Last Friday the Professional Guidance department hosted a Beyond Bedales Sustainability careers talk, which involved five very influential people.
James Bidwell, co-owner of Re_set and owner and Chair of Springwise, spoke to us about the sustainability changes he is helping businesses to make. Re_set is an organisation that helps businesses reset themselves for the future. James’ job is to help create strategies to help transition the companies from linear fossil fuels businesses into much more eco-friendly companies thinking about the circulatory use of all their products.
Kemi Williams is the Development Director at the British High Commission in Tanzania, and she spoke to us about her role in the Department of International Development. She works in developing countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda and currently Tanzania. She works on distributing the money that is given to their government from richer countries such as Britain to help these developing countries in a sustainable way. This means that she finds solutions to ensure that once the money is no longer being fed into their economy, the country is able to survive on its own.
Emma Cusworth works for the Green Finance Institute, where she is responsible for driving the organisation’s strategic brand and communication activity. She follows her own philosophy through a very fascinating story which was concluded with the lesson: work in alignment, everyone moving in the same direction, working together to make actions faster and less tiresome, something which the world needs to realise today in order to resolve the huge dilemmas with lack of sustainability on our planet. She also emphasised the importance of finance in our world, and how drastically finance needs to change in order to make more sustainable ways of life more profitable than fossil fuels, as right now that is not the case.
Roxy Rocks-Engleman has her hands in many different places, all associated with sustainable development. She is currently the Sustainability Manager for Cafédirect, a company empowering smallholder farmers. The company also set a charity to help smallholder growers in its network and has now helped an incredible amount of 1.3 million smallholders. Roxy emphasised all the incredible changes that are being made. Global supply chains have currently never been closer together, joining forces to make many opportunities that will surprise us and help us work towards something more positive.
Scott Emerson was also part of the lecture, telling us about the changes that are occurring in fashion and how there are so many sustainable ways in which to delve into the fashion world. Having been thrown into the industry through horrible high consumerism and unsustainable fashion trends he decided to research into eco-friendly ways in which to change this, finding extremely fascinating solutions such as plant dying. He recently used this newfound talent of plant dying in London’s Fashion Week, spreading awareness to the public that new changes must be made to allow our world to attain more positive and sustainable products in the world’s second worst polluting industry.
Overall, the lecture was extremely fascinating and opened the students’ eyes to how sustainability is relevant in any job and career that one wishes to follow.
Next Friday, the Professional Guidance team are hosting the next Beyond Bedales event in the Reading Room at 6.30pm. This time our guest speakers are involved in careers in sustainability, an area many Bedalians are keen to explore.
The panel comprises a mix of Old Bedalians and current parents: Emma Cusworth (Director of Corporate Affairs, Green Finance Institute); Kemi Williams (Department of International Development); James Bidwell (Co-founder/Chair of B Corps, Re_Set and Springwise; Roxy Rocks-Engelman (Sustainability Manager, Cafédirect) and Scott Emerson (Fashion Design BA graduate at Istituto Marangoni; plant dyed, biodegradable fashion). Read more about the panel members below below.
The event is open to all students and we would strongly encourage anyone interested in pursuing a career in the sustainability sector to attend. There will be a Q&A session after the guests have spoken.
Kemi Williams (Current Parent and Old Bedalian) – Department of International Development
Kemi Williams is the Development Director at the British High Commission in Tanzania. She joined the team in Dar es Salaam from her previous position as Deputy Development Director in Kinshasa. Previously Kemi was the Deputy Head of the DFID Pakistan office and has also been Human Development team leader in DFID Nigeria and Country Director for Girl Hub in Nigeria and Rwanda.
Kemi has over 30 years’ experience of development work in various countries including DRC, Nigeria, South Africa, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Angola, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, Pakistan and now Tanzania.
She has a first degree in Development Studies from the University of East Anglia, a Masters of Arts (MA) degree in Gender and Development from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at Sussex University and a Master of Science (MSc) degree in Public Policy and Management from the University of Birmingham. She is married with two grown up children.
Her profile can be viewed on LinkedIn and she would like you to follow her on Twitter.
James Bidwell (Current Parent) – Re_Set
James Bidwell is co-founder of Re_Set, a leading next-generation strategy consultancy for innovation and sustainability whose mission is to ensure its clients thrive in a disrupted world. Re_Set empowers and equips businesses and governments to make a positive global impact and create a new vision of success. He is also the owner and Chair of Springwise, the world’s largest source of global innovations. Committed to positive change, Springwise is essential reading for CEOs, innovators, investors, educators and corporates from all sectors. Both companies are members of 1% for the planet and certified B Corporations, part of a growing community of businesses committed to redefining the role of business in society as a force for good.
