Welcome to the Sandwell Academy Alumni profile page! You can filter down through alumni by the year they left on the left hand side.
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After Sandwell Academy I was happy to get into University of Birmingham. I studied Geography there for 3 years and when I graduated wanted to experience doing something completely different in a new country. I moved to Australia and stayed with a family friend for a month before starting work. I worked at Billabong, the surf clothing company, for a year then used my experience in scuba diving to get a job working for a fishing company in Western Australia for a year where I saved up money. I moved to Turkey after that and spent a few years, and my savings, starting a family business focused on furniture making and interior design (two hobbies I'd always had). The business did well and is still growing today but the lifestyle wasn't quite right for me at the time. I handed the business over to my dad and I spent a few months in the UK deciding what I wanted to do next. After applying for a number of different roles I came across a challenging one where I'd start from a very junior position in finance, but would allow me to work overseas in a new role. I was placed in Hong Kong and spent the next year and a half learning about finance, investments and business. After some time with the company I realised I was drawn to real estate and liked the ties it had to home. I started working for a development/construction company that focused on building in Birmingham and getting investment from the overseas market. I had 2 fantastic years with that company and recently moved across to a fast growing company that offered me a challenging career step up in the same industry.
Not everyone knows exactly what they want to do when they leave school, and that is fine. Some people will know where they want to be in 5 years, and some won't.
I'd recommend working hard at whatever you do and thinking hard on what you want to spend your time doing. Big goals don't happen overnight, it is about setting small, attainable targets that help you along the way. You'd be surprised how much you can achieve with lots of small steps!
– I'd like to stay in Hong Kong for a while longer; this part of the world is incredible and I'd recommend travel to anyone that is lucky enough to do it. England will always be my home and that is where I would like to settle down with a family one day but for the time being I want to focus on building up my career in real estate and investments overseas. Always looking for a new challenge!
Meeting people from so many different schools was definitely a highlight for me. When I joined Sandwell Academy the school had only been open for a year or two so everyone had come here from other schools. I made a lot of interesting friends and am pleased to say I still talk to some 13 years later!
2007 - 2009
Senior Investment Consultant API Global, Hong Kong
Whilst attending Sandwell Academy Sixth Form I made a drastic last minute move to go through Clearing instead of going into Biomedicine and attending one of my UCAS choices. I made this decision as I wanted to do something that I had a passion for and enjoyed rather than doing something I was good at but had no interest in. During the time of my A Level exams I applied to Capgemini's Sponsored Degree programme but unfortunately was not successful in the last stage of the recruitment process. I decided to go through Clearing and study Computer Science at Aston University however, whilst I was there I was approached by Capgemini again to attend an interview which I successfully passed and was offered the role. Since then I have been a part of many projects in and around the UK, the biggest client being Unilever.
Always do something that you enjoy rather than doing something that you are intellectually good at as you don't want to be stuck at university or in a job that you dislike. Also networking is very important, "it's not who you know, it's who knows you" and remembers you, so put yourself out there and get to know people, it doesn't hurt to converse with people. My advice is, even if it is not your personality to be bold and confident, you have nothing to lose it's your career and if it means pushing yourself to be out of your comfort zone for 5 or 10 minutes it will be well worth it in the long run.
I take each day as it comes, currently I would like to complete my degree and become a qualified Software Engineer however, if a great opportunity arises... who knows, the possibilities are endless!
There are too many memories to name but if I had to pick one it would be Duke of Edinburgh. One of the funniest and easiest experiences to remember is the expedition and I share the memory with life-long friends and had such a good time that it did not feel like a long walk.
2008 - 2015
Following on from Sandwell Academy I went on to study at Aston University where I achieved a 2:1 in BSc Business & Computer Science. After my graduation I decided to take a few months out to travel the world and on my return I secured a graduate position in Secure Trust Bank working as a Systems Analyst in the Motor Finance business. I have since been promoted to a Business Analyst/consultant working on projects around the country in different areas of the business such as Real Estate Finance, Commercial Finance, Mortgage Finance and etc.
Following sixth form, it can be difficult to decide what you want to do. Make sure you have consider all options available i.e. university, apprenticeships before making a final decision. If you're still undecided then get in touch with the careers team in Sandwell Academy who for me were important in my decision making.
However, for those who wish to attend university it is important to take your first year as serious as your final years although it doesn't count towards your degree. Having said that, if you decide to do a sandwich year (internship) most companies take your first year grading into consideration before shortlisting you for role .
I wish to continue enhancing my career in the financial services and becoming a qualified consultant. I have qualifications in Six Sigma and Business Analysis and currently working towards my Diploma in Banking. I have put together a 5 year career path which I am 2 years in and currently on track to achieving.
I had the best time at Sandwell Academy, I met some incredible friends who I still see regularly. My favourite memory is going on the Liverpool enrichment trip and getting to meet most of the Liverpool players, I still have the pictures!
Financial Business Analyst
Secure Trust Bank
After being scouted whilst playing for my University team, and being named in the Great Britain Team, I was picked up by a club in 2017 to play in the Czech Republic CAAF. After three seasons in Czech Republic and a National Title playing for the Prague Lions in 2019, an opportunity opened to make the move to the Polish League (top 7 in Europe).
If you like something, try it, and if you have a talent... build on it. And when people ask you why, the response should be why not?
A move to play in Canada (CFL) is a step I can quite possibly be looking at to take in the next couple of seasons, but the main goal is to have fun and see where my journey unfolds.
I won’t lie, Sandwell Academy holds far too many positive memories for me... maybe some shouldn’t be shared here! But I would think performing in the schools production of Grease in my final year in the role of Danny... or when our year 9 football team boys won the league at the Hawthorns.
Professional Athlete - Quarterback Silesia Rebels - LFA1 (Polish Top Division American Football League)
After finished Sixth Form at Sandwell Academy, I secured an apprenticeship working for Black Country Women's aid. After working there for just over a year I secured a role as a Refuge Support Worker. I knew I wanted to work with young people again and moved to a role as Inclusion Administrator at Sandwell Academy. After 3 Years working in the school office I then moved to Inclusion to work on a one to one basis with students.
If you have a passion in a career that you wish to fulfil, go for it and look at all avenues that will help you get there.
In terms of my career I want to continue to work with young people offering support and guidance. I would like to broaden my knowledge of safeguarding and child protection.
