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Reading School's Careers Convention 2024

Representatives from over 40 organisations offered insight and advice to more than 1000 students on a wide range of careers, including Medicine, Engineering, Law, Marketing, Journalism and technology at Reading School’s Careers Convention on Thursday 1st February 2024. 

The Careers Convention hosts stalls from a range of universities and employers to guide our students to make informed decisions about their GCSE, A-level and higher education options and fostering confidence in networking confidently with professionals across a broad range of industries.  

This year's convention marked a significant milestone, with five keynote speakers and over 60 diverse professionals in attendance, some who had travelled from different regions of the UK. The vibrant atmosphere in each area was a testament to the genuine enthusiasm of both students and professionals alike, creating an environment conducive to meaningful discussions and exploration of future opportunities. Students received valuable information about a wide range of careers opportunities, including entry routes, training and apprenticeships. This year, we extended invitations to Year 9 to 13 students from The Abbey School and Kendrick School.  

Our Careers Convention covered industries from Architecture and Engineering to Financial Services and Healthcare, including AWE, BDO LLP; Collectiv Food; Deloitte, Jacobs, Johnson Matthey, Kier Group; Royal Berkshire Hospital NHS; and National Grid, to name a few.  The University of Warwick and University of Bath were also amongst some elite universities in attendance.  

Our Keynote Speakers- Dr Saritha Arunkumar (IBM), OR Greg Payne (1987-1994) (Oracle Corporation), OR Levi Tebbutt (2006-2013) (KPMG), OR Jonathan Purcell (2009-2016) (International Centre for Justice for Palestinians), and Orla Harper (InvestIN Education) for sharing their invaluable experiences and insights throughout the evening during a series of inspiring talks. 

We are deeply grateful for the time given by all our keynote speakers and delegates, which included 14 Old Redingensians who returned to Reading School as delegates to share their professional experiences including Nicholas Lax (OR 1995-2000), Ravi Mahendra (OR 2011-2013), George Woolhouse (OR 1995-2002), David Clay (OR 1998-2005), Philip Muya (OR 2016-2018), Shiv Gupta (OR 2011-2018); Tom Whipple (OR 1993-2000); Captain Alasdair Matthews (OR 2005-2012); Ben Lewis (OR 2010-2017); Jacob Rogers (OR 2016-2023) and David Pocock (OR 1971-1978). It is profoundly important for our students to hear from our alumni about careers, as this connection fosters a unique bridge between past and present within our academic community. The exchange of experiences and insights serves as a rich source of inspiration and guidance for current students, allowing them to glean real-world perspectives on career trajectories, challenges, and successes.

Our Old Redingensians embody the tangible outcomes of our educational efforts, and their narratives provide valuable lessons that extend beyond the confines of textbooks and classrooms. By engaging with alumni stories, current students gain a more comprehensive understanding of the diverse paths available to them, helping them make informed decisions about their own futures.

In essence, the exchange between alumni and students not only reinforces the sense of community within our institution but also empowers the next generation with the knowledge and confidence needed to navigate the complex landscape of their chosen fields.

Our parent community of delegates, including, former Parent K Varughese; Year 7 parents, Senthil Mani, and Pramila Raj Year 8 parent, Dr Shane Hanson; Year 9 parents, Amit Saxena and Dr Madhumita Bhattacharyya, Year 10 parents, Dr Oliver Flossmann and Dr Nicola Spillane, Year 11 parents, Peter Jones, Sarah Hacker, Jothi Philip and Lakshman Chokkalingam, Year 12 parents, Rita Gupta and Year 13 parent, George Argyropoulos. 

Armaan C (12KY) said,  

"This was the second Careers Convention I've attended at the school, and now that I have a clearer idea of what I want to do in the future I was able to fully utilise the various keynote speakers, delegates and their invaluable advice to make more educated decisions in my journey towards university and the world of work. Being able to speak one-to-one with experts in various fields was an amazing experience and a great help." 

Kingsley H (8S) commented,  

"All the lectures that I visited were very interesting to listen to and learn about. We were welcome to ask as many questions as we wanted to. The talks were very informative covering every point that there needed to cover."  

Neel K (8W) said,  

"I really enjoyed the careers convention it was one of the best events that I have seen in school. The stands were very interesting, and I really enjoyed the talks, especially Dr Saritha Arunkumar’s talk as it was very informative and extremely interesting. The IBM stand was very good, and I really enjoyed talking to the people at the IBM stand and the AWS stand." 

