The Power of Education: Akala’s visit to Chesterfield

We sent our Tuesday afternoon host, Julie Drury, to see the first talk in ‘The Sparks Series’ brought to us by Chesterfield College and DANCOP. This is what she had to say:

On Wednesday 10th October I was part of a good-sized audience assembled to see Akala, an inspirational speaker who was brought to Chesterfield by our local college as part of their Sparks Series and I’m so glad I was there!

Although I was sat at the back, I never missed a word that was spoken from this man who had such an air of self-assurance and positivity it was infectious! His talk struck a chord with me as, despite my health problems, I like to learn new things, I find it rewarding and it helps my self-confidence. His theme was ‘The Power of Education’ and his key points and advice were overall realistic and achievable, yet they inspired you to aim high; encouraging ‘us’ to value education and to look for different sources of education not just from the traditional establishments of school, college and university. He talked about lifelong learning and that spoke to me even more as my degree is in Teaching and Learning in Further Education and the Lifelong Learning Sector yet because of my health I rarely use the skills I developed in higher education. I really believe that I was meant to be there to consider my current options, my views on life and my hopes and wishes for my future.

Akala has achieved so much in his life, he’s 34 from a working-class background, and I believe he’ll continue to achieve much more. His successes have enabled him to travel the world and to lead him to global accomplishments; I sat and listened, considering my goals, and made the decision to invest more in myself. I did have a quick opportunity to ask him a question, it was entirely personal, but I wanted to dig deeper to ‘work him out’ a little more. I asked him if he had a faith – yes not what you’d generally ask a stranger! His answer about faith made me smile as his views are along the same lines as my own in that he does not have a recognised faith. He talked about spirituality and morals, beliefs and ways of thinking and treating people and his overall response was one I could genuinely relate to. I appreciated his reply and thanked him for his time and his talk in general.

To wrap up my overview, I’d like to say that during his speech he spoke of ‘finding things in life that you love to do, and if you can’t do that, find things you like to do’. I’m going to take his advice and see where it takes me. I must thank Lisa Came, PR & Communications Officer at Chesterfield College, for giving me the opportunity to attend the first of The Sparks Series and I look forward to the next two talks with anticipation.

The Sparks Series continues with ‘Simon Wheatcroft – Making the Impossible, Possible’, on Wednesday 14th November at 2 pm, in the Chesterfield Library Theatre. Tickets are available on We will be there to report back again and share the event with you here on the website.

Julie will be talking more about the talk this Tuesday between 3 and 6 pm, only on Spire Radio.

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