Year 11 Prom! It was a fantastic celebration and send off.
2006 - 2013
Deputy Inclusion Manager Sandwell Academy
I went from studying my A Levels at Sandwell Academy to BEng Mechanical Engineering at Aston University and as part of my university study I was fortunate enough to secure an industrial placement in my third year. During my time in that placement I was offered a full-time position to start after I finish my final year of study and have my tuition fees paid for the final year by the company. I've been at Collins Aerospace ever since working mainly in the Design and Engineering departments and in my time I've progressed from Applications Engineer.
I highly recommended pushing to get work experience that is relative to where you want to end up after studying at Sandwell Academy. I was lucky to get a 1-week work experience at a local Engineering company with the help from the Careers Advisors where I worked on CAD & supported the design team with modelling tasks. With that being my first experience of what life is like at an Engineering company it was very reassuring that Engineering was the field I wanted to go into.
I recently took the decision to look for a new role outside of Collins Aerospace and will be starting at Moog Aircraft Group as a Project Engineer in the next couple of months which is something I'm really looking forward to, still working within the Aerospace sector but with a new company and learning about new products.
My best memory would have to be going away to a one night residential to Liverpool University as a bit of a taster for university life, it was great to stay in the halls and experience it fully!
2009 - 2011
Engineeing Team Leader Moog Aircraft Group
I was at Sandwell Academy from Year 7 right up to the last year of Sixth Form. My career options were always changing but I finally decided and focused on becoming a Chartered Accountant. I was pleased when I received the news that I had an interview for Dains Accountants in Birmingham, where I secured a contract within the Commercial Services department. In my daily role I work with a variety of different clients, helping create management (end-of-year) accounts whilst being supported by the rest of my team. I also attend college once a week to help me towards my qualification, paid for in full by the company. Even within the three months I have been working I have never looked back, as I strongly believe this is the career for me; it is very interesting to learn about and every client is different.
Don't rush in to deciding what steps you wish to take after high school or Sixth Form, research when you have spare time into the different courses or careers you think you may find enjoyable and make use of the support you have from your fellow peers and the Careers Department to help you make the right decisions.
I will be completing my AAT qualification then moving onto the ACCA after I have completed this, while gaining more valuable experience within the accounting sector. This will help me on the path to becoming a Chartered Accountant while developing my understanding of the finance industry.
Doing the St. Basils Big Sleep Out twice while in Sixth Form! It was enjoyable meeting other students in my year who I could get to know better, raising money for a great cause and gaining a small eye-opener to what it must be like for people who are unfortunate enough to be homeless.
2009 - 2016
Commerical Services Trainee - Dains LLP
I spent 7 years at Sandwell Academy before moving onto the University of Birmingham to do a Sport Coaching and PE Course. Whilst at the Academy I began volunteering for the West Bromwich Albion Foundation which eventually led to a casual contract with them which allows me to coach different sports sessions in between my lectures at University. I also became the manager of a youth football team who are currently Under 8s. My time at Sandwell Academy gave me the opportunity to discover Hockey and progress all the way to an England Trial. Last summer I spent three months in America coaching football and travelling the country! I have been lucky enough to have some amazing experiences and I am where I am today because of Sandwell Academy.
Grab every opportunity that comes your way with both hands. You may end up discovering something about yourself which you didn't know before which can then lead to even greater experiences. Having experience is sometimes more important than the grades you come out with and if the grades aren't what you want, don't let them define you.
I have been offered a place on a PE PGCE course at Thomas Telford School which will hopefully lead to me becoming a qualified Secondary School PE teacher. The main goal is to one day return to the Academy as a teacher, to add my name to the growing list of former students who are now teachers!
I have two great memories of my time at Sandwell Academy which are too difficult to choose between. Playing on The Hawthorns in two finals is one of them and the other is representing Sandwell Academy as captain of the Hockey team on our 2010 Sports Tour to Spain!
2007 - 2014
Student at University of Birmingham and Casual Coach at the Albion Foundation
I did psychology at uni with a placement year at Sandwell Academy and got a 2:1. Following that, I took a Department and Duty Manager job at Decathlon UK where I got to travel across the country practicing sport and attending trainings/meetings. I was also responsible for the entire store and safety of staff and customers. I left that for my current role as Contact Officer for West Midlands Police where I take emergency and non-emergency calls, carry out intel checks and decide what response WMP will make.
My advice for students would be to not rule out any options at such a young age. Although it's not necessary to have a degree for my role I'm glad I have one. Not only does it help when speaking to people with severe mental ill-health; it means that if I want to move on from this role I will be able to. Keep as many doors open as possible.
I would like a more "hands on" career using my degree more. I am currently pursuing joining West Midlands Ambulance Service to become a Paramedic. In my current role I receive the initial call and pass it on. I'd like to be a part of the resolution.
My best memory of SA? I can't pinpoint one but I loved being able to play so many sports and competing against other schools. Also, I don't think I'll ever forget the Sandwell Run.
West Midlands POlice
After Sandwell Academy I left with my A Levels and managed to secure an apprenticeship with BMW Plant, Hams Hall. The apprenticeship was a 4 year course and has prospects of leading to a permanent skilled job role with a full degree, all paid for by the company. Throughout the apprenticeship I have done additional placements at the other locations such as MINI in Oxford and Rolls-Royce in Goodwood. Opportunities may also arise to study and work abroad with plants in China, Brazil and USA not forgetting the headquarters in Germany. All of this gets sweetened with a new BMW to drive!
Experience is key! It can sometimes be valued over some qualifications – I did a total of 5 weeks of work experience before applying for BMW and it was a strong talking point in my interview. There is no point in knowing everything if you can't apply it!
I am currently on the foundation degree stage and hope to get the best grades possible to have the opportunity to step it up to a full degree. Once completed I hope to have the opportunity to work abroad for a period of time. Once settled back in the UK I plan to work up the managerial ladder where I have a team to work with and greater responsibility to help achieve targets and contribute to the company. I would like to develop into a project managing role most likely abroad in countries like UAE or Australia!
Either Boreatton Park where I met the friends I am still in touch with and meet up with regularly on weekends, or, being part of the first ever year in the Academy!
