Former Xaverian flying high with dream apprenticeship at Amazon

Jasmine Shum, from the Class of 2023, is a former Xaverian who has launched her career with a Higher Apprenticeship with one of the big-five American technology companies. After completing a BTEC in Business at Xaverian, Jasmine in now applying her knowledge and skills in the workplace with a sought-after Marketing Executive Apprenticeship at Amazon.

Jasmine chose to specialise in business at the college by following the BTEC Extended Diploma which meant she was able study the subject in more depth, and it would give her the breadth of knowledge she needed to take the next step into an apprenticeship. Jasmine said: “The course has given me a fascinating insight into business, and I’ve loved that it involves so many different skills, such as being creative, strategic and innovative etc. Every lesson was different, and I was constantly learning new topics and their application in the real world. My teachers have been so supportive, both academically and personally which has really made all the difference when completing my studies.”

After finishing at Xaverian, Jasmine relocated to the company’s head offices in London to start the apprenticeship and said: “It was a bit daunting at first as there was a lot of change all at once, but I quickly found my feet and settled. It’s been an amazing experience so far and I have learned so much about working in a fast-paced marketing environment. As part of the apprenticeship, I am also studying towards a CIM Certificate in Marketing, which is great as I will gain a qualification and can apply the knowledge I learn to my job role in the company.

“I’ve developed so much both professionally and personally through being an apprentice. For example, I get to pitch my ideas to senior managers, which is amazing when they get accepted and they allow me to implement them as part of the marketing strategy. Being an apprentice has enabled me to work in an environment where I can learn and develop new skills, as well as gain the confidence and support to execute them.”

Jasmine’s role at Amazon involves working within a team to manage content carousels and marketing strategies on the Prime Video storefront. Jasmine commented: “I specifically manage a synergy between my team and the socials team across the UK, Spain and France, and have supported the US team so that they can replicate the synergy in their locale. I also manage my own innovation project which involves working with metadata to improve the quality and performance of our marketing strategies to improve the customer experience.

“Even though I’m so early on in my career and only seven months into my role at Amazon, I have had many valuable experiences including taking part in the ‘Ten Years of Amazon Apprenticeships’ event where I spoke to over 300 students, I supported a ‘Future Leaders’ programme where I mentored pupils from inner city schools, I featured in an ‘AboutAmazon’ article offering advice to aspiring apprentices and I co-presented the Amazon Apprentice Awards.

“I love marketing and, through being an apprentice, I’ve got the opportunity to work on so many exciting projects. The skills and opportunities I’ve had are invaluable and I definitely feel that it’s been better for my career than if I’d gone to university. I now know I’d like to work more specifically in events, socials or public relations in a role where I get to lead campaigns on seasonal and diversity, equality and inclusion themes, as it’s something I’m really passionate about.”

Xaverian student takes on a higher apprenticeship to launch an exciting career in law

Xaverian students are opening their eyes to the many exciting alternatives to university being offered by Higher and Degree Apprenticeship opportunities.

Xaverian students have traditionally progressed onto degree courses at university before they start their careers, but Temi Kila has chosen to go down the apprenticeship route with international law firm, Pinsent Masons, on a structured career path to become a qualified paralegal. Temi commented: “I chose to do an apprenticeship because it was an alternative route into law that meant I was getting valuable experience working alongside experienced professionals and a qualification that was paid for. I had initially applied for university, but I knew it wasn’t for me and wouldn’t give me the practical skills I needed to excel in a career in law.”

Temi, a former pupil of Wright Robinson College who gained A Levels in History, Psychology and Sociology at Xaverian, commented: “I chose to study at Xaverian based on excellent reviews from ex-students, plus I liked the topics that were taught within the subjects I had picked. It was also an inclusive college with a diverse mix of students from different backgrounds where I met lots of new friends.

“I found the topics covered in both Sociology and History to be really interesting and ones I enjoyed learning about. I loved the fact that the topics covered in Sociology were always relevant to society making it easier to understand, and we had many fascinating debates where we could bring our own experiences into the discussion.

