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‘Anyone can have a positive impact’: School hosts Global Impact careers evening 

How will the environment, sustainability and climate change shape future careers? In what sectors will the workforce of tomorrow have the best opportunity to make a positive impact on the planet? 

These questions were among the topics up for discussion in a ‘Global Impact’ careers evening at the School on Monday (8 November). The brainchild of Head of School, Jonas Freeman, the special online event was organised with the expert help of Tonbridge’s Higher Education and Careers Department, and coincided with the COP 26 climate change conference taking place in Glasgow.   

An exciting line-up of high-profile speakers included representatives from the worlds of politics, business, science and sport. Joining the ‘Teams’ event from various locations around the globe, including Canada, Azerbaijan and the UK, the speakers were:

* Annamie Paul (pictured above), a Canadian politician, activist and lawyer who has served as the leader of the Green Party of Canada. Ms Paul is the first Black Canadian and first Jewish woman to be elected leader of a federal party in Canada, was the founder of the Canadian Centre for Political Leadership and has worked in various senior international affairs positions, including in Canada's Mission to the European Union. 

* Dr Simon Boxall, Principal Teaching Fellow within Ocean and Earth Science, University of Southampton. Dr Boxall is an oceanographer with expertise in subjects ranging from oil spills to climate change. He works closely with public bodies such as the National Science Museum, the National Maritime Museum, The Royal Institution and the South Bank in promoting science events.

* Jim O’Leary, BP Vice President of Wells, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey region. Mr O’Leary has a wealth of experience in managing wells activities. He discussed the skills and talents that companies such as BP will need in order to focus on low carbon energy sources, including ‎wind and solar, bioenergy and hydrogen and carbon capture.

* Kenny Kong, McLaren F1 Reliability Engineer & STEM Coordinator. Mr Kong applies design and problem-solving methodologies to the fast-paced, ever-moving world of motorsports. His areas of expertise include software for autonomous vehicles, Gen 2 Formula E batteries and Formula 1 hybrid technologies.
Jonas said: “As someone who is applying to read Modern Languages at university, I have been exploring how I can integrate sustainability into my career, and I believe that this event showed that we will all have a role to play in solving environmental crises in the future.

“With speakers coming from a variety of sectors and from different countries, we enjoyed a stimulating and thought-provoking evening. The talks also highlighted the fact that anyone can have a positive impact on the climate, regardless of the career paths that we choose.” 

The evening consisted of presentations, followed by a question-and-answer session with the speakers. A recording of the event will be shared with careers advisers in several other local schools.

The Higher Education and Careers Department runs a series of careers and mentoring evenings throughout the school year, helping boys to gain a good understanding of their aptitudes and opportunities, and introducing them to a wide range of professions including Law, Architecture, Civil Service, Engineering, Professional Sport, Entrepreneurship and many more.

Pictured above: Annamie Paul. Below, from top: Dr Simon Boxall, Jim O'Leary, Kenny Kong.