A week of career talks with visiting professionals

June 2024


Chef Brian McElderry with our Careers Adviser, Anne Goddard.

As part of our extensive Careers Advice and Guidance programme, Year 10 students have been taking part in a variety of hour-long talks delivered by professional speakers from different industry sectors.

Students were able to opt in to three sessions of their choice throughout the week, with speakers discussing career pathways and life working as a Solicitor, Midwife, Operations Manager, Paramedic and Chef, among others.

Freelance Chef, Brian McElderry, pictured here, talked about his extensive career as a private Chef and the many places he has travelled across the world whilst developing his own culinary style. Brian began his career as an apprentice at the Princess Mary Maternity Hospital, and is proud to have been the first male cook to be employed there. He has an impressive CV; not only has he worked in a number of top restaurants, on cruise ships, private yachts and for the forces, he has also been commissioned to cater for private parties in Saudi Arabia and New York. In 2012, he was employed to cook for the Olympic Basketball Team and in 2013, he catered for the G8 Summit attended by President Obama. He describes his style as eclectic/fusion as a result of his travels, and now focuses on catering for private parties and special events. Students learned that being successful as a chef is not just about producing good food; a chef also needs to know about nutritional balance, kitchen and food hygiene, allergies and effective costing in order to make a profit.

In another session, students heard from Ellie Phillips, who is in her fourth and final year of a Solicitor Apprenticeship with BHP Law in Darlington. This involves studying a Degree in Law at Sunderland University one day each week, and working at BHP for the remaining four days; this means she gains extensive hands-on experience working as a solicitor whilst working towards the SQE (Solicitor’s Qualifying Examination).

Emma Jackson, Operations Manager at the Amazon Warehouse, Bowburn told students about not only her role with the company, but also about the many job opportunities available at Amazon from Production Operatives and Engineers to Accountants and Drivers. Emma completed a Degree in Business Studies at Newcastle University before travelling for five months across USA, Canada and Australia, combining sightseeing with working in wineries to gain experience. On her return to the UK, she was accepted onto Amazon’s Graduate Management Programme and spent two years working in different departments of the Leicester warehouse, followed by two years at Darlington before being promoted to Operations Manager at Bowburn.