Benjamin is a Year 12 student at Vyners School in Uxbridge. Inspired by a workshop he attended with several former students representing careers in the RAF, law, finance and health care, he spoke to us about his growing confidence for the future.
My experience of meeting former students from my school was quite an interesting one because you’re more sympathetic to what they are saying – they’ve been through similar things to what you’ve been through, they’ve come from a similar area and it makes the experience more personal.
We had a former student talk about his career working for Lloyds Insurance and this was interesting because he was telling us about the financial markets and how he operates. It certainly wasn’t a career I was thinking about in great detail, but listening to a former student talking about that particular sector gave me a wider understanding of some of the options open to me.
I felt like I was looking for a career in politics and economics perhaps – before meeting the former students – but after the talk, I felt more interested in the economics side. It basically gave me a balance and showed me the options in Finance too.
Meeting alumni has shown me what I can achieve because they’ve grown up in similar circumstances to me – they’ve done it, and so can I. It gives me more confidence to proceed with what I want to do. Seeing alumni who have been in my place at school, it makes me feel better about myself, because I can see where these people have gone and what they have achieved with their lives and how their experiences are similar to mine. I feel I can use that and develop on that to help inform my career choices in a more interesting way.
I think the biggest thing I can take away from the workshop and meeting alumni is the focus on skills. I’m more confident on the academic side, but I think developing the more softer and transferable skills for different careers is interesting because we’ve seen today a wide variety of careers from law to finance, the military to health and how they all need the same basic skills to help them perform well in their jobs.The main thing is that it re-emphasised and reminded me of the importance of the soft skills – it was there at the back of my mind but it just needed bringing to the fore-front which I appreciated.
I would very much like to return as an alumni speaker myself and talk to former students because it’s good to show people a variety of different careers that they can go into, and speak from your own personal experience, especially being so fresh out of the school – your experiences won’t be too dissimilar to theirs.
It makes a difference hearing from a former student because it makes them more relatable, because the classroom you are sitting in and listening to them, quite possibly they sat in and that makes it more personal and relatable.
After the workshop I’ve certainly become more confident and have a better approach to my career and my schoolwork because I can see where these people have gone to, and I know I’m now thinking about the right things and I’ve got a decent idea about what I want to do. It’s given me the encouragement to carry on developing some of the skills I’m currently working on.
Contact us to discuss how we can support your school to work with former students.