Aspire to be

Aspire to Be is a new careers programme at the Academy.  Every fortnight during Key Stage 4 lunchtime we invite a visitor into the Academy to present to Year 9 -13 students about their job role, their route into the career and the qualifications they needed.

Organiser Vice Principal Mr Trainor said “I am delighted with how this new initiative is being received, and by the enthusiasm of the people who have volunteered their time to come in and inspire, motivate and raise the aspirations of our students.”

Aspire to Be In Business

Lucy Evans 140 x 180

Presented by Lucy Evans, Director at Sterling Talent Solutions

As a director at global employment screening specialists, Sterling Talent Solutions, Lucy is in a prime position to see what the world of business looks for in its employees.

Lucy’s path into the world of business was not straightforward, but she has approached everything she has done with passion, enthusiasm and energy and she believes that this approach will lead anyone to success one way or another.

Lucy enjoyed school, but was unsure what she wanted to do for a career.  Family circumstances meant that she lived on her own from the age of sixteen, and worked part time whilst studying at 6th Form college.  She went onto the University of Bath to study Education and Drama, but did not want to go straight into teaching when she graduated.

She moved to China and taught English as a foreign language for a year, and subsequently moved to Spain.

Friends were starting to move up in their careers and Lucy decided that she wanted to start a career that she could develop and earn a good living.  She looked for companies that had a global footprint and that would have plenty of development opportunities, and got an entry level job at an employment screening company. Starting off doing background checks on potential employees, on the phone and completing forms, she was promoted to Account Manager working with FTSE 500 companies, and then to Account Director.  She was then head hunted by her current company where, still under the age of thirty,  she is a director who brokers multi-million pound deals with some of the most well known companies in the world.

Lucy’s top tips for succeeding in any career are:

  • Attitude is the most important thing
  • As much effort as you put in you get back
  • Approach everything you do with passion, enthusiasm and energy and you will find yourself on the right path
  • Be careful on social media – companies can and do check your history

Lucy recommends Glassdoor as a good starting point in your job search, as well as job adverts you can search salaries and specific companies.

Aspire to Be: A Surgeon/Researcher

Naseer Ahmad 140 x 180   Frank Bowling 140 x 180

Presented by Dr Naseer Ahmad and Dr Frank Bowling, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust

Dr Ahmad and Dr Bowling work together at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, although they have very different backgrounds.

Dr Ahmad says “I am a surgeon that specialises in operating on arteries and veins.  I do a lot of ‘minor’ operations such as operating on varicose veins as well as ‘major’ operations such as operating on people’s aortas, carotids and leg arteries.  I also get to do some cool stuff such as being called to emergencies such as people being shot or stabbed where I have to go and stop them from bleeding to death.  I also do a lot of research – my main area is health inequalities related to leg amputations.”

Despite having four degrees, Dr Ahmad had a bumpy start to his academic career, gaining a “u” in GCSE Maths and just a D and two Es at A Level.  However, he found his vocation whilst studying a degree in Physiology at Sunderland University and has let nothing hold him back since.

Dr Bowling has no less than three PhD’s (doctorates), and as well as working as a podiatric surgeon he is a researcher of international standing who has helped the World Health Organisation write guidance on managing diabetes amongst other things.

Dr Bowling knew that he wanted a career in scientific research, and graduated with a clinical degree in Podiatry from the University of Salford. He was keen to progress practice through research; his research interests have focused on a broad spectrum of foot & ankle complications.

In order to maintain clinical practice he undertook a Master of Science degree in the Theory of Podiatric Surgery. Dr Bowling carried on his academic career pathway and completed a Philosophy Doctorate in the Faculty of Medicine. He currently works in both a clinical and research capacity.

Since graduation, he has authored and co-authored in a range of medical journals; including twelve book chapters and two books in Pharmacology, Disease Management, Diabetic Neuropathy, Biomechanics, Pathomechanics and Charcot Foot.

Becoming a surgeon takes many years of study and work experience, and involves working long hours under pressure.  However, consultants can earn between £70k – £100k working for the NHS, and more for private work.

Greater Manchester NHS Careers Hub:

NHS Careers website:

Aspire to Be: Royal Navy

Presented by Neil Maddocks of the Royal Navy

 Royal Navy

Neil joined the Royal Navy in 1992 at the age of 16 and has travelled the world with them since.  His first trip was three months long.  At 21 he undertook a 9 month trip and visited more than 20 countries, including circumnavigating both Australia and New Zealand.  A career in the Navy offers fantastic opportunities to travel.

People can join the Navy at the age of 16, and earn approximately £1k per month after tax.  After a ten-week basic training course pay increases.  Over time, someone in the Navy can earn up to approximately £48k per annum plus pension.

The Navy employs approximately 32,000 sailors and marines.  Job roles can include medic, chef, mechanic, pilot, aircraft mechanic, divers, bomb disposal specialist, communications specialist, marine, commando, as well as basic sailor.

People joining the Navy can gain qualifications in their specialist area, including NVQ, City & Guilds and degrees.

The Navy has a number of roles to play, including guarding supply lines for imports of fuel, foods and other essential items to the UK, protecting security and providing humanitarian assistance in disaster zones internationally.  They also play a role in international co-operation, form a deterrent to conflict and taking part in combat where necessary.

