Olympian Cassie Patten inspires students and local business people with tales of focus, fortitude and jelly fish

cassie-patten-and-olympic-medal-1-2cropOpen Water Swimming Olympian and medallist Cassie Patten gave the key note speech at Network First, our first business and young person’s event held at the Gryphon school in October.  Cassie was inspirational with her story of passion for swimming, hard work, sacrifice and the need to overcoming a phobia of jelly fish when forced to compete at world championships in Australia in a sea teeming with the slippery creatures.

During the Network First event in October, Gryphon School students studying a range of A levels and BTEC qualifications met 24 business representatives in a speed dating format.  This turned the traditional format of a careers event on its head and gave the students the opportunity to lead the questioning, asking the questions they wanted and building confidence in engaging with a wide range of people they would not normally come across.

The room was filled with a buzz of excitestudents-and-business-delegates-cropment and the young people reported that their confidence increased as they went through the morning – something which will help them when it comes to interviews. Unforeseen outcomes also include identifying ways in which the Rendezvous can connect some young people to other opportunities to help them work towards their goals.

The event was aimed at students who have decided against going to university .  The visiting business representatives left with a better understanding of the pressures young people are under to define exactly what they want to do and make choices at a stage in their lives when many are unsure and unaware of the opportunities that exist and as one person said, “academic qualifications are only a small part of the recruitment process: passion, motivation, desire to do well are important too.”

All of the businesses expressed an interest in attending other similar events and the positive response from young people means we are keen to run this event again.  please get in touch if you would like to know more or to get involved.


We are extrecassie-patten-and-business-delegates-1-cropmely grateful to Cassie Patten and Richard Snook from the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, Steve Martin at the Gryphon School for hosting us and all the businesses and organisations involved in the event:


  • Albert Goodmans
  • Berthrams
  • Bradfords
  • Courtyard Salon
  • Dorset County Council
  • Eastbury
  • Get Connected
  • Kingston Maurward
  • Pittards
  • Marketing – Financial
  • Olivers
  • Old Mill
  • Safer Neighbourhood team
  • Sainsburys
  • Sherb Clinical Hypno
  • Somerset Care
  • TV Producer
  • Wessex Water
  • White Horse Farm