“When I came towards the end of Year 13, I spoke to the college’s careers team who helped me to find suitable apprenticeships, and they supported me to do well in interviews when previously I had been unsuccessful.”

Temi was keen to start working whilst also continuing her studies at a higher level and chose the higher apprenticeship at international law firm, Pinsent Masons LLP within their Vario practice group because it offered an introductory route into law with the option to remain a qualified paralegal or progress onto the solicitor apprenticeship at the end of the two years. Temi said: “I chose Pinsent Masons because of its reputation of having a positive work environment for its employees. Its approach to mental health and promoting a work ethic that every employee should enjoy their job, has made me enthusiastic about every day I spend here!”

Temi currently works in the Finance and Projects department and works closely with the law firm’s solicitors, assisting them on legal matters and real legal transactions, and said: “I also work on related tasks like drafting articles or tracking legislation changes which we call Business Development. I am also studying the Paralegal Apprenticeship Standard at the University of Law and this will take two years to complete. At the end of the course, I’ll be a qualified paralegal meaning I can progress to become a Senior Paralegal and eventually a Paralegal Manager. Alternatively, I could join the Solicitor Apprenticeship for five years and become a qualified solicitor.

“Being at Xaverian has helped me a lot. It has improved my social and academic skills and given me the confidence to pursue my career goal of working in law. The Apprenticeship at Pinsent Masons has been the perfect start to my career, and I’m really excited about the future and where it will take me.”

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Creative workshop sheds light on Holocaust stories of ‘Liberation and Freedom’

Philosophy, Ethics and Theology students at Xaverian College recently had the opportunity to attend workshops as part of a creative arts projects led by Holocaust Art Educator, Caroline Slifkin, and Hannah Goldstone, whose grandfather came to the UK on the Kindertransport, which was a rescue effort of children from Nazi-controlled territory that took place in 1938–1939 during the nine months prior to the outbreak of the Second World War. Hannah and Caroline have worked together on various Holocaust Education projects for decades and, after receiving funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, launched the Liberation and Freedom Project. 

The purpose of the project is to look at the complex subject of liberation through the art of Holocaust survivors and liberation and war artists. After learning about the subject and listening to Hannah share her grandfather’s experiences, the students reflected on what they had heard and expressed their own thoughts through the creation of art that will be displayed, alongside the art of 11 other schools and colleges participating in the project, at the Yom HaShoah Remembrance event at the Bridgewater Hall on 7 May 2024.

Year 13 student, Denise Andrade from Manchester and studying A Levels in English Literature, Psychology Philosophy, Ethics & Theology, commented: “I took part in the project to experience a part of history that cannot be forgotten. I think more people should take part in similar projects as it allows us to creatively engage with an uncomfortable past that must be remembered.”

Seb Dixson from Hyde, studying A Levels in Philosophy, Ethics & Theology, Business and Politics in Year 12, took part in the activity to support his A Level studies, and said: “I found the talk about the Holocaust truly fascinating to be honest and would thoroughly recommend it to other students to fully understand what happened at the time. Creating the artwork was thought-provoking and enabled us to attach meaning to what we talked about.”

Mo McDevitt, Philosophy, Ethics and Theology Teacher at Xaverian College, said: Our students worked exceptionally well at creatively reflecting on the complex subject of War and Liberation. Caroline and Hannah’s thought-provoking sessions helped to stimulate group discussion through the use of survivor testimony and art that inspired our students to express their thoughts and ideas through the creation of their own art pieces. We look forward to our continued work with Holocaust Education in supporting our students with their studies and contributing to the outcomes of the project.”

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Up-and-coming musicians strike chords beyond the classroom

Xaverian students have set their sights on success by forming bands and increasing their following on Spotify. The students all attend Xaverian College to study a mix of A Levels and BTEC courses whilst all sharing the burning ambition to be successful in the music industry.

Founded when they were in Year 10 at St Ambrose College by Cole Johnson and Elliott Carson, Crook On The Wall is an up-and-coming indie rock band who recently released their debut single, ‘Imperial Mind’, on October 14th.

