Wisbech Grammar School likes to keep in touch with as many former pupils as possible. We see you as part of the extended community of the School. You might not come along every day but you are still very much part of our history and our future.
Here are some updates from recent leavers…
Subjects studied at A-level: Business Studies (achieved grade A) Home Economics (achieved grade A), Textiles (achieved grade B) plus a Food Science award.
After studying for my A-levels, I went straight off to study at university. Unable to pick between Business Studies and Home Economics, my fantastic tutors at WGS helped me to find a course somewhere in the middle.
I chose to study Hospitality and Business Management at Sheffield Hallam University. I loved my time at university, especially moving to a big city after growing up in Wisbech. As a part of my degree, my third year was a year in industry. I managed to secure a place on a management programme at the Michelin Star restaurant Hambleton Hall, on the peninsula of Rutland Water. It was a tough year, with long hours and lots of manual work, but very rewarding. One of my highlights was Mrs Sloan and Miss Wildman coming to visit for lunch! That proved to me that WGS’s support continues after you leave school.
I graduated from university with a first class degree in the summer of 2017 and was awarded the prize for the highest overall mark on the course. At this stage, I decided that I wanted to aim for a place on a Corporate Graduate Scheme. I was lucky enough to be one of the thousands of applicants to earn one of the ten places at St. James Place Wealth Management. I was particularly excited to relocate to the Cotswolds, after realising that despite four years in the city, my heart was in the countryside!
I am certain that I would not be where I am today without the personalised support, time and effort I received from everyone at WGS. I am also so grateful for being encouraged to be highly ambitious and dedicated.
My advice for current pupils is to keep your options open. At 18 I thought I had everything planned out, but never in a million years would I have imagined myself ending up in financial services (and neither would my Maths teacher, Mr Woodsmith!).
I am very proud to have studied at WGS, and I’m excited to watch my little cousins follow in my footsteps.
Subjects studied at A Level: Maths, Chemistry and Biology. Grades achieved at A-level: A*AB
After leaving WGS I accepted my offer at Newcastle University to read Chemistry.
This summer I graduated from my Master’s in Chemistry with honours with a 2.1 and I have now carried on for a fifth year at Newcastle University studying for a secondary PGCE. At the end of this course I will be a Newly Qualified Chemistry Teacher. University is, and has been, a very challenging, but interesting, exciting and unique experience. My advice for current A-level pupils is to do something you like so that you don’t go through your academic/job career with any regrets.
Subjects studied at A Level: Economics – A , B Government and Politics – B (only at AS) History – A, A Maths – A, B
After completing A levels I joined a company called Mercer on a 3-year apprenticeship in October 2016 within the Investments side of the business. Specifically, I’m a financial investment analyst within the delegated solutions team for Defined Benefits pension schemes.
I am still currently employed at Mercer. Having completed my apprenticeship within 2 years, achieving a distinction, I am now enrolled on the company’s graduate scheme. The office is situated in Tower Place in London.
I applied through a job through a training provider, Kaplan, and went through three interviews through them. After this, I then had a day of exams at Mercer. Applications came far and wide though with plenty of online websites (including government) providing information on available apprenticeships.
I really enjoy what I do; there’s a variety of work involved, some of which is regular (so monthly and quarterly reports for example) and some of which isn’t (setting the investment strategy for a new client for example). The Delegated Solutions (DS) section of the business is one of the fastest growing, so you are always busy, but also always doing new things. This was especially a perk coming in at an apprenticeship level as you are thrown in straight away with complex tasks. I’m an analyst on my own clients, two of which have AUMs of over £1bn so the work you do is fulfilling. As well, the work you do is value-added work; there hasn’t been this stigma where as the apprentice you make everyone coffees (I have never made a single person a coffee once). The workload is challenging, for me that’s a benefit as I like to be kept busy and under pressure, but for others that may be a negative. There are opportunities everywhere if you’re willing to take them, for example, I had a 3 month on-the-side role within the companies Innovation hub which was completely outside my usual job role where I got to work with company partners, or I’m now part of the companies private investments team (for over a year now) which allows me to fly to work in Zurich when needed. The industry also has a strong preference on exams (I’ve passed my Investment Operations Certificate and am currently studying for the Investment Management Certificate) which means that not having a degree is easily mitigated as becoming chartered (I’ll be studying for my Chartered Financial Analyst exams in 2 years) is what’s important. When studying for the CFA, you also get a study day a week (although the recommended study time is 300 hours over 6 months) which helps maintain a work-life balance. Work-life balance is also helped by the drinking culture; there’s very rarely a month go by where a team night out isn’t organised. Another perk is that you get good exposure to working with the best people in your industry.