James specialises in leading positive and transformational change in business and has held many Board level and CEO roles. He outlines his philosophy in his book, Disrupt! 100 Lessons in Business Innovation, published by Hachette and now an Amazon best seller. He was listed in the Financial Times Creative Business Top 50, and named as one of London’s 1000 most influential by the London Evening Standard. During his time as Marketing Director at Selfridges, he was described as the “ring master extraordinaire” and “a theatrical agitator”.
James is also a high-profile speaker and commentator. He speaks regularly on navigating disruption, the rapid pace of change, the role of innovation in helping solve the climate crisis and how to achieve cultural shift. He is a visiting lecturer at the University of Bristol and Cambridge Judge Business School, a participant in the London Business School Innovation and Entrepreneurship programme, and committee member and judge at the World Retail Congress and mentor at Red Bull Amaphiko Academy.
Committed to protecting and securing the future of the natural world, James chairs the UK Steering Committee for 1% for the Planet, an international organisation, whose members contribute at least one per cent of their annual sales to environmental causes.
Emma Cusworth (OB) – Green Finance Institute
Emma Cusworth joined the Green Finance Institute in January 2021 as director of corporate affairs, where she is responsible for driving the organisation’s strategic brand and communications activity. Emma is also leading the GFI’s collaboration with the City of London Corporation on GHS@COP26, a hybrid 5-day platform for mobilising private finance in the transition to net zero.
Emma has 20 years’ international experience in strategic communications, content and integrated marketing for financial services firms with a particular focus on sustainability. She joined the Green Finance Institute from Lombard Odier Investment Managers (LOIM), where she was head of strategic communications. She spent three years at LOIM, which included a one-year secondment to its dedicated sustainable investment team focusing on communications and stewardship.
Prior to this, Emma spent 10 years as a freelance financial journalist specialising in sustainable investment. She regularly contributed news and feature articles to leading publications including the Financial Times, IPE, Financial News, Portfolio Institutional and Professional Pensions and developed her own sustainability-related blog, The Responsible Capitalist. Emma started her career in corporate communications and investor relations within a number of leading consultancy firms.
Emma has lived and worked in the UK, Germany, Switzerland and East Africa, and read Management Sciences at U.M.I.S.T., University of Manchester.
Roxy Rocks-Engleman (OB) – Cafédirect
Roxy Rocks-Engelman is the Sustainability Manager for Cafédirect and Chair of the British Coffee Association’s Sustainability Committee. Roxy has a Masters in Sustainable Development and has worked with mission-led businesses that work with cooperatives in both the FMCG and garment sector. Cafédirect is a UK based, coffee company, which was set up as a social enterprise to empower smallholder farmers. Cafédirect was the first coffee brand to be Fairtrade certified and was also the first UK Coffee company to certify as a B Corporation. Cafédirect purchases coffee directly from 20 coffee cooperatives in Latin America and East Africa and has smallholder growers on their Board. Cafédirect set up a charity, Producers Direct in 2009, which is now an independent charity that is farmer-led and has over 1.3 million smallholder growers in its network.
Scott Emerson (OB) – Fashion Design BA Graduate at Istituto Marangoni; plant dyed, biodegradable fashion
Scott Emerson graduated in June 2021 at Istituto Marangoni with a First Class Honours in Fashion Design BA. He was selected amongst the Top 10 best fashion designers of his course and was given the opportunity to showcase his 6-look menswear collection at London Fashion Week Sept 2021.
Scott has always been fascinated with the relationship between fashion and identity. He was interested in exploring post-war youth rebellion subcultures and how each subculture has a striking visual aesthetic. Their personality was reflected in their style. In 2021, fashion has become so fluid with mix and matching so he feels sole character is lost – we have been exposed to high consumerism and fashion trends.
Plant dyeing started out as a hobby in the first lockdown. He used various plants from his back garden and kitchen from acorns & spinach to avocado & onions. During that summer, Scott joined an Artist in Residency programme at Gallery NK in Kensington, where his inspiration turned towards waste and trash around London. He then began to fuse this with subculture fashion and plant dyeing when going into his 3rd year at university and from then on he used plant dyeing throughout his entire collection.
By Cheryl Osborne, Teacher of Biology and Careers Advisor
Last Friday, Harry Draycot from the National Citizen Service (NCS) joined the Block 5 assembly via Teams. He explained what the scheme entailed and how they could get involved. This year they are offering two or three week placements covering outdoor pursuits, life skills and in the third week helping to plan and bring to life a rewarding community project. Considering students have been locked away from their peers and have lacked the much needed socialising that they would normally do, this scheme seems more important than ever to get involved in. This will enable them to meet new people and gain some very valuable skills, as well of course, having lots of fun. More information about what is involved and how to apply can be found here.