Quality Technician Apprentice
I left Sandwell Academy after being Head Boy for one year and worked as a Teaching Assistant for 2 years in a Primary School, gaining plenty of experience & working towards my NVQ Level 3 in Childcare. I then was lucky enough to return to Sandwell Academy as a Teaching Assistant, which I really enjoyed! After working in Schools for 4 years in total, I knew I wanted to stay in education but decided that I wanted to work in recruitment where I could make a real difference in terms of helping people find their dream role and the right fit for Schools too. I have now worked as an education recruitment specialist for 4 years and I really do love it. The job is very rewarding because I get to guide and support people to find their perfect role... and earn commission doing it! It can be tough though at times so you have to be driven, confident and be prepared to put a lot of hard work and time into it.
My advice would be to reach for the stars. Work harder today than you did yesterday and give yourself the best possible opportunity to be successful... I believe we often make our own luck. My one regret in life is not taking my education more seriously. I have had to work really hard to get to where I have got to, in terms of earning the kind of salary I want to have. If I worked harder at School and Sixth form I would've got to where I am now, sooner. So I would say, do not waste your time. You have to go to school every day so you may as well get something out of it. You wouldn't go to the gym and do nothing or go out for food and eat nothing. So why come to school every day and learn nothing? Don't waste your time. Find out what you're good at and what you enjoy doing & GO FOR IT!
Keep working hard. I like nice things and want a family of my own so I need to earn good money to provide and give them the things they need and deserve. My aim is to work my way up the ladder, I want to manage my own team.
I loved Performing Arts. I was lucky enough to perform with so many talented people and my favourite memory was playing the Lion in 'The Wizard of Oz'.
Education Recruitment Specialist 4myschools – Recruitment Agency
After leaving Sandwell Academy, I studied BA (Hons) Drama and Performance at the University of Worcester. Once I graduated I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do as a career, I was applying for many graduate roles as the salary appeared good and many of them just required retail experience and a degree. To my surprise a role I had applied for through Indeed.com and the role turned out to be for BMW & MINI! It was a graduate trainee sales roles, based in Solihull. After 3 rounds of interviews, I was chosen out of 100 candidates (another 4 candidates got chosen for the role too but was based at different Sytner dealerships). I was very lucky and worked 2.5 years in sales, starting in BMW New cars and then moving to MINI sales. Sales however had its highs and lows. I found sometimes that I got down a lot due to sometimes not reaching my sales targets. I still wasn’t sure on the career I wanted to do so I decided to quit my job and go travelling. I decided to apply for a working holiday visa abroad for Australia. People warned me that Australia was expensive and it was hard to get a job, so I decided to give sales one more try; I applied for a sales executive role for BMW in Sydney and was lucky to have my application accepted! I worked for 4 months as a Sales Executive and enjoyed the role and the experience. Due to how the working holiday visa works for Australia, unless BMW sponsored me I could only work for them for a short period. So after having to leave BMW due to visa restrictions, I got into Recruitment and worked as a Recruitment Resourcer for 3 months which was a very cool experience. I was in a shared office environment in Sydney, working with amazing people and I enjoyed the modern office and working environment. Fridays where casual, meaning we could wear casual clothes like jeans and a T-shirt. I was very lucky to have such a good manager, she knew that I wasn’t 100% sure if Sales was the right career for me and she allowed me to do little side projects. It was during this time that I took an interest in Marketing. After finishing my travels and with my visa expiring, I headed home to Birmingham (December 2018). It was during this time I saw a role on LinkedIn which was for a training marketing executive and to my advantage it was for BMW! Having sales experience and an understanding of the brand, I deceived to apply for the opportunity. However the role was for London, so I had a choice to make which was to consider living away from home (Birmingham) again. I applied and again, after 3 rounds of hard interviews I was successful in getting the role. I started in January 2019 and within 9 months I was offered a permanent contract as a Marketing executive. I’ve now been working for BMW Park Lane for 1 year 8 months.
My advice is simple, follow your dreams and listen to your heart! As cheesy as it sounds, you can do anything you want to do when you put your mind to it. If you’re interested in a certain industry, network and talk to people who have that experience and don’t be scared to ask for advice. I’ve changed my career many times and what I do for work is different from my degree but to me, a degree is a life experience. It’s fun and it also shows that you can discipline yourselves to a particular subject. Just be open minded and always seek advice and you’ll have the opportunity eventually to achieve your goals!
I would like to move on and progress within my career. I still love marketing but being a bubbly and chatty character, I miss the customer interaction sometimes. I don’t think car sales is right for me but I haven’t tried any other form of sales so who knows what I’d be good at. I can envisage myself being a spokesperson or ambassador for something, but what that ‘something’ is, who knows!
It’s so hard to choose one! It would have to be my end of year production of the Jungle Book. It was a great performance we put on and I really enjoyed getting to work with some of the younger students (some of the younger girls could dance better than me!). I feel if I hadn’t of gone to Sandwell Academy, I probably wouldn’t be leading the life I lead now.
2010 - 2012
Human Marketing ExecutiveBMW Park Lane, London
After leaving Sandwell Academy, I enrolled on a Product Design and Technology degree at Loughborough University, the UK's number one design school. The first and second year were spent honing the design skill set and also making the most of the opportunities that university offers. University isn't just about the degree after all. Among many highlights, it gave me the chance to climb Kilimanjaro and race across Europe from Dover to Dubrovnik (King's Landing to any Game of Thrones fans). Well…almost across Europe if we hadn't broke down in Slovenia. My third year focused on a work placement. Keen for a challenge, this saw me move to Asia, specifically Bangkok, for a year where I worked at an international design studio as a product designer. This placement also saw me visit China to see factories and clients alongside multiple business trips to Hong Kong and Sydney. After returning, I now find myself in my final year working on my dissertation and major project alongside giving creative talks to the student body pertaining to my placement year 'James Hadley - Lost in Translation'.
My advice would be to say yes to as many opportunities as you can. Don’t be shy, and especially don’t be afraid of risk or the unknown. The best mistake you can make is the one that you learn from and the worst mistake is never trying at all.
I don't have any specific goals, I never have as I don't believe in it. Work hard and the right opportunity will present itself. If that opportunity takes me abroad, I'm happy to follow it and see where it goes. As long as I'm working as a designer, making, creating, ideating... I'll be happy.
Among many of friends, I would most likely say the voyage. For ages there was a ridiculously candid picture of me, windswept and epic on the wall. Safe to say I got absolutely no stick for that...!
