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OL Career Profiles

Whilst at Lancing students are encouraged to develop their knowledge of modern business, economics and ways in which information technology can help business to develop. Pupils are given the opportunity to visit companies and to go on work experience; the Lancing Foundation Office maintains a database of parents and former pupils willing to offer work experience and careers advice to current pupils and recent leavers. There is an annual Careers Convention every autumn at which pupils have the opportunity to talk to business people from many different industries and careers. The Head Master’s Lecture brings in leaders regularly to talk to pupils from the worlds of business, finance, arts and medicine.

Lancing is famous for many an illustrious career amongst its alumni;  Evelyn Waugh, Sir David Hare, Lord Stephen Green and Professor Sir Roy Calne to name but a few. The tradition continues today with numerous young OLs following in their footsteps and making their name in different professional capacities. On these pages you can read examples of how the school has given the students of today the skills, values and confidence to leave here and achieve their goals and dreams.
  • Lt Nick Cartwright, Second's 2004-2008 : Platoon Commander, 2 RIFLES

    Letter from Kabul, December 2014

 : 'Living the dream!'

    Lieutenant Nick T J Cartwright, 2 Rifles (Second's 2004-2008) writes:

    The snow-capped mountain range of the Hindu Kush that surrounds Kabul provides a stunning and dramatic backdrop to my working environment and to my desk as a type this account. My invaluable local interpreter tells me that soon the whole of the city will be covered in white.

    As platoon commander of 9 Platoon, C Company, 2nd Battalion The Rifles (2 RIFLES),  in August I deployed on a six-month tour: Operation HERRICK 20/Operation TORAL, to fulfil the role of Kabul Support Unit (KSU), providing support and force protection to UK and entitled nations' troops in the Kabul area.

    Having read Theology at Bristol after leaving Lancing, I commissioned into The Rifles from the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst in December 2012, and then went on to complete the four-month Infantry Platoon Commanders’ course in Brecon, Wales, before joining 2 RIFLES, based in Northern Ireland.

    Our journey to Kabul began a full year before deployment, with a two-month exercise beginning in June 2013 on the British Army training area in Alberta, Canada, familiarly known as the ‘Prairie’. There is no better way to get to know your men and to earn their trust and respect than being on exercise. We returned from Canada to three weeks’ leave once back in the UK, before shifting our focus to getting our Riflemen through driving courses and our commanders through specialised vehicle commander courses, in preparation for the kind of vehicles (Foxhounds, Ridgebacks and Civilian Armoured Vehicles) we would be using in Kabul. We also completed specific exercises geared towards the tasks that would be required of us on tour.  Our training took us from the rainy ranges and training areas of Northern Ireland, to even more rainy ranges and exercise training areas in Wales, and to the hot ranges of Cyprus in late July this year.

    From Cyprus, we flew to the dusty desert outpost of Camp Bastion, in Helmand Province, and in early August we finally touched-down in Kabul.

    We are based in Camp Qargha in the Eastern part of Kabul, and C Company's mission is to provide Force Protection to the 100-strong international military mentors advising their Afghan counterparts at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy. For this tour, our Company is comprised of two British platoons (9 and 10 platoon), and one Australian platoon (from the 1st Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment). Support to the Academy is British-lead, and is a manifestation of Britain's enduring commitment to Afghanistan. The mentors are predominantly serving British men and women, but there are also Danes, Norwegians, New Zealanders and Australians.

    Camp Qargha itself is a self-contained and self-sufficient 800m2 fortified ISAF camp situated within the Academy site. The Academy covers roughly ten square kilometres, and is home to those seeking to become Afghan Army officers and to the staff who teach them. The academy structure and training is based on the Sandhurst model, with tailor-made adjustments to suit particular Afghan Ministry of Defence requirements. As at Sandhurst, at any one time, there are three officer cadet intakes (situated in three distinct areas of the Academy, and the course, from start to finish, is a year long; slightly more than at Sandhurst. The number of ISAF mentors is progressively decreasing as Afghan instructors increasingly take the lead in every aspect of the cadet training.