On Monday, five Old Bedalians – Luke Austen, Adam Osborne, Claudia Anholt, Ollo Catton and Molly Graham – joined a group of students from both Bedales and Bohunt to describe their experiences of applying for, studying and practising medicine. It was fascinating to hear how they had found the application process; three had got in first time round, one had to take a gap year and reapply, and one was unlucky enough to fall short of the grades required, but despite this they showed huge perseverance, first studying Biomedical Science and reapplying as a post-grad. After what will have been eight years of study, they are very keen to start their career.
Students were provided with advice about the importance of volunteering, for example in a care home, rather than just observing doctors at work, although the latter is useful for students to gauge whether they feel the job would be right for them. The different course styles of the five universities (Bristol, Exeter, Manchester, Oxford, and UEA) were described and, although there are some differences, most follow a similar structure with lots of hands on experience. Oxford was the exception, with three years pre-clinical, leading to a Medical Sciences BSc, followed by three years clinical. Research into what suits your own style of learning was strongly recommended. The pros and cons of intercalating (taking a year out to study for a BSc/BA) were also discussed.
It was refreshing to hear that the two qualified doctors are loving their jobs, and their ability to study alongside working, particularly during and after the second foundation year after graduating, when study time is given. This has led one to take on a Master’s in Global Health and Expedition Medicine and the other to be appointed as Clinical Fellow in Acute Medicine. It was interesting and reassuring to learn that there were plenty of opportunities for qualified doctors prior to deciding on a specialism and embarking on up to eight years of further training.
All the OBs said that they are happy to be contacted by students thinking of a career in medicine and I would like to thank them for this and for giving up their time to attend the event. Their bios will be available to students on the Professional Guidance area of Firefly and their contact details are available from Cheryl Osborne on request.
By Cheryl Osborne, Teacher of Biology and Careers Advisor
This term has been a busy one for the Professional Guidance department. Firstly, students from Blocks 3 to 6.1 have signed up to the online Unifrog platform. Unifog describes itself as “a one-stop-shop where students can easily explore their interests, then find and successfully apply for their next best step after school”. Students in these year groups are receiving support from their tutors to access the platform and complete tasks, such as recording their activities and hobbies, during Tutor Time. As well as this, Block 4 receive half a term of careers sessions with me during Badley Time, during which they have used Unifrog to investigate their wider interests and personality traits, search careers that match their strengths, start recording their employability skills/competencies, look at CVs and learn about apprenticeships and how to find one.
At the beginning of term, Block 5 completed their MyFutureCareers assessments and interviews to aid them with their A Level choices. I followed up on this later in the term, offering students support sessions on Wednesday afternoons. Students in 6.1 have been shown how to use Unifrog to search for degree courses, alongside advice about what they need to be doing over the coming year to prepare themselves for life after Bedales.
Many 6.2 students have been completing university applications, working closely with both their students and Head of Professional Guidance Vikki Alderson-Smart. Students have already started receiving offers and a number have had online interviews for courses that require them. Sarah Oakley has been supporting overseas applicatons and the Art, Design, Music and Drama departments have been working hard helping students with conservatoire and foundation applications.
Work with each year group will continue next term. Vikki will start interviewing all 6.1 students to find out what their post-Bedales thoughts are. These discussions will be on-going with their tutors.
Whilst we would hope that 6.1s will be able to visit universities next year, we will also be advertising virtual events. Two such events are the UK University & Apprenticeship Search Virtual Fair on 27 January, featuring a vast array of exhibitors and ten vital webinars (students and parents can find out more and sign up here) and a Meet the Russell Group virtual event on 10 February. This event will feature all 24 universities and essential webinars for students considering applications to these institutions (students and parents can find out more and sign up here).
Following the successful industry focused careers event that took place in October, we are pleased to announce the next careers event for students is taking place on Friday 31 January, 5.40pm-7pm, in the Reading Room.
We currently have speakers from Google, McKinsey & Company, Technopolis Group and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development confirmed to share their various experiences and participate in a Q&A with students.
We are hoping to confirm additional speakers that work in Law and IT. If you are a parent working in either of those fields, and you would be happy to talk to the students, please email Alex at email@example.com.
By Alex Beckmann, Alumni Liaison Manager
Photos by Abby Hilton, 6.1
The inaugural Beyond Bedales careers event took place on 11 October, when Old Bedalians Peter Grimsdale, William Miller, Claire Whalley and Kirstie Allsopp returned to impart a wealth of knowledge about careers in television to 36 students across Block 5 (Year 11), 6.1 (Year 12) and 6.2 (Year 13).