Since its release, the single has gained lots of traction on streaming platforms and has featured on Radio X and numerous local radio stations. The band is now preparing to play at their first festival this year and gigs across their hometown of Manchester.

The future looks promising for Crook on the Wall, a young band that originally set out to play covers whilst busking. Now, with aspirations to release a full album in the future, they are putting all of their energy into growing their audience.

Cole commented: “We’re really excited for the future! We’ve all put so much time and effort into making music and are really proud of what we have achieved so far.

“We’re really lucky that Xaverian has been so supportive. We chose to study at the college because of the diverse community and the sense of freedom to find yourself alongside your studies.”

Elliott added: “The Teachers are great! They made the transition between school and College as smooth as possible and have helped us find a nice balance between completing our A Levels whilst still prioritising making music.”

Year 13 students Scarlett Reid and Barnaby Simpson have recently hit 30,000 streams on Spotify for recent releases of their new singles. Releasing music under the name of Scarlett Reid, the pair first met on their Film Studies A Level at the College and realised they both had a passion for performing and writing music.

Scarlett commented: “We quickly realised that I sing, and Barnaby plays the piano, so we spent time having fun together by playing music and it sounded really good. Barnaby wrote a song called ‘Without U’ which we then decided to record and release. The song garnered a surprising amount of attention, with over 10,000 streams on Spotify, which led to us releasing three other songs, including ‘Imprints’ which currently has over 22,000 streams on Spotify.”

Both are hoping to record more songs and continue collaborating and developing their style of music.

Barnaby said: “After Xaverian, I will be taking a gap year to go out into the industry to create connections and record in studios to explore opportunities working with Scarlett and other singers. We are looking at branching out and will be looking to do open mic spots to gain more exposure and hopefully get noticed by the industry. We are also planning to go on the College’s Radio show, Radio X, where we will be interviewed, and they will play some of our songs. We are both really keen to promote ourselves and can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

In an era where young musicians are breaking barriers and challenging norms, Crook on the Wall and Scarlett Reid stand as a testament to the power of creativity and determination. Keep an eye, and ear, out for their next releases and show your support by streaming their music online.

Former student returns to Xaverian to share experiences

Mia Dahl Martinsen, former Xaverian A Level student, has returned to the college to do a work experience placement as a Graphic Design Assistant as part of the third year of her Graphic Design Degree at Kingston University in London. Mia, 21 from Timperley and former Knutsford Academy High School pupil, studied A Levels in Graphic Design, Law and Textiles, and is sharing her university experiences and graphic design insights with Xaverian students by leading workshops in skills and techniques.

I chose to study at Xaverian because it offered lots of options at A Level and it was the perfect stepping-stone to university. In terms of my arts courses, I chose textiles as it looked really interesting was more than just creating fashion, and graphics as it covered both digital and hand drawn art which suited my creative style. I particularly enjoyed the graphics course as we had the freedom to use mixed mediums as part of the project briefs, and I could use the skills I had learned in textiles to create physical pieces to use in my graphics’ designs. I found studying law alongside arts subjects was a nice balance and it gave me a lot of confidence as you have to speak in public.”

Mia will be working at the College for up to four months as a Graphic Design Assistant, where she will be shadowing the teacher in tutorials and also leading workshops on specific skills and giving one-to-one help and advice to students. Mia commented: “I wanted to spend a year in industry so I could get the most out of my degree, by being amongst graphic designers and industry professionals to experience what it is like to work in the industry. My plan is to work at the College for the first half of the year and then spend the other half studying in Portugal. I remember placement students being in some of my classes and I found it really useful to learn from their experiences, the choices they made and the benefits of taking an Art Foundation course, so it’s great for me to be able to do the same for current students.”

“Being at the college for my placement has given me more confidence, especially in public speaking, which is essential in the design world and if I eventually want to go into teaching. I’ve been able to give the students advice about university as I found it was really hard to know what it would be like at university as I didn’t know anyone who had been. I’ve really enjoyed being with the students, even though they are only a few years younger than me, and coming back to the college and being in the same classroom has been quite nostalgic!”

