Year 8 Design & Technology Careers Day

Our Design and Technology Careers Day

On Friday the 15th of November 2019, we had a Design and Technology professional team come in and teach us all about the in’s and out’s of different technologies. It was very interesting, learning all about the different options there are for us, if we decide we would like to study an aspect of Design and Technology for GCSE and start a career path within it. When I first came to this school, I thought that textiles, for example, was just about sewing fabrics and making outfits, but I have now learnt that there is much more to it than that.

Simon Thorpe who does lighting design really impressed me as I never knew designing lights could be so interesting! He showed us all these different pictures of how they layout the right colour and shape of lights onto a building so it suits it correctly. It was very fun to see all the different ways of how light can be shown. This really inspired me because it made me rethink my option for GCSE and how this might be a good topic for me to study.

Alex Hellum showed us how to work with modelling to create paper models to hold objects… he showed us pictures of what he created. We found it awe inspiring, and a lot of fun. We also learnt how wood technology is not only about cutting a piece of wood to make it look nice – it is also about creativity and designing something that could help us in modern day life in one way or another.

Alimat Adenekan came into talk about her job, she specialises in food safety and hygiene. She taught us that we didn’t always have to be good at cooking to be involved with food technology, as her job isn’t to cook food but to go around restaurants, cafés, shops and other places that provide food and look at how good their hygiene and health and safety is. She also showed us some pictures of how bad the safety and hygiene can be in restaurants as some of the pictures showed how gross it can get! But with people like her it can make a big difference with our health and safety around food.

Warren Malkin and Zoe Hillyard kindly came in to talk about their career in textiles. Zoe has a degree in embroidery and went on to be a knitwear designer. Warren has used his pattern and product development skills to design shoes for a living. We even had a chance to design wallpaper by cutting out different colours of paper in a form of fashion items. It really was a fun experience and we all took a lot from it. The finishing products of the wallpapers were beautiful.

The GSK engineers worked with us in thinking about design in medical technology. We enjoyed the workshops, and were very happy to receive smarties, which are designed in exactly the same way as coated tablets for medical use. We also looked at a prototype of a breathing apparatus to support patients with asthma that they were developing.

Our last visit was from Sarah Louise Colton who taught us about her job in the fashion and textiles industry. She is a fabric trend, sourcing and buying manager for womenswear, menswear and childrenswear at River Island. During our session with her she showed us many fashion designs and the latest trends in dresses for this year. Near the end of the session she gave us a chance to design our own dress/outfit and she gave us a wide range of fabrics to choose from which gave us a good idea of fashion all around the world when she explained to us where she had sourced each item and also she gave us a good idea of what it would be like to work in the fashion industry.

The Design & Technology Careers day really opened our minds to what we could be doing with our lives in the future. It was a great experience, learning about many different Design & Technology careers that we never knew about and how the areas of Technology could be so different but so fun at the same time. Overall we really enjoyed finding out about all the different careers and trying them out for ourselves.

Poppy Higgs and Charlotte Roberts (Year 8)

Our Design & Technology Professional Team

Warren Malkin has a degree in Mixed-Media Textiles and has used his pattern and product development skills to design shoes. Through his business, Pencil Led Design, he has worked for brands such as Merrell and Caterpillar and has travelled to factories in China to oversee their development into production. He is also a collector (cheese labels and orange wrappers amongst other things!). He uses found materials to create one-off art pieces and loves to draw.

Zoë Hillyard is a Textiles designer. She has as a degree in embroidery and went on to be a knitwear designer. She loves to travel and has previously worked in Mongolia, helping communities to develop yak knitting yarn. She is now a textile artist selling her ‘ceramic patchwork’ pieces through galleries. She is also a Senior Lecturer at Birmingham City University teaching students on the BA Textile Design course.

Here are 2 images from Zoe and Warren from the wallpaper textiles workshop – the coloured wallpaper is the Year 8 work (above) all photoshopped onto the ward walls.

