12 April 2022
Pupils from Queen Mary’s School, between Ripon and Thirsk, were inspired by speakers from a variety of industries at the Futures Forum. The event provided pupils with valuable insight to a range of careers from the creative industries to veterinary science.
Speakers included former Queen Mary’s pupils, Jo Farr, Art Department Co-ordinator at Pinewood Studios and equine vet Alice Barker who works in a rural Northumbrian practice alongside freelance journalist Amy Wilson, who writes for The Times.
“The talks were all very different, however, each speaker emphasised the importance and value of work experience,” said Romilly Abbott, Year 9. “Not only will work experience give us the opportunity to see if an industry is the right one for us, it will also help our CVs stand out to potential employers.”
Jo Farr, who has worked on many films including on Rocketman and Fast and Furious 6, explained the process of set design, highlighting in detail how backdrops are created for film sets. She also gave tips on how to get ahead in the creative industries.
Alice Barker, equine vet at Alnorthumbria practice, spoke to pupils about the importance of gaining as much practical experience as possible. She described how being helpful, interested and friendly with both clients and staff was key. She reminded pupils that so many skills gleaned from work experience are transferable to many industries and that any experience is always of value.
Amy Wilson, freelance journalist and contributor to The Times and The Daily Telegraph pointed out that pupils are all journalists today, when they write, edit and sub-edit their social media posts, and choose the correct image to accompany their text. Amy stressed the significance of contributing to as many publications as possible, whether it is student publications, local radio stations, online blogs or social media. She told pupils that an innate interest in people and sense of curiosity are key attributes of journalism.
The forum was hosted by Nina Gunson, Head of Sheffield Girls’ School, who led a discussion on flexibility during careers. Jo Farr suggested that one of the most important things students should do when considering their futures, is to ask themselves the things they are not good at and that they do not enjoy. This will help pupils analyse their skillset and choose industries or roles that they are better suited to. “Flexibility comes when you learn that a career category is not just one job.”
Other key takeaways from the discussion were to never stop exploring, make sure you find the right people to ask questions, use every opportunity available to further your experience and say yes to all opportunities.
Carole Cameron, Head of Queen Mary’s School said: “A crucial part of our pupils’ education is preparing them for life after school. It is important that they start to think about their future careers and the transferable skills they can use in different jobs. The likelihood of them working in just one sphere is very slim and many roles use similar skills. Encouraging flexibility, enthusiasm, tenacity and determination is key to our pupils’ future success and something about which Queen Mary’s is passionate about.”