    Three tasks fall to our mission: Force Protection, Quick Reaction Force and Guard. These separate tasks rotate on a weekly basis between the three platoons. On Force Protection, we are required to ensure the day-to-day security of the mentors as they go to work with their counterparts training each of the three different intakes. Typically, this involves a junior commander (a Corporal or Lance Corporal) deploying to each of the Academy sites in an armoured Protected Mobility Vehicle (Foxhound), usually with a team of five Riflemen. In this role, they are what we call 'guardian angels', whose sole task is to protect the mentors in a stand-off but constantly alert stance. My job is to coordinate these teams, and, when the cadets are taking part in an exercise, to command my protection teams in-situ on the training area. In addition, several times a week, a number of high ranking mentors are also required to attend meetings and consultations in the city, usually in the 'Green Zone'. The 'Green Zone' is the heavily-fortified area, surrounded by enormous blast-walls and sentry towers, with multiple access checkpoints, situated at the heart of Kabul. It houses all the Afghan Ministerial buildings, most foreign embassies, and ISAF headquarters. Visits to the ‘Green Zone’ will involve either me or my platoon sergeant leading the vehicle convoy into the city.

    The Quick Reaction Force rotation requires a platoon to be ready around the clock to respond to any incident involving ISAF either in the city or within the Academy. The main tasks are to provide protection, medical help and extraction capability to any ISAF personnel needing help. The Guard rotation entails a platoon providing constant perimeter protection to our camp, in sentry towers and at the main access points. 

    As will be clear from media reports, this is a tour which continues to face multiple challenges and dangers, and one that requires constant vigilance. There are few greater privileges, however, than to lead such a disciplined, professional and good-humoured group of infantry soldiers. I consider myself fortunate indeed to be deployed with my platoon and to be doing the job for which we have trained. It is a far cry, perhaps, from the fondly-recalled CCF fieldcraft training in the Ladywell Valley at Lancing 10 years ago now, but there is an undoubted thread of continuity. I am sure the Lancing CCF will continue to inspire others to follow my path: as I say, ‘living the dream’!

  • Ben Pope, Teme 2006-2011 : President (2013-14), Cambridge Footlights

    As President of the Cambridge Footlights (2013-14), Benedict Pope OL stands at the head of a long line of illustrious predecessors: Sue Perkins, Richard Ayoade, Tony Slattery, Hugh Laurie, Clive Anderson, Eric Idle, Graeme Garden, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Peter Cook, to name but a few. Past presidents and past members of the Footlights have shaped the British comedy scene. Comedy is a most demanding art form requiring a quick intellect and an enquiring mind, in tune with matters of the moment, as well as performing skills and an innate sense of timing. Ben, who was Head Boy at Lancing in his Upper Sixth year, is setting out on a career in comedy – and is one to watch.

    When did you become interested in writing and performing comedy, and were you inspired by opportunities offered at Lancing?
    At Lancing, we were given a lot of freedom to develop our interests and talents. It was a wonderful experience, and you got out of the drama at Lancing what you put into it. I had never done any theatre before and the staff were really encouraging, for both performing and writing our own stuff. About the same time I started acting at school I discovered comedy, largely just from watching stand-up shows that were on TV, and was able to start writing scripts and trying things out on the Lancing stage. A few of us put together a charity sketch show one year, a little of which we’d written ourselves.

    You have just completed your studies, graduating in Classics from Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. Classics are a helpful discipline for ‘mind training’ and have been the chosen university subject for successful comedians, including Natalie Haynes, who is a past member of the Footlights. Has the training in Classics helped you to write?
    I suppose you could draw a connection. The study of Classics doesn’t prepare you for a specific career, but it does give you transferable skills – and therefore many career choices. The breadth of my course meant I studied language, literature, history, philosophy and archaeology, so you’re constantly juggling. I imagine some of my lecturers may have seen writing comedy as a bit of a distraction, but I reckon it’s all good practice for spinning plates later in life.

    How is one accepted as a member of the Footlights? Did you join when you first went to Cambridge?
    Most members of the society join in their third year at Cambridge – it’s something you work towards. The Footlights are made up of a small pool of people – this year, we’ve had ten in total (eight members, a treasurer and a senior treasurer). For our Edinburgh show and tour of Real Feelings, however, not all of the members are involved so we have been a cast of five, as well as our managers who liaise with the venues and organise accommodation and publicity, and a tech team.

    Your involvement with the Footlights will have enhanced your experiences at Cambridge. How has it fitted in with your studies?
    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed both my course at Cambridge and my time onstage. It hasn’t been too hard to juggle the two, and I think it is really important for students to have another major interest to balance out and complement their studies – I’d have been bored otherwise!

