8 March 2023
Pupils from Queen Mary’s School, between Ripon and Thirsk, were inspired by speakers from a variety of industries at their recent Futures Forum. The event provided pupils with valuable insights to a range of career opportunities including publishing, investment management, entrepreneurship and public healthcare. It also highlighted the importance of embracing opportunities and learning from failure, and the value of developing a broad skill set.
Speakers included former Queen Mary’s pupil, Caroline Hill-Trevor, publisher and Head of Book Selection and Purchasing at the UK’s biggest book charity, BookTrust; Lydia Garratt, Investment Manager at Evelyn Partners; Rachel McDonald, Senior Project Manager for Maternity Health at North East NHS and Haani Ul Hasnain, entrepreneur and business founder of Harmonised World.
Caroline Hill-Trevor explained her background in publishing and the many different areas within the sector – from editing, design, purchasing, sales, marketing and sale of overseas rights. “I had no idea there were so many different aspects to publishing and that it can appeal to those who are mathematically minded just as much as those who are literary minded,” said Romilly in Year 10.
Lydia Garratt, Investment Manager at Evelyn Partners, revealed the reality of banking versus the media perception and explained her journey into investment from a non-banking background. She advised pupils to create as many contacts as possible, seek mentorship and ask advice at every opportunity, explaining that she was only inspired to follow her career after attending a talk on investment with a family friend.
Rachel McDonald, North East and North Cumbria NHS Senior Project Manager, explained to pupils that her career had taken many twists and turns and how, by embracing failure, she had gone on to develop many skills in other areas. Having not got into Art School, she changed subjects and went into purchasing. After becoming a purchasing manager the decision to move manufacturing abroad impacted her career so she moved into marketing and communications. She then went into local politics, becoming a councillor for Sedgefield when Rt Hon Sir Tony Blair was MP and Prime Minister. Her current role in the NHS means that she has to be adaptable and creative and a good communicator, which are all skills she has developed along the way through her many different roles.
Haani Ul Hasnain left pupils feeling hugely inspired by his growth mindset and enthusiasm for learning and embracing all that life offers. His key takeaways were to seize all opportunities telling pupils: “All progress takes place outside the comfort zone. Failure is not the opposite of success. It is part of success.” Having lost his mother at a young age, and wanting to be a fighter pilot, Haani eventually joined his father’s business on the factory floor, working hard to eventually become the CEO of Haani Cables, a British manufacturing success story, which he grew to four times its original size. He then established Harmonised World, where he now helps individuals and companies across the world to become more effective through learning and development training.
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. More than ever people are pursuing multi-faceted careers, incorporating many different jobs, skills and roles. We believe that encouraging flexibility, enthusiasm, tenacity and determination is key to our pupils’ future success and it is something Queen Mary’s is passionate about.”
Fleur Seldon, reporter for the Queen Mary’s Student Newspaper, highlighted the following key takeaways from the event:
“Books broaden our horizons. They are windows and mirrors. Windows into someone else’s world. Mirrors into ourselves and our own world” – Caroline Hill-Trevor
“The expectations of Investment Managing and Finance are very different to the reality” – Lydia Garratt
“There is no such thing as a silly question” – Rachel McDonald
“You don’t get good at something until you do it wrong” – Haani UI Hasnain