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
I started my business one year after I left Sandwell Academy at the age of 17, I started off with something I love and knew very well. I had researched and planned for over a year at this point. I began by selling my artwork and throughout the years I have expanded into jewellery and clothing. I also work for other brands, helping them grow, market, design and other aspects too.
Always follow your dreams and instincts. Don't let people convince you it's a bad idea or you shouldn't do something just because they wouldn't take the risk.
I am currently studying at University and would hopefully like to get my degree with amazing results. I have big plans for my own company and plans to set up multiple other businesses too.
I loved how much support and help I got in my final years at Sandwell Academy but most importantly I loved my Art Classes. I always knew I wanted to use my art talents in some way but these art lessons definitely helped me develop my style and find out what type of artist I am. There was so much freedom in Art GCSE to go and create what you like and that definitely helped me be where I am today.
2011 - 2016
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
In my case, after studying Business Studies, IT and Social studies at Sandwell Academy, I had taken on a Computing degree at Aston University following my keen interest within IT. During this time, I found cyber security threats and hack were becoming more and more 'popular'. Curiously, I found myself researching into the how’s and why's which led me to applying for graduate programmes. Four years on from graduating I now work at Capgemini a Global IT consulting firm as a Cyber Security Analyst, who in practice are defending computers, servers, mobile devices, networks, and data from malicious attacks. There are various fields within cyber security which allows me the flexibility to specialise in a range of areas, allowing me to keep future career prospects open to an extent.
Ask for help when you need it, there’s no shame in asking, don’t hesitate to ask your teachers or parents. If you need motivation to study, go to the library or make full use of the independent studies. When you’re surrounded by people who are studying, you’ll feel inspired to study and don’t underestimate the effect your environment has on your motivation. This study tip got me thought Sandwell Academy, Aston University and continues to help during my work related exams/certifications. Be curious, for most of my life as a student I only learnt information that was going to be tested in the exams. Becoming curious made me want to learn about all kinds of things, I started to enjoy my time at school! Finally, you’re never too young to make a difference, as a student I thought of myself as a “kid”, looking back now - no matter how old you are, believe you can contribute, start small, step out your comfort zones early and I assure you it goes along way! Hope these tips help you through your great journey at Sandwell Academy - it’s a great place to be.
I would like to continue growing my depth of knowledge and experience within the IT industry, the need for cyber security measures and controls are never ending. Also to step up the senior management ladder which will come with experience over time. With the possibility of studying further, Masters in Cloud Computing is in mind. As today, most businesses take a multi-cloud approach, which simply means they use more than one public cloud service.
There’s many wonderful memories to highlight my time at the Academy, from sitting on the grass outside and keeping an eye out for Mr Topper and Mr Gill, to sitting on the canteen benches and let’s not forget the hot chocolate vending machines, with the race against time following the one way walking system to class. My two years were the most memorable, studying hard to meeting friends I’m still in touch with today. The boat trip to France and gaining my sailing qualification, it was a great way to learn I get sea sick and have a week out on sea! It was an amazing experience, full of funny memories that are still shared among us. 'Sleeping in a box' outside Sandwell Academy to raise funds for charity, raising awareness and vital funds for some of the town's most vulnerable people. It changed my perspective and understand how the vulnerable/in need are impacted in today’s society. Personally volunteering makes you happy and provides a sense of stratification, I get involved when I can and in more recent times I've had the opportunity to Hike Mount Snowdon. Thanks for all the good times Academy!
Cyber Security AnalystCapgemini
I started to realise my passion for psychology whilst I had attended sixth form at Sandwell Academy. My teacher Miss Dudley (who taught me A-level Psychology at the time) really pushed me and inspired me to want to take this further as I applied for courses within Higher education. As I started my degree in Psychology at Aston University I didn't know what I wanted to do for a career. I think this is something that we can figure out along the way but I wanted to pursue something I enjoyed. So with this in mind, I continued my education and completed a Masters in Cognitive Neuroscience which led me to become a Research Assistant working on projects related to reading development and word learning. My experience as a Research Assistant ultimately provided me with the experience to be accepted as a PhD candidate in Psychology at Royal Holloway University of London.
Don't stress and don't panic if you feel like you don't know what you want to do as you get older. You don't have to figure it all out straight away but try to follow the things that you like to do and things you want to explore, it's never too late to do things. Also, if you feel a little stuck, there is always someone (your Teachers, Personal Tutors and Careers department) who are really handy to get advice and support from, they were an essential part of my support system as I was getting ready to leave Sixth form.
Whilst completing my doctorate, I will be completing research to understand motivation and reward across different ages but my field of interest is to using neuroscientific techniques to understand our motivation for reading. In my career, I would hope to be working within a research lab (maybe even abroad!) to take study my interests further and hopefully have an impact somewhere within the real world.
There are so many memories to look back on, I'm not sure if I can pick one! One of my favourite memories is the two-day camping trip that we had in Year 7 and not being able to reach any of the ladders in Jacobs ladder or the activity where you are lifted up to a high point in "giant swing" with a partner and you have to pull the string so you swing off. This was a fun activity of getting to know everyone and something I won't forget. But my favourite times during different days were ultimately on the coach ride to and from school and my Spanish and maths lessons (very geeky I know) but I remember how fun the lessons were made and I enjoyed doing something (even if it was solving an equation) with my friends.
Postgraduate Researcher (PhD Candidate) in PsychologyRoyal Holloway University of London
I studied a BSc. in Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Chester and followed that up by studying an MSc. in Strength and Conditioning. By the time I had finished at university, I had been working for free alongside my studies for about 3 years to gain experience in the field. I was fortunate to be offered a part time role doing some coaching at St. George's Park, a few hours a month to begin with. I took that opportunity and over the course of the next year and a half grew it to a full-time role with the company where they had to make me an offer. Along the way I had to support myself by working a second job and I had many moments where I wondered if I should just give it all up and get a 'real job'. Since then I have had the privilege to work with some amazing people including; professional footballers, international multi-sport athletes, the Mercedes-AMG F1 team and even more recently a team of esports athletes. I've also been to some amazing places already and feel like I'm just getting started. At this point I am so glad I kept at it, I feel really proud to be in a job I love and I am excited to keep doing it every day.
Go all in on the things you're passionate about. If you don't know what that is yet, that's okay, you have time to figure it out. Go and try lots of different things and see what excites you, then invest in the things that will get you there.
For now, I want to keep learning, growing my experience base and my network of contacts. I don't know what the future holds so my focus is on 'controlling the controllable’ s and I hope this puts me in a good position to take whatever opportunities come my way.
It might not be my 'best' memory but the visit to Auschwitz is one of those things that I think will forever stay with me.
Physical Performance Coach & Education Experience Manager Game Changer Performance - St. George's Park
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
After leaving Sandwell Academy with 4 A levels (A*, B, B, C) I enrolled at Liverpool John Moores University to study Sports Science (Bsc), where I achieved a First class degree. After returning from university I was head hunted by Npower Business solutions based on my Business A level, degree qualification and IT knowledge. Since then I've continued to develop my business acumen, commercial awareness and other skills which has resulted in me being approached by Michael Page. Michael Page is a FTSE 250 company and one of the largest recruitment companies in the world. I've been hired to create and develop contract software development in our Birmingham office.
The first piece of advice I would give is to enjoy school. You can be whatever you want to be with the right level of dedication, application and hard work. The world is becoming more automated every day so be pro-active and think of careers that will grow in demand or can't be replaced by robotics/computers. Finally never doubt yourself, if you believe you can, don't listen to anyone who says you cannot.
My personal plans are to grow my team throughout 2021 in a sustainable manner. Michael Page have excellent career progression routes and I'm aiming to achieve "Senior Manager" by 29.