“I know I want to work as a Graphic Designer and but I am undecided about which route in graphic design to take. I think working in an advertising agency would benefit my career as I will be working to defined briefs with design professionals who I can learn a great deal from. Doing the placement at Xaverian and completing my final year at university will help me to do this and ensure I am ready to take the next steps, which I’m really excited about.”

Emma Baker, Xaverian Graphics Teacher and Curriculum Leader, said: “It was great to hear from Mia after completing her studies at Xaverian three years ago, and we were delighted to offer her the work experience opportunity at the college. Mia excelled in her studies while she was with us and it’s amazing for our students to hear from Mia about her experiences at university and to benefit from the skills workshops she is leading. The students have all really benefitted from Mia’s presence in the department, both in terms of their A Level studies and making choices following Xaverian.”

As one of the largest providers of post-16 education in the region, Xaverian College offers an extensive range of A Levels in addition to several BTEC courses.

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Xaverian Music students round off the year in style at their RNCM Christmas Concert

Xaverian Music students celebrated Christmas in style with their concert at the Royal Northern College of Music in December. Students impressed with a pre-event jazz band performing jazz classics in the foyer and performances of traditional and modern classics that included: Big Band performing Satin Doll, Soul Band performing an 80s Soul Medley, String Orchestra performing Grimoire conducted by Year 13 student, Adam Spry, Double Violin Concerto Movement 2 performed by Soloists: Music Mentor & Xavs Alumni, Molly Barber and Year 13 student, Bella Seymour, and Concert Choir accompanied by Barnaby Simpson performing This Little Babe & Deo Gracias from A Ceremony of Carols.

Music concerts are a notable feature of life at Xaverian for students who are interested in music as an enrichment activity or who study Music A Level or Music Technology BTEC as one of their subjects. The college’s music department is also proud to be hosting the Music for Youth Festival being hosted by the college on 2 March 2024. Local Manchester bands are being invited to take part in the competition which is one of a number of festivals being hosted by venues across the country. Successful bands will progress through to the national festival at Birmingham Symphony Hall and the Music For Youth Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, London in November.

Those interested in participating in the event should email music@xaverian.ac.uk by February 14th 2024. The festival is suitable for all types of ensembles and musical genres and participants should be aged between 11-21 years.

As one of the largest providers of post-16 education in the region, Xaverian College offers an extensive range of A Levels in addition to several BTEC courses.

Community spirit shines bright at Xaverian College

Over the last 50 years, Xaverian College has been raising money and collecting gifts for families within the local community as part of their Christmas Toy Appeal.

Throughout November and December, staff and students from across the College came together to raise money which is used to buy gifts for children within the local community. From sponsored sporting events and talent shows to bake sales and Christmas fairs, over £5000 was raised to purchase over 400 gifts, which were wrapped and delivered to local charities ahead of Christmas Day. The gifts are then passed anonymously to parents to give to their children.

The annual tradition was introduced by a Xaverian teacher many years ago and, although the project has evolved over time, the core principles have stayed the same of providing at least one Christmas gift to young children who may not otherwise receive any presents on Christmas Day.

Community is at the heart of our values and our staff and students come together in the spirit of these values and the Xaverian mission to make a difference to the lives of disadvantaged families and young children at Christmas. College Principal, Tony Knowles, commented: “It’s heartening to me to see Xaverian staff and students pull together and raise so much money to buy presents for the Toy Appeal. It really does make a difference to the lives of young children to be able to experience the joy of Christmas and receive presents on Christmas Day. Xaverian College was founded on the principles of service and supporting the local community and, in the spirit of this, I am proud of what we have achieved for the Toy Appeal.” 

Soundwaves of success – Xaverian students launch entertaining radio show on community station

Six Xaverian students have teamed up with ALL FM 96.9 Radio, Manchester, to create and produce a regular live show that promises to entertain and tap into fresh perspectives.

