This month we caught up with Claire Young who is the founder of School Speakers. It is an agency which specialises in offering inspirational talks and workshops to students across a wide range of subjects including STEM, enterprise, careers, social media, anti- bullying, sports and award events. Their overall aim is to raise aspiration and to inspire, motivate & educate young people! It brings real life experiences into the classroom and connects students with an array of outstanding role models.
The company recently celebrated it’s sixth birthday and has seen significant success in the past few years winning several awards recognising it’s contribution. School Speakers now has over 300 speakers working across the UK and internationally with schools overseas.
We have worked with Claire and the School Speakers team for a number of years now and it’s been a pleasure to see the brand grow and evolve.
Sum up your company in no more than 10 words.
School Speakers is an
agency which offers talks, workshops and full day activities for students.
What was the initial inspiration behind School Speakers?
After appearing on
The Apprentice, I was inundated by schools asking me to go and speak to their
students. I quickly saw a gap in the market to make it easier for teachers to
find great speakers who were experienced at talking in schools, had been vetted
and checked that they were of high quality and that they were in line with
their budget. Six years on, we now have over 300 speakers and work with
thousands of schools across the UK and internationally.
What drives your business forward?
My ideas and energy
drive School Speakers forward. I have great passion and love for my business
and I am conscious that we need to constantly evolve so that we are offering
students the best opportunities to inspire, motivate and engage in their
What has been the most exciting moment for you, personally, since being at the company?
I have been very lucky
to have some amazing experiences since starting School Speakers; winning
Wakefield Business Person of the Year 2015, being nominated for the Queen’s
Enterprise Awards twice, going to the Buckingham Palace Garden Party for
enterprise work. But probably most importantly, being able to strike a good
work-life balance around my young daughter Eva. It is also very rewarding to
think that the work we do is hopefully shaping the future of some young
peoples’ lives – speaker visits can spark drive, determination and open up
their eyes to new ideas.
What is the biggest challenge for your business?
Cash flow! Making
sure that people pay on time. As a business owner, cash is king and if the
money stops - everything grinds to a halt. Keep on top of your finances.
How important is a digital presence for School Speakers?
The majority of sales
enquiries come to School Speakers through a Google search and the website, so a
digital presence is absolutely critical. It is the ‘shop window’ and allows
people to find us, connect and, hopefully, book our services.
How did you first hear about Statement?
recommended to me via a friend. Word of mouth is by far the best form of
marketing (and it costs nothing!).
When you initially contacted us, what were you looking for?
Help and somebody
local. I wanted to be able to speak to someone face to face and build that
relationship. We wanted a new website which was easy to update and manage.
What kind of comments do people make about your website?
Teachers love our
website as they say that it is easy to navigate, it is simple to review
speakers, eye catching and they like the fact that we have no advertising pop ups.
What's next for School Speakers?
In the next academic
year, School Speakers will be working more internationally and also offering
free events for students where we will bring several speakers together called