The main negatives (especially compared to university) is having to get up in the morning, and then having to commute to London. I’m lucky because this is only an hour and a bit for me each way, but when you’re in the office till 10:30pm some nights, it doesn’t leave a lot of spare time, although you do manage your own work-load, so that is partly on myself. Although not as much for Mercer, but the financial industry as a whole is quite cut-throat, I know of many people who at the end of their apprenticeships haven’t been offered a job which is something to bear in mind. One downside of going straight into work is that you won’t have the social experience you would have by going to university, not to say that you won’t meet new people, go out etc. (because you do), but it’s nowhere near the same scale, although your liver may thank you in the long-run, it all comes down to how you value your time as a young adult.
6th Form especially helped as it provides you with autonomy to manage your own work yourself, if I didn’t do the work I wouldn’t get hounded as it was my own exam results that would suffer, work life is very similar to this especially as we manage our own work load and clients, if you don’t do the work then you don’t but come year assessment that’s on you.
Also, the respect I was shown by certain teachers in 6th Form in treating me as a young adult gave me loads of confidence to act like that in a work environment; this has helped me build relationships, but trust from people who allocate more important work to me.
The co-curricular work that I took part in, such as Young Enterprise, put me in good steed for doing work I wouldn’t usually do; this also gives m the confidence to put my hand up in later life to do things a little bit outside the box.
From a school point of view, I would say don’t be afraid to do something a little bit different, it’s important to differentiate yourself from the crowd. If you’re going to university, unless you’ve got a Masters from Oxbridge, employers are going to be seeing the same thing from your application as they are every other applicant. Also, apprenticeships are a genuine route to consider, once you’re in the door no one cares if you have a degree or not, it all depends on how good you are at your job.
Subjects studied at A Level: Geography, English, French: Grades achieved at A Level: B, B, C
I went to university via Clearing and got a place at the University of Manchester studying Spanish and History of Art.
I have really enjoyed my university experience so far; I have played university hockey, taken a year abroad and am leading the Uni Boob Team of Coppafeel. Uni Boob Teams are wonderful student ambassadors who spend their time shouting about boob-checking and raising funds at university and have been doing so since 2010.
WGS gives you great interpersonal skills, giving you the ability to interact with anyone as well as work hard. I have found it gives you real confidence to give anything a go and to put yourself out there. It’s the best way to have some amazing experiences.
My advice to anyone contemplating an application to university… Don’t downgrade yourself and be proud of all your achievements. If you have to go through Clearing, don’t worry at all about it. It worked out as the best thing for me in the end, just work hard and be yourself.
Subjects studied at A Level: Business Studies, Government and Politics and PE: Grades achieved at A Level: Business – B, Politics – B and PE – C
When I left Wisbech I attended Staffordshire University where I studied Policing and Criminal Investigation BSc (Hons). I absolutely loved the whole university experience, both the social side and the academic side, and would highly recommend it to anyone.
In my final year I did my dissertation on cybercrime and finished with a 2:2. While at university I was a Special Constable for Staffordshire Police where I worked on the response teams in Stoke-on-Trent. During this role I attended everything from missing persons to road traffic collisions, I thoroughly enjoyed the time as a Special Constable and learnt a lot from it too.
I have recently got a job as a call handler for Greater Manchester Police where I will be answering 999 and 101 calls. I had an amazing time at Wisbech and looking back I do really miss it.
My advice to anyone considering university would be to be to do a course you enjoy as 3 years is a long time to be doing something you don’t enjoy. But university is not for everyone which is an important consideration, shockingly there is employment out there for people without degrees.
Subjects studied at A-level: Biology, Chemistry, Textiles (achieved 3 A* grades)
After finishing A-levels, I went on to study Medicine at the University of Birmingham. I graduated in 2016, and I have been working since then as a Doctor in Birmingham. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at university and though at times it was hard work, I had lots of time for socialising, sport and travelling too.
I am currently working in A&E in Birmingham and also studying a Post Graduate Certificate in Clinical Medicine.
WGS not only helped me achieve the grades and university place that I wanted but also taught me to make the most of every opportunity available. I developed lifelong friends, and I learnt that working hard and playing hard are equally important: this ethos was something that I continued at university!
I’m sure that my love of travelling also started at WGS after falling in love with the Caribbean on a sports trip to Barbados. Since this, I have travelled to many cities in Europe, St Lucia, Central America, China, Thailand and most recently Sri Lanka.
I played Hockey throughout my time at WGS and ended as Captain of the first team; this is where I learnt invaluable skills in teamwork and leadership, and these have been helpful in my career. I have continued to play and enjoy Hockey throughout university, and after graduating, I captained my local team met some of my closest friends through this.
My advice for current pupils would simply be to work hard, enjoy it and look out for each other – these could be friends for life!