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Where Are They Now ?

The majority of our students go on to successful futures giving Havering Sixth Form the accolade of being the top College in East London for student progression to positive destinations – and we are in the top 10 per cent of all schools, sixth forms and colleges nationally.

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  • Amy Blythe

    Published 27/05/19

    Amy currently works with people all over the world in her role at Cisco (IT and Telecomms) in Talent Acquisition for EMEAR (Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia) Sales and Corporate functions.

    A former Gaynes School pupil, Amy attended College from 2006 to 2008, studying Italian, French, English Language and Performance Studies.

    Learning languages at A Level gave her the platform she needed to enrol at the University of Hull for a BA in Italian and Film Studies, which included a year studying abroad in Bologna on the Erasmus Programme.

    The Erasmus Programme allows students to study at universities throughout Europe where academic credits achieved abroad, count towards the student’s UK degree. Most Erasmus students use the programme to advance their language skills with a view to working in the international sphere and Amy says she would thoroughly recommend it to others. “It was the best decision I ever made,” she says.

    In 2012 she graduated with a 2:1 and started her first job in London as a Recruitment Consultant in the Energy Sector. But almost three years later, a yearning to see more of the world spurred her on to go backpacking solo around South East Asia, travelling through Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.

    When she returned from her travels in 2016, she was offered the role at her current company Cisco where she uses her past experiences of studying, living and travelling abroad to help people all over the world make the next step in their careers, which is what she loves most about her job.

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  • Haris Seedat

    Published 15/05/19

    ​Haris is half way through an Apprenticeship with TfL and says his decision not to go to university when he left College is one he will never regret.

    He studied at Havering Sixth Form from 2015 to 2017 having previously been a Sanders School pupil. While at College, he achieved a Distinction* in the Science BTEC Subsidiary Diploma and two B grades in A Level Geography and Applied ICT – grades that would have definitely been accepted at one of the top universities.

    But Haris decided to take up TfL’s offer of a place on their General Management Apprenticeship scheme instead. He is now in his second year of the busy and varied job where he is also studying for a BA (Hons) in Business Management.

    He said: “I didn’t want to go to uni just for the sake of it so I applied for the TfL Apprenticeship scheme and it’s a decision I don’t regret. It made more sense to me that instead of leaving university in three years’ time with a large debt and no work experience, I am earning money now and learning at the same time – and I will also have a degree in four years’ time.”

    The nature of the job means that no day is the same – one week he could be working on the ground dealing with customer problems at Liverpool Street Station and the next he could be shadowing the Emergency Response Unit for buses. He likes the fact that he is getting many opportunities to develop his skills.

    But he adds: “It’s not easy, you do have to be prepared to work hard, and you need good time management to study for a degree and work at the same time.”

    When he completes his Apprenticeship, he is hoping to progress to a permanent management role within TfL.

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  • Coco Khan

    Published 07/05/19

    Coco works as a journalist for The Guardian newspaper. She is commissioning editor for Guardian B2B (Business to Business), and a columnist and feature writer.

    A former Mayfield School student, Coco achieved A grades in English Literature, Government & Politics and Law A Levels when she studied at College from 2004 to 2006.

    She then progressed to Warwick University where she studied English & American Literature and developed her love of writing.

    On leaving uni, she secured a job as an Editorial and Marketing Assistant at where she was responsible for content creation and promoting arts and lifestyle. She then worked as a Copywriter with Amazon, Expedia and eHarmony as well as becoming a Production and Features Editor where she worked on publications for World Travel Market and Arabian Travel Market.

    Various media roles followed, including being a pundit for the Evening News at London Live TV, an Expert Producer at Mastered and a Senior Editor at youth publication Complex.

    More recently Coco has worked as Editor at the luxury arts and lifestyle magazine, the Kensington & Chelsea Review, overseeing the rebrand of the title, and she is also freelancing for titles including The Independent, New York Magazine, the Huffington Post, BBC, The Voice, Dazed and Confused.

    As well as writing her column and her witty features, mainly about social and cultural issues, for The Guardian, Coco has also contributed to books such as The Good Immigrant (2016), Counterculture UK and her piece, Flags, was subsequently serialised in Emerald Street and adapted for BBC Radio 4’s Book of the Week. She is now working on her debut novel.

