...with Kerry Gibbons
How long has it been since you left Archbishop Beck?
I left Archbishop Beck over 10 years ago, I did my A Levels in 2006. Where has the time gone?
What is the thing you remember about being a student at Archbishop Beck?
For me, the highlights of my time at Archbishop Beck were being involved in the extra-curricular activities. During my very early years as a young senior student I was a member of the school’s hockey team, taking part in competitions against other schools in the Merseyside region. As I progressed through senior school I became heavily involved in the after-school drama society. I was fortunate enough to be able to take part in three school productions, ‘Joseph and the Technicolour Dream Coat’, ‘Grease’ and ‘Oliver’. I can honestly say that these were some of the happiest memories of my life. The staff and fellow students were wonderful to work with. I recently watched back an old video tape (yes it was that long ago!) of our performance of Oliver and I was highly impressed by the level of professionalism that we, as young students at the time, were able to convey on the stage. I was also involved in the School’s band, which was also a very enjoyable time. I played the timpani with the band and participated in various region-wide competitions which were very exciting. During my time at Archbishop Beck I was also given the opportunity to take part in a voluntary scheme known as the St Vincent de Paul (SVP) programme. This involved students attending a local care home on a weekly basis to sit and talk with residents, which I found to be very rewarding. I was awarded the Mike Barker trophy for services to the community as a result of my participation in the SVP scheme. I am forever grateful for having had the opportunity to make these special memories at Archbishop Beck, memories that will stay with me for a lifetime.
What would you say to parents considering a school for their child?
I would strongly recommend any parent to consider Archbishop Beck as the school of choice for their child. Since I left all those years ago the school has now been moved to a new build with excellent and astounding facilities. I recently visited the new building and I could not believe my eyes. It's bright and airy with plenty of open space and beautiful decoration throughout. The encouragement and enthusiasm from the teaching and support staff is second-to-none. I have made life-long friends with both pupils and teachers from my time at this school.
What have you been doing since leaving Archbishop Beck?
After leaving Archbishop Beck I studied for my Bachelor’s degree with Honours in Psychology at the University of Liverpool (UoL). I received a 2:1 overall for my degree. During my time as a student I developed a keen interest in research methods within psychology. It was this passion that encouraged me to study for my Masters degree in Psychological Research Methods, with the Open University (OU). This was a course that I carried out on a part-time basis over three years, whilst I was simultaneously in full time work. During this challenging time I was able to utilise the organisational skills and hard-working attitude that I acquired during my time at Archbishop Beck, which ultimately enabled me to graduate with my MSc from the OU in 2014. I have been in full time employment with the NHS since January 2010, shortly after graduating from the UoL. My first role was as a clinic clerk in the Fracture and Orthopaedic Clinic at Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral. After working in that role for over two years I began working as a speech and language therapy assistant at the Countess of Chester Hospital. Following this I moved to the University of Chester where I operated as a department administrator for the faculty of health and social care. After a year and a half in this position I moved to Manchester for a short while to work as a research administrator within the Research and Development Department. I am now employed as a Band 6 research facilitator by the Clinical Research Network which forms part of the NIHR (National Institute for Health Research the research arm of the NHS). For the future I would consider the possibility of working towards a PhD in order to pursue a career within the field of academic research.
What advice would you give to a young person who wants to do the same kind of work you do?
I decided to study for a degree in Psychology because it was my favourite A level (alongside drama) during my Sixth Form years. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do for a career when I began studying at the UoL but I think that that is ok as we are all still so young when we first go off to University and I don’t think that most people know what they would like to do for a career at that stage in their life.
The advantage of studying psychology is that it is such a broad subject and there are so many avenues that you can explore once you are qualified. I am delighted that I now get to be involved in clinical research, which is so important for both our region and our nation. I also love working for the NHS as it is such a great organisation to be a part of. I started as a Band 2 back in 2010 and I am now a Band 6 which goes to show that you can effectively progress up the pay scales if you have a good solid education to back you up. It is for this reason, amongst others mentioned above, that I am forever grateful of my time at Archbishop Beck Catholic College and Sixth Form.