Playing at "The Hawthorns"
2009 - 2014
Head of Contract Software DevelopmentMichael Page
I transferred to Sandwell Academy at the end of Year 9. I studied my GCSEs and A Levels here and was awarded Outstanding Student of the Year at the end of Secondary School. My interest in sciences initially ignited my interest in medicine. In Sixth form, I studied Biology, Chemistry and Physics for A Levels and completed the UKCAT (now UCAT) and BMAT admissions tests for university. I also completed 5 weeks of work experience across hospitals and GP surgeries and volunteered at a local hospital for a year. I was fortunate enough to receive a place at the University of Birmingham to read medicine and surgery MBChB and started in 2018. I have just finished my 3rd year and will be undertaking an intercalated bachelor’s degree at Kings College London in Anatomy, Development, and Human Biology before returning to medicine. I expect to graduate at a doctor in 2024. At university I am a part of sports and academic societies, and sat on the 2020/21 committee of Birmingham Widening Access to Medical Sciences Society.
The first step to achieving anything is believing in yourself and your ability to succeed. Do not be deterred if your goal seems extremely difficult as most things worth achieving will be hard. And when you look back on the journey in success, you will wonder why you were ever worried.
Firstly I look forward to graduating as a doctor. I am undecided on what specialty I wish to pursue but I am interested in surgery, medical ethics and law and leadership. In the future I hope to work on research that will result in improving healthcare for all patients.
My best memories at Sandwell Academy are the times I spent with friends. Throughout school, I remember looking forward to lunch and seeing my friends in other classes; going onto the hard play and kicking the ball around - or in sixth form the ping pong tables.
2014 - 2018
Student DoctorUniversity of Birmingham MEdical School
Following the Academy, I went to Keele University to study Business Management and Human Resource Management. Following that I have found myself in HR/Recruitment roles since, leading to my current role as Senior Recruitment Assistant with Crowe UK.
Enjoy your time at the Academy, as it goes quick. Don’t ever be afraid to ask questions - we are always learning! Get involved in as much as you can.
Continue building on my role at Crowe UK, it is such a great place to work with great opportunities.
Most definitely the people, and the fun that was had along the way!
Senior Recruitment AssistantCrowe UK
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
Recognised as one of Senior PLC's high achievers – I received a bursary to complete my Master's in Engineering and further financial funding to complete an MBA and Prince2 qualification. This was received in recognition for independently project managing and designing state of the art qualification test rigs during my placement year, enhancing the firms' market exposure as it provided them with ability to test products at higher temperature and pressures. Also further investment was gained in development by managing, contributing and implementing business improvement projects within the business. Through the completion of graduate programmes I was able to gain experience and exposure to the whole business and in turn was offered a position as a Project Manager, managing New Technology.
Pursue and take advantages of opportunities! - Explore challenges which will positively allow you to grow and learn.
Short term I would like to continue to manage and deliver several projects in the capacity as a Project Manager. Further learning and developing from the completion of projects. Medium term - I would then look to pursue an opportunity of becoming a Senior Project Manager or Programmes Manager. Long term - Becoming a member of the Senior Leadership team formulating strategies and directing the business to the next level.
The support and guidance through my academic journey.
Project ManagerSenior Areospace BWT
I attended Coventry University and undertook a 4 year Event Management Bachelor’s degree; with a 12 month industry placement. During my time at university, I was lucky enough to travel across the world, including China and Washington DC. I spent much of my free time volunteering at local events, in order to improve my professional development, and enable me to successfully obtain a work placement. I managed to gain a permanent position at my work placement; as an Event Coordinator, and worked there for 3 years. I managed various events, including food and drink festivals, live entertainment, conferences and community fairs. I then gained a new role at Birmingham City University, working within the Research and Enterprise department; supporting with the university events. This was only a temporary role; however, it allowed me to gain the necessary industry experience that I sought after. Following Birmingham City; I took up an exciting role at The NEC; where I managed large scale events; including The Big Bang Fair, RHS Chelsea Flower Show, The Royal Windsor Horse Show and British Swimming. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, I was furloughed for 6 months; and had no choice but to find an alternative role. I now work at University College Birmingham; where I have complete ownership of College, Undergraduate and Postgraduate Open Days and Applicant Days; plus many more events.
Don’t feel too pressured to know exactly what you want to do career wise - but be proactive and research potential industries of interest. There might be a career for you that you may not have heard of! Use the UCAS websites, speak to your career advisors, and use google! There will probably be days where you’ll feel lost or hopeless, but this is temporary! As long as you have the drive and passion, everything else will fall into place.
Ideally, I would like to run my own Event Management agency. At the moment, this may be a little difficult; but once the pandemic is over, who knows!
Honestly; my best memories were both of my results days; GCSE’s and A-levels. I managed to achieve 14 A*-C GCSE’s and A*ABB in A-level. To me, it was completely overwhelming to see the hard work, late nights and sweat that went into my studies, exams and coursework. There’s nothing more satisfying than confirmation of dedication and hard work.
Marketing and Events OfficerUniversity College Birmingham
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
Hard work and sacrifice and believing in myself.
Work hard and believe in yourself.
To keep playing football and making my friends and family proud. Being happy in life.
Winning the national cup with Sandwell Academy.
Professional FootballerSwansea City FC
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.
Contact OfficerWest Midlands Police
I started working part time at FIS and once I graduated the company offered me a full time role as a Pricing Analytics. I had no understanding of the role, but my work ethics and determination to learn was addressed by my manager and hence got a job as an analyst.
I started off as a part timer but my hard work got me to my current role. This taught me no matter how small you start, with hard work and determination you can keep climbing those steps. Do not be discouraged to take small roles, that’s what prepares you to take on the big roles later.
I would like to be in a management role in the future. I am focusing on learning as much as I can, especially skills that are transferable to different job roles.
There are plenty of memories made in Sandwell Academy. My favourite being the Student Ambassador and being able to show the prospective students what Sandwell Academy has to offer. The sense of pride I felt in showing my school was certainly a memory I will cherish.
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
After my Arkwright interview at Loughborough, I’ve been obsessed with it since. I then had many open days to explore campus. Then after having a careers fair and talking to a Loughborough course advisor, I was able to make my firm choice for UCAS. I have been happy with my choice since.
It’s never too early to start thinking of what you would like to do, but there is no need to stress. Ask for advice, use your teachers & Careers team (especially Sandwell’s) and ask your parents if they know anyone in specific industries. Networking will help you in many ways.
I would like to work in a prosthetic company, preferably in upper limb prosthetics. But I am still open minded to careers in the Bioengineering field.
I think I would say the year 11 prom, it was a nice way to celebrate after five years of exams and learning.
2013 - 2020
Biomedical Engineering Student at Loughborough
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 I left Sixth Form I was unsure where I actually saw myself after education. I secured a place at Edge Hill University studying Criminology and moved away from home. After a short period of time it came about that University just wasn't for me and after some deep thinking and support from family I did leave University to go back into full time employment. I started working in retail for a few years progressing up to the Management ladder. I then was recommended a role within one of the biggest National Training Providers- Babington. I worked at my local Centre in Birmingham as an Administrator supporting individuals from different academic and social backgrounds. I then moved up the ladder from this role to be a Candidate Resourcer where I would recruit individuals for either a variety of our Apprenticeships and also Employability courses for the unemployed and employed. This role was a really good opportunity to meet individuals and help them secure a placement in their chosen career path, this being examples off AAT, IT and Digital, Business Admin, Financial Services, Property, HR and Leadership. It was also a really good way to engage with schools and colleges and to discuss opportunities we have that can help school leavers. I also came back to Sandwell Academy in 2019 to engage with the Career Advisor at the time and it was a strange experience coming back to school but I felt ever so proud promoting my vacancies to my High School. Since then I have moved into my Customer Advisor role which I enrol learners onto all of Babington's qualifications thus being any apprenticeship or free courses we offer up and down the country. In this role I provide Information, Advice and Guidance to all learners to make sure they are on the right programme for them and to also explain future progression opportunities where these courses can help them. I am thoroughly enjoying this role as get to meet (virtually) different people from all ages and backgrounds and who are from all different parts of the country and walk all different aspects of life, it is really rewarding.
