STUDENTS at Cowley School were given a motivational talk by a former senior civil servant.

The former Permanent Secretary at the Department of International Trade, Sir Martin Donnelly visited the school on Thursday (March 7) to give an inspirational talk as part of the Speakers for Schools initiative.

Mr Donnelly is a high-profile UK official whose career across central government, starting in the Treasury to Whitehall leadership at Permanent Secretary level, has connected closely with business decision makers in the UK and internationally.

He delivered an engaging talk to more than 150 students from Cowley International College and its sixth form and from Haydock High.

Mr Donnelly focused on topics such as having self-confidence, being prepared and Brexit, as well as offering students an insight into his personal and career highlights.

Students asked questions about Brexit and what the impact could be on their education and career, as well as what a second referendum could mean.

Cameron Sheeran, principal at Cowley, thanked Sir Martin for taking the time to speak with students.

He said: “All young people need inspirational role models and we are delighted that students have had this opportunity.

"Sir Martin Donnelly’s extensive career has inspired our students and shown them what can be achieved with hard work and dedication.”

The Speakers for School initiative was set up by Robert Peston, the BBC's business editor and is dedicated to giving back to schools through free, inspiring talks for students.