Interviews For Careers And Post 16

For this article, I decided to interview several people who have left SVC and have already started their careers. Below are their interviews!

Dan King – left 1996.

What subjects did you enjoy the most at SVC and did this affect what you decided to choose for GCSEs and A levels?

My favourite subjects when I was at SVC were History, Geography, English, Science and Art. To be honest they are still my favourite subjects now.

When I had to pick my subjects for GCSE I tried to do as many of my favourite subjects as possible because they were mostly the subjects I was best at.  When I finished at SVC I chose to continue studying Art, Art history, Photography and Graphic Design.

How did it feel leaving year 11 and going to college?

It was exciting. It felt like the world was at my feet, I knew exactly where I was going and what I needed to do to get there.

It was also quite scary, all my friends went to either Hills Road, Long Road or Cambridge Regional College. Because of the subjects I wanted to study I ended up going to the Isle College in Wisbech.

Did you know what career you wanted to do?

I thought I did…..

I had decided towards the end of year 10 that I wanted to be a Graphic Designer. I spent quite a bit of time researching what I needed to study and where I could do that. Once I had all the information I needed I threw myself into achieving my goals.

However as I approached the final term of my second year at Art college I realised that I had made a mistake and had to re-evaluate my options.

Did you stay in contact with your friends after leaving SVC?

Yes, I stayed in touch with my closest friends. I don’t see them very often these days as I now live near Manchester but I try and catch up with them once or twice a year.

Did the results of you GCSEs affect your placement in colleges/apprenticeships/jobs?

Your teachers probably won’t thank me for my answer to this question, but in all honesty no. My exam results made very little difference to my eventual career path. My GCSE results were not what you would consider a roaring success but it was enough to get me into Art college. Again when I left Art college and decided to join the British Army my GCSE results had very little impact on the success of my application or my future career as I advanced and gained promotion.

two firefighters walking on burned trees covered with smoke

What is your current job and what qualifications did you need for it?

Since 2006 I have worked as a Firefighter for Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service.

Competition to join the Fire & Rescue Service is fierce and it is completely normal for there to be 100 + applicants per job available.

To be a firefighter you don’t really need any qualifications as such, however I cannot overstate how important it is to have a good working knowledge of Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology. You also need really good problem solving skills and require a good level of physical fitness that you will have to maintain throughout your career.

Although you don’t necessarily need any academic qualifications to join the Fire service you are required to study and pass exams on various subjects set by the Institute of Fire Engineers if you wish to progress your career and get promoted. These qualifications range from equivalent to A-levels right up to a Masters Degree and are industry recognised worldwide.

Did you do any work experience and, if so, what was it needed for?

I did one week of work experience at the graphics department of Ely city council when I was in Year 10 and I enjoyed the experience but ultimately it didn’t really lead to anything.

 

Steve Waller

What subjects did you enjoy the most at SVC and did this affect what you decided to choose for GCSEs and A levels?

I enjoyed the Sciences and Technical subjects and especially enjoyed woodwork and metalwork. My choices for ‘O’ level (yes it was that long ago!) were driven by what I was good at and what I was intending to pursue a technical career.

How did it feel leaving year 11 and going to college?

I left SVC and went straight to work. My employer had a strategy of part time technical education for their school leaver intake and if suitable sponsorship for an approved undergraduate degree (which was the path I followed). It was quite scary going out to work, such a change from school, but my colleagues at my work place were very patient and helpful and I owe many of them thanks for where I am today.

Did you know what career you wanted to do?

I knew that I wanted to do something technical, maybe involved in construction (I did have an idea to become an Architect, but didn’t think that I had the ability). My final year form teacher, Mrs Sanigar, had a link to the East Anglian Regional Health Authorities Works Department (her husband was the Regional Works Officer) and arranged for me to have a days work experience there. I liked the look of what they did, applied and got a job.

Did you stay in contact with your friends after leaving SVC?

I did keep in touch for a while but gradually drifted away with being at work in Cambridge and not staying with the pool of students who went onto Sixth form. I have recently reconnected with a few former SVC students, as I still live in Soham

Did the results of you GCSEs affect your placement in colleges/apprenticeships/jobs?

I had commenced my employment before I knew my ‘O’ level results. But did immediately receive a pay rise when they were in line with expectations, not sure what would have happened if they hadn’t been.

What is your current job and what qualifications did you need for it?

I currently work as a Design Consultant within a large multidiscipline design consultancy. My specialism is in Mechanical Services design. To achieve my current position in the company a degree is a prerequisite and preferably membership of a relevant professional Institution and being a Chartered Engineer.