My advice would be, looking back at my time; don’t rush into anything you are unsure of, take your time to find your career journey and you will find what you are looking for. And to also take each day as it comes and not to worry or stress about anything that doesn't affect you as a person. After going to University straight after sixth form I knew deep down the University life wasn't for me but as I didn't know what I wanted to do I went there hoping I would find my career path in this journey and I didn't. Getting back into work was definitely the best thing I did and to be where I am now at 26 I couldn't be more proud. Working for Babington in a role where I am helping those who are possibly in the same place as I was is very rewarding and to be giving advice too as this was something I never really had.
I plan to stay with Babington and move up the progression ladder. I am looking at taking a Leadership and Management Diploma course in the next couple months with Babington and hopefully progress up in my role.
I met my Husband from being at Sandwell Academy, I have known him since Year 7 and we have grown up together. We got together after we both left school but we still look back at our younger days and our memories from the classes we took together. I have also made some really good friends and hold dear memories from school and looking back I do cherish and will always cherish these moments. I would love nothing more than to spend a day back at school as this was taken for granted when I was younger and I do miss being in High School.
Customer Welcome AdvisorBabington
I've been into gymnastics since I was 5 years old so to be honest it was something I enjoyed rather than something I saw as a potential career I'm just very lucky I get to do what I love for a living.
Stay focused on whatever it is that makes you happy and pursue your goals however big or small they may be! Use all the advice you get from people around the school and at home and use that to achieve everything you want! Most of all please don't be afraid to make mistakes! The best thing I've ever done is learn from the mistakes I made and that's helped shape me into the person I am today.
The Olympic Games is next year so I'd love to go there, compete for Great Britain and bring home a medal!
I had so many good memories at SA but for me I loved watching my year win the National Football Cup! I knew a lot of the lads and still am good friends with them! Seeing them in their element was amazing for me to see a completely different sport!
2010 - 2017
GB Gymnast (Full Time Flipper)Team GB
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
Level 2 diploma in fitness instructing.
Really appreciate the opportunities you have with SA, when you leave you will find other schools didn't provide opportunities that SA did. Get involved in session 3s.
I plan to make a name for myself in the fitness industry around the world by building my social media platforms to gain more online clientele and at some point move to Dubai to train clients out there.
Best memory for sure is winning the ESFA national cup in year 8!
Personal Trainer/Online CoachJD Gym
I spent 4 years at the University of Sheffield first doing an undergraduate degree in Business Management and then doing a postgraduate degree in Human Resource Management. I enjoyed the research-led learning environment and landed a great graduate role after a turbulent time during the pandemic.
Sometimes the best lessons you learn in your academic and professional career are from your failures. The setbacks of the graduate job market in the pandemic have given me a sense of determination and gratitude that I'm sure will lend well to a long and fruitful career that in a field that I'm passionate about.
I consider myself to be a 'lifelong-learner' so I will continue looking to up-skill and develop in the field of HR through professional accreditation.
It's incredibly cheesy and predictable but thinking about the day of A-Level results always makes me smile. I never expected to get such amazing grades even though people continuously told me I was capable. It was lovely to open that envelope and all the hard work to have paid off. I'll never forget the gratitude I had for my personal tutor and peers for supporting me.
Office Manager and HR AssistantBridge U
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...!
Product DesignerEG Technology
I transferred to SA mid-Year 9 and remained to complete A-Levels in Biology, PE and RE. I knew I wanted to go to university but wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do after exhausting medical work experience pre 6.1.
I always used to stress about career pathways since choosing my GCSE options. Yet I didn't actually come across the STP programme/my current career until my third year at uni. My advice is to do what you enjoy and don't stress about the future. I am a big believer in fate. Particularly being where you need to be, when you need to be there!
I hope to complete the STP programme (estimated 2024) and qualify as a HCPC registered Cardiac Clinical Scientist. As it stands I would like to specialise in Cardiac Rhythm Management (CRM), Electrophysiology and Devices (i.e., Pacemakers, ILR's ICD's and CRT). I then hope to continue professional development and gain BHRS accreditation. Long-term there are a wealth of additional opportunities to further career development after gaining considerable experience. Options include applying to the NSHCS 'Higher Specialist Scientist Training Programme'. A 5-year programme including a funded PhD to qualify as a Consultant Clinical Scientist.
Learning to Ski! This has opened up many opportunities for me at university and is a hobby which I absolutely love!
Cardiac Clinical Scientist TraineeNHS
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.
I joined the Youth Academy at West Bromwich Albion when I was 8 years old and when I left Sandwell Academy at 16, I was offered a 2 year scholarship. At the age of 18 I was offered my first professional contract.
Make the most of your school days because you don’t appreciate them until you have left.
I want to play in a first team at the highest level possible.
The Sandwell Academy Spain tour. It was really enjoyable experience spending the week with your friends and seeing the Barcelona stadium, the Camp Nou.
Professional FootballerWest Bromwich Albion FC
Hard work and dedicating myself to my talent. Also believing in myself that I was capable.
If you got a plan give it your all and always try to stay ahead. Trust the process cause it isn't all sunshine and rainbows .
I would like to play for one of the big 4 in the Premiership teams. I want to play champions league football and win the World Cup. – I would also like to be one of the best footballers in Europe.
Easy. Maths lessons with Mr Lally and Miss Dhanda. Me, Nick, Dan and Adam use to make their days' worthwhile.
2014 - 2016
Professional FootballerWest Bromwich Albion
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.
Initially I had stayed at Sixth form, and chose a variety of subjects as I wasn't sure what sort of career I wanted to pursue. However, I decided half way into the first year that a career in engineering was something that appealed to me, but I had not chosen the correct subjects to go directly to university.
Firstly, I would say always be patient, eventually the right opportunity will present itself. Just work hard until then and seize the opportunity when it comes. There's no correct pathway, or time limit on your career, so just do what is best for you and see what comes when the opportunity is presented. It doesn't always work out, but there will be more opportunities in your career, the majority of the time better than the last so just keep working hard.
In the Near future I am going to finish my current course at college, and then complete my Eng Tech qualification. Then within the next couple of years I hope to progress onto my University degree in Civil Engineering and progress towards Charted status.
I have a lot of memories from my time at school, I would have to say the best three experiences that will stick with me the most are; winning the National Cup, the Ski trip to Austria and obviously all the close friends that I made.
2013 - 2019
Civil Engineer ApprenticeTony Gee and Partners LLP
University, 3 more sales related roles before my current job
Get your head down while you can, you won't get this opportunity again. You create your own luck, give 110% to everything you do!
Branch manager for Audi UK and/or possibly run my own car sales business.
Winning the Cup with Mr Taylor in the football A-team! Good memories of BTEC PE with Mr Woods, Miss Spode, Mr Evans etc.
2006 - 2008
Retail Sales ManagerBedford Audi
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.
From joining Sandwell Academy in 2008 at Year 7 to leaving in 2015 which was my last year of Sixth Form, I knew that I wanted to further my studies at university, but was torn between various careers associated with the subjects that I had studied at A-Level. On the other hand, I was committed to completing my Lifeguarding qualification when I was 16 and was pursuing a lifeguard career while studying my GCSEs but also continued while studying my A-Levels and I did this until I started my studies at university. As well as this I undertake voluntary work with St John Ambulance and also Wednesbury Fire Cadets apart of West Midlands Fire Service initially as a Fire Cadet but now I’m Officer in Charge of the cadet group. From this, I knew I wanted a job where I was helping and making a difference in people’s lives while also pursuing my interests in the medical field and I finally decided and focused on becoming a Paramedic. I secured a place at University of Wolverhampton to study Paramedic Science and as part of my degree, I did a 2-day placement with West Midlands Ambulance Service alongside 2 days of university attending lectures, etc. In addition to this, I also had opportunities to do placements within operating theatres, coronary care, accident and emergency, palliative care, paediatrics, maternity and mental health. Upon graduating, I qualified and obtained my professional registration with the HCPC to practice as a Paramedic and secured a full-time job with West Midlands Ambulance Service University NHS Foundation Trust.