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  • Kweku Bennin

    Published 30/04/19

    ​​​​​​Kweku is a digital designer, creating concepts for brands online, with a speciality in UI (user interface) design for mobile and web platforms, as well as interaction design. He has worked for companies including the National Theatre and Zoopla and has been described as ‘a brilliant creative’.

    The former St Bonaventures School pupil attended Havering Sixth Form College from 2003 to 2005, achieving top grades in A Level Graphics, Design & Technology and Maths.

    After leaving College he studied Graphic Design at Central Saint Martins College in London before becoming the Lead Integrated Designer at Bold Creative, working on concept creation and design for the web and iPhone/iPad.

    He then moved to the National Theatre where as the Digital Designer, he created visual directions for digital campaigns and built digital marketing materials for use in-house, among other duties.

    Kweku has also worked as a freelance Digital Product Designer where he has designed for clients ranging from corporate, not-for-profit, third sector, theatre and the arts, to fashion and commercial brands. Companies he has worked with include the Telegraph, Quiet Storm Advertising, Tommy, Newsweek, the NHS, and various luxury brands.

    In August 2017 he began working at Zoopla (ZPG), the property based company, where he worked closely with stakeholders to design product UI and interactions from concept through to implementation and iteration.

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  • Laura Burchett

    Published 25/04/19

    Laura (formerly Blythe) is currently working as an Advanced Practitioner in social work where she teaches and mentors other Social Workers in a busy South London Borough.

    The former Gaynes School student attended Havering Sixth Form College from 2004 to 2006, studying A Levels in English Language & Literature, Psychology, Religious Studies and Sociology.

    She went on to study for a BA in English Literature and Cultural Studies at Bath Spa University, gaining a 2:1.

    Soon after finishing her degree in Bath and returning to her home in Gidea Park, Laura discovered a passion for social advocacy and made the decision to become a Social Worker.

    She completed a Masters degree in Social Work through the Tavistock Clinic in North London and then worked for the next eight years as a Social Worker in a number of London boroughs, predominantly with disabled children.

    Laura, now 31, is employed as an Advanced Practitioner in a Children with Disabilities and Early Help service. She is responsible for embedding systemic practice, which means social work that is focused on relationships.

    As part of her day-to-day duties, she runs various teaching sessions and assesses students and Newly Qualified Social Workers, ensuring that they are fit to practice.

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  • Georgia Wazny

    Published 03/04/19

    Georgia has just completed a Merchandising Admin Assistant apprenticeship with Arcadia and is based at one of the company’s flagship stores, Topshop, in Oxford Street.

    Having passed the Level 4 Business Admin apprenticeship qualification, specialising in Merchandising, she has now been offered permanent employment with Arcadia, which owns fashion stores Topshop, Topman, Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, Wallis and Evans.

    Georgia, formerly of Hall Mead School, studied at Havering Sixth Form College from 2015 to 2017 and took A Levels in Psychology, Sociology and Communication Studies.

    Her day to day work is centred on global sales of Topshop jeans. She runs analysis on the stock, sale and intake of jeans at stores all over the world and then makes decisions on whether the store needs more or less stock and when to send it.

    She heard about the Apprenticeship scheme when she visited the College’s CUBE (Careers centre) and says if it hadn’t been for the good advice from the CUBE staff she wouldn’t have even known it was an option for her.

    The application process was tough but she managed to get through the assessments and interviews and hasn’t looked back.

    She said: “I love where I work, I enjoy the environment – it’s a very social place to work but it’s also very professional. I have a really supportive boss and feel that I am learning all the time. Arcadia also treat their staff very well – there is even a hairdressers and beauty salon in our building that we can make use of when we want to for just a small charge.”

    Georgia says there is a clear and fast progression route at the company and she plans to stay in Merchandising and have a senior position by the end of 2019 – with then further promotion to become a Director of Merchandising in the future.

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  • Lee Van Geleen

    Published 29/03/19

    Lee is a former Performing Arts student and is currently starring in the new West End musical Only Fools and Horses at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket.

    The former Royal Liberty School pupil attended Havering Sixth Form College from 2008 to 2010, achieving a Triple Distinction in the BTEC Performing Arts Extended Diploma.

    He took a gap year, working as a waiter and securing roles in local theatre productions, and then joined the London School of Musical Theatre on their one year, full-time course, designed for those who wish to realise their full potential as musical theatre performers. He was trained to a high professional standard and developed his skills in singing, dancing, drama and performance.

