Adventures of King Edward’s Alumni

This summer, two King Edward’s alumni – Yasmine Shafiq and Elwin Marshall – will be volunteering for eight weeks with the Cambridge Development Initiative (CDI). . CDI is a registered charity and student-led organisation which works in partnership with local government agencies to improve the well being of communities in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

Operating in Dar Es Salaam’s informal settlements, where residents earn under $1 per day and lack access to adequate sanitation, the CDI Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) project implements a sustainable and community-centred solution. The WaSH project prevents water-borne illnesses by training and employing local technicians to build safe simplified sewerage systems, along with toilets. The new Year 13 students will recall Yasmine’s inspiring assembly linked to work experiences and enrichment and Year 11 students may also remember an assembly last Christmas from Yasmine about her previous work on this project.

To promote this initiative’s economic and environmental sustainability, the CDI WaSH team aims to offer biogas as a renewable alternative to charcoal. Since 2015, CDI has been testing biodigestor technology, which turns waste collected by the sewerage networks into biogas. CDI intends to ensure the continued benefits of the project by transitioning from the current biodigestor model to one that is locally sourced through a Tanzanian supplier. This shift will enable community members to efficiently undertake repairs while creating a social enterprise through which biogas sales will fund the construction of new sewerage networks. To accomplish this goal, CDI need to raise an additional £2,000.

Any donations, however small, from KEVI students, applicants, teachers or parents would make a huge difference to the impact that the CDI WaSH project could have this year. Please have a look at the JustGiving page for more information about the project (including impact reporting, photographs and video links) and consider donating if you can: https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/cdi/washproject.

Ben Carvin

Year of leaving?

2011

Current Job

Environmental Consultant

Favourite subject in school and why?

I loved Geography! I still do in fact. Both my parents were geography teachers so some may say I had no choice! I found learning about the planet and the processes that go on around us fascinating. It’s also continually evolving as a subject so felt really current. I bet some of the stuff I learnt when I was at school is old fashioned now and I haven’t been gone that long!

What have you done since leaving KEVI?

After leaving KEVI I went to study Environmental Science at the University of Leeds. After my first year, I went to South Africa to work on a research project for 2 weeks which really opened my eyes to the world of travel. I studied at McMaster University in Canada for a year before returning to Leeds for one final year. I was offered a graduate job whilst still finishing my degree so after a couple of months travel after graduation I joined Advisian as an Environmental Consultant. I use what I learnt at school and at university to assess potential risk in the ground. I recently travelled to India with work to volunteer with a charity called Pollinate Energy. In India, I helped Pollinate to deliver life changing sustainable products to the urban poor in Indian slum communities. I loved every single second of it. I still live in Leeds so the decision I made to come here after school was a good one!

What has been your biggest achievement in life and how did your experience at KEVI help you to achieve other successes?

Graduating from university with a first class degree surrounded by my family and friends is the best thing I had ever done. It was a product of all the effort I put in at university but also the years of effort I put into my GCSEs and A Levels at KEVI. Life at KEVI taught me that all experiences in life are important whether academic or outside of school. You learn a lot when you don’t think you necessarily are. All of the extra-curricular activities I took part in at KEVI helped me learn what I enjoyed and what I didn’t. These experiences helped me to build confidence and have the belief I could achieve anything I wanted.

What one piece of advice would you give to current students?

Don’t be afraid if you don’t know exactly what you want to do. Be confident and try things out to see if you enjoy them. I originally applied to study Geography because I didn’t realise there were other subjects out there. Really research what courses are out there if you want to go to university. I still don’t really know where I’ll end up but I know I’ll enjoy the journey to wherever I do end up by being confident and taking every opportunity I get. Also, the world is awesome; go explore it!

What’s your next big goal?

Keep learning from people around me to stay happy and make a difference in the world somehow!

Richard Young

Year of leaving? 

2010

Current Job

Trainee Farm Traider

Favourite subject in school and why?

History. I always enjoyed history and I was very lucky at KEVI to have such good history teachers such as Mr Robson and Mr Hegarty.

What have you done since leaving KEVI?

I left KEVI in 2010 to do an Degree in Agriculture at Harper Adams University. I graduated in 2014 after doing three years learning and one year out of Uni on a work placement which was compulsory for my course. I really enjoyed my placement and it started to help lead me on the path to the job I have today.

