Have Courage in Your Convictions Sixth Formers are Told
Sixth Form Boys Careers

Sixth Form boys at Bolton School enjoyed an instructive World of Work session with former pupil Simon Turner, who now offers his services as a pupil career mentor.

Simon recapped his interesting career, explaining how he moved from law to leadership in the charity sector and how he is now chairing a PLC. Introducing some thoughts on developing resilience and flexibility, he advised students of boxer Mike Tyson’s quip: ‘Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth’. Simon told how he had come to learn this lesson early on in his career, having left Bolton School and university and become a Pupil Barrister before finding himself jobless after 18 months. His advice was that big plans don’t always turn out exactly how you thought they would, noting that this experience had actually proved useful to him as he went on to work for solicitors’ firms in London and globally, enjoying a varied and interesting legal career. However, he remained conscious that nothing is permanent in this area, and his early failure had taught him humility and encouraged him to consider all his options and other careers. This was a useful attribute, he said, and led to him taking on a very different opportunity to set up a charity funded by the majority shareholder of a global company, primarily providing support in developing countries where the company had subsidiaries. Taking this opportunity then led to him becoming Chair of the majority shareholder and then, in December last year, being appointed Chairman of that company.

Simon told the Year 12 and 13 students that whilst at school and university they will develop their academic skills, but that they should also aim to develop personality traits that are valued by employers. He told them to have courage in their own convictions, to have an ethical position and to always do what is right, both professionally and personally. He advised them to develop excellence and to fulfil their potential as all careers are competitive. You will need, he said, perseverance and to remember that not everything you do at work will be exciting. Adaptability and flexibility are also great traits. If you can, he advised, get another perspective; ideally a mentor. He advised the audience to have respect for others and compassion towards yourself – and to show kindness, honesty and intellectual humility.

The session ended with Simon answering a number of questions, including what differences do you find between working for a law firm and managing your own charity, which area of law did you specialise in, are there any misconceptions about a career in law and do you have and any advice for developing soft skills for a career in law?

Watch the presentation again through this link.

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