The Apprentice contestant inspires Wellingborough students to become entrepreneurs

She visited Weavers Academy to speak to sixth-form students

By Alison Bagley
Wednesday, 9th February 2022, 5:34 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th February 2022, 12:32 pm

Students at a Wellingborough school have been inspired by the visit of entrepreneur Francesca Kennedy Wallbank, a candidate in the latest series of The Apprentice.

Weavers Academy sixth form students were treated to a talk from the 27-year-old, who spoke to them about her flourishing business career focusing on sustainability.

The maths graduate from Surrey has been inundated with requests for public appearances since leaving the BBC show, but she chose Weavers as part of the levelling up programme.

Francesca with the students

She said: "People have reached out to me. I have had a lot of different schools but Weavers is part of the levelling up. People wouldn't usually come to them.

"The key thing is for me is the focus on disruption and that they are not going to have messing about."

Ms Kennedy Wallbank crashed out of Lord Sugar's boardroom, hearing the famous 'You're Fired', after a spelling blunder that led to her team losing a computer games task.

She said: "Being able to spell is not the be all and end all. Students shouldn't let it hold them back. In real life you have spell check. I proved my worth in the other tasks.

Francesca Kennedy Wallbank with Sixth Form students from Weavers Academy and Danny Alexis (pastoral manager Year 10) and Magnus Wallace (vice principal)

"When I got fired the crew came up and said they couldn't believe it. Karren (Brady) said 'I thought you were going to win'."

Students studying different subjects spent time with Francesca Kennedy Wallbank and said they have been impressed by her ideas.

Business Studies student Lucy Kildin, 18, said: "I found it very inspirational and incentivising. It was weird seeing her in person - she's really nice. I could apply for The Apprentice in the future."

Unique Holland, 17, said: "It's not often we get this experience here. I was very impressed to see someone from the TV come to see us."

A-Level pupil Rosie Clark,17, who is studying chemistry, biology and geography, said: "I'm thinking of doing my degree in chemistry but I could start my own perfume business."

While at the school Ms Kennedy Wallbank spoke to students who started businesses including one selling cup cakes online.

Danny Alexis, Year 10 pastoral manager, said: "We offer business retail and business enterprise GCSEs. Lockdown has led to quite a few people to be entrepreneurial.

"When the students see someone from the TV it's aspirational and tangible. Seeing a young powerful woman on screen is inspirational."

The Apprentice season 16 continues on BBC One on Thursday at 9pm and on iPlayer, with Ms Kennedy Wallbank unable to shed any light on the winner.

She added: "I'm obsessed by The Apprentice. I have taken so much out of the process. I would like Nick and Brittany to go through. They are genuinely really lovely people."

Jonathan Hunt, vice principal said: "We were very pleased to welcome Francesca Kennedy-Wallbank to Weavers Academy to talk to groups of students in Year 11 and the sixth form.

"During her visit Ms Kennedy Wallbank spoke to students in breakfast club and toured the school. In fact, many staff were excited to meet her, especially Mr Alexis, a super fan.

Ms Kennedy Wallbank commented on the academy's ethos, ensuring disruption free learning and spoke of her experiences whilst at school that impacted her lessons.

She said that the focus on disruption free learning combined with the 'levelling up' project were some of the reasons that she was keen to visit.

All staff at Weavers Academy are committed to providing the best opportunities to students both in and out of the classroom. We shared our exciting projects with Ms Kennedy Wallbank.

The 'our town' project caught her attention as this project is aimed at community and focuses on sustainability.

We are very grateful that she took time out of her busy schedule to visit us. We hope she will return to formally open our sustainability project in the future."