Aspire to be is currently not taking place due to coronavirus safety measures. We have left the notes from previous sessions live here as a resource.
Aspire to Be is normally a regular part of our careers programme at the Academy. Every fortnight during lunchtime we invite a visitor into the Academy to present to students about their job role, their route into the career and the qualifications they needed.
Aspire to Be an Author and Live a Creative Life
Stephen May has published five novels over the past ten years. He has also written plays and for television. Stephen lives a portfolio life, working a regular job side by side with his writing.
Stephen says he didn’t do particularly well at school, except in English. He developed his love of storytelling as a child, when he and his brother found refuge from challenging times at home through elaborate fantasy games.
He did well enough at school and college to go onto University, although once there he found himself a little discouraged from writing books, and was encouraged to study classic texts rather than create his own.
Stephen had his first baby at the age of 21 whilst still at University, and the next few years were spent working in factories, bars and offices to support his young family. Although these jobs were entry level, they all required transferable skills and no little amount of effort. Stephen enjoyed the people that he worked with and was fascinated by the rich lives they lead and the passion projects they often had aside from working.
It wasn’t until he was 30 that Stephen began writing again. By now, he had trained as a drama teacher, a job that he enjoyed for ten years.
It is hard to make a living by writing books, so many authors combine their writing with other things. Stephen works for Arts Council and fits his writing in around that.
He has written plays and for television (which expected to love, but it turned out that he hated), but his real passion is for writing novels.
A quote that he thinks applies to all writers and creative people is one by John Irving – “If you are a writer who doesn’t write, you will always be a bit miserable”. He writes most days and feels a bit unsettled when he hasn’t.
Stephen’s advice to people thinking of making their living through creativity is:
Sara works for the National Trust and is based at Quarry Bank Mill and Dunham Massey sites.
Aspire to Be in Senior Management
Casey is a Registered Veterinary Nurse, currently working for Buchanan Vets in Baguley. She is newly qualified, and it has taken three years for her to complete her qualification at Myerscough College. Veterinary Nurses register with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons who are the regulatory body for the profession.
A Veterinary Nurse is a very responsible professional role, with a code of conduct, set standards and a requirement to undertake Continuing Professional Development in order to maintain registration. Breaking professional rules may incur a prison sentence.
It is a very varied role, and can include:
Casey explained that the training is hard work but that it was very rewarding in the end! No day is the same, you get to meet new people and animals all the time and it is very much a job where you work as part of a team.
There are opportunities to work all around the world, and the industry is in high demand, so there are good opportunities to travel.
There is always something new to learn, and there are opportunities to develop into managing your own practice.
It is always wonderful when you have managed to nurse a beloved pet back to health.
Students thinking of training at Veterinary Nurses are advised to undertake work experience – Casey recommends about thirty days in total, including a variety of settings. Qualification can be through degree, diploma or NVQ.
Jane has had a varied career, but her natural curiosity and determination are what carried her through all of them.
She describes herself as “geeky” as a child, who enjoyed being out experiencing nature and doing a variety of crafts. Her heroes were naturalists David Bellamy and Sir David Attenborough, and she also liked astronomer Sir Patrick Moore. She was influenced by an enthusiastic primary school teacher and wanted to be a vet by the age of eight.
At secondary school she enjoyed biology and went on to study zoology at university.
After university she wanted a career that would earn some money and so decided to train as a chartered accountant. However, this turned out not to suit her and she taught in sixth form college for a while, before studying for a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy). Having gained her PhD, Jane worked as a Post-Doctoral Research Scientist in laboratories and went on to be a Forensic Biologist.
Being a Forensic Biologist involves a lot of working in laboratories, an ability to work accurately and the ability to keep your work area scrupulously clean – often tests are being carried out on crime scene evidence and must be of a high enough quality to be admissible in court. There is only a small amount of crime scene work, so it is not like CSI!
One of Jane’s lifetime ambitions had been to live and work in Africa and Jane got the opportunity to do so as a Clinical Research Associate for a drug company. It was her role to check ensure that clinical tests were completed accurately so that drugs could be approved for use. Jane thoroughly enjoyed her time in Africa, experiencing the culture and natural environment, meeting different people and overcoming problems such as a broken down vehicle miles from anywhere and a broken wrist, having attempted to take part in a camel racing event.
