gain an insight on my two favourite topics: having the confidence to set up your own business and speaking in a way to make people listen. Any students who have ideas worth hearing or dreams of working for themselves can learn how to get started, hear some of the ups and downs I’ve faced and, most importantly, learn from my mistakes!

Richard Caulfield – Association of Colleges

Richard Caulfield has been the North West Area Director for the Association of Colleges (AoC) for over six years working closely with all the further education colleges within the region. He also leads the AoC’s work on mental health, he instigated the AoC Mental Health Charter, which has been signed by 170 colleges and has helped the colleges in Greater Manchester develop successful mental health projects over the last two years with resources from the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership.

Gayle Bray - Nationwide

I have worked for Nationwide for over 20 years and been a manager for 16 years of these. I believe in the Nationwide brand and being part of the community, we live and work in. Being a leader and developing a team to be the best they can is part of the role I enjoy; over the years I have helped many people with their career development. Growing our membership through great service is something I am passionate about. Outside of work I am a mother of two boys who are 14 and 18 and love going on holidays with my family. I support the Wolves and love reading books.

Zoe McArdle - Seddons

Zoe McArdle is currently the Assistant Site Manager for Seddons Construction and is working on the Stockport College redevelopment. Zoe aimed for a career in the construction industry and set her sights on developing her skills and knowledge to achieve her goals. She works in a traditionally male-dominated industry and will share her journey and her insights into the industry. Zoe is 25 years old and is currently studying for her Masters at De Montfort University.