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Beyond St Swithun’s: Career Inspiration 


Kate Whitestone

Kate attended St Swithun's School from 1991 to 1998 and then went on to King's College London to study Physiotherapy. After graduating she worked at King's College Hospital in south London, moving to Southwark Primary Care Trust where she specialised in community paediatric physiotherapy. Kate continued with this specialism for several years when she moved with her family to South Wales in 2008. 

After a few years away from the NHS to manage her growing family, she set up a social enterprise with a friend which runs singing and social groups for older people in the community. This work developed her experience and interest in working with people living with dementia. 

Kate returned to the NHS in 2020 to take up a post in Newport as a senior physiotherapist specialising in the rehabilitation of older people in a hospital setting. 

Working in Marketing

French and Italian (Exeter Uni) and working in marketing (Annie Chisholm)

Annie is a communications and marketing professional living in London. After 8 years working in creative advertising she took the plunge and went brand side to head up the marketing team at Day 8, the boutique holiday company behind The Yacht Week.

Leaving St Swithun's in 2007, she headed to the University of Exeter to study French and Italian, a fantastic springboard which has unlocked many opportunities to travel and explore. 

Dyson Institute Degree Apprenticeship and Cambridge University (Madeleine Steer)

Madeleine left St. Swithun's in 2013 having studied maths, physics, French and further maths (AS) at A-Level. She went on to study mechanical engineering at Jesus College, University of Cambridge, specialising in materials, management and bioengineering in her final two years. During her time at Cambridge, Madeleine did three summer industrial placements in metallurgy, structural engineering, and fast-moving consumer goods, to gain work experience and clarify what she might want to do after her degree. 

After graduating with an MEng in 2017, Madeleine joined The Dyson Institute as a graduate project manager. The Dyson Institute is a new higher education provider, offering a four-year degree apprenticeship programme where students study for an engineering degree while also working as an engineer from day one. In Madeleine's current role she designs and delivers the professional development programme for Dyson Institute students.

Putting a Law Degree into Practice

Aysel Akhundova

Aysel Akhundova attended the University of Bristol (2013-2016) where she studied law. Aysel completed the Legal Practice Course in 2017 and commenced her training contract at a Tier 1 Family Law firm, Dawson Cornwell in September 2018. Upon completion of her training contract, she has stayed on as a solicitor at Dawson Cornwell. She now specialises in all areas of family law, including matrimonial finance, private children act proceedings and international, cross border children disputes (including child abduction). 

A Closer Look at Optometry

Amy Richardson

Amy Richardson is a Specialist Optometrist at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. She studied Ophthalmic Optics at Aston University before embarking on her pre-registration year with Boots Opticians. She came second in the country in her professional qualifying exams and quickly rose through the ranks at Boots Opticians becoming Professional Service Manager for the company’s Laser Eye Correction division. She then moved to Moorfields Eye Hospital in a management capacity whilst studying for her Master’s in Business Administration. Further management positions ensued most notably Hospital Director for Optegra in Central London. 

In the last few years Amy has returned to clinical optometry, picking up a few more qualifications on the way. She now works part time at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust working across the medical retina, optometry and low vision services. 

A Career with the BBC Natural History Unit

Ella Morgan (Old Girl) in Conversation with Katya Perry (Head Girl)

Ella had always had an interest in the natural world and wanted to work for the BBC Natural History Unit (NHU) from an early age. The unit is based in Bristol, along with many other independent production companies specialising in nature programmes for television. During holiday breaks from her degree, Ella arranged work experience with a variety of these companies in pursuit of her dream.

After graduating, Ella continued to work here and there for a couple of years but, typically for the television industry, the contracts she found would usually only last between two weeks to six months.

Around January 2018 when Ella was almost ready to give up hope, an internal advert for a researcher role came up and Ella applied.

She was successful at interview and was offered an incredible two and a half year contract as a researcher with the BBC NHU. Unsurprisingly, she was over the moon.

The programme turned out to be Green Planet with Sir David Attenborough and despite starting work on it in May 2018, the finished programme won’t go to air until 2022.

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