Pupils set sights on future careers

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Ripon Grammar pupils are taking a global view as they prepare to make final decisions about their futures.

From taking up university courses overseas to careers with international companies and ambitions to work with endangered species, the sixth formers are planning for a variety of pathways when they leave.

“Many students have gained offers from top UK universities, including seven from Oxford and Cambridge, the same number as last year at the grammar school, which is the top performing state school in Yorkshire,” said a spokesman.

“Other students are opting to go straight into careers by taking up apprenticeships.”

Matt Ford, 17, of Carlton Husthwaite, has interviews for an IT apprenticeship with American multinational IBM and Capgemini, which employs 180,000 across 40 countries.

“It’s something I’ve always been interested in and would love a career designing business systems for a large company. Capgemini will also fund my degree. I like the idea of getting straight into work and it’s a good way to avoid student debt,” said Matt.

Beth Abel, 18, of Bedale, is staying closer to home to follow a family tradition of accountancy with local firm Kenneth Easby Ltd.

“I’m not that bothered about student life and I’m keen to start working. It’s better to do my apprenticeship with a small company where I can learn all expects of accountancy, rather than a big firm where I’d have to specialise,” explained Beth, who is taking A levels in chemistry, maths, psychology and art.

Alanah Mansfield admits to having an international outlook and is set to choose between university in Maastricht, in the Netherlands, and Madrid to read European law.

“I want a career as a solicitor in an international law firm and feel I would gain a lot from studying in a different country. The degrees seem to offer more choice and the fees are much lower, and in Madrid I could develop my Spanish, which I’m taking at A level.

“I’ve done a lot of independent research, and the application process has been completely different for me as it’s not through UCAS. For Madrid, where it will be a dual degree with civil law, I have to write essays, do an admission test and interview,” said Alanah, 18, of North Stainley.

Alex Elvidge, 17, is another taking an unusual route having secured an offer at the national conservatoire of Wales, the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, in Cardiff.

The mezzo-soprano, from Kirby Wiske, went to the former Ripon Cathedral Choir School and sings in the cathedral choir and the National Youth choir.

Alex, who also plays the violin, clarinet and piano, will study for a degree in musical performance.

Max Vesty, 17, of Arkendale, is one of five students with offers from Cambridge University and needs two A*s and an A from his maths, chemistry and biology A levels.

“I’ve grown up around animals so it’s what I’ve always wanted to do. I would like to spend some time working with endangered species in an animal park,” said Max, who also has an offer to read veterinary science at Liverpool.

He could be joined at Gonville and Caius College by Annabelle Blyton, 18, of North Stainley, who has an offer to read architecture, and Alfie Ashton, 17, of Winksley, who wants to be a criminal barrister after his law degree.

Ripon Grammar School head boy James Donaldson, 17, of North Stainley, wants to work in the bio-pharmaceutical industry after a degree in natural sciences at Clare College, Cambridge, and Ryan Wood, 17, of Burton Leonard, has an offer to read maths at St Catharine’s College.

Flo Hall, who joined Ripon Grammar School sixth form from Thirsk School, and Jess Rutherford, 18, of Ripon, both have offers from Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University.

Flo, who will read history, had a challenging interview. “People say the interviews are enjoyable but in mine there was a panel of four professors and they had an essay I’d written on the Soviet Union’s recovery. One of the professors was an expert on the Soviet Union. She pulled my essay apart and really tested my arguments, but I must have done OK.”

Jess decided only a year ago to read theology after planning for law. She explained: “I realised theology’s what I really enjoy and what I want to do. It’s so fascinating and universal, touching social, political, geographical issues everywhere.”