Photo L to R: Trevor Loten, President of the Old Pocklingtonian Association, Toby Seth, Headmaster, Beth Todd, F&B International and James Wilkinson, Omwani Coffee Co.
The Pocklington School Foundation (PSF) Careers and Business Network held its latest event in the School's new Art & Design Technology Centre recently, with the focus for the evening on creative and small businesses. The guest speakers for the evening were former pupils Beth Todd, who left the School in 2014, and James Wilkinson who left in 2010.
After trying a few different career paths, Beth decided a career in business was what she wanted to pursue. Whilst working in the family business, LMA Services in Pocklington, she undertook a work-funded degree in Marketing and Business, followed by a PG Diploma in Business and Finance, both completed online with the University of Essex.
Part of Beth’s studies included developing a proposal to establish a new business, which she then decided to launch in her spare time. Her company, F&B International, creates and sells country homewares, clothing and gifts online and is growing rapidly with customers both in the UK and overseas.
James Wilkinson graduated in Business, Management and Marketing from Leeds Beckett University and worked in marketing and business development before moving to Uganda in 2014 with another former pupil, Jonny Rowland, to help start Agri Evolve. Agri Evolve works with Ugandan farmers to help improve agricultural output and focuses on coffee processing. James has now set up Omwani Coffee Co. to develop the UK side of the project, importing speciality arabica beans directly from Agri Evolve’s processing plant in Western Uganda.
Beth and James shared with guests their experiences of setting up their own businesses, what motivated them to do so and the challenges they have faced along the way. They also spoke about the power of social media and how it has helped them to grow their businesses and communicate with their customers.
Toby Seth, Headmaster co-hosted the event with three Pocklington School business studies students, who helped create the highly informative question and answer session.
Toby commented: “This is my third Careers and Business Network event. We have heard from OPs who are lawyers, business people and now entrepreneurs who have started their own businesses. What former pupils get up to when they leave Pocklington is astonishingly varied and so I think it is even more important that we prepare them for life after school with more than just excellent grades. That is why I think our Values and Virtues are fundamental.
Beth and James demonstrated these in so many different ways and I am so grateful to them for coming back to Pocklington. I was also delighted to see so many of our current students in the audience. This is really energising to see – they can learn so much from people like Beth and James. We were also so pleased to welcome a great mix of current parents and returning Old Pocklingtonians.”
The PSF Careers and Business Network is open to everyone in the wider Pocklington School community, including current and former parents, Old Pocklingtonians, current and former staff and supporters. Its aims are to help each other thrive in a highly competitive world and, by working together, to help inspire our students, and each other, for life.