National Careers Week at More House has been absolutely jam-packed with an enormous range of events covering a variety of careers and career pathways!
I hope this week has led to some open and frank conversations at home and in form rooms. I would like to thank the students, parents, and teachers who attended the events and to our amazing guests for their support and useful advice.
Turning your Passion into a Career
The week kicked off with an inspiring talk in the library entitled ‘Turning your Passion into a Career’, where we were introduced to Megan Beech, a slam poet (who you can see on Ted Talks, among other places) and Patience from Madeleine’s Cake Boutique in East Sheen. Both women detailed their journeys from having a passion for baking and poetry when they were younger to actually getting paid to do it as adults.
Patience discussed her experiments with different jobs, from working in biomedical science to being part of an airline cabin crew in order to pay for the ingredients she needed to make cakes. After training at Le Cordon Bleu, Patience worked as a patisserie chef, before finally earning enough money to buy her own bakery. She stressed that working as a baker wasn’t just about making cakes but also involved a lot of skills she learned at school in business, maths, and science classes.
Megan similarly explained how her history and politics lessons in school, along with her passion for English literature, inspired her to express herself through poetry. She emphatically stressed that sticking to her guns and having an incredible support network around her allowed her to appear on TV, do a Ted Talk, and even perform in the Royal Albert Hall. The key advice from both women was that if you have a passion and want to turn it into your career, find any means possible to do it. You might have to do some jobs you don’t enjoy in order to fund your passion but if you try and extract as much advice and gain as many skills as possible while doing it, it could become valuable towards turning your passion into a career later on.
NCS came to speak to year 11 about their fantastic summer programme open to year 11 and lower sixth (who are under 18 over the summer). The programme allows students to work in a community, complete outdoor activities in the countryside, and also gain important skills for future careers.
The Secret Lives of More House Teachers
On Tuesday and Thursday, we had two ‘Secret Lives of More House Teachers’ sessions, where various teachers were interviewed about the interesting jobs they held before entering teaching. We heard some great advice about how to get into jobs for big corporations like IBM, Fiat, the Royal Opera House, and investment banking firms. The teachers gave fascinating insights into what they loved and what they didn’t miss about their previous jobs! Massive thanks to Mrs Mullins, Mr La Frenais, Mr Green, Miss Wijay, Mr Reilly, and Ms Revell for giving up their time and letting us delve into their pasts!
Wednesday was the highlight of the year for our WE volunteers. Miss Wijay and I took 18 girls who earned tickets through their volunteer work to the huge WE Day celebration at Wembley Arena for those who are actively trying to change a society that is “about ME” to one that is all about “WE”. Miss Wijay shares this report from our inspiring day:
“Their belief: WE are stronger together. Their reward: a WE Day concert.
Over the past year, our girls have gone above and beyond for our local community by taking part in various volunteer programmes through the global charity, WE. The WE Day concert was a celebration of all the amazing things young people across the country have done for their local communities and our students at More House were a part of that. We couldn’t be prouder of them.
We were welcomed by London’s very own Mayor, Mr Sadiq Khan, which was then followed by talks from some truly inspirational people. Her Royal Highnesses Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie told us to reach out and not suffer in silence, and reminded us that we are never alone. Musharaf and Mr Burton from “Educating Yorkshire” provided a powerful message to us all and said “it’s important to embrace our differences – that’s what makes us who we are”. Musharaf, as you may know, was unable to speak five years ago due to a crippling stammer, but on this day, he gave a ten-minute speech to an encouraging crowd of 20,000 in Wembley Arena. He received a standing ovation in what was a very emotional moment for both him and the crowd. There were tears from many teachers in the Arena, including the two More House teachers in attendance!
We also were inspired by youth workers who are still working at Grenfell – volunteers who’ve helped those with depression, eating disorders, the homeless, and the elderly. We were treated to music from Tokio Myers, Alexandra Burke, The Tenors, and Kenyan Boys’ Choir, and ended with a performance from HRVY, which was loved by our year 11s in particular! It was a heart-warming concert and we know our girls enjoyed their well-deserved reward.”
On Friday, we were proud to award Olivia Bogle in year 11 the first ever “More House Volunteer of the Year” certificate to recognise her selfless efforts in helping the community through the WE Day programme in school. We want to congratulate not only Olivia but everyone else who has volunteered this year, especially students in our current year 11 who have given up hours and hours of their time for others. Anyone in year 10 to upper sixth who are interested in volunteering should listen out to the notices next week, as I will be announcing the next volunteering project for March.
Fashion Industry Advice
On Wednesday afternoon, we were delighted to welcome Amy who is the Head of Buying at Kurt Geiger. She gave a lunchtime talk to those who are interested in getting into the fashion industry but also introduced the girls to the various roles within fashion that aren’t just for fashion designers and models.
Alternatives to University
Wednesday night, we welcomed parents to an event entitled “Alternatives to University” featuring various speakers who discussed apprenticeships and why these are a very attractive alternative for students who may not be suited to university. It was fantastic to see the range of careers that you can access through apprenticeships (debt free!) – they are no longer just a way into trade jobs but can also be a way into a range of careers including ICT, finance, marketing, and banking. We also had Le Cordon Bleu pitch their various courses for those who dream of being the next Nigella Lawson or Gordon Ramsay.
On Thursday, years 10, 11, and lower-sixth students were given the pupil version of this talk. It certainly opened their eyes to an ever-growing number of pathways to future careers. It is important to stress that there are no right or wrong paths, just different paths for everyone. University, apprenticeships, and vocational colleges all have their advantages, but the most important thing is that each girl knows which path will be right for her.
Jobs for the Boys?
At lunch time on Friday, we welcomed Squadron Leader Fell from the RAF and Katherine Chimenes, structural engineer for ARUP, whose theme was “Jobs for the Boys?”. They spoke to the girls about careers that in the past were not traditionally thought of as “feminine jobs” and how that’s changing now. Katherine described how she is working on the (in)famous Sagrada Família, which is still not complete after 136 years of construction. She is the only woman working on the project and stressed to the girls that there is a huge need for women in engineering! Finally, Katherine advised us all to work at things that make us passionate and not to worry if they are seen as cool or not.
Squadron Leader Fell described the hundreds of jobs in the RAF from pilot to officer, from nurse to chef. She shared her experience of working in logistics and air traffic control. She told us that up until 1994, women could still not be pilots in the RAF but now there is a huge opportunity for women in the forces. It was inspiring to see these women speak so passionately about what they do in a landscape that has previously been dominated entirely by men.
Thank you, again, to all students, parents, and staff for their support during this week. I hope it was helpful and inspiring for all attendees!