Alimat Adenekan – Senior Environmental Health Practitioner – Specialism: Food Safety, Health & Safety. Her job involves: • Regular food hygiene inspections and associated closures, seizures, prohibitions, notices and letters on a weekly basis. These take place anywhere where food is present – restaurants, cafés, warehouses, shops, supermarkets, hospitals and nursing homes. • Health and safety visits and accident investigations. • What she likes most about being an EHP: in charge of own diary and setting goals • Work amongst interesting and supportive colleagues; she enjoys the interaction, assistance and camaraderie at work. No two weeks look alike; a rewarding career path. • Her advice to someone thinking of becoming an EHP: talk to an Environmental Health Officer or visit your local authority’s environmental health department to find out if you can shadow one at work.

Sara Louise Colton Fashion and Textiles; Fabric trend, Sourcing and Buying Manager – Womenswear, Menswear and Childrenswear at River Island (Aug 2015 – present day). Sara has a wide range of fashion design experience including with Marks and Spencer and F&F.

Part of her job with River Island involves: • Responsibilty for the sourcing and fabric buying team • Delivering Fabric trend messages across the business and with key senior management • Creating key fabric strategy within the business with key mills • Established improved shipping and more efficient deliveries • Managing fabric from warehouse to factory and reporting on stock management • Established a yearly mill conference to the business for our key mills

Here are some Year 8 designs:


Alex Hellum – Product design. Born in Larvik, Norway in 1966, Alex Hellum is a furniture and product designer living and working in the UK. Alex has a furniture and product design company based in Hertford, UK. His design ethos is based on observation, utility and honest use of materials. He first trained at The Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College between 1992 and 1994 and then went on to study Furniture Design at the Royal College of Art, graduating in 1996. After graduation, Alex received a grant from the Craft Council and set up his own design practice. He has worked on numerous private and commercial design commissions and has designed products for Heals, Thorsten Van Elten and Ercol.

Simon Thorp – Lighting Design London. An independent firm of lighting design consultants working across the UK. They create a fluid link between lighting and product design to provide clients with lit environments and luminaires that inspire and enhance spaces. The company works with an array of sectors including architectural, retail and commercial. They have an extensive list of clients and collaborations with the famous Tower of London, Barclaycard Arena and Costa Coffee.

And thanks to Adam Smith (Mechanical Engineer), Halisha Patel (Manufacturing Engineer) and Mahnoor Ali (Biomedical Engineer) from GSK.


Year 9 French Trip to Nantes

On the morning of Friday 8th November, seventeen Year 9 Presdales students and thirteen Year 9 pupils from Richard Hale set off for France to take part in a French Exchange with the pupils from the Collège Gaston Serpette in Nantes. The seven day trip was a great success and as you can read from the accounts below, the pupils found the experience extremely enjoyable and rewarding.

From the awkward meeting to the emotional departure, the French exchange was a trip to remember for my lifetime. The highlight for me was the group ice skating trip: we ice skated for 3 hours with the French and English correspondents (with a break in the middle to eat crêpes) and it was amazing! I also loved the trips I went on with the family (like going to the beach). My French partner was the best part; she was very good at English and we would chat until late at night about what it’s like in our different countries. The language barrier really didn’t affect us much. Overall it was such a great trip and I made new friends who I would have never have spoken to otherwise.

Adelaide Peart (Year 9)

The French Exchange was like nothing I’d ever done before, but I don’t regret it in the slightest. Of course there were the nerves and excitement before we went, but once there we were welcomed completely. The way things work is slightly different and a little daunting, but learning more about the culture and language is interesting like the way we see crêpes as solely sweet things, but in France they also have savoury crêpes which are honestly delicious. We also did a day out sightseeing at the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany and the machines of the island where we rode a huge mechanical elephant. The whole exchange was an unforgettable experience and, if you can, I would advise you to take this opportunity with open arms.

Evelyn Youngman (Year 9)  

News from PE

PE Students of the Month – November

Congratulations to the following students who are our PE Stars of the Month!