Women and Business – career inspiration at Kilgraston School
Being a Kilgraston pupil is not just about the years spent at the School, but the person you become, the image you project, the values held dear. The School's Women and Business industry lectures help that dream become reality.
Preparing our pupils for their future starts from the first day of Reception, with the focus on professions becoming more focussed from aged 12 when girls start to work with the Unifrog careers platform.
Everyone agrees that the adult workplace can be a bewildering arena. To assist girls with these crucial choices, Kilgraston’s innovative Women and Business lecture programme was implemented.
Throughout the academic year, senior pupils – Lower and Upper Fifth and Sixth Form – enjoy talks from industry experts from a myriad of professions. Hearing first-hand from experts in their field is frequently the catalyst on which a whole life can pivot. Despite social distancing restrictions, our lectures continued online, often encompassing an even wider school audience.
“Let nothing stand in the way of learning,” Dorothy MacGinty, Head teacher
Do you fancy creating and marketing a unique blend of tea? Our pupils did with Clare Pinchbeck of Hettie’s Tearoom with the innovative brand being launched at Etape Caledonia in September 2021.
Learning about the role of Daily Telegraph columnist, Judith Woods, gave the girls an insight into life as a journalist at the very top of the game, her route to a national newspaper and some of the characters encountered along the way: “Did she really say that?!”
Mental arithmetic proved a great qualification when tax specialists from international accountancy firm Saffery Champness described the many opportunities available within their field. Within a day, two pupils had signed-up to learn more about apprenticeships within the firm.
Potential legal-eagles were offered the chance to glean the inside track from solicitor, Nyree Conway, of Edinburgh firm Thorley Stephenson and, from the other side of the judicial divide, Procurator Fiscal Karon Rollo, detailed her professional life, representing the Crown Office, including gory stories of bodies on dark hillsides!
Energy and inspiration were clearly in evidence when young entrepreneur Helen Stewart, owner of Badvo Gin, gave girls an insight into starting and running your own rural business.
For those – and there are many – keen to pursue a medical career, Sally Ibbotson was on-hand to detail life as Professor of Photodermatology and Consultant Dermatologist, School of Medicine, University of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital & Medical School.
The hospitality industry has been much in the news and nowhere more so than in hotels. Gleneagles Hotel’s Commercial Director, Jane McGee, was kind enough to spare the time come to Kilgraston, offering insight into her incredibly demanding and varied role including some of the world’s other top establishments.
Each year, over 60% of Kilgraston leavers proceed to take STEM undergraduate courses. Bearing this in mind, the School was thrilled to welcome Rachel Battilana MIStractE, an engineer with SSE’s hydro scheme upgrade projects who works throughout Scotland, turning up the pressure on Scotland’s waterways.
Dental enthusiasts were entertained by Rhu McKelvey BDS (Glasgow) 1995, FDSRCS 1998, M.Orth (Edinburgh) who is not only a highly-qualified orthodontist but a very successful entrepreneur, starting, running and continually expanding BEAM Orthodontics in Dundee.
Since Spring 2020, being “guided by the science” is a phrase with which we have all become familiar. But for Dr Julie Maxton CBE, Executive Director of London’s Royal Society, life is actually about helping to produce the scientific facts and data that can sway governmental decisions. We were honoured that Dr Maxton was able to join us.
Putting a twist on the traditional is what businesswoman Michelle Maddox of Clootie McToot is all about. Just five years ago, the Perthshire mum took her gran’s clootie dumpling recipe, added flavours such as Plum and Gin and Banana and Toffee (yum), in the process, turning it into a massive commercial enterprise, now stocked by high street giants, John Lewis. Michelle spoke o Kilgraston girls in September 2021.
Medicine is a perennial favourite with Kilgraston leavers, and, in January 2022, Kim Dale – Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, Vice Principal (International) School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee visited the School to speak with girls about her fascinating journey to become one of the UKs leading experts in her field.
- March 2022 we will welcome social, philosophical and religious commentator, Catherine Pepinster, a research consultant at St George’s House within Windsor Castle. Catherine will draw on her many achievements, including as first female editor of The Tablet review; a development consultant with The Anglican Centre in Rome and an Assistant Editor of The Independent on Sunday newspaper. As a visiting Scholar (Religion, philosophy, politics) at St Benet’s Hall, Oxford University, and an alumnus of Heythrop College, University of London, together with The University of Manchester and City, University of London, Catherine has combined intense academia with a varied and stimulating career.
- June 2022 – Mike Harvey, Technology PR specialist – Mike will chart his successful route from reading French and Russian at the University of Oxford, to working as a journalist on The Times, becoming Communications Director for multi-platform behemoth, Google, and now running his own PR consultant for the technology industry
- September 2022 – Sally Patten, editor of Sydney’s leadership magazine, BOSS, will – with the benefit of many decade of experience of the business-world – give pupils the inside track on life in the boardroom.
- November 2022 – Kathleen Hornby, South African-based entrepreneur, trained with legendary chef Pru Leith in London before returning to her native country, starting and building a bespoke safari company
- Continuing the entrepreneurial theme, young mum Sophie McEwan of the beautiful home wares and interiors outlet and online venture, Quince & Cook, will come to Kilgraston in January 2022 to describe her idea for the business, finding premises, opening-up then – boom – Covid caused lockdown and a swift volte-face to an online business model was required. Resilience and flexibility, two of the core principles taught at Kilgraston.
In line with our on-going commitment to building the next generation of entrepreneurs, in 2019 Kilgraston was also the proud sponsor of the Inspirational Women category at the 2019 Business Women Scotland Awards.
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