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Supporting Trent College Pupils

Each year, a series of careers events are arranged for pupils at Trent College, from the youngest pupils in Year 9 right through to those students in Year 13 who are preparing to leave the Sixth Form.  Who better to quiz about career choices, pathways and experience or to spark a pupil’s imagination about careers they never dreamt possible, than former pupils of their school. 

If you would like more information about careers support, mentoring or offering work experience placements then please get in touch with us.

Work placement opportunities

Trent College is always looking to add value to the experiences of both its current and former pupils and one way we can do this is to provide work placement opportunities.

We are very grateful to all OTs, parents, Friends of Trent and members of the Trent College Business Network who are able to support us in this endeavour. 

If you would like to give us permission to add your organisation’s name to our growing list of companies who are willing to give Trent pupils a work experience placement, please see below to complete and submit the online form.  

Booking form

Career Profile : David Bladen (Hanbury 1996 - 2003) Chartered Surveyor

David Bladen BSc (Hons) MRICS

David works as a General Practice Chartered Surveyor at a firm in Nottingham, specialising in commercial property. He is also an RICS Registered Valuer.

After leaving Trent, David studied Planning and Property Development at Nottingham Trent University. The course is accredited by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors which is a requirement for anyone aspiring to become a Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

David deals with commercial property valuations, transactions (sales, lettings and acquisitions), development, rent reviews, lease renewals and condition reports for both private and corporate clients.

"I strongly believe that Trent has taught me how to present myself to clients and third parties in a professional manner along with providing me with a wealth of contacts along the day which are invaluable".

David aspires to set up his own professional practice, dealing with development and commercial and residential property transactions throughout the East Midlands.

"I would recommend any respected professional career path. Surveying is a good balance of being in the office, being on-site and socialising. You get to meet people from all walks of life. I believe that being Chartered  means that I am in control of my own destiny which is a comforting thought".

If you are interested in becoming a Chartered Surveyor and would like to know more information, please contact the Alumni Relations office at Trent College where information will be passed on to David.

David is also a member of the OT Society Committee.

Career Profile : Ed Watson (Shuker 1996-2003) Teacher

Edward Watson, MEngm Assistant Director of Sixth Form (with Careers) at Forest School, London

Ed Watson recently graduated from the TeachFirst scheme and currently works at an independent school in North London.

On leaving Trent College, Ed went on to gain a Masters in Electronic Engineering at York University.  "Engineering was a great degree as the mathematical content and problem solving nature of engineering meant it kept a lot of career paths open after graduating".

Ed currently teaches design technology and is also involved in running expeditions and coaching hockey.

"Trent helped me to develop in so many ways to achieve my career goals.  Most importantly Trent helped me to develop my self confidence and to relish new challenges".

Ed gained a Qualified Teacher Status through TeachFirst which he would recommend as "a fantastic graduate teacher programme for those who want a huge challenge".

Ed is also a member of the OT Society Committee.

If you would like to learn more from Ed and his chosen career path please contact the Alumni Relations office.

Career Profile: Nigel Owen (Hanbury 1989 to 1995) Banking

Nigel Owen, Financial Institutions Syndicate Manager

Working for the Royal Bank of Canada Capital Markets his role involves managing new debt issues by banks, building societies and insurance companies.  Although working predominantly in Sterling and Euros, Nigel also deals in many other currencies including US Dollars, Australian Dollars and Norwegian Kroner.

When he left Trent College in 1995, Nigel attended Keble College, Oxford where he gained a BA in Economics and Management.    Upon leaving university, Nigel joined the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Graduate Training Scheme which lead on to a variety of roles within the bank, including working in the funding team at RBS, risk management for Direct Line Financial Services and for the client coverage and syndicate teams in RBS Financial Markets.

In 2007, Nigel joined Royal Bank of Canada, taking on a client coverage role of UK Financial Institutions before moving on to the syndicate role in 2010, which he continues in today.