The show, which is broadcast from the ALL FM studios in Levenshulme, goes to air in Manchester across Ardwick, Levenshulme and Longsight and, being a digital station, can be listened to through an app or on the ALL FM website. Prior to the show going live, Xaverian students took part in three hours of training to learn how to create the show, including show set-up, mic use and how to structure the show, before their first broadcast.

Stan Oram, 17 from Urmston, studying A Levels in Film Studies, Sociology and Politics, commented: “Although the shows are live, we plan the content in advance, such as the topics we talk about and the songs we play, and then what we say on air just comes naturally by having a conversation about the topic.

“I’ll be staying in Manchester to go to university, so I hope to continue with the radio show and develop it further. It has been a phenomenal opportunity for me to gain confidence and learn skills in hosting our own radio show and given me aspirations to work in radio or journalism as a career.”

Lucy Scott, 17 from Altrincham, who is studying A Levels in Film Studies, Media Studies and Psychology, said: “We have a segment on the station at 4pm every other Tuesday called Eclectic FM. We approach the show in a jukebox style and pick the topics we think will be good to talk about and we hope are interesting to our listeners. Radio is a dying art and this is a shame as radio is really important, and for me it has been a huge confidence boost. You can have that doubt in the back of your mind that people don’t want to listen to you but actually they do and you realise that your ‘voice’ and what you have to say is important.”

“I’d like to continue taking part in public radio but I will be going away to university so I will look for new opportunities to continue with it, whether this is more formal or as an extra-curricular activity.”

Maddie Nketiah, 17 from Stockport and studying Criminology, Media Studies and Psychology, said: “Being on the show has done a lot for me as I have Autism and, when I was younger, I was diagnosed with selective mutism so didn’t speak as a child. Now I am doing the radio show, I feel I am facing my fears and this has done a lot for my confidence. Following Xaverian, I will be taking a gap year and looking to get more involved in radio and develop myself further as presenter.”

The group came together after seeing a poster advertising the opportunity and didn’t know each other before taking part in the show. Humairaa Rahman, 17 from Manchester, who is studying Sociology, Criminology and Psychology said: “It’s been nice for me to join the group as we didn’t know each other beforehand and now when we get together we can talk for ages on different topics and this comes across on the show. You become immersed in the topic you are talking about and the conversation just flows which hopefully makes for an engaging discussion.

“I’d like to continue doing radio as it is a fun thing to do aside from my A Levels and it’s given me more confidence in speaking and presenting. For my next steps, I will be going to university to study Psychology and would love to continue presenting on radio as a hobby if the opportunity presents itself.”

One of the things that sets Xaverian apart is our commitment to enriching students’ futures outside of the classroom via a newly introduced enrichment programme – Xaverian Xtras. The Xtras Programme is split into three strands, Study Xtras, Work Xtras and Life Xtras and the wide range of enrichment opportunities gives students a chance to get involved in fantastic opportunities that are fun, interesting and educational, and will give them a really fulfilling College experience.

Click on the links to listen to the shows:
Show 1 – 14 November 2023
Show 2 – 5 December 2023
Show 3 – 16 January 2024

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Xaverian College success in OxBright Essay Competition

Congratulations to Xaverian College pupil James Carr, who was Highly Commended in the OxBright Essay Competition 2023.

OxBright’s mission is to inspire students to succeed, find their purpose and make a difference in the world. They do this by offering courses, internships, conferences and resources for teenagers, and you can find out more on their website.

The OxBright competition is open to students in the UK and globally, and it involves writing an essay using the same question across lots of different subjects of: “How can long-term thinking in the field of the subject foster optimism about the future?” James, former Parrs Wood High School pupil, who is currently studying A Levels in English Literature, French and Politics, chose Politics and wrote his essay on climate change and what is being done politically around the world, and what action countries are taking to have a positive impact on the environment.

