Speak Up West Midlands with HSBC

Giving young people in the West Midlands the confidence and opportunity to speak up on the issues that matter to them.

The West Midlands “Speak Out” Challenge! is designed and delivered by Speakers Trust in partnership with AimHigher and is funded and supported by HSBC UK to encourage 14- and 15-year-olds to develop public speaking and communication skills as well as build self-esteem and confidence. Now in its 5th year, over 700 young people in state schools across the West Midlands took part in this year’s Challenge.

During the academic year, each school has received a free, one-day, expert-led workshop in public speaking and communication skills. The student’s confidence in speaking to an audience, without notes, is measured at the beginning and at the end of the day.  During 2021-22, 68% of students have increased their confidence to stand up and talk to a group of people.

“The Speakers Trust ‘SPEAK OUT’ challenge was everything I could have wanted and more, it allowed me to develop my public speaking and confidence, all whilst making new friends! It was so exciting being on stage, and although i was nervous, I had so much fun! The trainers were so helpful and made me feel so comfortable through the whole experience. Thank you so much!” – West Midlands Student

Additionally, this project gives 100 state secondary schools across the West Midlands access to our digital workshops.

Young people can use a combination of self-directed learning on a digital platform and live delivery with a trainer on Zoom. By delivering the workshop remotely we can deliver all the outcomes of our in-person training and reach more students and give teachers the opportunity to deliver some of the activities themselves. All schools are offered:

  • Access to our online learning platform
  • Teacher webinars to introduce them to the programme
  • Teacher Resources to support them in delivering activities
  • ‘Office Hours’ with trainers, where teachers can ask advice
  • Public Speaking Webinars which all year 10 students in state secondary schools can access.

After the workshop, selected students enter regional public speaking competitions. – sharing their speeches on school, regional and national stages. Speeches are judges by panels of VIP judges – which helps to raise aspirations for students and the profile of young people in the community.

“The “Speak Out” Challenge! supports more than young people’s employment and career paths, they help build skills for life – ones that will empower participants to thrive at school, at home and in their communities now and in the future. We are incredibly proud of Imogen, Jaime and all the young people who have taken the challenge in the West Midlands this year, and wish them a world of opportunity and success in the years to come.” –Marie Fryers, Head of HR Advisory, HSBC UK and “Speak Out” Challenge! Judge


  • 68% of the least confident students increased their confidence.
  • 93% of students better understand the feelings, faiths, views and options of others
  • 91% of students learned skills they will used in the next stage of their education, employment or training.

Contact us to get your school involved for a FREE workshop or get inspired by one of our finalists, Favour: 

West Midlands Final 2022 at the MAC

It was an enjoyable and productive day. The students were amazing and gave phenomenal speeches

Teacher, Graveney School

My students have experienced something quite rare – the space to think and the freedom to speak about hopes and fears in an entertaining, mutually respectful and intellectually dynamic workshop. Many thanks

Cathy Haslam, Teacher

Participating in the Speak Out challenge gave me huge confidence to find my voice and be able to communicate effectively. I benefited massively as I went through my education, and continue to do so day to day in my professional career. It no doubt set me up for success!

Max Winston, Chief of Staff, Monzo

The Speak Out challenge gave me a voice that I never knew that I had. It has played an integral part in boosting my confidence and also gave me a multitude of essential life skills that I constantly apply in my day to day life. That is why when the opportunity to become an Alumni Ambassador was offered to me, I felt so honoured to become a part of this wonderful process and hopefully help others gain these invaluable life skills and find their own voice.