Careers Inspiration for Juniors
Primary Division Careers

Year 6 pupils in Bolton School’s Junior Girls’ and Junior Boys’ Schools enjoyed an afternoon with former pupils and friends of the school, learning about a range of careers.

Sophia Saunders (Class of 2007), who attended Bolton School from Infant School to Sixth Form, is a Veterinary Surgeon at Oakhill Farm Vets. Sophia told how she originally studied A levels in English, History and Spanish before embarking on a career in the City of London. However, aged 27, she decided upon a change of direction and she recalled how she studied Science A levels at night school before graduating as a Veterinary Surgeon aged 33. She explained how the veterinary practice that she works for offers a full range of services to farmers across Lancashire and that a typical day in her life might involve routine visits, conducting emergency visits and operations and being on call. The best bit of her job, she reflected, is being with the animals.

Sophia discussed with the children the wide range of careers open to people with a Veterinary degree including going into academia and research, medicine production, biosecurity, in government departments such as the Animal and Plant Health Agency, checking animals and food production or working in a surgery. She told the girls and boys that you have to get good marks in Maths and in Science subjects at GCSE and in Biology, Chemistry and one other A level. Then, she said, you need to apply for vet school and there are only nine of these in the country. A good way to set yourself apart, she advised, is by gaining work experience. Sophie finished her talk by demonstrating some of the equipment that a vet might use.

Dr Richa Sharma works at Southport Road Dental practice in Chorley. She explained to the audience how, post A-levels, she had to study for five years to be a dentist and then undertook one extra year of study. She told how there is a wide variety of careers within the sector, including working in research, orthodontics, paediatric dentistry and performing dentistry on those with special needs but that 75% of dentists are in general practice. Discussing with the pupils, Dr Sharma said that in order to become a dentist, you need to have a bank of knowledge to draw from, to be able to listen really well, to have patience and to have steady hands, manual dexterity and accuracy. The students worked in pairs to restore a cavity in a tooth using white tack to represent filling material. Dr Sharma commented on how she found it difficult to select a winner in each group as there were so many impressive well carved fillings. 

Krish Patel, another former Bolton School pupil (Class of 2010), talked about his StoryOak and Tales to Inspire creations. He told the girls and boys that life is all about storytelling and that we are exposed to stories before we are even born as our mothers talk to us. The stories which can be found on his website and YouTube and in his podcasts come from all around the world and help inspire individuals and communities. Krish told how stories can also be used in therapy to reduce pain and stress and to help people have confidence. He told how he regularly offers support to sports teams, businesses and individuals.

Considering what is good storytelling, he said it involves courage and empathy and he illustrated this through two stories. Isaac, who was born with a disability and adopted at the age of and who now creates videos and games with his feet, and Stacey who was told she could not play football but ended up playing for England, winning a Commonwealth boxing belt and is now a presenter on the radio. Krish also spoke about his own story, which saw him join Bury FC after school and then to Birmingham in the US to pursue his football dream.

Krish had the pupils share their own stories of kindness before they took part in a fun quiz. 

Paul Johnson (Class of 1985) is a partner at Manchester law firm, Ward Hadaway. In an interactive presentation, he asked the pupils about their understanding of the law and how it effects our lives. There was engaged discussion about the various reasons you might see a solicitor. The girls and boys learnt the difference between a barrister and a solicitor and that to work in the sector, they will need to study A levels and at university or gain entry through an apprenticeship. They also learnt that 63% of solicitors are women. Paul discussed how his firm is a full-service commercial law firm and he gave an overview of his own job and how he is involved with buying and selling companies for people. His most exciting case, he reflected, was watching a business that was set up at a kitchen table grow and sell for £114m. Paul also spoke about some of the famous Bolton School alumni who have worked in law, including Dame Janet Smith, Lord Justice Ryder and Judge Lever.

Using props of a fax machine and tie, Paul explained how things had changed over his working career. He said that he had really enjoyed his career and that the constant has been helping people. He advised that it is the people – both those that you work with and the clients – which make your job interesting.

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