Nigel attributes his first introduction to his banking career to his time at Trent, as one of his school responsibilities was to manage the school bank!  “From the obvious exam qualifications allowing me to do the degree I did, to my general development as a person, and the interpersonal skills that are invaluable to be successful in any business, Trent contributed to them all – whether I realised it at the time or not!

Nigel believes that most of what he knows about the banking sector has been learned “on the job” and that at the time he was recruited professional qualifications were not absolutely necessary.  He says  “I had to pass FSA recognised exams to be able to deal with clients.  This is a week long course which ends with a multiple choice exam, few people fail it”. 

However, recruitment processes have changed and it is now more challenging”. 

Nigel has the following advice for any current pupils or young OTs wishing to follow a similar career path:

You now need a more relevant degree to go into banking; Economics, Maths, Engineering, Physics rather than a humanities or arts degree.  Business Studies degrees tend to be too skewed towards marketing, rather than finance, maths and statistics, so be sure to check the course content if you do go down that route.  Once you have the right degree course sorted, then do your utmost to make sure you arrange internships in your summer vacations.  They are competitive to get into but they do give you an express route through the graduate recruitment process and valuable experience of the job that you just can’t get anywhere else.

If you are interested in a career in banking and would like to know more, please email and your details will be passed on to Nigel.

Career Profile : Dr Rebecca Melen (Cavendish/Wortley, 2000 to 2004)

Dr Rebecca Melen, Magdalene College, Cambridge (Natural Sciences), PhD p-block Chemistry, Research Fellow, Lecturer, University of Cardiff

Dr Rebecca Melen has only been away from Trent College for ten years, but in such a short space of time she has achieved so much.

Rebecca was a Trent College ‘straight A’ student with a love for the sciences. In her own words, she has “a naturally inquisitive nature which drives [her] pursuit of knowledge”. 

Owing to her success at Trent, she earned a place at Magdalene College, Cambridge University where she studied Natural Sciences. She gained both BA and MSci degrees specialising in Chemistry, coming 2nd in the year. Her academic performance during this time was recognised through a host of University prizes which culminated in her being awarded a Cambridge University Research Scholarship to undertake doctoral research in a field of her choice, earning her a PhD.

During her PhD Rebecca made significant contributions to chemistry in the areas of sustainability and solutions to the current energy crisis. She had amassed many publications across a range of topics in inorganic chemistry. Rebecca’s studies highlighted that non-transition metal compounds can be used in catalytic reactions. In particular, she realised that non-transition metal catalysts based upon the cheap and abundant element aluminium could be used in the release of hydrogen from hydrogen storage materials. Such hydrogen storage materials have gained interest as they may provide a solution to the world’s energy crisis as an alternative source of energy. For this she was awarded the Dalton Young Researchers Award which is given to the best UK inorganic chemist under the age of 27. 

During her PhD studies, Rebecca also received an Erasmus Grant for a three month placement at the University of Heidelberg in Germany where she collaborated with Prof. Lutz Gade, a leading researcher in catalysis. 

After completing her PhD, Rebecca moved to Toronto, Canada to work with Prof. Douglas Stephan as a postdoctoral researcher where she again focused on developing new non-metal systems based on boron to promote and catalyse a range of organic transformations typically undertaken by expensive transition metals such as gold and platinum. 

In June 2013, Rebecca was highlighted as one of '30 under 30' young chemists to watch out for in the future by Scientific American. She attended the Lindau Nobel Laureate meeting, where each year hundreds of the best and brightest researchers gather in the beautiful setting of Lake Constance in the south of Germany. It is here that the newest generation of scientists mingle with Nobel Prize winners and discuss their work and ideas. The 2013 meeting was dedicated to chemistry and involved young researchers from 78 different countries. It was at this meeting that Rebecca had the honour to meet the 2005 Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry (Prof. Robert Grubbs) and publish her interview in the very prestigious journal ‘Nature’. 