A huge thank you to our Headline Sponsor, Macron, and sponsors Leiper Gupta Family Lawyers, King Energy Heating and Plumbing, and P-Tek for supporting this event. 

Thank you to all the staff who supported on the night including:  Mrs L Ayres (Assistant Head), Mrs Jas Chhokar (Society Manager), Miss Piatrice Hutchinson (Society Coordinator) & Esther Chong (Alumni and Development Assistant) for managing and coordinating the event. Mrs M Smith (leading the Estates Team) and Mr C Woodley (leading the catering team), Mr T Evans (Assistant Head), Mr D McGall (Assistant Head), Mr A Lloyd (Assistant Head & Housemaster) and Mr Dal Singh (Community Relations Manager). A special vote of thanks to Jacob D’Cruz for supporting the photography for Oracle. 

James R (13ELA) commented,  

“I thought the organisation was impeccable. I didn't notice a single hitch and everyone I spoke to and saw looked happy. The evening seemed like a huge success, and I certainly left feeling like I had been to a very thoroughly thought-out event.”  

Once again, our excellent Year 13 student ambassadors who acted as delegates, shared recent UCAS, Oxbridge and Medicine application knowledge from entrance tests to writing personal statements:  Maaz S, Nikolaos A, Rohan N, James R, Tom S-R, Ben S-R, Maulik A, Sid D, Rio T, Isaac B, Lloyd S, Tarith A and Shaan S.  

James R (13ELA) said,  

“My favourite experience was talking to a mother and her child who was in the same position I was in a few years ago; he was going to a comprehensive school and wanted to join Reading school. We had a great conversation about getting into Reading and then the pathways to Oxford. Speaking to someone in the exact situation I was in a few years ago and (hopefully) showing them that what they want is possible was a rewarding experience. “  

Nikolaos A (13MK) commented,  

"The careers convention was an excellently organised and managed event, with an abundance of prefects and students volunteering to help delegates share their experiences from a range of fields." 

Our student volunteers demonstrated exceptional dedication and went the extra mile to support the Society, Alumni and Careers Office in ensuring the seamless execution of the event: All the Year 13 students mentioned above as well as Isaac H, Armaan C, Bryn L-W, Daniel L, Darren T, Freddie S, Henry L, James G, James T, Manas S, Mathias C, Maninder S, Madhuhaas G, Matthew O’D, Milan G, Mert O, Neil C, Nathan K, Paarth G, Ryan L, Saikrishnan D, Savya A, Yogan J-K and Prabhav B . Their commitment, flexibility and enthusiasm have undeniably played a pivotal role in the success of the Careers Convention whilst building some key transferrable competency skills.  

Matthew O (12BSA) said,  

"Volunteering whilst still attending the event was probably the best choice I could’ve made last Thursday- I had a great balance of helping out and feeling fulfilled making sure operations flowed smoothly around the site for the different keynote speakers’ locations, whilst still being able to engage with the numerous stands and representative from a diverse range of fields. I would love to extend my gratitude towards everyone involved, especially the staff and representatives who made this event possible - without your involvement it wouldn’t have happened - thank you." 

Reading School continues to develop networking and mentoring opportunities. Therefore, we encourage our sixth formers and alumni to join Reading School LinkedIn, which has over 3,500 ORs, as well as join the Reading School Alumni Society, where we are piloting our mentoring programme to benefit our Sixth-Form students and undergraduates. 

Please click to see the gallery: Careers Convention 2024 Gallery 

Please see link to: Careers Convention 2024 Programme Final 

Keynote Speaker PPT Slides:

• Dr Saritha Arunkumar- IBM – PPT Slides (PDF): CyberSecurity and Career Opportunites in IBM 

• Orla Harper – InvestIN Education - PPT slides (PDF): PowerPoint Presentation 

Keynote Inspire Lecture videos:

• Dr Saritha Arunkumar - Cybersecurity career and opportunities at IBM

• Mr Greg Payne (OR 1987-1994) - From Reading School to Oracle Senior Director

• Mr Jonathan Purcell (OR 2009-2016) - Changemaking: Public Affairs, policy and communications in NGOs/the charity sector

• Mr Levi Tebbutt (OR 2006-2013) - Big 4 Audit and Data Analytics 

We welcome feedback from attendees to help us improve our events.

Please click the link here to complete: Reading School Careers Convention 2024- Attendee Feedback Form (

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