31 January 2024
Experts from the world of food and drink shared industry insights full of flavour and colour with students at our first online careers panel of the year on Tuesday 30 January, hosted by Woldingham's Careers Advisor Mr Rob Philbin.
Students heard from Maria Dunbar, Leiths Academy Development Director, past parent Michelle Forczek, co-founder of Top Selection Ltd and alumnae Emma Hull, Wine Manager at local winery Squerryes, Cecily Chappell, CEO of Chelsea Vintners, Claire Collini, an independent fine wine specialist and freelance auctioneer, and Lucy Mackenzie, founder and director of Lucy’s Dressings.
Among the extensive experiences our guests shared were working overseas (with A Level and degree level languages proving a real asset to several of them) and setting up businesses – including using crowd funding. There was also much common ground between them when it came to providing top tips to students. These included having a ‘can do’ attitude; being ready to start at the bottom and work up; developing transferrable skills whenever and wherever possible; and not being glued to a phone at every available opportunity.
Our guests also talked about things that impress them when interviewing, such as having researched your interviewer (LinkedIn recommended for this) as well as the company; asking plenty of questions (as well as showing you’ve done your research, it may help you decide whether the company is right for you); and demonstrating you have both energy and enthusiasm. Michelle also explained that her company had recently employed someone who, some months earlier, had asked a colleague for an 'informational interview' – a chat over a coffee to understand more about a particular role and sector. She said that most people would be happy to do this, and you never know where proactivity can lead.
A recording is available for students unable to join the live session.