A former Bolton School boy dialled in to discuss his career with the current crop of pupils virtually from Dubai.
Mark Walshaw, a chartered chemical engineer, spoke to year 10 and 11 pupils as part of the World of work series in which they learn about a range of careers.
Mr Walshaw leads the renewable energy and hydrogen practice for the Middle East and Africa for the risk advisory company, Marsh.
He began by recounting some of his fond memories of Bolton School, which he attended from 1997 until 2005.
“He highlighted the range of sports that he had enjoyed and the trips to Patterdale Hall in the Lake District,” a school spokesperson said.
“His favourite subjects, he said, had been maths, chemistry, and physics, although he did tell students that, at the time, he had no idea what he wanted to do in the future.
“Mark said that it wasn’t until he was asked to take a careers survey that he even discovered what a chemical engineer was.”
Mr Walshaw also discussed his time at Nottingham University where he graduated with a master’s in chemical engineering, recommending that they should “get a good feel for the place” by attending university open days before deciding which to pick.
He suggested that they consider whether students could envisage themselves living there for three to four years, the teaching style, and industry links and work placement or internship opportunities.
Following a placement in Southampton which provided him the opportunity to take a job with ExxonMobil which he held for almost 10 years, Mr Walshaw then moved to Dubai to see more of the work and expand his hands-on experience of working in the energy industry.
The spokesperson added: “He spoke passionately about combating climate change and talked about his current work with governments and large energy companies and how he assisted them in implementing their plans to reduce their emissions, decarbonise and promote investment in green energy.
“Mark encouraged students to discover what they enjoy doing, to find their purpose and to pursue it.”
Mr Walshaw left the students with advice about going through distinct steps in their career and the importance of not rushing too quickly to the next step.
“He urged students to focus on what they’re doing in the moment and giving their all to the moment, reassuring them that finding their passion would lead and guide them,” the spokesperson said.
Finally, Mark welcomed and answered questions from pupils about work placements and apprenticeships and his experiences of living in Dubai.