My advice that I would give to current students based on my experiences that I have faced since leaving would be to never give up on your dreams and the quote I go by is “Nothing is impossible – the word itself says “I’m possible” because if you want it so much you should do your best to achieve it. If you don’t succeed first time round keep on trying, and keep on going and never give up as I initially applied for 4 universities and I had rejection and knockbacks and this made me feel like the career I had always wanted to pursue wasn’t possible. However, I continued and conquered above all the pushbacks and took the gamble and used up my last UCAS university offer which was the University of Wolverhampton and I was accepted onto my Paramedic Science degree. So, I say never to self-doubt or let knockbacks stop you from achieving what you are passionate about, always do the best you can and take every opportunity that is thrown at you! Always keep your options open and always have a back-up plan and engage with the careers team at the Academy to explore the different avenues to get you to your dream career.
My plans for the future are endless as with the role of a Paramedic your career progression is never-ending as there are so many opportunities that you can pursue. My plans regarding this are I have quite a lot of roles that I would like to progress into, but within West Midlands Ambulance Service you get given opportunities to progress and explore. My most important plan for the future is to continue developing and growing not only as a healthcare professional but also as a person, in which I have expressed interest and applied to be a part of a Specialist Operations Resilience Team (SORT) in which I will receive training and be able to respond and be deployed to a major incident and help patients caught up in a Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear (CBRN) materials/weapons or a Marauding Terrorist Firearms Attack (MTFA). My plans in the future in regards to education and furthering my studies I am looking at developing and doing a top-up of my degree to a BSc Honours which will open up a lot of doors for me in terms of being a Paramedic not just within the ambulance service, but maybe within GP surgeries and A&E as well as many more areas of the healthcare sector and further afield on-board cruise ships and oil rigs. In addition to this, I would then also like to further my studies that step further and undertake a Master's Degree within Critical Care which will allow me to apply for jobs to be a Critical Care Paramedic. My plans in regards to my career progression are I would like to continue for a while in my role as a Paramedic and build on my experience on the road, to which after this I always had a backup plan which would have been to go into teaching and being a paramedic you can progress into roles where you can mentor and provide education to future paramedics, so I would like to become either a Clinical Team Mentor or become an Education Training Officer and then even look into avenues to becoming a university lecturer. On the other hand, I would like to join the Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) which provides paramedic care to patients within a hazardous environment that would otherwise be beyond the reach of NHS care and this includes working at height, collapsed structures, water incidents and within contaminated environments. I have also got an interest in progression into managerial roles so I would also like to become an Operations Manager who supports staff at incidents and provide a team leader role at complex jobs and then progress on becoming a Tactical Incident Commander. I would hopefully one day like to be a part of the Midlands Air Ambulance as a Critical Care Paramedic!
My best memory of my time at Sandwell Academy was the endless opportunities I was given. Firstly, my passion and love for the arts to which I was in every school performance from joining in Year 7 being a part of the Bohemian Chorus for We will Rock You through to end of Year 13/end of Sixth form having a main role as Doody in Grease. This allowed me to step out of my comfort zone while also doing something that I had and still have a passion for. Another memory that I’ll always cherish is completing and taking part in the National Citizen Service.
ParamedicWest Midlands Ambulance Service
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!
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
HND at university but mainly working my way up in the companies I have been employed with.
Believe in yourself. Have confidence in what you can achieve
Advance my career within Royal Mail in operation in deliveries and enjoy family life.
Making friends, Thursday nights out and Prom. Loved the Business class!
Operations ManagerRoyal Mail
After completing my A-levels at Sandwell Academy, I enrolled on a Business Management degree at Aston University achieving a 2.1. Following this, I applied for a role here at ASSA ABLOY in the Customer Services department. I worked hard to show my value and skill set over the course of my first year and was promoted to Product Manager.
One thing I would say is don’t be afraid to get out there and get some experience in what you love doing. Whether that be paid or unpaid work, joining Apprenticeships, or even going to University to further your knowledge. You’re mind-set and outlook on life is everything, and you can achieve anything you put your mind to.
I would like to enhance my knowledge in Product Management in the coming years, learning more about commercialisation and product development.
I particularly enjoyed my time in A-level Art lessons where we had the opportunity to work with local artists and visit museums.
Product ManagerASSA ABLOY
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
During my time at school I didn't always know what career path I wanted to go down, despite everyone telling me I need to think about this to choose the GCSE's I did and A levels. But I chose subjects I would enjoy as opposed to just doing them. Once I got to 6th form I had thought of many different career paths and ultimately I choose Aerospace Engineering. It combined my passion for technology and the aeronautical industry in one place. So with the support of S.A Careers staff, I started applying to universities to do Aerospace Engineering BEng, keeping in mind the minimum entry requirements I needed and stay focused during exams to ensure I got them. On results day I got all three of my top 3 offers and I choose to go to Coventry University to study Aerospace Engineering. During my 3rd and final year of university I had managed to make many different links and friends within the industry which helped a lot when applying for job applications. After university I would actively apply to graduate jobs and get many interviews, but ultimately with many interviews came many rejections. However this did not stop me from trying and applying daily, I went through many different CV changes and voluntary work to gain more experience as that was what I was lacking. Soon after came the moment I decided to step away from graduate jobs and apply for normal permanent jobs within the industry, to my luck I managed to get some interviews with top companies within the UK, such as McLaren. Also two defence giants of the world which are Leonardo and Raytheon. Companies I could only dream to work at during university! But I worked hard for the interview preparation and managed to get the attention of both companies wanting me which was a good feeling! The two giants of the industry wanting to hire me gave me the advantage of them calling back days after the interview to send over formal employment offers. So I choose to work with Leonardo in their helicopters division down in the south of the UK in Somerset. In a role I enjoy, daily working on helicopters, helping plan and design repairs; seeing them be tested and flown and working hands on, on all the different helicopter parts.
My advice will be to always enjoy and have a passion for what you do during school and what you want to do in the future. There is so much support provided by the teachers and Careers at S.A and to make use of all of them. I was close with all my teachers during school and even university lecturers. They will always provide guidance and help to get you to where you want to be! But mostly stay motivated and dedicated to your own cause, to your own future and aspirations. If you want to get somewhere then you can do it! You just need to stay focused and work hard towards it!
Thinking to the future I have set many different plans and goals I want to achieve. Some being to move around the Engineering industry working for the likes of Rolls Royce and McLaren. Even try get myself into F1 as and engineer. But ultimately long term I want to be a team manager and lead a group of my own within the industry. It doesn't stop there, I do also want to set up my own business of some sort on the side to all of this!
I've had many good memories during my time at Sandwell Academy. I wasn't the perfect student by any means but I was in the good books with all staff, so I made a lot of memories. I had a lot of laughs and jokes during school with the teachers and my group of friends of which I'm still in contact with many years later. My apologies to all the teachers I was a pain in the ass to be, also thank you for all the great memories and support you provided. I couldn't have made it this far without it. Without the constant nagging for me to work lol!
Manufacturing EngineerLeonardo Helicopters
After Sandwell Academy, I attended the University of Birmingham, where I left in 2012 with an LLB Law with Business Studies Degree.
Take full advantage of all resources that are available to you, ask questions to teachers and the careers advisor's, especially when figuring out what university to go to, or if you have a goal that isn't further education and how to reach that goal. I completed the A2B program in order to get accepted at the University of Birmingham. I never would have heard of this program had it not been for the careers centre at the Academy.
To build up my law practice, and add other lawyers/ staff.
There was a dragons den activity day in 6.2. I believe that was particularly enjoyable. I was very fortunate to have some amazing teachers in the courses I took, Ms. Bladen, Ms. Millward, Ms. Grewal, Ms. Soulsby and the fantastic staff at the careers centre to name a few.
Owner, Barrister & SolicitorHighland Law, Canada
I started studying at Sandwell Academy in September 2017. I always wanted to do a degree in something that was very applicable to the world around us so I decided to pick Economics.
