Networking with NHS- A night to remember

A Tuesday evening with a twist. On 19 October The Abbey’s annual networking dinner took place, where alumnae were reunited with their school to unveil the lessons and experiences learnt since leaving – and of course to network with current Abbey students.

The evening revolved around the National Health Service – the UK’s biggest employer, with 1.7 million staff in more than 350 roles in a range of different disciplines, from doctors and nurses, to lawyers, engineers and computer scientists. A drinks reception followed by a three course meal, the evening did not disappoint.

Once we’d had the opportunity during the drinks reception to talk to anyone who’s career path we were interested in, we then moved on to the main hall and seating arrangements to continue our evening. We were seated on tables of 10 with an Abbey alumna hosting each table. The hosts were closely aligned to the area of future career interest we had, ranging from medicine to business. It was a relaxed and enjoyable environment, with many exciting conversations. It was interesting to discover what made the alumnae decide to be in their line of work, and the impact of the pandemic on their jobs and university experiences. It was also great to hear first hand advice from workers in the industry before starting out on our own journeys.

We were also fortunate enough to listen to experienced and entertaining speaker Dr Will Orr, whose daughters also attended The Abbey. Dr Orr is a consultant cardiologist and Urgent Care group director at Royal Berkshire Hospital. In his 20th year at the Royal Berkshire Hospital he has been operating in the unprecedented times of the Covid19 pandemic. His experience of the pandemic moved the audience and was inspiring to listen to. It brought about a celebration and appreciation for all that we have to be grateful for. It was clear from his talk that the impact of Covid has brought a greater emphasis on research and innovation. Another thing that remained clear was the respect he has for his colleagues, he even said it was one of the best things about his job: the shared desire to help and make a difference.
The anticipated event did not fail to live up to its expectations; the bubbly and lively atmosphere made it comfortable to speak to everyone, and we were able to get important, first hand advice tailored to what interests us. The most resounding advice of all though, in every field of work, is to enjoy what we choose to do. Doing something that matters to us will enable us to take truly important values with us, of courage, perseverance and kindness, wherever we want to go. It really was a helpful and enlightening experience – being able to discover first hand, from people who have previously been in the same shoes as us, some really important lessons.

I think we speak for all Abbey students when we say it was a night to remember.
Lexi, Upper VI (Year 13)

Quotes from Alumnae hosts:
‘It was lovely to be back in school and meeting students, other alumnae and seeing past teachers. I was really impressed by how motivated and driven the students were and I had some really interesting conversations with many of them.’

‘The dinner was a brilliant opportunity to speak to like minded students interested in pursuing similar careers or looking at the same university. The dinner gave us all a chance to get to know one another in a relaxed environment and there were lots of good questions raised about choosing universities, careers and even A Levels. The talk from Dr Orr was very insightful and from an engineering perspective, it showed the wide range of opportunities the NHS can offer.’