Inspirational Women Panel at John Smeaton Academy

This special event gave pupil premium students an opportunity to meet a number of successful women from a range of backgrounds and industries.

jsa inspiration women day

FOCUS: Help break gender stereotypes and inspire young women in East Leeds about their future careers.

Hosted by Eversheds Sutherland at Bridgewater Place, this interactive Inspirational Women Panel activity started with informal networking involving all of the Year 9 students and volunteers from Eversheds, CTS Training, Carillion, Ernst & Young and the University of Leeds.

Michelle Manson, who grew up and still lives in the John Smeaton area, delivered a keynote speech about her career journey to becoming the CEO of CTS training.

Following this there was a Q&A panel with the volunteers which included questions such as ‘What has been the biggest obstacle you have faced in your career and how did you overcome it?’ and ‘What message would you give to your 13 year old self?’

To round the day off Ernst & Young and Eversheds Sutherland told the students about their apprenticeship programmes in Accounting and Law. The activity finished with a tour of Eversheds Sutherland offices. In addition to hearing about the individual volunteers’ paths to success students were also able to gain more in depth information about careers in areas such as Science, Construction, Law and Finance.


  • 100% of students that took part said it helped them understand jobs they could do in the future
  • 100% of students said they felt more ready for the world of work
  • 92% of students said they now had more awareness of their own skills and aspirations


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