Since returning to the UK, Jane’s life has taken a different turn with the arrival of her children. She was unable to return to full time work, and has worked part-time as a call centre person and a sales assistant in a sewing shop. Her life-long interest in crafts stood her well here, and she became a skilled demonstrator of sewing machines, including some of the most complex models available. This led her to learn machine embroidery and is now her own boss at Stitchin Up A Storm, specialising in school uniform and bespoke embroidered items.
Jane’s key messages were:
Aspire to Be in Childcare
When Miss Sheridan left school, she knew that she loved caring for people and looking after babies. She went to South Trafford College to study Early Years Education. It was two year course with lots of placements including in a private nursery, a Surestart centre, a maternity unit and a school.
Once she had completed her course she went to work in a private nursery and then a home for severely disabled children, and then a Surestart Children’s Centre.
After she had children of her won, Miss Sheridan went in to nursery management. Following being made redundant, Miss Sheridan moved into training for nurseries, working for both Trafford College and private companies.
After several years in the training field, she decided that she wanted a change and came to work at the Academy as a Welfare Co-ordinator.
She explained that a career in childcare was not all playing with children – every setting that cares for young children must follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum and this must be tracked for each child in terms of their development. This includes areas such as personal, social, language and physical stages, as well as maths, knowledge and understanding of the world, and art. Children must be observed, and reports written to share with parents and carers so that everyone involved with the child understand if they are meeting their milestones.
Students wishing to progress to a career in childcare will need to have Maths and English GCSEs at grade 4/5. They could elect to take either a level 2 or a level 3 qualification in Early Years Education. There is also the option of undertaking an apprenticeship.
People wishing to work with children need to LOVE being around children, like cuddles and affection, want to make a difference and have a very caring nature.
Aspire to be in Politics
Mike’s key message for students was that there is nothing you can’t achieve if you set your mind to it.
Mike has overcome a variety of setbacks on his career journey, including having no money after his father dies when he was eighteen, failing at university but going back and succeeding, losing his council seat and being criticised on social media.
The UK public elects Members of Parliament (MPs) to represent their interests and concerns in the House of Commons. MPs consider and can propose new laws as well as raising issues that matter to their local area in the House. This includes asking government ministers questions about current issues including those which affect local constituents.
MPs split their time between working in Parliament itself, working in the constituency that elected them and working for their political party.
Some MPs from the governing party (or parties) become government ministers with specific responsibilities in certain areas, such as Health or Defence. These MPs do not stop working for their constituency and, whatever their role in Government or Parliament, will still hold regular surgeries to help their constituents.
What do MPs do in Parliament?
When Parliament is sitting (meeting), MPs generally spend their time working in the House of Commons. This can include raising issues affecting their constituents, attending debates and voting on new laws. This can either be by asking a question of a government minister on your behalf or supporting and highlighting particular campaigns which local people feel strongly about.
Most MPs are also members of committees, which look at issues in detail, from government policy and new laws, to wider topics like human rights.
What do MPs do in their constituency?
In their constituency, MPs often hold a ‘surgery’ in their office, where local people can come along to discuss any matters that concern them.
MPs also attend functions, visit schools and businesses and generally try to meet as many people as possible. This gives MPs further insight and context into issues they may discuss when they return to Westminster.
Martyn is currently the Site Manager on a building project for Manchester Metropolitan University at their All Saints campus.
Martyn followed his secondary school education with A levels and then went to work as an Assistant Site Engineer for a housebuilding company. He has worked his way up through several levels to become Site Manager. He undertook vocational qualification on day release, and now holds NVQ Level 6 in Construction management, which is equivalent to degree level. He recommends this route as it means gaining plenty of practical work experience alongside gaining qualification without the costs associated with attending university full time.
Martyn manages a team of 16 Morgan Sindall staff, as well as over a hundred contract staff who range from bricklayers, to groundworkers to finishing tradespeople.