Following on from Sandwell Academy I took full time employment with the NHS. Then a few months later, the opportunity to enrol on a brand new (BSc) Fire and Rescue degree at the University of Wolverhampton presented itself. I had the correct A Level qualifications so I enrolled while staying at the NHS on a part time basis. In the summer, I was able to fulfill my ambition and began Fire Fighter training starting on station in October 2014. I look back with pride and fond memories especially when I graduated in 2014 with honours.
It is hard deciding the next step, university is not for everybody but consider the option carefully. Do what is right for you and strive to be the best in whatever path you take.
Continue my career in the West Midlands Fire Service while hopefully specialising in an area of response. I was also wish to gain a qualification from the Institute of Fire Engineers (IFE).
I took part in two sailing trips provided by the Academy and to this day I still talk about them to colleagues and friends. I saw some great sights and had an amazing time on the ships.
After leaving Sandwell, I went to Bournemouth University for three years to study Forensic Science. I loved it, my course was half practical, half theory which broke up the academics slightly and really gave you an insight into the worklife of a forensic scientist. I thoroughly enjoyed university as I was in total control of my own learning, it was solely focused on a subject I was passionate about and it was fun as I was living independently, exploring a new place and starting the next chapter of my life. After getting my degree, I moved back home and started working in a law firm within legal admin as I had experience from part time jobs whilst at uni and even though it was some what different to my course at university, I fell on my feet and found something I really liked. A year on, I transferred from the Eversheds Sutherland Birmingham office to the London HQ and have since been promoted to Legal Secretary supporting seven fee earners ranging from Partner to Associate.
Do what is best for you. Not everyone is academically minded and vice versa, there are people who thrive on it so research all your options first. Don't rule anything out have a look across the board and then choose what you feel best suits you. However don't feel like once you have made that choice that, that is it because there are so many options and so many different opportunities out there. Take your time to find something that you are passionate about and that you enjoy.
As much as I loved studying forensic, I have since changed my plans and even though I'm not practicing what I studied, having my degree has opened so many doors for me. In terms of my goals for the future now I want to continue working in the city, progressing and building my career. I am willing to put the time & effort in to get as much experience behind me as I can so I am prepared for my next step, whatever that may be.
I have two best memories of my time at Sandwell. First would probably be the day I opened my GCSE results. I was terrified at the thought of opening that envelope but when I did I was over the moon! I was so grateful that all my hard work had paid off in conjunction with all the support I had from my teachers which meant I did better than I ever had expected. Secondly, meeting my bestfriends who I met way back in Year 7 and they are still my bestfriends now thirteen years later.
After 7 years at Sandwell Academy I left in 2013 and was very close to going to university to study, however I decided to take an apprenticeship joining a large IT consultancy, Capgemini, as a software engineer. After completing 2 years at Capgemini I moved to the Middle East and worked in Dubai for 2 years.
I returned back to the UK in 2017 and took some time out to obtain my accountancy qualifications, where I combined my IT skills and Finance knowledge to secure my dream job at Deloitte, where I now work in Digital Finance at their London office.
"Every day is a school day". As scary as this may sound even once you have left education, whether it be Sandwell Academy or University, you will be constantly learning new skills. Don't be afraid to pursue new skills in your own time whether that is online or additional courses as this will benefit you in the long-term, especially digital/IT skills as they are required for many roles in all industries.
Do consider apprenticeships and employment options, as university is not always the best route for everyone. There are many employers across many industries with schemes to recruit school leavers. I have had a great experience myself that has opened many other opportunities
On top of work I am currently studying for my BSc in Data Analytics & Visualisation, through the Open University. Once I have completed this I plan to further my accountancy qualifications to Chartered Accountant. I also plan to travel more with work, I have already had two short term projects in Ireland and the Netherlands and wish to build on my international project experience further.
My best memories were definitely being in the school sports teams or lessons, as it was a great bunch of people together full of fun and laughter.
In hindsight now that I am working, the support of staff, especially in 6th Form was excellent. All the extracurricular sessions for revision and coursework helped immensely.
After leaving the Academy in 2009, I went to Coventry University and completed a three year course to earn my Degree in Dance and Performance. From this I knew I wanted to be a teacher but needed more experience in a Secondary school – I came back to the Academy for 1 day a week voluntary for a whole year. I was then offered a full time position; employed as an unqualified dance instructor. After being in this role for a year the Academy offered to put me through my teacher training with West Midlands Consortium. The course I was on was known as a SDS (Schools Direct Salaried). I was training while on the job. I am still working at the Academy today about to finish my 6th year.
Advice that I would give to students on their journey would be to not forget that the Academy can help even when they are no longer students here. So don't feel afraid to ask.
The plan for my future is to keep developing and growing as a teacher and to help the Performing Arts department grow and be the best it can be.
My best memories from my time at Sandwell Academy would be the amount of performance opportunities I was given. The whole process of putting on the whole school Academy productions and working on other performances was so much fun and so rewarding.
I left SA on an apprenticeship with the West Midlands Police. I started working with Lloyds TSB in 2011 as a Customer Service Assistant (cashier) and after 6 months I was promoted to a Personal Banking Manager (looking after customer accounts which was a high pressure target driven role). In December 2013, I was Senior Personal Banking Manager and would manage the branch in the absence of my manager. Whilst in this position we had to undergo big changes from the split of Lloyds TSB and I went along the TSB Bank route. I have just been promoted again to a long awaited goal of managing my own branch with my own team of staff.
Message to students is to really not worry if you don't know what you want to do yet as I never had a plan, all I did was try my hardest wherever I was and it's worked well for me. Oh, and also make sure you utilise the careers advisors as they sorted me out pretty well!
My future aspirations would be to continue as far I can possibly in the bank industry that I've come to enjoy. I hope to reach CEO one day!
Double Award ICT with Mr Cahill was my favourite lesson and good laughs with all the students in my tutor group with Miss Davies. Great Place!
2006 - 2008
After Sandwell Academy I completed my degree in Biomedical Materials Science at The University of Birmingham. Although I enjoyed the science field, I opted for a different career path and moved into the recruitment industry which offered me the ability to move and work in Dubai for a year. I now work in a different area within recruitment in which my role involves managing the day to day recruitment operations for different clients which include Microsoft, Caterpillar, eBay and Ingram Micro.
