Merrill Academy Students Gain Inspiration From Apprentice Star

Businesswoman and motivational speaker Melody Hossaini, a former candidate on BBC Television’s ‘The Apprentice’, visited Merrill Academy recently as part of her national Success Tour in partnership with National Citizen Service (NCS) to inspire young people to achieve their goals.

Melody met with students to talk about future career choices and exam revision tips as well as more about the NCS programme, and she spoke about how her own experiences have shaped her successful career. Melody’s story and life experiences have played a huge part in getting her to where she is now. After her family fled war-torn Iran, they sought refuge in Sweden. Melody grew up in the UK and that’s when she developed a passion to inspire young people to engage fully with the world around them. At 13, she became a Co-Founder of the UK Youth Parliament where she spent ten years volunteering and supporting young people to “be the change they want to see”.

Thousands of young people aged 16 and 17 will be joining the four-week NCS programme this summer, which is delivered in Derby by Ingeus. The programme includes a week of outward bound and team building activities before participants arrange and manage a community project. Some of them will also be joining Melody’s InspirEngage Bootcamps, which is focused on turning social action into a social enterprise.

She explained: “Merrill Academy was chosen as one of only two schools in Derby for the ‘NCS – The Success Tour’ and it has been wonderful to meet some of the young people to talk about how they should be thinking proactively about their futures. “The NCS programme is a life-changing experience for young people and I hope that our visit has inspired them to consider what success looks like for them. “It is all about getting out of your own comfort zone and that was certainly the case for me facing Lord Sugar in ‘The Apprentice’. “It was a huge personal achievement to get through to the last 16 out of 75,000 applicants and it was certainly the hardest thing I have ever done.”

Melody is pictured (centre) with Merrill Academy Year 11 learners Molly Enright (15), left, and Ella Vickers (16) who are both sitting their GCSE examinations this summer and then plan to study A levels at Derby College’s Joseph Wright Campus this September.

Molly, who has already signed up to join the NCS programme this summer, said: “Melody’s session was really engaging and insightful. “I learnt the true meaning of being successful and I’m now even more excited about taking part in NCS this summer. “I’m most looking forward to meeting new people on NCS and challenging myself by going out of my comfort zone.  My aim on NCS is to improve my confidence as this will help me with my career goals of becoming a Barrister.” Ella continued: “This talk showed us all that even the little things you do can have a huge impact in life.”

Merrill Academy Headteacher Marcus Shepherd concluded: “We are delighted that Merrill Academy was chosen to be part of the NCS Success Tour. “The students gained a great deal from Melody’s inspirational presentation and I am sure that many more of them will now consider the NCS programme. “NCS is highly regarded by employers and opens young people’s eyes to just what can be achieved by working together as a team for the good of their local communities.”

Like NCS, Melody believes young people have the power to make an impact on the world. To read more about Melody Hossaini and all her work, visit her website here or get in touch:

To find out more about NCS, visit

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