Youngsters from eight of Manchester United Foundation’s partner high schools enjoyed an inspirational careers event at Old Trafford, celebrating excellence in the Black community following Black History Month.
The event, delivered alongside Manchester shoe company Nusole, brought together a diverse range of individuals and organisations, providing year ten students with an insight into exciting potential career paths across multiple sectors.
There were several guests in attendance for the event, who shared stories of forging careers in their respective industries through various interactive elements, which included food tasting, a performance from BBC Radio 1’s Victoria Jane, and some students even getting a haircut!
Among numerous guest speakers on the day was ex-Red Danny Webber, who took part in a question-and-answer session with students to share insights from before, during and after his professional football career.
“It’s been really good, it’s opened my eyes and it’s the first time I’ve seen an event like this,” he said. “What stood out is how a lot of young people know what their passion is but don’t know what they’re going to do. It’s provided really good insights into the careers that are possible for people.
“The way the Foundation has done it is brilliant because there are 15 different industries in one room, with the chance to ask experts as many questions as possible in a relaxed atmosphere where people feel comfortable. I think it’s something that will be replicated further afield.”
Foundation school partnership officer and Nusole owner, Luke Ross, explained how the event benefitted the students in attendance.
“We’ve had around 60 to 70 young adults spending time with our guests. They have been introduced to people from the world of sport, fashion, TV and broadcasting, and cookery.
“We have so many students asking questions and wanting to know about other industries and career paths that they otherwise wouldn’t have been exposed to.
“The Foundation is built upon inspiring the younger generation. To have events like this running is invaluable.”
Waterhead Academy student, Irene, performed an inspirational poem to all in attendance, focused on the themes of equality and diversity following Black History Month.
While delivering her own words of wisdom to the fellow students in the room, the guest speakers at the event also had a profound impact on Irene.
“It’s really good, last year was good too, but this year it’s better,” Irene told us. “We’ve met [people from] different categories; food, the music industry, there are different areas we can talk about and see how we can progress in life with the things we have done today.
“It’s definitely boosted my confidence and I would like to do it again.”
Stretford High School student Amaan was impacted in a similarly positive manner.
Amaan said: “It’s comforting because we’re all a community and we all need to know and embrace other people’s cultures and traditions.
“It’s inspiring because it shows how much United care about all of us, which is nice.”
Aside from Webber, there were plenty further United connections in the room, among them Academy programme advisor Tony Whelan and former Academy player Joe Thompson.
Whelan said: “I’m sure some of these young people will never have been to Old Trafford before. They’re overwhelmed just by being here.
“There are some wonderful people in different spheres of work who are sharing their knowledge and experiences. I think that has got to be really comforting for the students to know that there can be a future for them, and not to let race, gender or anything else get in the way of it.”
For more information about Manchester United Foundation’s school partnership provision, please click here.