I would advise that you utilise the Careers Department as much as you can to explore the different industries and jobs you can go into. I would also say that it is ok to change your minds after Sandwell Academy or university and go down a different career path to what they have studied, like I have.
I am quite open and flexible regarding my long term career plans. I really enjoy my current role and am lucky enough to work for a great organisation who are supportive in my development so ideally I would like to stay within the area I am in and perhaps work my way up to Programme Manager.
There are probably too many to choose from!
2011 - 2013
Programme Specialist Allegis Global Solutions
After finishing at Sandwell Academy I went on to study BSc (Hons) Sport Studies at Worcester University and graduated in 2011. I then moved to Swansea in the role of Community & Play Development, before returning to the area to work for Dudley Council in the Public Health team as an Activity Officer delivering heath & wellbeing projects. I then went on to become an Inclusion Officer at Wolves Community Trust (charity arm of the Football Club) managing youth engagement projects in partnership with WM Police to prevent vulnerable young people engaging in criminality/gang/knife culture. It wasn't until 2015 that I started working at my current employer; Sandwell Council Public Health, initially as a Activity Development Officer, and then within my current role as a Public Health Project Manager where I lead on Children & Young People's Health. This includes commissioning School Nursing services and Relationship & Sex Education services, managing projects around emotional health & well-being, period poverty, looked after children, as well as working closely with Sandwell schools and education providers. To enhance this role I am currently completing a Masters in Public Health.
Get as much experience as possible in a variety of roles that interest you, and don't be afraid to try something new! As although you may choose a college or University course, these experiences help shape and develop you as person but will also highlight your skills and a passion you may not know you had.
My plans for the future are to initially finish the Masters and then to undertake training to become a Consultant in Public Health, with a specific focus in Children & Young People's health. As somebody who is from Sandwell, I believe it's important to work with and invest in young people to tackle the issues that they face, as they are leaders of tomorrow.
• My best memory of my time at Sandwell Academy has got to be the residential to Aberdovey with the BTEC Sport group where we did a camping expeditions, water sports and much more!
Public Health Project Manager
Sandwell Council Public Health
I developed a keen interest in Business whilst studying at Sandwell Academy, I especially enjoyed organising a Fashion Show event as part of my A-Level. I had decided that I wanted to carry on my studies at University, so I started to research the best places that offered Business and Event Management degrees. From attending many Open and Applicant Days I came to the conclusion that Events Management would be something new and interesting to learn about. I fell in love with Chester and the University so the decision to study there was an easy one. During my time there I developed my interest in the arts and started to volunteer for numerous arts and cultural organisations. I was then able to apply this knowledge within my assignments, especially within my dissertation. Then once I graduated I started to apply for numerous jobs in the sector, focusing mainly on theatre marketing roles. However, I had also developed a real interest for research. So when an opportunity arose to apply for a research role investigating arts and cultural engagement, I couldn't turn it down. I went to the interview and was offered the job and then made the move to London to start my career.
Stay true to what you love and seize every opportunity with both hands. If there is something that you are passionate about you should work hard to learn more about the subject and volunteer, to get more experience. This in itself will stand you in good stead when applying for Further Education courses or jobs. It will also teach you the things you enjoy as well as the things you really want to avoid.
My short-term goals are to develop my skills further in my current role and to learn more about how the research that I carry out, can help arts and cultural organisations to understand their audiences better. As this is vital to understand, to ensure the longevity of the industry for future generations.
My best memory of being at Sandwell Academy has either got to be my experience working towards the Duke of Edinburgh award or our school trip to Spain. This is because I was able to spend a lot of time with my friends and share new experiences with them.
Database and Research Assistant
I am now an award winning director and choreographer in the amateur West Midlands theatre community and hoping to move into professional directing and choreographing in the future. My exact steps from SA was SA sixth form and then onto Uni of Wolverhampton to study Musical Theatre currently in my final year and am about to do the masters there with a focus on choreography. I'm also working with Birmingham Youth Theatre and Centre Stage Dance Academy whilst doing workshops at schools around the Sandwell and Birmingham area, I have a massive passion in getting children into theatre.
My advice to students would be to do what you love in life, if you're going to go onto university make sure you're doing the right course for you!
My best memory of SA will always be the shows and working with every year group, doing something I enjoyed with other people who shared the same passions.
Upon completing my A Levels at Sandwell Academy, I secured a place at Aston University to study Business Management and successfully secured an Aston Excellence scholarship. I completed 2 years of my degree and I am currently on my placement year at Microsoft, working to evangelise Microsoft's products and services to the UK start-up ecosystem. In addition to my role I evangelise the Microsoft HoloLens at events/for partners and lead a team responsible for encouraging more girls to consider careers in technology.
Never give up. As cliché as it sounds, it's reflects in the working world. Growing up and tackling new challenges won't always be easy and not everyone will understand your decisions. Concentrate, focus on what you'd like to achieve and don't let other people influence your future decisions. Another key to learning is to make sure you network at every opportunity. Don't feel afraid to ask people questions about their careers and responsibilities, it shows you're determined and interested.
Following on from my Microsoft internship I will be completing my final year at university and graduating with a degree specializing in Marketing, which I intend to leverage to secure a graduate role working with technology. I am aiming to secure a place on a strong graduate scheme and work my way up towards becoming recognised as a specialist in digital marketing through exploring various industries through staying driven and focussed. My ultimate life-long goal is to setup a business of my own to help children with learning difficulties, utilising my experience of working with technology.
My best memory would have to be receiving the Hadley Industries Double Business Award in 6.1. It was the first trophy I'd ever received, and I was able to use the acknowledgment when writing my personal statement for university.
2012 - 2014
I left Sandwell Academy in 2013 and went onto Newman Univeristy, I graduated from uni in 2016 with a degree in Sports Studies and Education.
Following this I started a graduate programme with Enterprise Rent A car progressing to assistant manager within a year and a half working in Stourbridge, Birmingham and Wolverhampton.
I started to dislike the long hours and decided on a career change and started as an associate recruitment consultant in July 2018 with SThree progressing into a Talent Acquisition Consultant for the whole of the UK and Ireland in January 2019. I have been in this role since where I work with a number of 3rd party suppliers getting people into recruitment roles across a number of locations.
My advice for students is don’t ever give up! You are going into an environment which is very competitive, you are going to face setbacks and make mistakes but don’t let that phase you, always push yourself and things will work out for the best. You control your future so invest all you have, ask questions, focus on your mental and physical health and be the best you can be!
