A website for parents and carers. The contributors to this website are experienced professionals in the field of careers guidance: parentalguidance.org.uk
Pippa read History at the University of Leeds, and then completed a PGCE at Durham University (she now also has an honorary doctorate from De Montfort University). In 1994, her first book, 'Flow', was published and, since then, Pippa has had over 90 books published, from board books, picture books and young reader books, to novels for young adults, some of which have won awards.
Best known are the picture book 'You Choose,' and the 'Winnie the Witch' storybooks which she writes under the pen name of Laura Owen. Now, Pippa likes to combine writing with teaching adults who want to write for children, and in doing school visits as an author. In 2012, she and her family moved back to Grantchester having built their own house.
A piece of advice
“Don't worry that you can't yet see a path for yourself through adult life. It will emerge, and it will be interesting and fun and challenging, and better than you dared hope.”
Ben studied the International Baccalaureate DP before he left Impington International College in 2003. He believed it gave him a much broader base of knowledge, the opportunity to begin independent research, a chance to think critically, and to develop presentation skills. After starting university, Ben found that studying the IB had positioned him to cope with the pressures and demands of a university style education.
Ben was unsure about what he wanted to do after College, initially thinking about studying law, and briefly thinking about teaching. However, after spending a lot of time working on a play-scheme for children with special needs, and seeing the impact that medics could have on their life, Ben decided to investigate more closely what being a doctor involved. He discovered that medicine was an exceptionally varied career, with opportunities for all sorts of people, with all sorts of different talents. Each day can be different and there are constant challenges. This appealed to Ben, as well as getting the opportunity to do practical tasks and spending time critically thinking, this career could give him the opportunity to have a very profound effect on a person’s life.
Ben’s current job is as an academic paediatric surgeon. This means that for the majority of his time he is based at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, working as a surgeon on one of the teams that look after babies and children, who require an operation. The job is incredibly varied, and they operate on anyone from babies who have been born prematurely, and weigh less than half a bag of sugar, all the way up to teenagers with appendicitis.
There are two main types of day that Ben can be involved in. These are:
‘On-call’ or emergency days – where Ben is responsible for seeing any child who comes into A&E who might need an operation.
'Elective operating’ days – where they carry out operations that have been planned a long time in advance.
The part of the job that Ben enjoys the most is operating on the very young, very sick babies, because it is technically very skilful surgery, and he has the opportunity to make a massive difference to a child’s life.
The other half of Ben’s job is the academic component. For this part, he spends about 20% of his week running clinical trials, looking at ways that hospitals can improve the care of the children that they are looking after, trying to work out which operation is the best for any particular condition and other various research objectives.
Ben acknowledges that medicine is a very sociable career, and is the most rewarding career he could possibly imagine and would not swap it for anything else.
A piece of advice
“Take a gap year. It’s very easy to become stuck on a conveyer belt, moving from one set of exams to another, not really taking any time for yourself. University is hard work, and after university, opportunities to take a break are much more limited. Having taken a gap year, I came into university feeling refreshed, and ready to start working again, whereas a lot of people who had come straight from school and had only just sat their exams found it much harder to get back into the swing of things. A gap year gave me the opportunity to do some of the things that I’d always wanted to do, but hadn’t had time to before. I played rugby seriously, travelled, and learned all sorts of new skills. It was an amazing break, and set me up, ready to start back at university, and make the most of everything that was on offer there.”
After leaving Impington Village College at 18 in 1981, Andrew had a 10-year career in banking, culminating in working on the launch of First Direct in 1989. He then re-trained in horticulture, gaining a degree from the University of Leeds, and he is now one of the UK’s leading landscape designers with private, residential and public space commissions worldwide, and partnerships in Scandinavia, Europe, Australia and the Caribbean.
Andrew has won many varied awards for his work both within the UK and internationally. He also serves as Royal Horticultural Society Chair of Selection, Assessment and Judging for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. He is a Fellow of the Society of Garden Designers and the Chartered Institute of Horticulture. Andrew was Wallpaper magazine’s first horticultural editor and his work has featured in many journals and on television worldwide
A piece of advice
“Concentrate on doing a few things in your chosen career really well rather than being all things to all people.”
Isobel was born and educated in Cambridge, first at St Mary’s Convent and then at Impington Village College, before moving to Dubai in 1968 (her home ever since).
In Dubai she co-founded the bookshop chain Magrudy’s in 1975 and has since been actively engaged in promoting reading and writing schemes for children and teachers for the region. In 2008, she founded and became Director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. The largest celebration of the written and spoken word in the Middle East, the festival brings people of all ages together with authors from across the world to promote education, debate and, above all else, reading. The Festival won the Best Festival in the Middle East Award in 2013 and 2014.
Isobel has received official recognition for her tireless campaigning to improve literacy and fostering a love of books, particularly for children. Her accolades include: the Cultural Personality of the Year by Dr HH Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah (2010); an OBE by HM Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain (2012); Cultural Icon of UAE by The 3rd Petrochem GR8! Women Awards-Middle East (2013) and the Al Owais Cultural Award (2014). Isobel was also appointed a Trustee for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in 2014, the premier prize for novelists in Arabic.
For the last two years, Middle East Business has selected Isobel as one of the most influential Brits and the most inspirational woman living in the UAE. To further add to Isobel’s achievements, she co-hosts a radio show ‘Talking of Books’ every Saturday morning – three hours of live talk, interviews and discussions focused on books.
A piece of advice
“Follow your passion, and be prepared to put your whole being into any endeavour you commit to. Don't waste time on past failures, but focus on today and now.”