Hours on site can be long, usually 7am – 5pm, but sometimes longer depending on how fast work needs to be finished. He explained that this is why it is important to enjoy your work, your working environment and you your team. The weather, having to close roads and having the right people available to work at the right time can be some of the challenges that hold up a building job.
In order to get projects built a number of other construction roles are involved. The land on which it is to be built must be surveyed for existing things such as power cables and drains, as well as the condition of the ground to determine what foundations will be needed. An architect designs the building and makes drawings to show the builders what to build where. Planners schedule the building programme so that the right tradespeople can be brought onto site at the right times. Quantity surveyors and buyers organise the procurement of materials and sub-contractors, and manage the money side of the build. The Site Manager works with all these people and controls what happens on a day to day basis on the site itself.
The qualities that Martyn recommends developing are:
There are around sixty specific job roles in construction, with trades such as bricklaying, joinery, plumbing and window fitting currently paying good wages.
Morgan Sindall are currently kindly supporting the Academy’s BTEC Construction course.
Justin is a journalist on Radio 5 Live’s “Wake Up To Money” business programme. As well as the live programme, Justin’s team produces podcast, social media and films.
Justin started volunteering at his local BBC radio station while still at school, getting up early on weekends to go and make tea and learn what he could about the job. He worked hard at school and went on to study journalism at university.
After university, he joined the BBC full time, and has held a variety of posts over the intervening 18 years, including running a radio station and presenting a programme.
Journalism is essentially telling stories with facts. Justin enjoys telling stories and helping people to understand the facts that are relevant to them. For the programme, Justin and his team get their stories in two ways. Firstly, there are known, expected events that are put into a diary, such as government announcements and business conferences, and current affairs – the things that are discovered each day. Then there are the more difficult, but more enjoyable investigative journalism pieces, where journalists have to research, ask questions and find out answers to their questions.
To demonstrate investigative journalism, Justin asked one of the students a few questions about his interests, heroes etc, which led him to ask why students of that age might relate to a particular person and to wonder what people do when they don’t follow football. Justin admitted to being very nosy and loving listening to conversations on buses and trams!
Justin explained that his team have meetings to decide which stories are right for their programme, which means having knowledge and understanding of their audience. They consider stories in terms of whether it is new, whether it is unusual, whether it is relevant to their audience and whether it is common (ie has a wide appeal). Selling each story to the audience means focusing on the facts that are most interesting to them, and keeping the content as sharp and relevant as possible, with the aim of keeping the listener engaged for as long as possible to build listening figures. In a private organisation these figures would then be used as a marketing tool for advertising sales.
Social media has led to huge changes in the way stories are presented and has significantly shortened the time available to engage interest. For example, his team made a film of ten year olds explaining interest rates, which made a potentially dull subject interesting and humorous.
Students who are interested in pursuing a career in journalism are likely to need a degree plus post-graduate qualification to get into journalism for the BBC. Gaining work experience with local newspapers, independent radio stations and online news outlets is a good place to start – even writing for a school newsletter! Manchester is a good place to be for careers in the media now that Media City is Salford is established and growing.
John Eades grew up in Tipton in the Black Country. He was passionate about sports, but underachieved at secondary school. He says he closed his ears to good advice from teachers, and lacked a vision for his future. He had a lucky break when a family connection landed him an apprenticeship.
After eight years of painting and decorating, and enjoying sports as a hobby, friends encouraged him to apply for an HND in Leisure Studies at the University of Salford. Moving to a new city to study alongside younger students was a challenge, but John made the most of his time, working and volunteering during the holidays with the Bobby Charlton Football School and Trafford Leisure. He also learnt to drive and undertook a coaching qualification, building up his CV in the process.
John moved again, this time to Scotland, to study BA (Hons) Business Management (Marketing). He took on board, and sought out, careers advice from lecturers and employers and used his breaks to gain more work experience. He developed contacts in the world of sport, and continued working for the Bobby Charlton Football School, which took him to Saudi Arabia.
John’s big break came when a contact asked for his CV and, just two weeks later, he was living in Abu Dhabi, UAE to work on the 1996 Asian Football Championships. This was followed by working on the Ryder Cup in Spain, and then a move to Malaysia where he spent two years working. John has worked on a number of Commonwealth Games and Youth Commonwealth Games around the world, working in 21 countries and has met the members of the royal family, presidents and many famous sports people.