Currently saving for a house and working towards my promotion at work.
My Best Friends who I still hold dearly to this day- we all met back in 2006 and still till this day are the closest they help me through everything and we have all grown so much.
Talent Acquistion ConsultantSThree PLC
I left Sandwell Academy in 2016 after finishing my A-levels and I joined a small accountancy firm as a Tax Apprentice in Wolverhampton. I got great exposure to clients here as I was the main day to day contact for the majority of our clients. This was fun but also very tough being new to the profession.
Don't be afraid of rejection! I got rejected from several big accountancy practices when I was in your shoes applying for roles and having interviews. I could have been disheartened but I saw it as an opportunity to learn as much as I could from the smaller firms I was in and then work my way up to where I am now.
In the short term, I am going to continue with my professional qualifications and hopefully become a Chartered Tax Adviser in the next couple of years. Whereas in the long term, I would like to work towards becoming a Manager as one thing I am really passionate about is helping others grow and maybe sharing my experiences with them where helpful.
My best memories were definitely the ski trips. I was so lucky to attend both the 2014 trip to Italy and 2016 trip to Andorra. I made some great friends on those trips with people from a range of year groups. DofE was also a great experience and I would encourage you all to take part in as many activities as possible!
I attended Sandwell Academy between 2012 and 2014, leaving to study Aerospace Technology BEng at Coventry University. Initially, I was not fully aware of what I wanted to pursue a career in, but I knew that I wanted to join the Royal Air Force prior to attending Sandwell Academy. Whilst at University I obtained a bursary to join the Royal Air Force as an Engineer Officer (AeroSystems), starting officer training as soon as my studies were completed.
I attended Initial Officer Training at RAF College Cranwell, Lincolnshire where I earned my Queens Commission and progressed onto specialist training as an Engineer Officer. My second phase of training was completed at RAF Cosford, Shropshire in December 2018 as a fully-fledged Engineer Officer. For my first job, I am currently posted into Recruiting and Selection back at RAF College Cranwell. I am one of the officers in charge of selecting the next Officers and Non-Commissioned Aircrew applying to join the Royal Air Force.
The advice that I would give to the next students coming through would be to take all of the opportunities available to you and to keep your options open. There are so many roles out there that could take your interest that you may not know exist, so keep studying and do not let the high cost of University put you off. The payment is that small that you will not even notice the Student Loan coming out of your pay at the end of the month and it really is not something to worry about. From a person that selects people into jobs, the opportunities that SA provide really will help with future careers.
For the future, I would like to move from Recruiting and Selection and work with the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows. I plan to work towards my Chartered Engineer status and complete a masters, all of which are funded by the RAF.
After completing my A Levels at Sandwell Academy, I went to Wolverhampton University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science receiving a 2.1 classification. Whilst at university I completed work experience at a secondary school, but also went to another school as a Teaching Assistant once a week on a voluntary basis to gain more experience. It was at this point I knew I wanted to be a teacher. Upon completing my degree I applied for a job with an alternative provision, were I educated students who were no longer able to attend mainstream schools, helping them to achieve their GCSE's. After a successful 14 months, I then worked at EBN Academy; I applied for a position as a Mentor but also expressed my desire to teach English. I was successful as a Mentor and an English teacher and in January 2016 I applied for the position as an English teacher on a permanent basis. My application was successful and I am now currently a full time English teacher and I am also a Year 11 form tutor.
Experience is essential for achieving career aspirations and is a desired quality for any employer. I completed over 200 hours voluntary work and placements in schools in order to make my application in education stand out post-University. Also believing in yourself is key to being successful; we all have qualities but it is our responsibility to nurture our qualities to fulfil our potential.
My plans for the future are to complete my "Straight to Teaching" course to become a qualified English teacher with QTS. I also have aspirations to one day become a Head of English, and continue my journey in education occupying more senior roles as I progress.
Sandwell Academy gave me so many beautiful memories which I will never forget. I met some fantastic people during my two years at Sandwell Academy it is hard to single out one memory. It was the perfect learning environment with great facilities, and created an attitude of excellence to both academic and sporting achievements. One of my fondest memories has to be representing Sandwell Academy playing for West Midlands County F.C, we had a really strong team and scoring two goals on my debut was a great feeling, and winning the match made it even better.
2008 - 2010
I first found my love for Human Resources (HR) whilst studying a Psychology degree at the University of Manchester. I did a module in HR and loved that there were so many tensions and challenges that face HR and need to be resolved. I decided to do a Masters degree in HRM at Aston University so could gain a deeper insight into what the subject entails.
Make sure that you keep striving towards what you believe in. Sometimes, you will feel like just giving up because that seems easier but honestly, the most rewarding experiences and positions come when you keep going over every hurdle!
My plan is to become a HR Manager over the next 5 years. I also want my YouTube channel ‘HR Talks with Lish’ to continue growing as I love offering advice to people interested in the field. In the next 10 years, I would love to have my own HR Consultancy!
I loved participating in sports events! I was on the basketball, netball and rounders’ team and I always had fun in training and tournaments! I also really enjoyed my Art sessions. It was a time where I could really get creative and I loved finishing a piece of work that I would spend hours on. I also met some friends for life that I have known for 11 years and we are all still so close.
Human Resources Intern Dassault Systems
I attended Sandwell Academy from 2011-2018 and really transformed into the individual I am today. It taught me a lot of work ethic throughout the years and how to keep determined with whatever comes at you. I then came out with 10 GSCE's and 3 Distinctions in BTEC before deciding to go to a university Aston University that I felt had similar values to Sandwell Academy.
Keep on persevering even when you feel like you are not going to succeed, just keep on going! Everyone will always have something to say, just build on the fundamentals of your life first and keep on experiencing whether that is networking, travelling, or cooking. Stay positive, work hard, and make it happen!
I want to be in a people facing managerial role, still a lot to learn but cannot wait to become a leader.
Getting a letter sent home to my parents about bringing in Oreo’s haha!
2011 - 2018
Vice President of Student Activities Aston Students Union
I attended Sandwell Academy from year 7 right up until year 13 and then went onto study Animal Biology at Nottingham Trent University. I graduated in July 2019 with a 2:1 and I am now studying MRes Animal Health and Welfare. Alongside my studies I am an elected Executive Officer of the Students' Union. My role includes representing students on campus, organising fresher’s week, as well as sitting on the board of trustees.
