At KKS, we value being able to connect with our former students; to learn more about their careers, their achievements and key milestones in their life and celebrate their successes with the wider school community.
As well as being able to invite you to share your story with us on our annual Alumni Day, we would be delighted to invite you back to school to deliver assemblies, take part in mock interviews, and attend careers events where appropriate.
Our pupils benefit greatly from the school’s connections with former pupils, whether they’re gaining an insight into university life, being introduced to career paths they were previously unaware of or making connections with people within fields of interest to them.
If you wish to contact the School, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also connect with us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.
We are so proud of what our KKS alumni get up to after they leave us. Here are a few of their stories:
After 6th Form: I moved down to London to study Drama and Theatre Arts at Goldsmiths College. Since then I have pursued a career in performing arts and now enjoy a successful career as an actor and fight performer for theatre, film and computer games.
Tips & Advice: Don’t limit yourself in terms of what you want to do as a career as you can do anything you want as long as you have the commitment, work ethic and professionalism to see it through. The self employed life is a hard one but it is also very rewarding. Try to do something which you are passionate about and that you enjoy, that way work will never feel like work. Appreciate your failures and learn from them as each one will make you stronger in the future. Cultivate your networks and be good to work with and you will achieve what you want. It just takes time and effort. They say that it takes between 7-10 years after training to make a sustainable career in the arts and I have generally found this to be true so take your time, stay hungry and enjoy the ride.
My school memories: I have so many fantastic memories from my time at KKS – it’s where I met some of my dearest friends. Even now we still reminisce over our favourite school moments, German with Mrs McDonald, RE with Mrs Barker and so many others. Personally, I’ll never forget all those lunchtimes spent on the field with friends and running cross country in the rain!
What I did after KKS: 2022 marks 10 years since I left KKS, I went on to get a first-class honours degree from the University of Cumbria as a Youth and Community Worker. After working in this field for 5 years I transitioned to become a qualified Mortgage & Protection Adviser by completing exams whilst working full time in a Financial Investment office.
Tips and advice: Choose something you enjoy and work hard at it even if you don’t think it’s what you want to do forever. Remember that you can always change your mind and that your hard work will be recognised and rewarded if you decide to make a change in life – I did and the same can be true for you!
My school memories: At school my favourite subject was design and technology. I studied Resistant Materials at GCSE and Product Design at A-Level. One of my favourite memories from school was competing in the annual rotary Design and Technology competition against other schools which we won 3/4 years we competed.
After school: I did a degree in Product Design at Manchester metropolitan university where I learnt how to design mass manufacture products and took a keen interest in furniture in particular. During university I completed a year long internship at Teal furniture. After uni I gained a graduate job with Teal and have worked there for the past two years. I have designed; a sofa range, a dining chair and healthcare furniture. All these products have gone into mass production which is a very rewarding feeling!
Tips and advice: I was never 100% sure what I wanted to do but I knew I enjoyed design and making things. D & T and the sciences came naturally to me, I enjoyed them and found them a lot easier to excel in than other subjects! If you are unsure what you want to do I would advise you to try and find something that you are passionate about and good at as I have! Also don’t worry if what you think you want seems too difficult or competitive to achieve. If you really want it you will succeed!
What I did after KKS: Newcastle University: Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies
During my studies I spent a year abroad in Spain (Ourense and Málaga) and some months in Lisbon, Portugal. I moved to Germany after graduation with my Spanish partner in 2016 and I worked in a few roles, teaching English as a Foreign Language, working in Public Relations for beauty brands and I spent the last 3 years working for a software company called TeamViewer. TeamViewer is a software which allows people to work remotely. People might know the company from the sports partnerships we have with Manchester United and Lewis Hamilton’s F1 team. My current role there is Team Lead of Customer Support for EMEA (Europe, Africa and Middle East) which also allows me to use my language skills on a daily basis. I still use my French from A levels and also learned German by living here the last years. I still love music and go to concerts, I did some open mic nights in my university days and won a singing competition in Galicia during my time as an Au Pair, music gave me the confidence to address a crowd! I still use my English lit skills when addressing my team members and thinking about what message I want to convey and what effect it will have.
