In celebration of International Women’s Day on Friday 8th March, over 150 delegates and students met together at Neale-Wade Academy in March to talk about careers, barriers and how we might overcome them.
Karen Beckwith, President of March Rotary Club and one of the event organisers, introduced the event, telling us “This is the first event of this type to happen in Fenland. I’m delighted to have helped create this opportunity for students at Neale-Wade Academy to meet with inspirational women and men working across a huge range of varied careers, listening to their stories, asking questions, and learning more about the career opportunities that are open to them.”.
Rev’d Ruth Clay, another of the event organisers, shared her thoughts about the success of the event, “We’ve been delighted to host a fantastic event at Neale-Wade Academy, with so much support from people across Fenland and Cambridgeshire. It was wonderful to see so much engagement from the students. We have been privileged to have great sponsorship and practical help from both charities and local industry alike, and there is great potential for future engagement through the careers department and the church.”.

The students listened as Margaret Oatey, MBE, talked about volunteering and how it can help you to learn the skills needed for career opportunities. Harriet Hoskin from Burmor Construction, talked about building confidence, varying career paths, some 300 different roles available in the construction industry and the importance of discovering the barriers to women entering this industry. Kim French, Mayor of March, highlighted how transferrable skills are an important element in helping you journey along your career path, and Teapots dance company director, Tiegan Liebscher, a former student at Neale-Wade Academy, shared her inspirational story of how she overcame obstacles to follow her dream of becoming a dancer.
Delegates and students were invited to unleash their creativity in a workshop run by event sponsor 20twenty productions, designing a tote bag to take away as a memento of the day. Thoughtful conversations were heard between small groups of students and delegates, as they talked about their careers and the journey of how they got there, with students sharing their aspirations for the future and discussing potential barriers to those aspirations. Bishop Dagmar, Acting Bishop of Ely, led a few moments of reflection during the event, as well as discussing her own career with students.
The atmosphere of the event was one of positivity and excitement for the possibilities open to students, with many hearing about new careers that they had never considered, and others encouraged in their potential choices as they heard from delegates working in their chosen fields. Each and every student gave the thumbs up to the event, with delegates feeling equally pleased to be involved too.

Graham Horn, Principal of Neale-Wade Academy praised the event, saying, “I am delighted that today’s event was such a great success and that our pupils had the opportunity to engage with so many inspirational and diverse women from the local area. I am extremely proud to be an advocate for the success of our female pupils here at Neale-Wade and it is hugely encouraging for the future to see so much energy and enthusiasm in the room today.”.