    He has recently had a starring role in Les Miserables at Queens Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, playing Brujon and being the understudy for Javert, Bishop and the Factory Foreman.

    He was then cast in the ensemble of Only Fools and Horses – and the show has had fantastic reviews since its opening night in February 2019. The West End production has been written and produced by comedian Paul Whitehouse and Jim Sullivan, the son of John Sullivan who wrote the original TV series.

    Lee performs alongside Paul Whitehouse who stars as Grandad, Tom Bennett (Del Boy) and Ryan Hutton (Rodney).

    His other theatre credits include:  The Warrior/Russian Admiral in Pacific Overtures at the Union Theatre, Southwark, London; Gwilim in Ivor Novello’s Valley of Song at the Finborough Theatre in Kensington, London; Dick Deadeye in H.M.S. Pinafore at the Union Theatre; The Balladeer in The Immortal Hour at the Finborough Theatre and ‘Tis The Season at the Jermyn Street Theatre which is a small studio theatre just off the West End.

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  • Dan Jobson

    Published 27/03/19

    Dan currently works as a Senior Geotechnical Engineer at the Wheal Jane Group in Truro, Cornwall.

    During his time at Havering Sixth Form College, from 2008 to 2010, he studied A Levels in Geology, Geography and History and then went to the University of Plymouth to study Applied Geology.

    After graduating from Plymouth, the former Sawyers Hall College pupil who used to live in Romford, stayed in the West Country and began working as a graduate engineering geologist in the Exeter area.

    He then progressed to a role as a geoenvironmental engineer in Bristol, where among other responsibilities, he was involved in the analysis and interpretation of data for clients, outlining geoenvironmental and geotechnical risks and recommendations for further investigation and he supervised a range of site investigation techniques.

    He then moved to work as a senior engineering geologist at Ian Farmer Associates in Truro, before progressing to his current job at the Wheal Jane Group.

    Dan’s responsibilities have included tendering for and effectively project-managing a range of sites, seeing these through from the project design stage to on-site investigation and writing interpretative technical reports.

    His love of Geology was developed at Havering Sixth Form College with the help of popular Geology tutor Keith Oak.

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  • Shebani Walia

    Published 24/03/19

    ​​​Shebani has just started a new job at TV production company Label1 as an Officer Runner, having previously worked as a freelance camera operator, runner and production assistant in various TV studios.

    The former Plashet School pupil attended Havering Sixth Form College from 2013 to 2015 studying BTEC Law, and A Levels in ICT Applied and Moving Image Arts. She achieved a Distinction* and two B grades.

    She progressed to study Film and Television Production at the University of Hertfordshire where her passion for a career in the production department of studios producing films, music videos and commercials, was developed.

    While still at uni, she won the Indie Training Fund Creative Skillset Award at Visions Film Festival in May 2018 for her film ‘A Dancer Dies Twice’. She was also nominated for the Warner Bros Best Production Design for the same film.

    After leaving university she secured work as a camera operator at Private Affairs, director of photography on short film Sofa Surfer, a lighting director on a photoshoot, spark trainee on a music video and a runner at TVT Productions and Epiphany - as well as at the BBC.

    Shebani, 22, says she is independent and proactive and wants to succeed in everything she does. She is looking forward to her new role and is really excited about the challenges the job will bring.

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  • Rory Bidgood

    Published 28/02/19

    Rory is living in Hong Kong while working as an International Development Coach for Chelsea Football Club. He travels all over the world as part of his job, meeting famous players, officials and managers.

    The former Emerson Park School pupil attended Havering Sixth Form College from 2012 to 2014, achieving a Triple Distinction in the Sport BTEC Extended Diploma and also gaining the Community Sports Leadership Award.

    After leaving College, Rory was offered the role of Community Development Assistant at Chelsea FC, having worked part-time for them while studying for his BTEC Sport qualification.

    He was then made a Club Coach and subsequently Head Coach, and in 2017 as part of his role, he travelled to New York with former footballer and current TV pundit, Jamie Redknapp.

    As Head Coach, Rory worked for the Chelsea FC Foundation and Pre Academy Centre in Essex, delivering on various programmes.

    He worked at the Development Centres where the elite players in Essex would receive individual training in order for them to improve and then move into an Academy environment. Rory coached at the centres and he also had to oversee all the sessions that were being delivered.