Tips and advice: It’s great if you already know what you want to do but it’s also ok to not have a specific career path in mind…I really enjoyed all my a levels and working in different jobs! Doing so allowed me to build a skill set which got me where I am today… I want students to know that there is no shame in trying out different things and we need to break the stigma that you can only be successful if you stick at one path. By teaching I learned the importance of active listening and working with different personality types. Working in PR showed me about networking and I use empathy as a team leader to help others reach to their full potential. Don’t think you cannot study something or do a certain job just because its typically associated with a certain personality type or gender – 10 years ago I never imagined I’d be capable of working for an IT company, nevermind leading an international team in one, especially as a 28 year old woman…but I made it happen and girls should know that they are also more than capable of thriving in the tech industry! Go with your gut feeling and study what YOU enjoy. Research what kinds of jobs you can do with your studies and if you see yourself doing that day in day out. You spend your whole day at work once your studies are finished, so best make it fun!
At A level, I studied Spanish, German, History and English Language, before going on to study Spanish at University College London. I felt very lucky throughout my degree to not only take the necessary language classes to build my fluency in Spanish, but also take modules in History and Literature. My degree programme also allowed me to take a year abroad, where I studied History at the University of Córdoba, in the south of Spain. Learning Spanish to this level is still one of my proudest achievements, and I still speak, listen, or read in Spanish nearly every day.
I loved living in Spain during my year abroad and ended up moving back there once I graduated from UCL, though this time I moved to Madrid. I taught English in a school there for a year before I decided to move back to London. I then got my first job in the Civil Service, working in the Private Office of the Secretary of State for Business and Energy. I’ve been there for around a year now and have really loved the variety of challenges I’ve been faced with. The biggest advantage of the role is the huge range of policy areas I get to work on, which has helped me to discover lots of unexpected opportunities. For example, coming from a humanities background, I didn’t expect to find myself working on Science & Tech policy. Now that I’ve been exposed to the work Government is doing on this, I’ve become really enthusiastic about it and I plan to specialise further in my next role.
For this reason, my main piece of advice is not to worry too much about having a career path mapped out. I purely chose my A level subjects and degree based on what I enjoyed. I didn’t have much of a plan beyond that. While many jobs do require you to have specific qualifications, there are plenty that don’t. My subject choices taught me so many of the soft, transferable skills that I rely on every day in my work. Meanwhile, I just learned the specific knowledge on the job. By keeping my options open, I’ve ended up working in an area that I find really exciting. Equally, if in future I want to try something else, I know that many of my skills are applicable to a range of different job opportunities.
I went on to study a BA in English at Manchester metropolitan university, followed by an MLitt in Fantasy Literature at University of Glasgow. I now work in financial support for a major energy company.
In regards to tips and advice: Find joy in what you choose to study or the field you work in can be a key part of what you do. It’s normal for it to feel overwhelming starting something new, or getting into free swing of it. Having something you enjoy to drive you through it can make that feel more worthwhile :))
What I did after KKS: After studying Chemistry, Maths and German at A Level, I went on to study Chemical Engineering at the University of Manchester. During my time at university, I got the chance to explore all areas of Chemical Engineering and in particular, I got to gain a large insight into the nuclear industry during my master’s dissertation project. Following my dissertation, I was offered a research position at the University of Manchester to investigate simulation software options for nuclear waste treatment processes. I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about nuclear waste treatment and this role gave me the opportunity to expand my knowledge about process simulation software. After completing my research project in late 2021, I began my current role in the Digital Applications department at Siemens Process Systems Engineering. In my role, I create real time optimisation applications for large process plants, which allows our clients to determine what changes they need to make to their operating practices to both save money and reduce their carbon emissions. I have recently completed my first full project and seeing the impact of my work on the client’s greenhouse gas emissions has been particularly rewarding. I was also able to visit the client’s site in Portugal, which was an extremely fun and eye-opening experience.