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! I would also say, try and be creative in the way that you approach employers or people you may know that can help you get an opportunity. People love it when you think outside the box!
My plans for the future are to work harder and smart and look into Internship programs. I am also looking to gain more knowledge so after university I might do a post graduate degree or may move onto working in the financial/banking sector while achieving chartered certification (for example CA or CFA).
One of the best memories from Sandwell Academy is the lifelong friends that I have found and all the laughter I've had with my friends and the teachers who taught me. I also always remember the little things such as walking in the corridors and the times where we would have laughs after lunch when we would come back five minutes before the lesson began again.
2017 - 2019
After leaving Sandwell Academy I attended Sandwell College studying Interactive Media where I learned my passion for videography and all things media related. I managed to get a DDD which got me 5 unconditional offers before leaving college. I decided to attend Birmingham City University where I have now recently just graduated with a 2.1 in Media Production. During my time at University, I made a lot of contacts which lead me to get a brand ambassadorship with a global record company Universal Music. I have also secured contacts all around the music industry and TV industry ensuring that I have places to work whenever I want to do some freelance on the side. I even got to interview my favourite band from when I attend Sandwell Academy Three Days Grace. I have been privileged to be able to not only interview them but other artists in different locations including Tom Grennan at Birmingham 02 Academy. I now specialise in TV and the Music industry with also a background in Radio, graphic design, social media and digital marketing. I'm able to jump from different roles within the media industry. I was recently interviewed on BBC Midlands evening news to talk about new productions coming to Birmingham which was an amazing opportunity but not the first time being interviewed on BBC or TV. This is all to do with my work ethic being set on what I want to achieve now and possibly in 5 years.
My advice is to not be afraid of failing. Failure is a huge part of success and can help you recover from rejections because you might receive a lot of them and that most likely have nothing to do with your character or CV but more with what a company is looking for. Do not think about what other people are doing. People come from different backgrounds and have different goals. Just keep your head down and do what you think is right for you. Keep your mind on your current goals but also think about where you want to be in 5 years. That may change but it will also help you navigate where to go next. I didn't do media as a GCSE and I thought that would go against me but everything is different when you apply to college/sixth form they take into consideration grades, not subjects you did (well apart from Maths, English and Science). A big piece of advice that I got from University and has stuck with me and I would like to share with you is never fully close the door on a business contact. The reason why is because everyone in your life is a potential contact especially the people with who you have worked before. Let's say you want a job as a social media assistant and your old boss from a carpenter place knows a company they have just recently put down carpet for has a vacancy. This is great because this person knows you and can put in a good word for you. My last bit of advice is my most important (to me anyway) make sure you don't let past mistakes and how you were at secondary school affect how you are now. Everyone has a past and everyone has made mistakes it happens in life. You become a different person when you leave and navigate the real world. A favourite fact of mine is that the human brain can change its thinking every 5 minutes but as you get older it's less likely, which is probably why your parents and/or grandparents don't get on what you want to do as a job or who you are as an individual. You are unique in every way. I used to think that was the most stupid thing I heard but trust me it's not. That's what will get you your career. As someone who has managed over 50 people at one time trust me it is important.
I am currently looking for a full-time job but I am doing some freelance work which I plan to do even with a full-time job. I would like to work in more studios. Having contacts at BBC, ITV, News UK etc. I have opportunities to work in various studios. I have plans in place to do so when lockdown finally ends. I aim to take my love for the music and TV industry and form a company that helps highlight both in some form. I also plan to move out and start my adventure and travel all over the world. I got to travel to New York and LA but now I would like to travel across America and document my time there. My plans forever change which is something that happens as you adapt to your environment or your current mind-set but right now it's filming artists and working in TV studios and on location.
When I left secondary school I always imagined I would look back with just bad memories but in reality, I miss being able to learn different subjects at once. You learn so much in one day and when you get to University it's more about one particular subject just done in different presentations and lectures. I miss the friends I had there and being in class with them especially in English and making jokes with the English teachers.
2010 - 2015
Brand AmbassadorUniversal Music/Freelance Videographer
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
Initially being into sports particularly football, after leaving Sandwell Academy I'd managed to sign a contract with a professional team called Shrewsbury Town, unfortunately it didn't work out. My second passion was cooking so I decided to try something new and started working as a fine dining chef which I have done now for the past 4yrs it requires a lot of time but really is enjoyable.
Grades don't define who you are, sky is the limit if you put your mind to it.
I am currently in the process of swapping career (again) where I'll be working as Finance Advisor with French. Once I've gained enough knowledge I'd like to become a translator and finally retire. .
Sandwell Academy has been by far my greatest experience to date. One particular highlight of my time would be Miss Soulsby sending me home for chewing. Hope you students don't.
2007 - 2010
Kitchen ManagerMitchells & Butlers
Apprenticeship and additional courses.
Follow a career that makes you want to get up and go to work in order to progress in life, as the longer you spend working in an industry, the more committed you have to be otherwise all your hard work time may go to waste. However, it is good to trial and error different options and if it’s not for you, find what is for you and pursue it whilst you are still young.
I plan to move to a senior 3rd line support role, as well as that, manage my own business.
Getting to experience different things I was not used to, for example, people coming into school to speak about their careers and going on trips, learning about what I used to call ‘the outside world’.
IT Network AnalystAtos
From Sandwell Academy, I studied a Law degree at Aston University, I am currently studying my Masters and Legal Practitioner Course part time whilst also working as a Paralegal at Hogan Lovells.
I would like to qualify as a Corporate and Commercial Law and work towards building my team and delivering great work to my clients.
There are too many to think of; from the great laughs I had with my tutors to the wins my basketball team achieved. However, one immediate and honest great memory I have is eating flap jacks with custard at dinner time with pizza and chips. My friends and I loved that food combination.
I started working at a Claire's store as an Assistant whilst studying at Wolverhampton University. After I left University I continued working in-store and worked my way up until I moved to head office, then continued to work my way up there. Within Claire's I've had 8 different roles in 4 different departments.
It's okay if you don't know your exact career path when leaving school. As long as you have a good work ethic and self-motivation just keep going until you're happy!
My ultimate goal is to become a Chief Marketing Officer. The next step for me would be to become Head of Department or Director.
Meeting my friends. I met my best friend at Sandwell Academy and we share so many fun memories.
Senior Digital Marketing Manager – RetentionClaire's
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.
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 went to Henley Business School (University of Reading) and completed a 4 year degree with a placement year at Grant Thornton, graduated with a 2.1 in Accounting and Management and returned to GT as a graduate.
Network! Talk to people who are in the profession you want to go into, see how they got to where they are and take every piece of advice you can. Be authentic, inquisitive and interested.
My current goal is to pass my remaining exams to become a fully qualified chartered accountant
Year 11 prom!
Audit AssociateGrant Thornton
I attended Sandwell Academy between 2012 and 2014, leaving to study Aerospace Technology Engineering at Coventry University. Initially I was not fully aware 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. During my second year at University I obtained a bursary to join the Royal Air Force as an Engineer Officer (Aero Systems), 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 role, I was posted into Recruiting and Selection back at RAF College Cranwell. I was one of the officers in charge of selecting the next Officers and Non-Commissioned Aircrew applying to join the Royal Air Force. In March 2020 I was lucky to be posted to the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, The Red Arrows into the role of Officer Commanding Engineering Support Flight. Here I am leading a team of 27 Engineers, Technicians, Suppliers and MT Drivers to achieve the iconic 9 aircraft display for the team.
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 obtain a position on the Flight Test Engineer program. I plan to work towards my Incorporated Engineer status and complete a masters, all of which are funded through the Royal Air Force.
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.
