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Alumni Careers Inspire Year 6 Pupils

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Ten alumni returned to Bolton School for the Junior Schools’ Careers Carousel. Year 6 pupils from Park Road and Hesketh House were invited to choose just five sessions that were of particular interest for them. This was a really hard decision for the pupils, as there was a wide variety of interesting speakers available throughout the course of the afternoon!

The Junior Girls’ Headmistress Mrs Brierley introduced the Careers Carousel to Year 6 in the Hesketh House hall. She welcomed the speakers who had kindly given up their time to talk to the pupils. “It is wonderful to be inspired by someone with real passion for what they do, and we hope that this afternoon will make you aspirational. We all have dreams, and you must follow those dreams wherever they might lead you.” The pupils then rushed off to their first session, eager to get started.

Jon Swan, who is an international consultant cardiologist, gave the pupils a great demonstration of his work. He brought with him a model of some arteries and some of the tools used during heart surgery, and showed the pupils how a cardiologist would put stents into a person’s arteries. He also explained why this procedure would be necessary. Some pupils were even able to try manoeuvring a wire through the model themselves, while he challenged them to get it down different branches of the blood vessel. The children were delighted by this talk, and many came out of the science lab proclaiming that they wanted to be cardiologists in the future!

Journalist Claire Donnelly talked to the pupils about the different types of journalism, what she does in her job, and what it’s like each day. “It’s never the same thing every day,” she said to the Year 6 pupils. “It’s varied and different. I get to meet interesting people and see interesting places. There are horrible things sometimes, but it’s mostly fun, interesting things.” She explained how she became a journalist, from starting out by writing for the school newspaper, then the university newspaper, and finally getting a job in this field. She showed the pupils her ‘tools of the trade’ – her Dictaphone, pen, and notepad covered in shorthand – and talked to them about the importance of being accurate, even when working to a very tight deadline.

The pupils received a talk from two Old Boys with experience of flying with the RAF. John Dunning is an ex-RAF pilot who now flies commercial aircraft; and Paul Hutton got involved with the RAF at university and is now training to be a pilot. These two perspectives from either end of a career with the RAF, and more broadly a career in piloting aircraft, were really useful for the children who were considering this path. The boys and girls were really inspired by this session, and thoroughly enjoyed listening to John and Paul talk about their experiences in the cockpit!

Architect John Wood crafted an interactive session for the Year 6 boys and girls. He first asked them what they thought an architect does, and followed up by explaining that his job involves drawing up many different types of plan for the different people who need to work on a building. He then asked the children to draw a picture that illustrated what they liked about a place they enjoyed and discussed the results. They really enjoyed talking to John throughout the session, and had fun while learning about his career.

Winni Lam’s session was about computer programming, and gave the pupils a flavour of the kind of thing she does every day. She gave the pupils lots of opportunities to talk about her job and ask questions. “I think it’s amazing that little things I do while sitting at my computer can make a huge difference. Just by typing something out, I can create a programme that makes one person’s webcam image come up larger than all the others when they are speaking during a video conference.” This gave the children an idea of the real-world applications of computer programming, as well as sparking more interest in the subject.

Drew Winstanley was one of the youngest alumni returning to the school and is currently at university studying dentistry. However, he has a passion for water polo, and as a member of the Great Britain U19 Squad, he was the perfect candidate to talk to pupils about a career in athletics. He spoke to the children about his personal history with the sport, from starting to play in Year 7, through his experiences playing for the City of Manchester and the North West, to playing for Great Britain in the most recent Commonwealth Games! He told the children that in order to succeed in any sport, they needed talent, hard work and to take full advantage of any opportunities they get. He offered them some sound advice: “You have got to be able to take disappointment in a positive manner. I have used it to motivate myself to train harder and get better.”

The pupils were given a talk on a career in law by Sheridan Edge. She is now working as a conveyancing lawyer, but gave the children an idea of the many different and varied types of law, from family law to criminal law and everything in between. This gave the children an idea of the broad range of careers available within law, and Sheridan advised them to think about what areas they would be most interested in. She also encouraged them to answer questions and show what they already knew about law throughout the session, and really engaged with her audience.

Nicholas Moss talked to the Year 6 pupils about his work as an accountant, and many ways to access this career. He explained that it is not boring, as people always assume, but rather is a really interesting field in which to work. He also talked about his own career path: originally he was going to study Biology at university, but during Year 13 an accountancy firm offered a job opportunity through the school and, after looking into it, he decided that was what he wanted to do. The pupils were really interested and asked lots of questions about his work.

Entrepreneur Karen Diggle used many examples of famous entrepreneurs to inspire the Year 6 pupils. For example, she reminded the pupils of Lord Leverhulme, whose business successes allowed him to endow Bolton School, and discussed the importance of entrepreneurs having a social conscience. She explained how varied her job is every day and the different roles she must fulfil. “Many entrepreneurs had business ideas when they were as young as you are now,” she told the pupils. “I’m sure many of you are entrepreneurs, even if you don’t know it yet! You must strive to be to best at what you do and get it right.”

The children were inspired by all ten of the speakers. The sessions cultivated the Year 6 pupils’ existing interests and gave them plenty to consider for the future.

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A Park Road pupil tries his hand at pushing a wire down an artery under the guidance of Jon Swan

A Park Road pupil tries his hand at pushing a wire down an artery under the guidance of Jon Swan

Winni Lam gave an interesting question and answer session about Computer Programming

Winni Lam gave an interesting question and answer session about Computer Programming

The Year 6 pupils enjoyed hearing from all of the speakers

The Year 6 pupils enjoyed hearing from all of the speakers