Former Head boy and Head Girl of 1978 visit Harrogate Grammar School

Recently, Alistair Gibb and Michelle Mohajer, former students of Harrogate Grammar School from 1971-78 where they were Head Boy and Head Girl in their final year, re-visited their pasts with current Year 12 students in order to share their experiences of Higher Education and Career development.

Since leaving Harrogate Grammar School, Michelle has become an obstetrics and gynaecology consultant and now works at Keele University’s medical department. Michelle’s talk covered the Medical Package on offer at the Sixth Form at Harrogate Grammar School. This is a package selected by students aiming for careers in healthcare or veterinary sciences and is one of the most popular packages for year 12. Through this scheme, there are visits from professionals and guidance from the careers advisor in applying for university, as well as learning about the careers students wish to follow.

Year 12 student, Ellen Young, said: this really helps to ensure that students gather a realistic understanding of the careers they are aiming for. Different talks this year have been from other visiting consultant doctors, nurses and midwives. There are more scheduled and they help students understand different areas in the healthcare system and the variety of work that stitches together to ensure that the population is well looked after by the healthcare services.

Michelle’s talk offered a fantastic opportunity to pose in depth questions to a professional, who has not only been involved with the application process and interview techniques first hand, but also who has had children apply after such gap years, so offered an exciting, fresh perspective on the process. Ellen said; “Michelle covered the ups and downs she has experienced, advising us how to become better doctors for the future. Students left the room feeling more confident, and in control of their applications, with some now considering alternative options and exciting voyages around the world as well as being assured in their dreams to follow careers into the healthcare sector.”

Alistair came to Harrogate Grammar School to give a talk on the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) package on offer. Since leaving, Alistair graduated from Loughborough University with a degree in Civil Engineering leading to a very successful career in the industry. Now as a Chartered Engineer, he has become the European Construction Institute – Total Academy of Engineering Professor and a lecturer at Loughborough University.

One of the main points students took from this insight into the world of engineering would most probably be the expansive opportunities this career path has to offer. During his talk, Alistair described the accessibility a Civil Engineering degree would provide, putting many misconceptions aside. “Civil engineering projects do not just include bridges and dams; they can range entirely from pop-up schools to designing transport systems, while projects push the boundaries of innovation.” The UK Government has awarded some of Alistair’s largest contracts, with his work primarily relating to the areas of Occupational Health & Safety and modern innovation research. Alistair shared his experiences of the London 2012 Olympic Park developments. Featuring 8.35km of waterways around the park, 30 bridges and 11 residential blocks, he led multiple research projects into the developments.

Alistair left his audience with a single quotation from American actor James Marsden, ‘’If you’re lucky enough to pick what you do, that’s the greatest career you can have. Ultimately, that’s my goal: to have choices”.

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