2008 - 2014
At Sandwell Academy I achieved my A-Levels in English, Physical Education and ICT. After achieving my A-Levels at Sandwell Academy I was accepted at Wolverhampton University in 2010. After three years at Wolverhampton University I graduated with Honours receiving a 2.1 classification. As a part of my Degree I attended a placement at a school to gain experience in teaching. It was at this point I knew I wanted to become a teacher, so not only did I complete my placement in a secondary school for my degree, I also went to another school as a T.A once a week while at University on a voluntary basis to gain more experience. This experience was vital for my future, so as soon as I finished my degree I applied for a job at an alternative provision, were I educated students that were no longer able to attend mainstream schools, helping them achieve their GCSEs. After a successful 12 months working in an alternative provision, I then applied for a job at EBN Academy in 2015; I applied for a Job as a mentor but also expressed my desire to teach English. In my application I discussed the experience I had in teaching from my University placements, and voluntary work I did in schools to enhance my experience, and also demonstrated my understanding of teacher standards and safeguarding in Education. EBN funded my teaching qualifications in order to obtain QTS status and complete my NQT year. Having worked hard as an English Teacher and strived to consistently make progress in the profession of Education I am now Head of English and Literacy Coordinator. Having a growth mind-set and seeking more knowledge and education is a key to success; having completed the National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL) and currently engaging in the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) award, I would always encourage people to embrace a growth mind-set.
I would always advise young people to believe in themselves and take advantage of everyday, because productive days turn into productive weeks, productive weeks turn into productive months and productive months turn into productive years, so make every day count and be productive with your time.
One of my near future ambitions is to become a Deputy Head in Secondary Education. Having completed the NPQSL award, and currently on the NPQH course, naturally I feel this is my next step in education.
Sandwell Academy gave me so many beautiful memories I will never forget. I met some fantastic people during my two years (2008-10) at Sandwell Academy, it is hard to single out one memory. Sandwell academy was the perfect learning environment with luxurious 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
EBN Academy 2Head of English and Literacy Co-Ordinator
After I left S.A, I went to Bradford University studying Computer Animation. After my graduation I decided to change my career and joined an IT graduate scheme, where I became a certified Project Management Officer. I was then placed with a client in Paris once I completed my training. This was the quickest way I could get into Finance, I worked with BNP Paribas for 1 and a half years as Identity Access Management, I then changed my team to join COO as an Operational Business and Risk Analyst. After Paris I decided to go to Australia for a year where I worked 6 months for a university as Project Management Officer.
My advice would be to pick a subject area that you're interested in and meanwhile whilst you're doing your course you can find a placement to give you some experience. This way as soon as you've graduated you'll be at an advantage from other candidates. However if you're not sure what you want to do at university, don't be disheartened as you will find that there are other ways to set foot in other fields once you've graduated.
My plan is to become Project Management Office Manager in the future and develop my own PMO team in a big financial industry.
The best memory I have was the voyage trip that SA arranged for us, I took the advantage and went to both years trip, once to France and the 2nd time to Ireland.
I attended Sandwell Academy from Year 7 until the end of Sixth Form. Over the years it became clear that my main interest was in Business Studies, so I decided to pursue a degree at Aston University in BSc Business and Management with Placement Year – I took my placement year at Citizens Advice as a client adviser. This role was not exactly heavily business related, but I chose it for the other crucial skills I could develop during my time there, whilst helping clients with their issues and having a positive impact on my local area. I graduated from Aston University and then applied for a number of jobs. I was fortunate enough to be accepted on to the Strategy and Sustainability graduate scheme by Jaguar Land Rover. I now get to combine my love for cars with my interest of business, in a company responsible for two iconic brands that I have always admired.
Discover what you enjoy doing most and what you are good at, then pursue a career in this area. It is also very important not to become disheartened with knockbacks. If you work hard, the results will ultimately show.
The short-term plan is to gain as much experience and knowledge as possible in different corporate functions of Jaguar Land Rover, during my two-years on the graduate scheme. I have loved my time on the scheme so far, getting the chance to contribute to important projects such as the launch of the new Range Rover. In the long-term, I want to build my career with Jaguar Land Rover after the two-year scheme is completed. The goal would be to work my way up through the management levels and see where it takes me. The company is going through a very exciting period of change, and it would be a shame to miss out!
There are a lot of good memories from my time at Sandwell Academy, from making great friends to participating in sporting events. I would say the memory that stands out most (as a West Brom fan), was being part of the football team and getting the chance to play a cup final at the Hawthorns in front of our classmates.
Strategy & Sustainability GraduateJaguar Land Rover
After finishing my Undergraduate degree in 2016, I spent two very long years, searching for a job that 1) I did not have previous experience in and 2) I was not qualified for. Whilst searching, I started and completed my Master's degree in International Business in 2018. I decided to study this degree to alter my career path. My dream was to become a Business Analyst and I wouldn't have achieved that with my Sports Science and Management degree. Within that two year space, I worked on my CV and I searched for relevant work experience that would enhance my CV. I studied for two career specific professional exams to further enhance myself. With the two degrees and two professional qualifications, I was able to put myself in a position where I could stand out. Which luckily landed me my two most recent roles.
Always work hard and smart. Never compare yourself to your friends or colleagues because I have come to realise that everyone's time for success is different. Never lose hope in what you want to achieve and ensure that you are putting yourself in the best possible position to stand out. In this day and age, everyone is getting a master's degree, which makes it harder because everyone is more educated and well prepared. It is important to stand out and put yourself in a position where employers or investors cannot say no. Whether it is relevant work experience or industry specific qualification. And last but not least, have a great support system around you, who are able to motivate you and uplift you when times get hard, because THEY WILL, but what matters most is your attitude and determination to overcome such hurdles.
Stay in my current role for another two years. Look for a new opportunity and in the near future my aim is to become a Business Analyst Consultant.
Sandwell Academy was probably the best two years of my life. From Captaining the A team to the school's first league title, to making great friendships that have lasted years. Whenever I see my friends there's not a day that goes by where we do not talk about life In Sandwell and how great it was.
Software Solutions SpecialistIsometrix
I studied A level Biology, Chemistry, Business and IT and Sandwell Academy. I then studied a BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science degree at Aston University. During my degree I went out on a placement year in the NHS working as a Trainee Biomedical Scientist at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital. I graduated and worked as a Research Assistant in London and then Cambridge, developing new vaccines for flu. After 12 months, I came back to Birmingham to do a PhD in Biomedical Science at Aston University. I completed my PhD and then moved back to London, working at Queen Mary University London as a Lecturer in Infection Sciences. I then returned to the NHS, working at Charing Cross Hospital in the Department of Infection and Immunity as a Biomedical Scientist. Finally, I came back to Birmingham (again!) and now work at Aston University as a Lecturer in Biomedical Science.
There is a whole wide world of careers out there and it is absolutely okay to not know what you would like to do. When you think of a potential career, do not think of it as your only career or the career you will be doing for the rest of your life. Of course if you have a set career in mind that is great and focusing upon that will motivate you, especially during the times when maybe there is a lot of studying to do! However, there is absolutely nothing wrong with trying out different jobs and seeing what you enjoy and recognising what you don't -that is exactly what I have done! The studies you undertake at Sandwell Academy (and if you also choose to, the degree/apprenticeship you undertake), will open up so many career opportunities, for which you will have developed many transferable skills. If you do go on to do further study, I'd definitely say pick a subject you enjoy. I promise you, that is half the battle! When I was doing my A levels I knew I wanted a career in Biology, but I never knew what that career would look like and definitely never thought I'd be doing what I do now. But I knew I enjoyed biology and that enthusiasm is what carried me through to where I am now.
I am looking to eventually move into Public Health.
My real love for biology came from my two A level biology teachers at Sandwell Academy (Mrs Elliott and Mr Hafiz). I still think about them often and the impact that they had on me. I owe them so much because it is their enthusiasm for the subject, their incredible teaching styles and support is what led me to choosing to do a Biomedical Science degree. Looking back, Sandwell Academy provided me with some of the happiest memories I have, from the friends I made, to the wonderful teachers.
