ILKLEY resident, Rory Smith who is the chief soccer correspondent at The New York Times made a return to The Grammar School at Leeds recently, to inspire students interested in a career in media and communications.

Rory Smith was a student at Leeds Grammar School, one of GSAL’s founding schools, from 1990 until 2000. As part of the school’s annual Futures Conference he spoke to young people about his experience as a journalist, shared his advice on how to get ahead in the sector now and the personal qualities which are valued by employers. Rory encouraged the pupils to get practical work experience opportunities at local papers such as the Ilkley Gazette whilst at school and university.

Over 400 young pupils aged 15 to 17 from GSAL and Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School attended the event and gained valuable advice from over 50 alumni, including Simon Gillis from Academy Award-winning production house See Saw Films, Deputy Chief Executive and Second Permanent Secretary of HMRC, Angela MacDonald and Deputy Medical Director at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Sarah Sherliker. Students even had the chance to get involved in a high-stakes and hands-on trading game organised by Paul Anderson from Deutsche Bank.

Some of the sessions were recorded and will be shared with GSAL’s partner schools across the region so thousands of students can benefit from the advice and experiences.

Kieran Gaffey, Careers Coordinator at Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School, Leeds, said: “Our students fully enjoyed the event at GSAL learning about potential future careers from inspirational speakers. Many thanks for the invite and warm welcome from GSAL.”

Students ended the day on a high. “I found the sessions really eye-opening and interesting and finding out about careers that were completely new to me,” said Ellie, year 12 student.

The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) is a leading independent school for boys and girls aged three to 18, created in 2008 through the merger of Leeds Grammar School and Leeds Girls’ High School. The school has 2,100 pupils and is based in a semi-rural location at Alwoodley Gates.