My advice for students is don't be disheartened if things don't work out the way you planned. If you had asked me at the start of Sixth form where I thought I would be today my answer would've been completely different! Also don't let anyone try to tell you what you can and can't achieve, only you know your full potential.
I am currently applying for the TeachFirst programme to obtain my PGCE and become a qualified teacher. In the future I would like to complete a PhD in Ecology as I have an interest in plastic pollution in UK rivers as well as becoming a university lecturer and continuing my research.
There are too many to choose from!
Brackenhurst Officer/Director Nottingham Trent Students' Union
Following my undergraduate degree, I sought to achieve QTS through Schools Direct. I qualified as a teacher a couple of years ago and completed my MRes degree alongside my teaching. I am now a PhD student also at Birmingham City University.
Prioritise your interests and be open to all opportunities - you never know where they are going to take you!
I aspire to become an internationally renowned Lecturer in Victorian Studies and contribute valuable research to the field.
My best memory would easily be the Sandwell Run. I had to run that race 4 times and never got anywhere! Also, taking part in the show every year was a personal highlight. It really brings you and other students together.
English Teacher and PHD Student Sandwell Academy
I started at Sandwell Academy in 2009 and completed my GCSEs and A-Levels there. I applied for University in my final year of 6th form but was unfortunately unsuccessful in being offered a place to study medicine. I decided to take a gap year and reapply. During my Gap year I was offered a job as a lab technician at Sandwell Academy and so worked in the science department for the year. I reapplied to University and this time – thankfully – I got a place! So, in the summer of 2017 I left the Academy to start a Medical Degree at the University of East Anglia in the September of that year.
I'm currently in my second year of studying Medicine and I'm absolutely loving it. I'm so thankful to Sandwell Academy for all the opportunities it's given me and all the help along the way.
I first went into Medicine thinking that I might eventually like to go into General Practice or Paediatrics, but since getting to Med school, that's all been blown wide open! I think now I might be leaning more towards Cardiology so perhaps I'll be a cardiologist one day, or maybe even a surgeon. The short answer is, I suppose I don't really know just yet, but I'm excited to see where the years ahead take me.
There's too many to choose just one! I had the best time at Sandwell Academy, I met some incredible friends who I still see regularly and was given some amazing opportunities. Perhaps my favourite memory is of the speech I gave at our Sixth Form Party. Looking around the room to see the people I had grown up with, seeing how we had all changed and the exciting prospects ahead of us all was a really special moment for me.
University of East Anglia
After leaving Sandwell Academy with my A-Levels I furthered my studies by completing a Masters in Mathematical Physics at The University of Nottingham. During this time I made sure to use term holidays to gain experience within industries of interest to me by taking part in Spring Weeks and Summer Internships for various companies. These programmes both help you personally to gain a better understanding of the possible career options available to you in the future but also provide valuable experience that looks great on your CV and will therefore help you to secure more interesting career opportunities in the future. I was lucky enough to impress enough on a Barclays Internship that I was then made an offer to return to Barclays on the Graduate Scheme after completing university. I think is a great way to get your first job after university because as part of a Graduate Scheme programme, a lot of investment is put into you as a new joiner, allowing you to grow personally very quickly within the organisation.
My biggest piece of advice to current students is to never stop yourself from pursuing certain career paths based purely on the fact that you believe that you are unqualified for the role or that there would be 'more suitable' candidates. Often the key thing that interviewers look at when recruiting is the transferable personal skills you have rather than any specific qualifications. I, for example, graduated with a Physics degree and now I am working in IT, with no previous experience before this job. It is far more important as a candidate to show genuine interest in the company or line of work that you are applying for and show some application of how your transferable skills, such as teamwork, problem solving or communication, will make you perfect for the role. Companies recruit people and not qualifications. It is far easier for a company to train you to be proficient in a computer language, public speaking, critical writing or a vocational skill than to teach you to be genuinely interested in your role or want to work hard to deliver a difficult, but rewarding project.
To be honest I am still very unsure about my options for the future but I think that is still not a bad place to be. I think too many people put pressure on themselves to decide at a young age what their exact career goals will be and I think this ends up having a negative impact on your progression. Instead, I believe it is healthier to just find something you are interested in and pursue that career/ field to begin with. Often, by exposing yourself to the kind of work you enjoy, you start to get a feel for what you are especially good at or what you are most interested in and you then naturally orientate your aims and career goals around these aspects.
For me, my favourite moments at Sandwell Academy took place on the various School Trips that were made available. From CERN in Geneva for Physics, to Barcelona for Spanish and even Duke of Edinburgh, each of these trips, allowed me to encounter new experiences that furthered my interests and I still have very fond memories of these times.
Application Manager for Digital and API Services Barclays
Whilst at Sandwell Academy I realised that I had an interest in Pathology, so before I chose my A-Levels I researched which subjects would be best for me to study in order for me to have a career in Pathology. For my A-Levels I studied Applied Science, Applied Business and Applied ICT and then went on to study Biomedical Science at University. I am currently in my third year at University taking out a yearlong placement within a hospital laboratory in the Microbiology department.
Research what career you want to go into and see what A-Levels and University degree are required for this career path before actually choosing any subjects, in my field I would advise that you check your University choice is accredited as this will allow you to take out placement opportunities and improve on your skills before leaving University and starting fulltime work.
My goal for the future is to become a fully registered Biomedical Scientist and to work within the pathology department at a hospital.
My best memory at Sandwell Academy was the sponsored sleep out that I took part in in April 2016, this is my best memory because I raised money for a local charity, and I also had loads of fun with friends through the night and then finally waking up to it snowing.
I applied for medicine at University of Cambridge during my last year at Sandwell Academy. At the time of the application, I was asked to provide my grades for my AS level examinations (from year 12), sit the Bio-medical Admissions Test (BMAT) and attend 2 interviews, of which one was a general interview and the other being a scientific discussion. By working hard, and combined with some luck, I was given a place to study at Selwyn College, Cambridge. My A level offer was A*A*A*AA in Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology, Physics and AS level Further Mathematics which is (somehow) exactly what I got come results day. The medical course is six years at Cambridge, with the first three focussing on the pre-clinical aspects and the final three involving clinical placements in various hospitals around East Anglia. The course at Cambridge also requires students to intercalate in their third year, which means we are awarded another degree in a subject of our choice. My intercalation was devoted to the field of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience. I am currently in my 5th year of medicine, and experiencing a range of specialities such as Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Paediatrics, Oncology, Neurology, Psychiatry and many more!