Lecturer - Biomedical ScienceAston University
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 didn’t have a set plan where to go or what to do after 6th form. I knew university wasn’t for me and I’d found a job as an Admin Assistant for a care company, so I gained valuable experience through that. I then moved into the energy industry and worked up from manual sales and registrations to Smart to misdirected payments (a financial role), which meant I gained a lot of knowledge and experience about that industry. After this I moved onto Virgin Media as a Collections Advisor so I used the financial experience within that role. I left VM this year to start at Bryt in a role which is a mixture of both VM and the energy company, so the role was perfect.
You don’t need to stress about having a plan, as long as you try your best to get the best grades you can. If you have a plan then great, work towards that but don’t worry yourself too much because it’ll end up stressing you out more and it’ll affect you.
Eventually I want to work in a role that I can class as my career, hopefully I can stay at Bryt and get loads more experience and maybe one day I’ll be a manger with a job I enjoy. Like before I still have no set plan, I’ve learnt things change so I just take each day as it comes.
The best memories for me were the Hospitality and Catering lessons, doing something I enjoyed, but also the moment I found out I got a better grade in Applied ICT than I thought I’d get (thanks to Mrs Gill (Aktar at the time) for pushing me when I needed a kick start!
Credit and Collections AdvisorBryt Energy
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.
English Teacher and PHD Student Sandwell Academy
I completed a Fashion Business & Promotion degree, achieving a First Class with honours and then built my network within fashion to get freelance jobs, build my experience and finally land a permanent role 6 months after graduating.
Always make use of your network, whether this is through Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn - don't be afraid to message anyone, they can only say yes or no. Take every opportunity whilst you can and don't forget to take breaks, burnout is very real.
Moving up the career ladder to a senior/director position in marketing & branding within fashion. Be an industry leader in creative thinking and initiatives that propel black & ethnic minority women entrepreneurs in B2B fashion - improving their accessibility of resources & quality of business practises.
All of my best memories were with my friends, there's way too many to share!
Market & Brand ExecutiveADAYA House
I am a final year Mathematics and Data analytics student at Coventry University. I have recently completed a 15-month placement as a Market & Competitive Intelligence Analyst for Xerox based in their European headquarters in London. Partaking in a placement year was a great opportunity for me to develop fundamental skills whilst working with industry experts.
Throughout my academic life I have experienced many setbacks such as, going through clearing and the difficulties of finding a placement year. Despite this I have learnt to always stay positive and determined as these are key ingredients to success and achieving your goals. My key message to students would be persevere no matter how hard things may seem as nothing is impossible.
Following my studies at university I aim to pursue a career in Market or Financial Analysis.
I particularly enjoyed my time during my 6th form work experience as it gave me great insight into potential career paths which I now hope to pursue a career in, following my university studies.
Market & Competitive Intelligence AnalystXerox, Uxbridge
After SA went to Coventry University to study Physiotherapy. I worked as a Physio for 5 years post grad including getting a Sport and Exercise Med MSc, and working in professional sport. I have been with Stryker for 3.5 years and gaining two promotions within that period leading to my current position.
Have a goal, always review the goal and take action. Enjoy the successes as you go along without getting distracted of the end goal. Don't be afraid to set high goals, the higher the better!
Aiming to be on the board/CEO of a global company. Driving my own insights with my company business. Learning property business over several years. Just started my own business in property this year.
All the teaching staff being well aligned to helping everyone achieve their potential.
Central and Northern UK Robotics ManagerStryker UK
I have worked since I was 16 and I've always had a drive to better myself. My ambition was to graduate from University of Birmingham, so I decided to study for my A-Levels with Sandwell Academy. I achieved my goal and was so pleased to graduate in 2018. I thought this was the end of my educational journey but I decided to fund for my CIPD Level 5 Diploma. I jumped straight into a recruitment role after University, where I've developed and created a platform to recruit for the public sector. I absolutely love what I do, as I know the roles we recruit for means that a vulnerable customer or tenant will receive amazing support from the candidates we place.
Make sure you remain motivated, positive and driven. It's definitely not an easy journey after sixth form, especially if you're not sure about university. Just remember, it doesn't matter what challenges you face; what matters is how you bounce back from it. Enjoy every success that you get, no matter how small!
My colleague Matt and I established Community Partnership Personnel in the middle of the pandemic. We decided to do this as our ambition was always to create an organisation where we can support our clients and communities but also enjoy what we do! It's our one year company anniversary in June and our plans are to continue to grow our company. I am also studying for my CIPD Level 5 which means I will have the option to go into an HR role in the future and support the business in this way too.
I really enjoyed the laughs - particularly in Media Studies! Never take good friends for granted, they definitely got me through the tough times of sixth form and beyond.
2013 - 2015
Senior Recruitment ConsultantCommunity Partnership Personnel
Business Management and Marketing degree at NTU with a placement year in London. After graduation, I filled in over 2500 job applications with a focus on going into Marketing and not settling for less. I worked my way up to Marketing Manager 3 years into my first job after Uni, then got head-hunted for a great new role in a booming business.
SA was incredible, especially being in the first group of students to be in the school. What I loved was not taking life too seriously, laughing every day and enjoying the sporting facilities to the maximum whilst working hard for grades when needed. My advice? 1. Absolutely have serious career consideration conversations before choosing A-levels. Your choices limit what degrees you can do. Speak to family, family friends, teachers, PT or careers team extensively and proactively - you can't rely on this just happening on its own for you. If you need to take time to make any big academic/career choices, don't rush just collect life experiences in the time being. 2. You might feel stressed at times but these are ultimately some of the most relaxed times in your life, so enjoy yourself and try as many new things as you can. You never know what might turn into a long-term hobby or interest. 3. Never, ever neglect personal development/growth in the pursuit of your ambitions. By actively thinking and acting like a good person, you will attract a lot of good opportunities and experiences. Being a kind, considerate, aware and reliable person is what the world needs more of, not less. Try and get out your comfort zone from time to time.
Professionally I hope to advance further in my career within Digital Marketing and collecting experiences in strong industries like Cyber Security. Although I rule nothing out, any amazing opportunity that might present itself, I just work to be more specialised in the meantime. In order to become more specialised and eventually have my own assets and financial freedom.
Not many entirely suitable ones to share, had a lot of great banter and memory growing up here! I will go with playing football in the Dome, incredible place to play the beautiful game.
Digital Campaign ManagerISMG Cyber Security Media group
Sandwell Academy - Sixth Form - Physics, Maths, Business, IT, Further Maths. 2009-2011, then the University of Nottingham - BEng Mechanical Engineering 2011-2015, Year in Industry - PepsiCo - Reliability Engineer 2013-2014, The University of Nottingham - MSc Aerospace Technologies - Power Electronics 2016-2017, Series of smaller relevant experience placements as well as non-work related involvements which helped build good communication, problem solving and team working skills. 2017, Graduate Scheme Jaguar Land Rover 2 years, Promoted to Component Engineer 1+ years. 2017-Now
The world is evolving, expectations are high, but equally there are more opportunities and resources than ever before. The digital integration of technology to all types of careers is becoming a core pillar of our society; do as much you can to be technology/computer literate as it will be your aide no matter your career choice. Selecting a future path can seem daunting but you will have more than one opportunity to redirect if it's not quite what you want. What's important is you choose one, it has future opportunities and growth in that field, and you enjoy learning in that particular area and are willing to go the extra mile.
Technology Leader - Vision of directing a significant part of the company technology division.
I was only there a short period of 2 years for sixth form. However, it was perhaps some of the best educational years of my life. The atmosphere and professionalism mind-set taught at Sandwell Academy sets you up for life.
Other than that, the ethos of the educators was always of high calibre, future thinking and always with the students' best at heart. I always enjoy visiting and recounting memories.
Electrical Engineer - Electric Vehicle Charging PortJaguar Land Rover
I began my career at KPMG through the KPMG 360 Apprenticeship Scheme where I experienced all kinds of different departments and roles within the firm. I then moved on from KPMG to a smaller firm and went on to study the ATT Qualification. After nearly 2 years of gaining valuable experience I was able to secure a role in PwC in the Partnership Tax Team where I deal with LLPs and Partnership Tax Returns and Computations. I'm hoping to complete my Chartered qualification in the upcoming year.