At the end of 2013 Rebecca received a Humboldt Fellowship to develop her independent research at the University of Heidelberg and this year (2014) Rebecca has been awarded the European Young Researchers' Award (EYRA) which recognises young researchers having successfully defended their first PhD with up to five years of experience after their PhD and who have demonstrated outstanding research performance and leadership and have incorporated a clear European dimension into their research. The International Selection Committee, appointed by the Euroscience Board, unanimously selected Rebecca for this prestigious award. Later this year she will be returning to the UK to take up a lectureship at Cardiff University which commences 1st September 2014. 

Q&A with Rebecca

• Did Trent College assist in influencing your career choice?

Being at Trent College helped me a lot in my career choice, particularly relating to my choice of university (and college). I was strongly encouraged by Trent to apply to Oxbridge and I visited both Oxford and Cambridge University during the Sixth Form. I chose Cambridge over Oxford as it offered the broader Natural Sciences course rather than the single science courses. My visit to Cambridge allowed me to look carefully at all the Colleges and I decided Magdalene offered the best environment for me as it was a small college which had a location near the centre of town. Trent supported me immensely with my Cambridge application in terms of writing supporting letters and proofreading my UCAS forms as well as providing mock interviews. This prepared me well and put me in an excellent position throughout the tough Cambridge selection process.

• If so, at what stage during your Trent education did you realise your chosen career?

I was always interested in science and since I was very young I knew I wanted to into a career based around the sciences. When I arrived at Trent aged 14, perhaps like many young pupils, I wanted to be a vet. Why? Because I love animals and I also wanted to have a good salary. I remember very well my entrance interview with the Headmaster at the time (Mr. Lee), when he asked me my chosen career path his response was “ah, not another one”. During the Sixth Form I had the opportunity to work in the vets practice across the road from Trent once a week after school to get work experience (and also as part of my DofE award). During this time I realised that being a vet wasn’t the right job for me. What I realised from my science lessons is that what I really needed was a job where I would be challenged intellectually every day and an academic career (being at the forefront of science) is perfect for that. The Natural Sciences course at Cambridge is very broad and gave lots of opportunity to study a range of Sciences beyond school level. I initially thought I’d do Biochemistry, but I was inspired by Chemistry towards the end of the first year and focused on that in the later years of my Natural Science course.

What difference did being at Trent make to the choice you made/opportunities you have had?

Being at Trent provided me with a wealth of information about my possible career paths. I actually personally chose to move to Trent in year 9 because I wanted to study each of the sciences independently and this wasn’t possible at my previous school which only offered combined science. The teachers were also very encouraging and, in the Sixth Form, provided invaluable advice about courses, Universities and future careers. 

• If you would like to name specific teachers at Trent, please do so.

Although I already knew that I wanted to study science, I think that my teachers at Trent played a huge role in making science both exciting and interesting and it gave me the drive to want to continue to study science at university and beyond. In particular my GCSE and A-Level biology teacher, and Tutor and in the Sixth Form, Mrs. McFarland (left 2003) was a huge inspiration and provided a wealth of support. Not only was she a great teacher introducing me to the fascinating, yet complex and mysterious, discipline that is central to all life, but also she was also a great role model and was a great help when deciding my future career and university choices.

• What are your future aspirations, work or otherwise?

I have just been appointed to my first academic position at Cardiff where I shall have to give Lectures for the first time. I’ll also have to establish my own research group and become more involved in University administration. So the coming few years are going to be very exciting. Assuming my research and teaching go well then I intend to stay in academia and gain promotion. In the UK most academics, like myself, start off as Lecturer and then get promoted to Senior Lecturer, Reader and finally Professor. The academic scene is perfect for me because 1. I enjoy the challenge of teaching and inspiring the next generation of young scientists and 2. I would like to conduct world changing research that will hopefully benefit the everyday quality of life. 

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NG10 4AD United Kingdom

PHONE: 0115 849 4949

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