Tips and advice: My main advice would be to not worry too much about what the future holds and to do what you enjoy. Throughout my school life, I never had a specific career path in mind and so I chose to study subjects that I found interesting. I decided to study Chemical Engineering without knowing much about the subject purely because I enjoyed Maths and Chemistry at school. Similarly, I chose to carry out my master’s dissertation project on nuclear fuel recycling as it was an area that piqued my interest. Without making both of those decisions, I wouldn’t be working in an area that I love, so I would advise people to make decisions based on what they enjoy now and to not think too much about the future. Also, I would recommend that no matter what you choose to do, work hard at it. It might be a very obvious thing to suggest, but you never know what might arise from working hard. I was offered my research post by my dissertation supervisor purely because I did well in my dissertation project. If I hadn’t been offered that role, I wouldn’t be doing the job that I’m doing now so I would implore anyone to put their all into anything that they do.
My School Memories: My favourite memories from school all revolve around friends. From being shushed on the mezzanine during a free period, playing Uno in the common room to having group support sessions when exams were approaching- we had a great time together.
What did I do after leaving KKS: After studying Maths, English Language and Psychology at A-Level, I went on to study Primary Education at Northumbria University. I have had placement in a few schools within Newcastle, and come September will have my own classroom in Kendal! Leaving to study in a new city was scary at first, but I quickly found people on my course who had the same work ethic as me, and I know I will have them as friends for life. Placement can be daunting, but is honestly the best way to learn the job in action!
Tips and advice: Don’t worry about ‘I don’t know’. I didn’t know what I wanted to do until halfway through Year 13. All my friends had applied for courses and I had no idea what to write in my personal statement. Once I’d revisited teaching at a University open day I realised it was something I would enjoy doing in the future! Mrs Timms sorted me out a placement to try teaching within Kendal, and it all worked out perfectly!
What I did after KKS: studied Chemistry at Newcastle University gaining a Master’s degree in 2016. Worked for the National Chemical Emergency Centre handling worldwide emergencies from transport incidents to drugs labs. Moved into industry as a regulatory specialist and bought a house. Currently working for Lanxess, a global chemicals manufacturer as a Dangerous Goods Specialist, ensuring that chemicals are transported safely and in accordance with numerous international standards. I’m also editting my first novel.
Tips and Advice: Don’t worry about not knowing what you want to do. Travel, even if it’s not to the ends of the earth – exposing yourself to new places, people and experiences will make you more sensitive to what you have and what you’re missing. Perspectives are important, even in learning, if something doesn’t make sense or you need guidance shop around – there’s more than one way to approach a problem.
My school memories: My favorite year was year 10, when we performed ‘We Will Rock You’ as the school musical – I had some great times, made some excellent friends and it brought lots of people together from different year groups. I think performing on stage really helped me become more confident as a teenager.
What I did after KKS: I went on to study a Masters degree in Chemistry at Newcastle University (2015-2019) which was followed by a PhD in Chemistry at the University of Warwick (2019-2023). I currently work as a postdoctoral research associate in the chemistry department at Newcastle University and as a crystallographer for the UK National Crystallography Service. I specialize in extreme conditions crystallography and high-throughput crystallisation techniques.
Tips and advice: Never underestimate your own ability and remember your own agency. If you are unsure about what you want to do after secondary school, I would advise you to do what you want to do, not what others expect you to do. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, think of mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow as a person.
My school memories:
I loved my time as a student. I had a lovely group of friends and great teachers, who made learning fun. My only regret is not studying Biology during my time there! Some of my favourite lessons included PE lessons (I loved PE), Art with Mr Cater, English/Media with Mr Dawson, Science with Mrs Wrigley, my tutor Mr Nicholl and Health & Social Care with Mrs Wright, as well as the Germany trip with History.
What I did after KKS:
I have always loved to learn and really enjoyed my time at school. I am an enthusiastic and active person, who enjoys new experiences, so always wanted a ‘diverse’ job. Throughout my childhood, I considered being a dancer, singer, scientist, police officer, athlete, teacher, even joining the army! I was never someone who absolutely DEFINITELY knew what I wanted to do as my career path, but with the work experience options at KKS, I was able to volunteer at a local school and read, bake and enjoy art with the children weekly. This developed an interest in working with children and I’ve stuck with this ever since.