On taking part in the competition, James commented: “Our Teacher made an online group for those of us on the course who intend to go on to study politics at university and the competition was one of the activities posted on the group. I thought at first this would be extremely difficult to approach, because politics is in such a mess at the moment and against the backdrop of what I was writing about, my arguments had to be really persuasive. I started with COP 21 in Paris and then looked at the countries’ progress in fulfilling their promises following this. Despite the different political influences, I found all the major political powers were committed to making changes and I determined that there was reason to feel optimistic for the future.”

The panel of judges were very impressed with James’s essay, nominating it as ‘Highly Commended’ and ranking it within the top 20% of a competitive field of over 1000 entries. James received a Certificate of Achievement and has won a free place at an OxBright academic conference. James commented: “I was shocked at where I placed as I wasn’t expecting it but was really happy to place where I did in a competition that attracts so many international entries. Taking part was great for me as it I had already learned how to structure an essay and to put an effective and persuasive argument across in class and was able to apply this when writing my submission. Being commended by the judges will also be great for my application when I apply to university next year!”

James is planning study International Relations at The University of Edinburgh or London School of Economics and following this is looking to work in International Relations as a Political Consultant to advise companies on the political implications of corporate activities.

Entering an Essay Competition is a great way to prepare for university applications, think deeply about a topic beyond the school curriculum, and widen your academic horizons.

Every year, students at Xaverian are encouraged to extent their learning beyond the classroom to gain valuable real-world experience and essay competitions have proved to be popular by those wanting to progress to university.

As one of the largest providers of post-16 education in the region, Xaverian College offers an extensive range of A Levels in addition to several BTEC courses.

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Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Xaverian Geography student

Year 13 Xaverian student, Sylvie Norreys, 17 from Stretford, recently had the experience of a lifetime when she took part in the International Geography Olympiad in Indonesia.

The Olympiad is a competition aimed at 16-19-year-old geography students from all over the world who have already been successful in their respective national Olympiads and who have been selected to represent their respective countries in the international competition. Competing students take part in written and multimedia tests, substantial fieldwork and observations that lead to cartographic representation and geographical analysis. The student teams also create poster presentations and take part in cultural exchanges.

On being chosen to be one of the UK representatives, Sylvie commented: “Being asked to take part in the International Geography Olympiad in Indonesia has been my highlight at Xaverian. I found out about it from my Geography Teacher, Dean Colasurdo, who got me interested in it and helped me find the sponsors I needed to go on the trip. In preparation for the trip, I did lots of past papers from the Olympiad website and did video calls with the Team Leaders who gave us lots of tips in preparation for the competition.

“As part of the competition, we got the opportunity to do fieldwork in the Indonesian rainforest, which was really exciting, and we were able to make new friends with people of other countries. Overall, it was a great experience and one I will never forget.”

Sylvie, former Chorlton High School pupil, is studying Mathematics, Physics and Geography at Xaverian, and commented: “My favourite subject at Xaverian is Geography because I really enjoyed going on the field trip to the Lake District where we got to work in teams to take geological samples, plus I enjoyed the social element that we had at the evenings. I like the topics we do as part of the course, such as the Tectonics unit and we work together in groups on projects and assignments, which I enjoy doing.”

Sylvie, who is planning to study a Degree in Geography following Xaverian, commented: “Being at Xaverian has given me lots of opportunities, including taking part in the Geography Olympiad, as well other opportunities such as university trips and visits abroad. I also like the way we are taught as the lessons are really interesting to listen to and the teachers prepare us for exams by teaching us good exam and revision techniques.

“I’d like to go to university to study Geography following Xaverian as I’ve really enjoyed the subject and I think it will be a fun and fulfilling experience. After university, I’d like to work in Environmental Engineering, because it’s an area that interests me and is important for future environmental sustainability.”

James Foster, Curriculum Leader for Geography at the College, commented: “We encourage all our students to take part competitions as we feel this is good for their academic development, and interacting with other like-minded students gives a different and broader perspective on global issues. Sylvie did well to qualify for the International Olympiad and we were delighted that she grasped the opportunity with such enthusiasm to take part in this unique experience.”

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