First year students studying on the A Level Professional Honours Programme heard from a wide range of guest speakers as part of their work experience day.

AS students learned about different careers within the finance, health, IT and media sectors from a variety of professionals with vast industry experience.

Speakers included a GP, a self-employed independent film maker, media manager, business owner, product manager and a group financial controller.

Media students were particularly interested in the first talk of the day from Media Manager, Damian Ratcliffe.

Damian (pictured right) has worked on a number of shows including Meet the Richardson’s and Love at First Sight. He discussed how he got into the media industry and different training routes available.

He talked about working as a locations assistant on the film set of Marvel’s Captain America and his career journey from runner to researcher to assistant producer and now media manager on shows such as the X Factor.

Damian stressed the importance of showing willingness and getting valuable work experience which can lead to opportunities and further networking.

Aamir Shaikh gave a talk about his career as an independent filmmaker. He had studied aerospace engineering at university but always had a passion for making films.

The filmmaker works largely on corporate videos and has done lots of work for Wigan Council. Students fielded many questions in which Aamir shared his experiences and gave advice to students interested in this field of media.

Head of Teaching and Academic Studies, Tanya Evans said: "Each year our A level students carry out meaningful work experience in placements relevant to their career ambitions. This isn't possible at the moment, so these events provide our students with a valuable virtual experience where they can ask industry experts questions and gain insight into the skills that they need to develop to prepare for their chosen careers.

“It is our hope that later in the academic year, we will be able to build on this day by organising work experience where students will be able to visit and experience working in these industries in person."

GP, Anna Smith discussed what it’s like to work in the medical field and offered insight into training to become a doctor and explained different routes you can take once qualified.

Applied Medical pathway students were keen to learn about the journey from university, through to foundation years to becoming fully signed off as a qualified GP. She also kindly extended her contact for students to ask her future questions and get advice on volunteering opportunities.

Phil Thornley (pictured below) works for multi-million pound IT solutions firm ThoughtWorks, in Manchester. The IT consultant gave advice on delivering presentations, emphasising the importance of students building up their practise while at College and he encouraged them to take part in a range of activities offered at College and during work experience weeks to build resilience and confidence.

His job requires him to provide support to huge employers like Tesco, and the government. He highlighted aspects of the best part of his job which included making a positive change in an organisation such as the NHS which would benefit patients.

Students also had the opportunity to hear from another businessman who had chosen a different direction in his career from that of his university degree subject area.

After completing his psychology degree, Gary Eden travelled for a year before getting a job at RBS. He then took a graduate scheme with global audit and assurance firm Deloitte and was put through a chartership in accounting.

This led him to become a Group Financial Controller at Nicholls Plc (better known as Vimto). He gave an insight into his role within the company and answered questions ranging from dealing with problems that arise to how important were the connections he made when starting out on his graduate scheme.

The final talk of the day was delivered by entrepreneur, Dan Atherton. The business owner set up his own successful IT firm which he then sold to begin a new business venture in office interior design - specifically installing plants which they import from Europe and maintain for businesses across the country.

He discussed the complexities of running a business, managing clients and finances, to the importance of acquiring multiple skills that will make an individual more of an asset.

“I found the talks useful and discovered that when you're working in or creating a business, always do your research before taking action and plan things out. Having good social and teamwork skills is also something that employers find attractive,” said student Rafa M.

And Daniel Willis added: “No matter what career you want there is more than one specific way to study for it, never focus on one thing too much as there may always be a way better suited to you.”

  • Share: