Alumni session with my old school

Today I had the pleasure of returning to my former secondary school to speak as an alumni to Year 12 students about my life since leaving the school, how I got to where I am today and what’s next for me. Following on from this session I got to spend sometime with students hoping to go into a career within IT and was put in the hot seat for their questions about how to get into the industry, challenges I faced and much more.

So here’s a recap of how it all went. Session one was sharing my journey since leaving Stanground Academy in July 2016. From leaving Stanground I went straight into employment as a IT Network Technician at Sir Harry Smiths Community College where I spent 2 1/2 years learning and growing whilst still having a keen passion for rugby. After my time at Sir Harrys I then moved to All Saints’ primary school in Peterborough where I found my true passion for EdTech, training, leadership and innovation. Across my four years at All Saints’ I took the school fully cloud, ran bespoke training to over 1.2k educators across the country and so much more. I then took up the position of Trust IT Services Manager at PKAT in January 2024 as I jumped up the rungs on the ladder to where I am today.

As a group of alumni we spoke about our top tips for heading into work experience and how to get the most out of it, my top tips can be found towards the bottom of this post.

The second session was focused with the pupils who are looking for a career in IT or computer science. We quickly recapped my journey before letting the questions flow. I shared my personal opinion on getting into the IT industry and how a university degree just wasn’t for me. As a group we compared the differences in the options of going to uni, taking part in a degree apprenticeship or just heading into work. The group were about to identify which route they were most interested in but also explore the benefits to other avenues.

One of the key themes we touched on was that right now a number of them are in the same position I was in 8 years ago, I need to do something but I don’t know what. The joy of working in the IT industry is no matter who you are, your skill set or your background there is a position for everyone in IT. We then went on to discuss their work experience and how even though they might be doing something that isn’t directly IT related how they could use the new skills to really get the most out of their time to better build their foundations for moving forward into their chosen career.

Finally it was my turn to ask a question, one which would lead to a number of confused faces. My question was, by the time you are 25 where do you want to be….. the reason why I worded it in this way was because by saying “where do you want to be in your career” allows for people to put up a limit and promotes a closed minded thought process. The reason why i specifically say by 25, is because that your first milestone. That’s your first step to getting on your way whether you have left uni, are doing an apprenticeship or in full time employment. A number said they didn’t know, some knew the role they would like to be in and one shot for the stars and wants to be on his way to owning his over tech business.

A vast range of different answers, but answers that we might not of got without the not limit question. Another good reason why I use the 25 as the starting point is because from now to then, life changes and your goal might change as well. But from 25 on your goals, vision and aims will change as well. So be flexible, set yourself new goals all the time and challenge yourself.

My key top tips and points from today: these are of my own opinion

  1. Uni isn’t for everyone

Going to university isn’t for everyone, but that shouldn’t limit your aspirations moving forward in your career. For some jobs yes, getting a degree will set you off on the right foot but don’t let it hold you back if you don’t go.

  1. Be willing to move out of your comfort zone.

It’s a know fact that we all have a comfort zone and we would much rather spend time working within it rather than stepping out of it. But sometimes stepping outside this zone will give you a new found experience, interest or even a career. For me, I knew nothing about IT when I started but I stepped out of my comfort zone to learn something new and stick at it when times got tough. Most weeks I step out of my comfort zone to deal with things or learn something new. It provides a health challenge to keep me focused and always learning.

  1. Learn how to listen

It sounds bizarre I know, but learning how to listen can sky rocket your skill set and land you that new job you’ve been after. By spending time listening to people working around you, you will start to pick up on to knowledge and new ways of communicating. You will slowly see that your interpersonal skills will start to increase and you will be more confident in how you communicate. You will also learn to how to pick up situational cues which can support you in making better decisions, calming a situation and much more.

  1. Ask questions

Whether you are on work experience or starting a new job. Ask ask ask questions! They say, you don’t ask you don’t know. Which is very true, spend time asking questions to get a better understanding of how something works or why it operates in this way. By speaking with people, asking questions and learning you will strengthen your knowledge and understand you build up a strong foundational knowledge for your field of work.

My final one is a motto that I live my life by and that’s Determination Delivers Rewards. Without the determination to go out and prove yourself, to go for that new role or to achieve a new qualification, there won’t be any reward at the end. Being 26 years old and sitting one level below the executive team in a MAT is proof that if you out your mind to something, work hard, build a core skill set and show a willingness to grow and develop you can do anything in your career.

For me when I asked myself at the age of 18, where do I want to be by the time I’m 25?  I said I wanted to be a manager and that what I achieved. Now for my career who knows where I will be by the time I’m 30 but I’ve set my challenge, have you set yours?


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I am also available for team building, communication and leadership workshops which are open to both staff and pupils. More information of these sessions can be found on my social media or by clicking hereclicking here

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