Did you do any work experience and, if so, what was it needed for?

As indicated above I did a single day of work experience. In my case it was very much to see what the type of job I was thinking about was like and if it was for me, or indeed if I was for it!

silver iMac turned on inside room

Natalie Scott Paul – left 2008

What subjects did you enjoy the most at SVC and did this affect what you decided to choose for GCSEs and A levels?

While I was at SVC I loved drama and maths and this did affect what I chose for GCSEs and for A Levels (A Levels I chose Accounting, Performing Arts and Drama & Theatre Studies)

How did it feel leaving year 11 and going to college?

Leaving Year 11 I was very excited to see what new challenges sixth form would bring but I was sad to say goodbye to the friends, staff and environment at SVC that I was so used too.

Did you know what career you wanted to do?

I didn’t know what I wanted to do as a career but tried not to put too much pressure on myself to decide. I chose a mix of A Levels that I enjoyed and knew I would figure it out when I was ready. I was pretty sure I wanteda career in finance somehow but wasn’t sure.

 

Did you stay in contact with your friends after leaving SVC?

I did stay in contact with my friends after leaving SVC and two of my friends were even bridesmaids at my wedding. I made some great new friends at sixth form who I still keep in touch with through social media as well.

Did the results of you GCSEs affect your placement in colleges/apprenticeships/jobs?

I did get the GCSE grades I needed to go to Hills Road but don’t let reaching these grade targets worry you too much. Some people I know didn’t get the grades they needed so ended up going to another sixth form which has taken them on a career path they never would have expected.

What is your current job and what qualifications did you need for it?

I am currently a payroll manager for a global business. I started in an admin role as soon as I left sixth form (I didn’t want to go to University as I was ready to get in to the world of work) and have worked my up to a management position through doing qualifications with CIPP, AAT and CIMA. Each training course or qualification you get the opportunity to do grab it with both hands as they always broaden your horizons and are skills that you can use and transfer to different job roles that may come along in years to come.

 

James Fordham – left 2011

What subjects did you enjoy the most at SVC and did this affect what you decided to choose for GCSEs and A levels?

SVC is where I first gained an interest in Business. I also really liked ICT lessons too. I would later go on to continue both of these subjects at A levels as I enjoyed them in my GCSEs.

How did it feel leaving year 11 and going to college?

Luckily lots of my friends were going to the same sixth form as me which we talked about before making choices. This took a lot of pressure off knowing that there would be familiar faces and it was a new experience for us all at the same time.

Did you know what career you wanted to do?

I had a few ideas. My main goal was to either work in the banking industry, or something in IT if a career in finance didn’t work out.

Did you stay in contact with your friends after leaving SVC?

We have! Though many of us went our separate ways there are still a few of us that have kept in close contact throughout our A levels, university, and now our working lives.

Did the results of you GCSEs affect your placement in colleges/apprenticeships/jobs?

It did. Originally I had planned to study Business, Economics, ICT & Computing at Sixth form. I fell short of the required “B” grade in maths to be accepted onto the computing course. In its place I chose photography, but this would later turn out to be an advantage as I learnt a huge amount about graphics & design which would later on be very useful skills in the marketing for my company.

What is your current job and what qualifications did you need for it?

I’m the founder & managing director of Fordham Finance Group, a financial services firm operating throughout Cambridgeshire / Suffolk and recently, a second office in Cornwall. We predominantly offer accountancy services, tax consultancy and advice on investments / pensions.

I started the company in 2015 by doing entry level bookkeeping for local businesses which doesn’t require qualifications, whilst doing distance learning courses such as the Diploma for Financial Advisers with the London Institute of Banking and Finance to be able to take on the more specialist work. I achieved the Diploma in 2017 and now working my way towards Chartered Status which is the gold standard in our industry for professionals to attain.

flatlay photography of calculator between stack of banknote and click pen

Did you do any work experience and, if so, what was it needed for?

When I attended SVC, Year 10’s had two weeks of work experience built into the curriculum. We had the freedom to find and arrange our own placements. Because at the time I was interested in the banking sector I went to the Soham branch of Lloyds TSB. During my time there I got an insight into how a bank functions and although I didn’t end up pursuing it as a full career it does allow me to better advise my clients as banking is a regular topic of discussion.

Interviewed by Willow Bates – Year 11

Photos by Tim Gouw, Benjamin Kerensa, Lee Campbell and Rawpixel on unsplash.com

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