I Am Looking For

Careers Insight for Junior School Pupils

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Y6 pupils in the Boys’ and Girls’ Junior Schools at Bolton School enjoyed a fascinating afternoon learning about careers across a diverse range of sectors.

The annual event sees former pupils and others return to school, although this year it was via Zoom, to enable the next generation of Boltonians to start thinking about the types of jobs they can aim for.

Natalie Rout, who left the Girls’ Division in 2007, recapped her journey to becoming a General Practitioner and told of studying Medicine at the University of Cambridge and undertaking 3 years’ worth of clinical assessments before graduating in 2014. She explained how she has since gone on to undertake another 2 years of specialist training in order to become a GP two years ago. Advising the young pupils, she said if you want to be a doctor you need to love science subjects!

The main benefits of being a doctor for Natalie were, she said, the chance to constantly learn new things and to have the chance to get to know a little bit about everything and everyone! Bonding with patients, building relationships, sometimes following babies from birth to adulthood, were all satisfying parts of the job. She spoke of the advantages of being a GP rather than a hospital doctor, telling how it allows you more flexibility and control over your time and even allows her to have her own dog!

Natalie talked the girls and boys through a typical day of starting to see patients at 8.30am, often working through lunch, catching up with meetings and paperwork, and getting to leave at 6.30pm on a good day! She told how she is also Vice Chair of a body that looks after trainee and newly qualified GPs in London and has even appeared on tv during the pandemic. Considering what makes a good GP, she said: care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment.

Answering questions, Natalie talked about all the different conditions she has treated and how the job can be stressful at times. Right now, she said, GPs are very busy and will see 40 patients a day with assessments having to be made in 10 minutes. Occasionally, she said, you have to take a deep breath, reset and start from scratch if you’ve had a difficult patient or something you feel emotional about. She also said that, whilst you need to show confidence, sometimes you need to be humble enough to ask for advice from colleagues or specialists when diagnosing patients.

In an interactive session, Charlotte Grindley and Aaron Saxton from UKFast, the UK’s largest hosting and cloud provider, spoke about their roles working in technology and focused on areas such as the internet, online gaming and computers. They told the Y6 audience about the top brands that they look after, in terms of hosting websites, supporting tills and ordering stock. Their job involves helping other companies make money, keeping the country safe and the world to operate! Their work, they said, is as critical as the emergency services as they look after important organisations such as the NHS and public sector.

Charlotte and Aaron then talked about good characteristics for children to develop – what they referred to as ‘superhero’ traits. They said they like to employ people who are kind and caring, can work in a team, are helpful and are also creative and experimental. They told the girls and boys to never forget to focus on those traits as part of their development in becoming a hero! They told how working at UKFast is all about working well in a team and that you have to put 100% into all that you do. They also explained how UKFast is a great place to work and that efforts are made to keep the minds and bodies of employees motivated through a focus on wellbeing and through participation in clubs and sporting activities.

Rob De Maine left Bolton School in 2002 and is now a Lieutenant Commander (Royal Navy) and Senior Pilot flying helicopters in the Fleet Air Arm (FAA). Rob told the girls and boys how he undertook his flying training in Shropshire and about the differences between flying helicopters and fixed wing planes. He talked them through the main helicopter types in the FAA, talking about the smallest, the Wildcat, which is often used in the pursuit of drug traffickers and also the bigger Merlin Mk II, which is primarily designed to hunt submarines but can also carry supplies and can refuel without landing. He also told them about the huge Queen Elizabeth Class Carrier which has a deck three times the size of a football pitch and carries a fleet of F35 fighter planes.

Rob revealed how the job involves adventure, excitement and travel and that besides flying you will develop your confidence, leadership and teamwork skills whilst picking up a decent wage. He was asked lots of interesting and direct questions and we learnt that he has never fired a torpedo or weapon accidentally as there are too many safety measures in place. His favourite type of mission was the ‘cat and mouse’ tactics of submarine hunting and although he had never crashed a plane, a colleague of his had in Oman. Being shot at by drug traffickers was always a possibility, but they shot from a wobbly boat and the helicopter had more powerful and accurate weapons. The fastest he had flown was 199 knots or 229mph and since joining the navy at 21 years of age, his favourite moment had been watching the sun rise over the Gulf of Aden although seeing his ship after over 3 hours in the air and knowing he needed somewhere to land came a close second!

Hannah Earp shared her story with the audience of having left Bolton School in 2010 and becoming a Marine Scientist. She told of lots of study at Bangor University, La Trobe University in Melbourne, Universität Bremen in Germany, as well as research in the Philippines and French Polynesia before getting a job at Bangor University in 2017 on a project called Capturing our Coast. A year later she joined Aberystwyth University to investigate the difference in marine life on rocky beaches compared to artificial structures such as sea walls. For the past two years, she has been studying kelp forests that can be found on a quarter of the world’s coastlines. These forests provide a range of important services such as storing carbon and providing a home for a variety of other marine life, but are threatened by human activities and climate change. Hannah revealed how she has been working on a kelp restoration project, growing it in the lab and putting it back on beaches. 

Hannah told how her job is not a typical nine to five one and that there are often long hours of fieldwork, referring to it as more of a lifestyle than a job. Whilst it is not the best paid job, she said there are lots of rich experiences to enjoy and you get to meet lots of people and explore different cultures. Hannah also said that whilst there is a lot of travelling and she is never bored, it is not a glamorous job and you can often find yourself in cold, murky environments. She explained how you need many talents to be a Marine Scientist, including being a mathematician, a writer and someone who enjoys swimming with sharks! For anyone interested in working in this field, she advised them to get involved – read and learn about nature, perhaps volunteer at an aquarium, or take part in projects from home such as Zooniverse and the RSPB’s garden bird survey. She advised the Y6 pupils to do as much as they can at school, recalling how she had done the DofE qualification as well as studying French and Spanish. 

Taking questions, she said she had decided this was the job for her at an early age because she enjoyed time at the beach, the coolest animal she had seen was a False Killer Whale, the rarest was a Stalked Jellyfish and her most exotic sighting was a Humpback Whale and her calf.

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