Aspire to Be: A Marketing Officer

Presented by Sue Campayne, Marketing and Fundraising Officer, Manchester Health Academy

 Sue Campayne

Sue has worked at the Academy for three years.  She was interested in the arts and studied Fashion at the University of Leeds.  After University she worked in the buying office of a cash and carry chain, before getting a job in marketing with the Co-operative Group.  She studied marketing management at night school, gaining a PGCert from Manchester Metropolitan University. She worked in a variety of marketing roles at the Co-operative Group and then at Manchester Metropolitan University before joining the Academy.

Sue explained that the qualities that were important for anyone considering a career in marketing included:

  • Successful Marketers tend to be outgoing and sociable
  • They need to have a thirst for knowledge and understanding
  • They need to be well-groomed and able to be very professional
  • They need an eye for accuracy
  • They need to be at least a bit competitive
  • They need to be diplomatic
  • They need to be open to new ideas

Sue’s key messages to young people were:

  • Any work experience you can gain will be of help to you
  • If you are offered any free education, take it if you can
  • Try new things
  • Overcome setbacks
  • Use your talents and experience

PresentationAspire to Be in Marketing

Aspire to Be: Border Force Officer

Presented by Gary Wade, Officer, Border Force

Gary Wade Border Force 140 x 180

Gary is an Officer in the UK Border Force, which is part of the Home Office. Originally from West Yorkshire, Gary got his degree in Music from the then Huddersfield Polytechnic (now University of Huddersfield).  He joined the Civil Service 32 years ago, moving near to London for his initial training period before being deployed to the Home Office Border Force.

Gary’s job involves both working as a Border Force Officer and training other Border Force colleagues around the country.

When Gary is working at Manchester Airport his role includes checking passports, searching luggage and interviewing in-bound passengers where there is some suspicion about their reasons for entering the UK.  The Border Force is focussed on incoming people, goods and animals with the aim of protecting our society.  The Border Force also deals with border security at seaports, and operates its own fleet of boats.

The work of the Border Force means that taxes are paid on incoming goods, drugs are stopped from entering the country and endangered animals are confiscated and looked after.

The role involves lots of training to keep a step ahead of changes in law, how to spot imposters using a passport other than their own, and reading body language.

Gary says that the most unusual thing that he stopped someone from smuggling was a lemur hidden in a lady’s hat.  The most famous person he cleared to enter the country was Michael Jackson sometime in the late 1980s, and he sees footballers all the time at Manchester Airport (he isn’t allowed to get selfies with them though).

Civil Service Recruitment

Border Force

Aspire to Be:  A Solicitor

Presented by Charlotte Hook and Sarah McNair, Myerson Solicitors LLP

Charlotte and Sarah Solicitors 28 Nov 2017

Charlotte is a Commercial Property Solicitor, and Sarah is a former student of the Academy who is a trainee solicitor, who is working her way through a two-year post-qualification experience period before she specialises.

Charlotte explained that lawyers fall into two categories – barristers, who attend court as defence or prosecution, and solicitors who are office based and deal with research and legal paperwork.

A solicitor’s day may include writing and responding to e-mails, writing letters, having meetings with clients to take instructions.  They look after documents, help agreements to be reached, and constantly use written and verbal communication skills.

Becoming a solicitor involves hard work but is a rewarding and challenging role, which can attract good salaries.

Sarah talked about the educational path to become a solicitor.  Prospective solicitors will study A levels or equivalent and study to degree level.  These may be in law, but could be in other subjects.  Good subjects to study include history and English.   If a prospective solicitor takes a degree in a subject other than law, they must complete a Graduate Diploma in Law, which is a one-year conversion course.  After this, they can choose to take the Legal Practice Course (LPC) to prepare for becoming a solicitor, or the Bar Professional Training Course, to prepare for becoming a barrister.

Charlotte talked about working conditions – solicitors tend to be contracted for office hours e.g. 9am – 5pm, but actual hours worked can vary depending on workload and the culture at a particular firm.

She explained the qualities needed to be a successful solicitor, which include:

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Excellent reading and comprehension skills
  • Being able to demonstrate commitment and determination
  • Being able to deal with difficult situations and challenging people
  • Being a good team worker
  • Being a good problem solver
  • Work experience in any area and being able to transfer those skills e.g. customer service

Aspire to Be: A Teacher

Presented by PE Teacher Miss Riches, Manchester Health Academy

Miss L Riches

Miss Riches talked through her path to becoming a PE Teacher.  She was very interested in sports at school and focussed on those, taking a BTEC Sport at college. She then went on to do BSc Sports Science at the University of Birmingham.  After this, she successfully applied for a sports scholarship at Butler University in America.  While in America she studied for a Masters degree in English Literature.  On returning to the UK, she did PGCE in Secondary Education at Bangor University.  Her advice to students was to always take opportunities to gain experience, for example volunteering at youth groups and sports groups.  She also explained how challenging herself has lead to bigger achievements, such as studying in America and having to write in American English for an English Masters and doing PGCE at a Welsh university and having to learn some Welsh.

Mis Riches explained that being a teacher isn’t easy, and that teachers work many more hours than 9am – 3pm term time.  However, she finds the role very rewarding as she gets to see people go from knowing very little to knowing a lot, from failing a mock exam to passing a GCSE and overcoming struggles big and small.  Her key message was that aspiring teachers need something that students can start building straight away:  EXPERIENCE, EXPERIENCE, EXPERIENCE.

Aspire to be a Teacher Miss Riches notes

ASPIRE TO BE Presentation Miss Riches

DfE Get Into Teaching website