Students were delighted to hear from OBs with varying paths to success and the visiting OBs were equally pleased to spend time encouraging so many interested young Bedalians.
Block 5 student Milo Whittle said: “I thought it gave really useful insight into the industry and I would recommend to students to come along to one of these events in the future – even an industry they don’t have any interest in, because they will still get something out of it.”
By Cheryl Osborne, Teacher of Biology and Careers Advisor and Alex Beckmann, Alumni Relations Manager
We are very lucky to have four Old Bedalians with successful media careers coming to Bedales to talk to students about how they got into the industry, what their current job entails and share experiences and advice with interested students.
The event will focus on TV careers (producing, editing, pitching ideas, presenting, setting up your own business) and possibly cover scriptwriting and writing. Visitors include Kirstie Allsopp (pictured above), Peter Grimsdale, William Miller and Claire Whalley and students will have the opportunity to participate in a Q&A with the OBs.
We are excited to launch this as the first ‘Beyond Bedales’ careers event and hope to be able to offer more in the future, focused on different industries throughout the year.
The event is predominantly aimed at students in Block 5, 6.1 and 6.2 if they are interested in this as a future career field, but all students are welcome to attend if they would like to learn about what it’s like to work in the media.
By Cheryl Osborne, Teacher of Biology and Careers Advisor
The beginning of the new year seems a good opportunity to introduce myself. I am in charge of careers education and guidance at Bedales. This involves taking a careers activity with Block 4, introducing them to the world of work, and supporting Block 5 to make informed A Level choices.
We do this via My Future Careers online tests, which are followed by interviews. Block 5 are currently doing the tests and the interviews take place with external, independent advisors in October. These are then followed up by myself and tutors as Block 5 start to make their A Level choices. I also work with Sixth Form students who are interested in apprenticeships, as well as mentoring potential medics and vets.
This year I am working closely with Alex Beckmann (Alumni Relations Manager) in External Relations. We are hoping to offer students the opportunity to meet Old Bedalians to discuss their career paths.
Our first event is on Friday 11 October, when we have 4 Old Bedalians who work in the field of Media coming in. This event is open to any student at Bedales and we hope that students will take this amazing opportunity to find out about this career field.
A report which ran in The Times on Monday was difficult reading for arts undergraduates sharpening their pencils and adding more memory to their smartphones ahead of the new university year about to start. Freshers will be worrying whether they have made the right choices, and those nearing the end of their degree courses might be facing even more than the standard amount of Brexit-tinged uncertainty laced with a thick layer of debt.
Figures previewed from The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019, which is published next weekend, found that the best-paid graduates were those who had studied computer science at Imperial College London, topping out at £50k six months after graduation. The course with the lowest average graduate salaries was drama, dance and cinematics at Liverpool Hope University, whose graduates earned a mean figure of £9,000 after six months. In this context I think ‘mean’ could mean more than average.
As an arts graduate myself (English Language and Literature, although the Language bit was scarily scientific and not what I had signed up for), I can sympathise with the frisson of doubt chilling bedsits of those undergraduates not doing the Milk Round, because there isn’t really one for actors, dancers and cameramen, when their suited and booted friends with computing, maths and physics degrees move into a world where they seem to have more choices about where to sign than Eden Hazard.
Both routes, of course, are equally valid and important to our nation’s economy. If you have a skill that is in short supply, and demand is great, then you have positive choices to make. But Polonius’s words to Laertes from Hamlet resonate at such a time, ‘This above all: to thine own self be true’. If you’re making a choice now, as so many students in their final year will be, putting the final touches to their UCAS application, then don’t opt for a degree course because you think you will be well paid when you come out at the end of it with a degree. If only life was that simple (it isn’t). Three or four year degree course study will only be rewarding, stimulating and worthwhile, if you are studying a subject about which you feel passionate and with which you have a visceral and intellectual connection. You only get one chance to do your first degree, and whilst it’s important to have an idea of what your next steps will be after university, money shouldn’t be the most important motivator. The statistic that will be most illuminating when the university guide is published, is that which shows what the completion rate for each degree course is, by subject, and by university. Drop-out rates are increasing, and there are complex social reasons why this is the case, but fundamentally there are more undergraduates on courses they don’t really want to do, and after the alcohol-fuelled enthusiasm of Freshers’ Week is over, the cold reality of study, sacrifice and cost dawns.
So make the choice with head and heart fully engaged, and leave the pound signs for later.