After graduating I worked on a large arable farm in Cambridgeshire as a grainstore manager for one and a half years. I left that job to pursue the job I had wanted since I was 16 and relocated to Dundee to become a trainee farm trader with Scotgrain agriculture (a division of Bairds Malt Ltd and Graincorp Ltd (an Australian company listed on the Sydney stock exchange)).

What has been your biggest achievement in life and how did your experience at KEVI help you to achieve other successes?

I suppose at this point graduating from university. For the subject I studied at university I didn’t study at A Level what would be classed and standard subjects for an Agriculture student to study. However as I studied English language and history I knew how to write long essays which probably helped me the most when completing coursework at uni.

What one piece of advice would you give to current students?

When applying for university or college or for a job include everything you have done in a social sense as well as academic as I truly believe that is how I got into university as I hadn’t studied any of the subjects that the course required, but I had a lot of related social activities to my course. Don’t let the subjects you chose at A level tunnel your vision

What’s your next big goal?

My next big goal is to complete all my agronomy and fertiliser qualifications which I need to have to be able to advise my farmer customers in how to look after their crops in the most sustainable way. Also I am aiming to buy a house with my girlfriend in the next couple of years.

Sophie Woods

Year of leaving? 

2009

Favourite subject in school and why?

My favourite subject as school was design technology. My teacher was great fun and allowed us to use our creativity! I also used the skills I learnt from this course to support the drama department in making costumes for the productions held

What have you done since leaving KEVI?

Where to start!

Straight out of High School I move to South Africa and lived there for a year as a volunteer teacher. I then went on to work for the charity I went to RSA in Scotland. Based on the Isle of Coll, I worked in the RecruRecruitment supporting others to do what I had.

From there I then moved to Zambia to support the ICS programme with Restless Development as a Team Leader and upon my return went to work for NCS. Now I find myself working with Lattitude Global Volunteering supporting other young people to take up an overseas volunteering opportunity

What has been your biggest achievement in life and how did your experience at KEVI help you to achieve other successes?

My greatest achievement was my Team Leader ICS placement in Zambia. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone living and working in a different country and being responsible for the welfare of volunteers taking up their placement as well. I learnt a lot about effective people management, how to track volunteer learning and also a lot about myself!

What one piece of advice would you give to current students?

Don’t worry about having to know what you want to achieve with your life/ in your career. I still don’t really know – but through experience you can gain an insight into what would work for you

What’s your next big goal?

I am looking to continue my work in the charity sector and manage my own team. Maybe by the end of this year it might be time for a new work adventure

Kiera Dodds

Year of leaving? 

2015

Favourite subject in school and why?

Chemistry. It is a fascinating subject covering many areas of science and providing an intellectual challenge. I particularly enjoyed practical work- handling complex equipment, following procedures and in-depth analysis of results.

What have you done since leaving KEVI?

Started a masters degree in Chemistry at Durham University.

What has been your biggest achievement in life and how did your experience at KEVI help you to achieve other successes?

Achieving 12 A*’s at GCSE. King Edward VI provided me with the skills, ability and knowledge to continue with my academic success and ultimately obtain a place at a prestigious university.

What one piece of advice would you give to current students?

Begin research into potential career options as soon as possible so you can make educated decisions regarding subject choices whether it be at GCSE, AS level or A-Level so you aren’t restricted on applying for certain degrees etc

What’s your next big goal?

Achieve academically to secure a 4th year industrial placement with a world renown company.

Jamie Pemberton

Year of leaving?

1997

Favourite subject in school and why?

PE and games. I enjoyed all sports playing and captaining the school First XV in rugby.

What have you done since leaving KEVI?

I have worked in sales predominantly and have managed within call centres etc. I have had my own business and transferred this to my business partner. I have married have a step daughter and a daughter. Travelled a bit with the wife and family and generally got on with life. I have been working through a law degree for the past few years part time

What has been your biggest achievement in life and how did your experience at KEVI help you to achieve other successes?

Nothing really significant. I have gained a great work ethic and attitide to life. I have continued with Rugby and am currently working through my coaching badges coaching mini tag rugby.

I would say the biggest achievement so far is enrolling and working through a law degree whilst working full-time and supporting a family

What one piece of advice would you give to current students?

Don’t get bogged down with the stresses of deciding what you want to do with the rest of your life. Work hard during your time at school and achieve the best you can achieve through hard work

What’s your next big goal?

Who knows? I just keep looking as we go along in this life

Richard Williams

Richard WilliamsYear of leaving?

2012

Favourite subject in school and why?

Psychology. Ironside was bloody brilliant – best teacher I’ve had.

What have you done since leaving KEVI?