After leaving school, having successfully completed my A Levels in Health and Social Care and Media Studies, I began working at Topshop (part-time) in Kendal and Appletree Treatment Centre -a local children’s home for young people who have not had the best start in life. I have always felt passionate about supporting young people and did a mixture of care work and Teaching Assistant support with a fantastic team. I also attended Kendal College one evening a week to study my Foundation Degree in Children, Young People & their Services (2011 – 2013)
After 2 years of studying for my Foundation Degree, I successfully completed the course and enjoyed a graduation ceremony to celebrate. I had made some great friends on the course and learnt a lot, including gaining my first qualification in Child Protection and Safeguarding. The course also enabled me to develop my work experience knowledge, gain my DBS certificate and make links with employers in the area. Following this, I continued my studies through a ‘top-up’ year at UCLAN, one day a week, to gain my BA Hons in Children, Schools & Families (2014). I studied hard and continued working full time at Appletree. At this point in my life, I was sure I wanted to be a Social Worker. After a very full-on year (including the pressure of writing a good dissertation!) I completed my degree and enjoyed another graduation ceremony!
After 2 years working full time following my degree, I decided that being a Social Worker wasn’t for me. I had learnt so much working in the home and had began really enjoying the educational side to the job. My twin sister had been studying in Leeds, returned to Kendal and decided to successfully become a Primary School Teacher through the School’s Direct Programme (2016-2017). Due to my experience as a Teaching Assistant, I followed in her footsteps and decided to go for it the year following. I loved it!
5 years later, I have my PGCE and had been teaching full-time in local Primary Schools, working with a huge range of incredible young people across a range of year groups and their families. Alongside this, I found my passion for Sport again and completed my Fitness Instructing (Level 2) and Personal Training (Level 3) qualification through Kendal College. I began teaching fitness classes locally and online through an incredible company called Build & Breathe (exercise for individuals with Scoliosis & Spinal Fusion).
But… then covid hit and we all know how that went! Working in the key worker hubs, delivering online sessions, creating study packs for the young people, dropping resources off to the community, offering emotional support to the families and genuinely just trying to understand the world we found ourselves in, was not easy for anyone. It just goes to show how resilient we, and especially young people, really are!
Covid enabled me to recognise changes I wanted to make in my life, in regards to work/life balance. Teaching can be wonderful and has so many amazing memories for me, but I decided to make a change – still within education.
I have been the School & Community Liaison Officer at Kendal College for a year now and feel like I’ve found my perfect fit! I guide people on their career paths, making positive choices for their futures, support young people with their needs, work within a wonderful team and the community, lead our Student Ambassadors, visit schools regularly, help with mock interviews and deliver CV workshops, plus much more. I have developed so many positive relationships with others. It’s a really rewarding job and brings together all the experiences and skills I have learnt since leaving KKS. It just goes to show, the path to your chosen career is not always straight forward!
Tips and advice:
One thing I wish I had known when I was at school, is to not take life too seriously and enjoy every minute! You are never ‘stuck’ with your choices and can make changes, whenever you feel you need to. You just have to work hard and think positively, as well as develop the experience and knowledge you need to succeed. Work experience is sooo important and I am certain I wouldn’t have the opportunities I have been given if it wasn’t for my work experience (as well as the incredible support from my family!) You do have to work hard – nothing comes easy if you want it badly enough, but the reward is so worth it. Maths and English are really important as many entry requirements onto courses and apprenticeships expect these- try and get them out of the way before you move on from school.
ENJOY what you do. Life is too short to be unhappy!
My name is Sam Duff, I’m from Natland, just south of Kendal. I went to KKS from 2013 to 2020. My career probably started with the Arkwright Engineering Scholarship, which I applied for under the experienced hand of Mr Everingham, whom some of you may remember was the previous head of the tech department before Ms Baron. That, along with 2 A*’s in Chemistry & Product Design, 2 A’s in Physics & Maths, and a Gold CREST Award led me to studying MEng Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Manchester, where I was awarded a scholarship and am coming to the end of my second year. Due to this and averaging a first so far, I am now looking forward to a 12-week internship as a Materials Engineer at the EV company Arrival before entering my penultimate year. I am most proud of earning my internship, which has helped set me up for my dream career in the automotive industry.