‘Unlock your potential’ United Utilities’ director tells Liverpool schoolchildren

Pupils at a Liverpool school were treated to a careers lesson with a difference in February to inspire them to unlock their potential and stand out from the crowd.
United Utilities’ Customer Services and People Director, Louise Beardmore, told the Year 8 class, at All Saints Catholic High School in Kirkby, her personal story, the route she took to where she is now, the decisions she made along the way and the career opportunities on offer at United Utilities.
 
“I didn’t fully recognise the importance of school at the time but I always worked hard to achieve and I did lots of extra activities to make me stand out,” Louise told the students during her hour-long lesson.
“One thing you should all think about is not just what you want to do, but who you want to work for as that's also really important. Working with a big company like United Utilities has given me the opportunity to travel and live all over the world,” she added.
During her lesson Louise explained that she worked part-time while she was studying at university and this helped her learn skills that she’s found valuable throughout her career including time-keeping, organisation, budgeting, prioritisation, self-sufficiency and the fact that small acts can go a long way. She also described how when she was diagnosed with dyslexia, while studying at university, it didn’t hold her back and she went on to achieve a first class honours degree from Salford University – the only person in her year to get the top grade.
 
Louise also set the students a task to help them ‘stand out from the crowd’. The activity was aimed at helping the students understand how their skills, studies and how they present themselves translate into the world of work.
 
Headteacher at All Saints Catholic High school, Tony McGuinness, said: “What a fantastic opportunity to have Louise visit All Saints Catholic High School. As a school we are really keen to present our students with positive role models who've been successful in their industries. This morning it was fantastic to hear Louise describe her own journey that the kids can relate to, as her mother originates from the Kirkby community. She was able to share her career path, the skills she developed and the challenges she's overcome. The children have benefited from some real life experience that will assist them with the next stage of their education."
 
The visit was made possible by a partnership between United Utilities and education charity Teach First. The charity has been working since 2003 to recruit and train great teachers to work in low-income communities. Recruiting more Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) teachers to address the skills shortage, champion those subjects and educate their pupils on the opportunities available in the sector is a key priority for Teach First.
 
Colin Ferguson, Teach First Local Director for the North West, said: “It’s great to see local businesses connect with schools in this way. We would encourage more organisations to spend time in schools to educate young people on careers available to them. Thank you to Louise for taking time out of her schedule and for United Utilities for their support of Teach First.”
 
All Saints Catholic High School is a mixed-sex, Knowsley-based, Roman Catholic secondary school educating pupils aged 11–18 years of age in the Kirkby area of Merseyside, England.