Two years ago, he wished to return to the north west of England, and became Operations Director for the Manchester United Foundation.
John says that he has had an amazing life and career, following his passion, getting to watch, and work in, sport. He says that he still pinches himself sometimes, when he thinks about where he started from and what he has achieved, a result of hard work and determination.
There are roles within sport in a wide variety of areas such as ticketing, sports science, physiotherapy, ticketing, catering, logistics, event management, estates, administration, marketing, communications and bid writing.
John’s advice to students wanting to work in sport, or indeed any other field, is:
These websites are a good place to start researching sports-related job roles:
Jack was school educated up to 6th form. He worked hard and achieved ten very good GCSE’s and three good A-levels. He worked part time in a pub during his teens.
His heart was set on going to university for the experience and future prospects. However, it wasn’t until he was making his course choices that he considered specific careers, and he thought about his love of food.
He went on to achieve a 1st class degree in Business & Culinary Arts Management from UCB in Birmingham. During this time he worked a placement year where he became acting head chef at a Loch Fyne restaurant.
He began his career working in various kitchens up to 3-rosette level, but then looked for a change in order to move away from working evenings and weekends. He found his current employer, T(n)S Catering Management Ltd, working initially as an area support manager.
Over the eight years he has worked for the company they have developed him and he manages a group of 14 contracts across the Midlands, with his own support team. He travels a lot and has a nice car, and feels that he is successful for his age.
People can also successfully build a career in the catering industry via a vocational route, working and undertaking NVQ qualifications. Job roles in the Food Industry include:
The National Careers Service website has more information about careers in catering.
The Hospitality Guild website is another source of information that may be useful
Drayton began by talking about the wide variety of roles that make up the NHS – currently there are 350 separate job roles listed on the NHS Careers website.
Drayton began his career in the NHS as a hospital porter. It was a varied role that involved meeting a lot of people and he loved it. It is a good entry point to careers in hospitals, as it involves working in lots of different departments, allowing porters to get a feel for a variety of different types of hospital work. Remembering colleagues from when he started portering, roles they have gone onto include phlebotomist, pharmacy technician, physiotherapy technician, facilities manager and play therapy assistant.
In order to progress to his current role as Manual Handling Advisor (sometimes known as Back Care Advisor) Drayton studied at University part time whilst working. It is more common for people who have already had a university education in a related field to go into this role e.g. physiotherapy graduates.
Drayton’s role includes:
It can be a rewarding role, both in terms of pay and in terms of satisfaction and making a real difference. Drayton gave an example of helping a patient to get from his bed and into a chair, and the patient crying tears of gratitude as he had been convinced that he would never leave bed again due to his illness. The most challenging part of the role is getting people to put their training into practice.
There is progression within the role, and there are opportunities to study up to Masters level. To apply for a job as a porter, basic literacy, numeracy and computer skills are needed.
Gillian explained that there are no less than 51 roles within Health Care Sciences.
Health Care Scientists provide the tools that doctors and surgeons use to diagnose and treat patients.
In Cardiology, this means undertaking and reporting on tests on individual patients, such as ECGs, monitoring heart rhythm and other investigations. They also fit pacemakers, undertake angiograms and other cardiac rhythm management procedures. This is usually done within the hospital environment and may involve follow up assessments with patients to check how treatment is working.
Gillian aspired to be a biomedical scientist working in laboratories. She studied A levels and went onto Lancaster University to study biomedical science and medical biology. After university she worked in Florida for Disney for a year on a cultural representative programme. There, she discovered that she enjoyed working with people. On arriving back in the UK, she worked for the NHS on a locum basis, before taking up a job as a Study Co-ordinator at a clinical trials company.
This work was on Phase 1 trials – the first time a new drug is tested on healthy humans. She set up test documentation and acted as a Dose Checker. It was a varied role that she enjoyed, but she wanted more contact with patients.
She started work on a Phase 2 drug trial, this is when the drug is tested on humans who have the disease that the drug is designed to treat. This gave Gillian the opportunity to work within a hospital environment with patients, and she decided that she wanted to train as a Specialist Cardio Physiologist.