I went to the University of York to study Social and Political Sciences.  I couldn’t have made a better choice; York is a beautiful city and my degree was perfect for my interests. After I graduated I worked for a while in a restaurant and volunteered at my local Citizens Advice a couple of days a week doing research and campaigns. I then got an internship at Citizens Advice HQ in London doing policy research, which I love

What has been your biggest achievement in life and how did your experience at KEVI help you to achieve other successes?

Graduating with a 1st was without doubt the biggest achievement of my life so far. It was the culmination of three years of hard work and I can’t quite explain how rewarding it was. My experiences at KEVI opened up a lot of doors for me; the quality of teaching was very high and my teachers always went above and beyond to make sure I did my best.

What one piece of advice would you give to current students?

If you want to go to university, my advice would be to not be afraid to try new things. I had never studied politics at KEVI but it was a part of my degree that I loved,  so I would advise students to study new things. I would also advise them to throw themselves into societies and other extra-curricular activities, there is something for everyone, and if there isn’t, you can start your own society! You also don’t appreciate at the time how much those kinds of things enhance your employability.

What’s your next big goal?

To land a permanent job in policy research for a national charity or think tank. I want my work to have real influence, and change people’s lives for the better.

Rachael Woods

Rachael WoodsYear of leaving?

2012

Favourite subject in school and why?

My favourite subject in school was definitely biology! I’ve always been fascinated by how things work , especially the human body. I loved practical classes, especially dissection classes as it meant I could get up close and personal with what we had been learning, which I found to be really helpful in strengthening my knowledge

What have you done since leaving KEVI?

From leaving KEVI, I moved to Scotland to study animal biology at Stirling University. As Scotland offers 4-year courses, I’m still there, currently finishing off my dissertation and I am due to graduate this June. I’ve also held several part-time jobs, from pharmaceutical work to fundraising!

What has been your biggest achievement in life and how did your experience at KEVI help you to achieve other successes?

My biggest achievement in life so far has definitely getting the courage to embark on a research trip during university. I spent 3 weeks in the South of France with a group of like-minded scientists to help data collection for a research topic. This meant I had to travel by myself and help carry out research from my own knowledge – you don’t get much wifi coverage in rural France! I feel KEVI has helped me achieve my successes by giving confidence in my knowledge and abilities, and always encouraging myself and other students to pursue our dream!

What one piece of advice would you give to current students?

Don’t wory about your future! I know it sounds super cliched, but I was always so stressed about what I was doing with my life, and as a result I sacrificed my favourite subjects, my personal life and my health in a bid to secure my future as much as possible. Now that I’m where I am, I’m happy with how far I’ve come and where I can take myself. You do not need to have an idea of what you are doing with your life by the time to choose your GCSE’s, A Levels or even university! Do what makes you happy and you will be successful in whatever you decide.

What’s your next big goal?

I have just been accepted to Edinburgh Univeristy to study Veterinary Medicine, so I’ll have another 4 years at uni! It sounds crazy, and my friends tell me so, but when it’s something you’ve worked towards your entire life, you will do anything to reach your goals (at least I know I will!).

Michele Stewart

Michele StewartYear of leaving?

1981

Favourite subject in school and why?

Drama, Art, History, Biology, English Literature- I loved the creative studies, and biology& history were interesting

What have you done since leaving KEVI?

I have been a lecturer in FE. Owned my own salon employing 8 people

Owned my own hairdressing training academy(worked with KEVI students delivering hair qualifications to them when government funding was available- for  4 years)Worked as a technician with an Italian hair company, doing seminars and shows throughout Europe.

Worked for Toni & Guy as an Internal Verifier and assessor for NVQ qualifications in hairdressing

What has been your biggest achievement in life and how did your experience at KEVI help you to achieve other successes?

Personally – having 3 beautiful children (all studied at KEVI) now aged 27,24,15

My biggest achievement academically was running my own hairdressing academy delivering apprenticeships and hair qualifications to schools and salons throughout the county.

At 15 I went on 2 week work experience to a local salon –Hair at the workshop- sought out by my head of year – Doreen Condliffe- I was kept on as a Saturday girl and then offered an apprenticeship when I left school. I eventually ended up being Doreen Condliffe’s next door neighbour!

What one piece of advice would you give to current students?

Follow your dream and work hard in school – I had to resit my English language O Level when I wanted to teach, and eventually did a degree at Sunderland University in further education!

What’s your next big goal?

To re-open a hairdressing training academy- when government funding improves!!