I would advise students to take out time to research their chosen career paths and see what different avenues they can take to achieve their goals. If University is not for you and you feel you would grow better with more hands-on practical experience, we are lucky enough today that different businesses provide alternative options other than University to kick-start your career. Also try everything! Gain as much experience as you can in all kinds of sectors, it will give you a lot more to talk about on applications and interviews, and make you stand out from the crowd.
Within the next 2 years I'm hoping to complete my CTA qualification to become a qualified Chartered Tax Adviser. Hopefully once I've achieved this goal I can focus on building my skills and expertise and move my way up the business.
One of my best memories was when I was lucky enough to win the Media Award in Sixth form at the Achievement evening. My time in Sixth form as a whole was a very good experience, it allowed me to choose the A levels which I enjoyed as well as meeting new people along the way.
Tax AssociatePriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC)
I chose to study a Business Management degree at University of Worcester. When I completed my 3 year degree in 2014 I did a part time job during the summer until I landed my first job as a Project Officer for a small IT company supporting Birmingham Airport to carry out a new HR & Payroll system online. This fast paced job opened up so many doors for me and gave me incredible skills. I worked in a Project support officer role for a couple of years until I then relocated to a different city which is how I ended up working for a public and private sector organisation called SEMLEP in 2017 as a Project Officer in the Growth Hub. In January 2019, I then embraced a new opportunity and became the Growth Hub Gateway Adviser. Later that year, I undertook the position of Programme Officer, supporting the management of the Local Growth Fund and Getting Building Fund programmes. After thriving in every role I held, I was recently promoted to Programme Contracts Manager, overseeing the £265m Local Growth Fund programme. SEMLEP is an organisation that supports the development of our economy through people, places and ideas creating more jobs, homes and learners. I didn't always know where I wanted to be, but the determination to always do my best in any role or job given to me has got me to where I am today and I have grown to love what I do as I am able to give back to the community.
You may feel scared now of the unknown and not know exactly where you'll end up, but the worst thing you can do is to NOT take those chances, as you will never know what you're really capable of. Take chances and try different things until you find what you love!
I will continue to always do my best and try new things in life and to always take on new opportunities. Recently taking on a manager role, I plan to excel in this role and then look for the next challenge or opportunity to become available!
Being at Sandwell Academy for 6th Form was a great experience and I left with many positive memories. The support and confidence the teachers give you is something I will never forget. I made so many new friends and had the best time whilst studying there and I will always be grateful for the small part Sandwell Academy played in my life.
Programme Contracts ManagerSouth East Midland Local Enterprise Partnership
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
BSc (Hons) Psychology.
Leave making sure that you know what you want to do. Never regret the choices you make in life.
I want to progress to Practice Manager.
Times spent in the cafeteria with friends.
Clinical ManagerGP Practice
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
I began playing football from a young age. I left home at 14 to move to Birmingham & Sandwell Academy to continue my development at West Bromwich Albion which started when I was 8. With the educational help and support from Sandwell Academy as well as hard work within football, this allowed me to pass all my GCSE's and gain a professional contract with West Bromwich Albion.
That when you have a knock back in life to not dwell on it and show your frustration, to continue working hard and to have a relentless mind-set to achieve more and prove people wrong.
I want to be a regular Premier League player.
My favourite memory would be playing ping pong at lunch time with everyone. I know when I lost my reactions frustrated the lunch ladies at times ?? but the lunch time memories, looking back are times I will never forget.
2015 - 2017
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
My career began with Pennycuicks back in the summer post Year 11. I was struggling to find a part time job and was frustrated about the fact I wasn't doing anything with myself. I contacted Pennycuicks after discussing career ideas with my father and they were happy to give me some work experience. I worked in Birmingham for the remainder of the summer which lasted about six weeks and then began Sixth Form in September. I then returned to Pennycuicks as part of my sixth form work experience for two weeks, where they asked me if I would be interested in joining them once I had finished my A-Levels. Finally, I have started the RICS Apprenticeship Scheme through the University of Wolverhampton which will last five years and at the end of this I will be fully chartered as a surveyor with a degree in property management.
I would say to other students at Sandwell Academy to not just settle with what can be given to you if you do not put in the work to find a placement, really think about something you enjoy and what you're good at and try your best when you get there as it can present a great opportunity for yourselves at the end of school or sixth form.
In the future, I would like to complete my RICS Apprenticeship and rise through the ranks at Pennycuicks. I can do this by putting the time and hard work into my work days and afterwards in my free time. Also, I think it is very important to take in everything my colleague Richard tells me as he is very experienced in the industry.
My favourite memory of Sandwell Academy was probably winning the 800m race in Year 8. At the time I used to go to Athletics and put in a lot to practice as I enjoyed running. It felt great to win as I'd say I was more of an underdog in comparison to the other people who were running and it showed me what I was capable of when I committed to something and put lots of hard work into it.
Assistant SurveyorPennycuick Collins
During my time at Sandwell Academy, I was a very enthusiastic and passionate Spanish student. I ensured that I attended session 3 activities that were made available to me to enhance my knowledge in different subject areas. In 2018, I graduated from Newman University and received a BA (honours) in Education and Counselling Studies. I have recently completed my PGCE in Secondary Modern Foreign Languages Education at the University of Wolverhampton which has allowed me to pursue my chosen career path as a MFL teacher. I would like to stress that I would not have been able to teach languages without the GCSE and the A-level I took at Sandwell Academy.
Show passion, enthusiasm and dedication in your studies now and you will receive the rewards in the future... Always make sure you ask for advice along the way if you need it as there are plenty of people available to support you at SA. What you put in is what you will get out...
I plan to become a Head of MFL or a pastoral leader within a secondary school.
Getting higher than my predicted grades in some of my subjects and throwing wet sponges at teachers at the summer fair!
Teacher of Modern Foreign LanguagesOrmiston Academies Trust
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
I completed my ATAR, WACE and entry exams to get into Curtin University in Australia.
I would encourage you to really think about what you want to do in the future and plan around in it, including what courses you want to do for GCSEs and A-levels. I would also say to really take advantage of the great teachers that are at the academy because they can really help you in all aspects of high school.
In the future, I plan to finish my medicine degree and to then begin an internship at a well-established hospital as a surgeon.
My highlights would be the relationships that I had with my teachers and also the PT sessions because we really relied on each other no matter what year we were in.
2013 - 2018
Student Curtin University, Perth, Australia
Many years of unpaid voluntary work for professional footballs clubs as a Technical Data Analyst. Also, part time work at Amazon as a delivery driver.
Hard work and dedication will always get you far in life. You have to be willing to sacrifice to achieve your goals and objectives.
To progress as a manager and become financially stable in life but most of all....happy.
Getting told off in ILC by Mrs Soulsby.
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 took a bit of a different route than first expected. After leaving SA I went to Aston University to do BSc Mathematics, and I hated the course! So I decided I needed a change, I left the course and studied what courses would best suit me at Aston. I chose BSc Finance, with a placement year. I took my placement year at Frameclad Limited. Where I was able to get involved and really gain so much experience as it is only a medium sized company. I then applied to grad jobs and was able to get the position of an Associate at EY where I am currently working towards my Chartered Accountancy.
Don’t be afraid to make a change. Spending 1 year doing something you don’t like, is much better than spending the rest of your life doing something you hate, all because you were afraid to change paths.
I would like to progress through the ranks at EY, hoping to one day achieve the position of Partner. But realistically, who knows what the future holds. My path has already changed once, it may change again! I think it’s important to remain happy. If I find myself unhappy, then it may be time for a change!
The one that comes to mind was the expedition that me and a few other students were able to do in 2014 where we went to India. We were able to see some amazing places, as well as play a part in building a classroom at an orphanage! This was truly a life changing experience and one that I will hold dear for all the memories it has given me.
AssociateErnst & Young
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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