Gillian now works at both the Manchester Royal Infirmary and the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, as well as being a Clinical Educator and having involvement with recruitment to the profession nationally.
There are currently two training routes into health care sciences, and undergraduate route and a postgraduate route. Apprenticeships are coming soon, giving interested candidates the opportunity to train on the job.
The starting salary for a healthcare scientist is normally NHS Band 5 (approximately £23,000 per year), with good progression prospects. After two years, progression to Band 6 could be expected, and following specialisation, Band 7 (around £33.000 per year). It is a well-supported career with lifelong learning opportunities.
Gillian’s message to students are:
More information can be found at:
Presented by Eve Murphy, Creative Director at TuMuv
Eve had a clear career plan at the young age of 7 – she wanted to go to Loughborough University and become a PE Teacher, and that is just what she did. She felt that she had succeeded. However, just after moving house with her two young children she was made redundant. This major setback lead her to question herself, and to think about how she defined success.
In order to carve out a new career that fitted in with her young family and used her existing skillset, Eve started a business that provided dance classes to pre-school children. She built it up to nineteen classes per week run by three staff.
In the meantime, a friend of a friend, Holly, had the idea of using an already successful brand (Peppa Pig) to get pre-schoolers moving. She secured a deal with Entertainment One, the owner of the rights to the Peppa Pig brand.
Eve had content, but it didn’t stand out in the market place and was easy for other to copy, restricting its potential growth. Holly had the backing of a national brand, but no content.
The two formed a partnership, TuMuv in 2015, and launched their “Move with Peppa” programme. This has now grown to deliver more than a hundred sessions each week nationally, 300 further locations where parents/carers have expressed an interest in the programme being delivered, and a website with over 200,000 unique monthly users.
Eve says that it has been hard work, with setbacks along the way, but she loves what she does, and has redefined her idea of success. The company is now working on other brand possibilities with Entertainment One.
Business Start-ups need investment, this can be from savings, grants, loans or finance. A good place to find out information about free business support is Blue Orchid and your local Chamber of Commerce.
• Everyone is good at different things and things that make them special
• Everyone will have their own journey
• The thing that will get you there will be working really, really hard and believing in yourself.
Presented by Charles Shoreland, Senior Architect, Bowker Sadler Architecture
Charles is the architect who has lead on the Academy’s new Maths and English Block project.
He explained the role that an architect usually takes on a building project. The Client, in this case the Academy, gives the architect a brief, which sets out what they want. The architect works with the client to develop initial design ideas. The architect appoints a design team, which would include him/herself, a structural engineer, a services engineer and quantity surveyor. Later in the process there would also be a building contractor and an interior designer on the team.
The architect’s role is to lead the whole exercise, which would involve project management, keeping the project on track, working with the client and all other parties and co-ordinating contractors, as well as being involved with health and safety during the build programme.
Architects can work on a variety of projects, ranging from small domestic extensions to large specialised buildings such as hospitals.
Training to be an architect takes seven years. Three years would be spent at university, followed by four years post-graduate training in practice. Within architecture there are a number of levels, including technician and architect, and a range of specialist areas that might include hand drawing, computer aided design and client liaison.
There are also a wide variety of careers within the construction industry, including building trades (bricklaying, plumbing, electrical fitting, groundworking), engineering, building surveying, quantity surveying/accountancy, procurement, health and safety, sales and marketing, and new product development.
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:
Lucy recommends Glassdoor as a good starting point in your job search, as well as job adverts you can search salaries and specific companies.
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: http://gmcareershub.nhs.uk/
NHS Careers website: https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/EXPLORE-ROLES/DOCTORS
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.
Presented by Sue Campayne, Marketing and Fundraising Officer, Manchester Health Academy
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:
Sue’s key messages to young people were:
Presentation: Aspire to Be in Marketing
Presented by Gary Wade, Officer, Border Force
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).
Presented by Charlotte Hook and Sarah McNair, Myerson Solicitors LLP
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:
Presented by PE Teacher Miss Riches, Manchester Health Academy
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.