    He also developed programmes to coach Under 6s and Under 7s at the Pre Academy Development Centre and was Head Coach for the Girls Development Programme where he was tasked with growing the female football game for Chelsea within the Essex region.

    He has also run Soccer Schools and has delivered PE sessions in various schools.

    In April 2018 Rory was made Chelsea FC's International Development Coach and soon after, moved to live and work in Hong Kong although he still returns to Hornchurch fairly regularly.

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  • Sara Pascoe

    Published 22/02/19

    Sara Pascoe, 37, is a multi award-winning stand-up comedian, actor and writer who has made numerous appearances on TV shows.

    A former Gaynes School pupil, Sara attended Havering Sixth Form College from 1997 to 1999 where her favourite subject was A Level Psychology. Although she was intelligent and capable, Sara admits she didn’t study as hard as she could have and left College with two Cs and an A. Her final grades meant that she was not able to take up the place at Cambridge University to study Philosophy that she had hoped for.

    She took a gap year, which became two years, moving to Nottingham and working as a backing singer and dancer for entertainer Pete Conway (Robbie Williams’ dad).

    From there she decided to go back to education and get a degree, studying English Literature at the University of Sussex. During her university days she became involved in drama groups and after graduating she worked as an actor, supplementing her income with temporary work, mostly charity fundraising for the RSPCA.

    She had never intended to be a comic or a stand-up and says she somehow fell into the career that was to eventually make her famous. She says: “I used to think comedy was for idiots. I was very sneering. I just didn’t get it and thought it was stupid. I didn’t know I wanted to be a comedian until I’d done it for about three months. I was trying to be an actor from the age of 18 to 27!”

    After university she began performing in theatre shows and at old people’s homes and went to open-mic nights with her guitar. But she struggled to make ends meet and eventually realised that there were far more opportunities in comedy than in theatre, so in 2007 she started asking comedians for gigs.

    The more stand-up she did, the better she became at it and got her big break when she was a runner-up in a Funny Woman Competition and was approached by her agent, who she now credits with ‘changing her life’.

    In August 2010, she performed her first show at the Edinburgh Festival - Sara Pascoe Vs Her Ego, which received very positive reviews.

    In 2012 she appeared on Live at the Apollo and then in 2013 she won an episode of the TV show QI with 28 points – clearly showing how smart she is. In 2014, she performed again at the Edinburgh Festival and toured the UK for the first time with her show Sara Pascoe Vs History.

    Since then her career has rocketed and she has appeared on TV panel shows such as Mock The Week, Have I Got News For You, 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown, Never Mind the Buzzcocks and Twenty Twelve.

    She has had acting roles in The Thick Of It and W1A, and she's written a book, Animal: The Autobiography of a Female Body, which was published in 2016. That same year she went on tour again with the show Animal and she is currently touring the UK with her show Lads Lads Lads as well as working on her second book.

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  • Leah Rawlins

    Published 12/02/19

    Leah works as a second year general management apprentice at Transport for London (TfL) and is studying for a BA (Hons) in Business Management as well as working in the busy Change, Design and Delivery team.

    A former Abbs Cross School pupil, she studied A Levels in Business, English Language and Geography while at College from 2015 to 2017 and was convinced she would be attending university after leaving.

    However, after looking into degree apprenticeships she realised she could gain industry experience while also achieving a degree at the same time and felt this route would suit her better.

    She said: “It was a no-brainer choosing to do the apprenticeship. I love working at TfL and I have found my role as a general management apprentice is varied and exciting. Every day is different – from being a Station Supervisor at Liverpool Street Station to shadowing the Emergency Response Unit for buses – I am getting great opportunities to develop my skills.

    “As part of my Diversity & Inclusion project I helped to design a scheme that is now being utilised throughout the organisation and this is quite exciting.

    “When I’m studying for the degree, there are many times that I can relate my practical experience at TfL back to theories we are being taught about in seminars and lectures. It really helps to develop your understanding of the topic having some industry knowledge.”

    Leah aims to complete her degree apprenticeship with TfL and will then investigate any opportunities that come her way for permanent management positions.

    She said: “I can’t recommend degree apprenticeship schemes enough, but be prepared! There is a lot of work involved so you need to be committed if you want to be successful.”

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