18 September 2015

“Live life with a positive attitude and never stop dreaming” – these were the inspirational words from businessman-turned-football club owner Darryl Eales to students at West Nottinghamshire College, one of emfec's members.

The high-flying entrepreneur visited the college’s Ashfield Centre on 16 September to share his tips for success with learners, following a personal invitation from principal and chief executive Dame Asha Khemka.

It saw him deliver a highly-motivational presentation, called ‘Winning in the Game of Life’, to a group of 50 students on childcare, hair and beauty, health and social care, and motor vehicle courses.

After outlining his own career journey, Mr Eales discussed the foundations for achieving happiness and success, along with the values of hard work, respect and a positive attitude. Mr Eales also handed out copies of ‘The Little book of Inspiration’ that he co-wrote with friend and motivational speaker Humphrey Walters.

He said: “It was a privilege to speak to such an engaged group of students. I am passionate about inspiring young people to be the very best that they can be. This means encouraging them to think about what it is that they really like doing and the attitudes, beliefs and behaviours to help them reach their goals.

“Aspiration is all that young people really need. If I can influence just one individual to do something differently or go on to achieve their dreams, then I’m delighted.”

A chartered accountant by background, Mr Eales enjoyed a soaring career in corporate finance, which included more than a decade spent as chief executive of leading UK private equity firm LDC before becoming its advisory chairman in May 2014.

Mr Eales is also chairman of hugely successful entrepreneurial group E2Exchange – whose founder and chief executive is Shalini Khemka, daughter of Dame Asha – and last year he became owner and chairman of Football League outfit Oxford United.

Dame Asha said: “It’s not often I am lost for words but hearing Darryl was just amazing. To have someone of his status come and share their motivation, enthusiasm and inspiration with students is quite rare. I know he was really impressed by everyone he met and is keen to come back next year.”

Josh Clarke, 17, who is studying the entry-level diploma in vehicle technology at the centre, said: “Darryl was really motivational. He’s given me the determination to do things that I’ve always wanted to do but never got round to doing. I really enjoyed listening to him.”

Chloe Cooke, 16, who studies the certificate in hair and beauty, said: “His presentation has given me a different aspect on life, such as the importance of never giving up and talking to people if you’ve got a problem rather than bottling it up.

“Darryl has some really good advice for people my age.”

The Ashfield Centre, on Huthwaite Road, Sutton-in-Ashfield, provides courses to young people who may not be ready for a larger college environment or who struggled in compulsory secondary education.