My advice may be better suited to those with an interest in medicine and/or Oxbridge and I hope current Sandwell Academy students find it useful. How you perform in school can help you to pursue a number of (academic) careers. Immerse yourself in subjects that fascinate you through discussions with your peers and teachers. I found that speaking about topics of interest help you to think about them in different ways and this also forms an integral part of learning medicine particularly at Cambridge. It may be worth attending universities open days or university-run summer schools to help you decide which subject and university may suit you. Personally I attended the Oxford University UNIQ Summer school programme for Mathematics, and the Sutton Trust Summer School event at Cambridge for Medicine, both of which I found extremely useful in showing me that Oxbridge is actually a possibility for people like us! Try to keep balance in the things you do. I tend to use the analogy of a pie to explain this. Let's assume we have a full pie that represents the time we spend on all of the activities we do (such as academia, time with family/friends, exercising, arts & crafts etc.), with varying slices made for each of these. The more we spend time on a particular activity, the bigger its slice. Should one of these fall through and not go the way we expect, it takes a chunk from our pie (or from us). Therefore, should we only have a few slices in our pie and spend too much time on certain activities at the expense of others, they will take a bigger chunk out of us thus losing our balance. But if we take part in different activities and divide our time on all, when one slice goes wrong we have many more to fall back on!
After medical school, I plan to complete my foundation years within the UK, maybe in Cambridge or Birmingham. This is the typical next step for newly qualified UK doctors that involves two years of experiencing various specialities in hospital and/or community-based settings. After this, I would like to apply for a surgical training programme. I would like to pursue cardiothoracic (heart & lung) surgery.
Spending time with friends both in and out of class, and having fun and not being too serious about things.
Medical StudentUniversity of Cambridge
After Sandwell Academy I left with my A Levels and managed to secure an apprenticeship with KPMG. The apprenticeship is a six year course and allows me to gain a charted qualification at the end of it which is all paid for by the company. Throughout the apprenticeship I will be rotating through different departments: Tax , Advisory and Audit in order to gain valuable experience in all of the different departments. All of this experience will allow me to make a decision in which department I would like to further my career.
As a young person in today's day and age you will face a lot of rejections alongside a lot of criticism, but do not let this set you back. Set a goal, work towards it and reap the rewards of it.
I am currently working in the corporation tax department and I will be moving to a different department within the next few months. In six years I hope to become a qualified charted accountant and from this point onwards I will work towards becoming a partner at KPMG.
One of the best memories I have of Sandwell Academy was the Year 11 Prom; it was a night full of good memories and a night to mark the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new one.
Coporate Tax Assistant
In the latter stages of my time at Sandwell Academy Sixth Form, I was in the same boat that many students find themselves. I was pretty undecided on a career path, so I made the conscious decision to apply for as many apprenticeships as I could whilst also applying for university courses. On results day I had the enviable dilemma of having to decide between an Engineering course and a finance apprenticeship within the Civil Service. I opted for the apprenticeship, as I don't think my heart would have 100% been in higher education. I haven't looked back since.
I worked for the Civil Service for just over 2 years, completing my level 4 AAT qualification whilst gaining invaluable work experience at the same time. In early 2018, I made the move into the private sector where I am now working as a Management Accountant for Student Roost, one of the largest purpose built student accommodation providers in the UK. I have since been given the opportunity to study CIMA (which I am half way through completing) and will enable me to achieve my goal of becoming a chartered accountant before the age of 24.
I have two pieces advice for students. My first is not to panic if you feel as though you aren't certain on what career you want to go into. Even those who are in the middle stages of their working life often make changes so they are more in line with their skillset and doing something they would enjoy more.
My second piece of advice is to keep as many options open as you can, and give yourself the opportunity to be able to choose between various options. In order to do this when you are looking, you should gather as much information as possible regarding the different options/careers that you are interested in, and then speak to those closest to you and also make use of the excellent Careers team within the school. So you can discuss the positive and negatives from the various different options available to you. From there you will be able to make a more informed decision regarding your future.
My aim is to become a qualified accountant within the next 2 years, which alone will bring a huge amount of exciting opportunities to my door. So once that is complete I will be in the exact same position I was 5 years ago, where I will have to make the decision between various options…hopefully I can make the right one again!
My best memory of my time at Sandwell Academy would probably have to be the Year 11 prom. Looking back, it was such a special moment where everyone was celebrating years of hard work and saying their farewells to people they had spent near enough every day of the last 5 years together.
Assistant Management Accountant
I originally studied Broadcasting & Journalism at University, which was a fun and demanding course. I would like to have a career in the media industry by becoming a TV/Radio Presenter with the intention of having my own show. My utmost passion is to be an entertainer; singing and performing all over the world. I'm also currently interning at Global Radio (Capital Xtra) in Leicester Square, London.
Follow your heart, remain positive, do what you love, believe in yourself, work hard and do everything with excellence.
I plan to be an artist that will be signed to major record label, travelling the world doing what I love, to be the best person I can be and continuously working at perfecting my craft. In the future, I would love to have my own TV talk show.
Being asked by Mr Topper to sing at the official opening of Sandwell Academy, it's a memory I'll never forget.
Music Potential Assistant Intern/Capital Xtra Street Star
Through a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering at Aston University and successfully completing an Industrial Placement Year at PepsiCo R&D, I wanted to pursue a career in FMCG/Food & Beverages.
Have a set study routine and don’t be afraid to ask the difficult questions. Sandwell Academy gave us the perfect balance of work and play, but there’s no substitute for hard work!
I want to stay within the Food & Beverage sector for the foreseeable future, but job satisfaction remains key! Always enjoy what you’re doing, go with the flow and it’ll be easier to achieve your goals.
6.2 trip to Cambridge University, the staff showed us the belief they had in us and gave us a taste of what we could achieve.
Performance Coordinator Walkers Snack Foods / PepsiCo
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Sixth Form Admissions Officer,Sandwell Academy,Halfords Lane,West Bromwich,West Midlands,B71 4LG.
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