    How many shows do the Footlights put on?
    There are fortnightly shows (‘Smokers’) in which half the material is written by members of Footlights, and half by students auditioned from throughout Cambridge University. The Footlights also put on three major shows in a year: the Pantomime, a musical written by members of the Committee; the Spring Revue, a 1 ½ hour sketch show; and the touring show. This year, we previewed the touring show in Islington, Little Venice and Camden, in London, as well as in Cambridge, before going up to the Edinburgh Fringe, where we sold out for the entire run. At Edinburgh, our performances were at 4pm – anywhere else that would be strange, but in Edinburgh it works, as there are events throughout the day and night. We’ve been delighted that our audiences have represented such a mix: from young people intending to go to Cambridge, to middle aged theatre-goers, and people who remember coming to see members of Monty Python when they did their touring show.

    Our September tour in the US took in performances in Boston, Harvard, Yale, New York, Philadelphia, Sacramento, LA and San Francisco. In the UK, we are touring the show to a few select schools including Lancing.

    There must be stiff competition to become President of Footlights. The Independent newspaper has called it ‘the most renowned sketch troupe of them all’. How were you elected?
    The title sounds far more impressive than the position is! It’s largely an administrative position (ie lots of emails to send!) In the end there are very few people who are really in the running – I was just chosen by the committee the year above me. Nonetheless, the President is the figurehead of Footlights who must ensure that the quality of its work never falls, and it’s a real privilege, and a lot of fun.

    Each Footlights President makes a specific contribution. What do you consider to be yours?
    The Footlights has a national and international reputation, so my main focus has really been on not tarnishing that in any way. But I have worked quite hard within the university to make the Footlights more accessible, less ‘elitist’ – on either side of the stage (writing and performing) – and have encouraged more people to take part in its ventures. In the past, it has sometimes been thought to have a ‘gentleman’s club’ atmosphere, but it is, in fact, just a student theatre group.

    Lancing College and Shoreham Wordfest are delighted that you will be bringing your touring show, Real Feelings, to Lancing’s Theatre (September 30 2014). As well as attending your evening revue, Lancing’s pupils studying drama much look forward to the afternoon workshop that you and your fellow performers will run for them. What advice would you give anyone wanting to try performing comedy?
    I don’t profess to know any of the answers but if I had one thing to relate it would be to go and see as much as possible, write and perform as much as possible – that’s really important. It’s seems trite but practice really does make perfect. It’s the same for a writer, actor or musician: you cannot create in a vacuum. We found the Edinburgh Fringe very inspirational this year as, every day, you’re around other creative types doing similar things, seeing their shows and learning.

    How do you fund your Footlights shows?
    Our main home is the ADC Theatre (Amateur Dramatics Club) in Cambridge, where you can put on a show at almost no cost. This is an excellent facility with very helpful staff – so we make tend to make a profit there. Our Edinburgh run also did well, which helped to fund the US tour.

    Real Feelings was written by you and your fellow actors. Do you enjoy collaborative writing?
    Yes, immensely. Discussing the tone of the show and batting ideas around has been very satisfying and extremely productive. Six heads are better than one!

    Real Feelings, performed by men, has been written by men. Is there currently less female talent in the Footlights?
    It very much changes year on year. Last year the touring show (Canada) had three female cast members out of four, whereas this year we have five men. We hold open auditions for the tour show so it depends on the quality of those who apply and whether they work well together. There certainly is a problematic male bias in comedy that trickles down to our audition process – we just see fewer women in auditions and in shows, presumably because there are still fewer female professional comedians as inspiration on TV and in comedy clubs. Nonetheless, the Footlights has regularly produced exceptional female comedians and there is no reason for that not to continue.

    Do you want to follow a career in comedy, and will you continue to work with other members of the Footlights troupe?
    That’s my plan – but this is a very competitive field. In the last decade there’s been a comedy boom in Britain so it’s a lot tougher than it used to be. That said, if I don’t try it now, I will regret it later. Having graduated this summer, I’m hoping to move to London: I plan to do stand up gigs and to take another show to Edinburgh next year, fingers crossed. And yes, several of my co-members of Footlights and I are keen to continue writing together. 

  • Dr Samira Green, Field's 2000-2005 : Academic Emergency Medicine

    Dr Samira Green, Field’s 2000-2005, (née Tritton) writes:

    I never thought on A Level results day at Lancing, that I’d be sitting here now, a qualified doctor with a post in Academic Emergency Medicine. My path into Medical School and beyond has not been straightforward, but if it wasn’t for the encouragement and support from my Biology teacher at Lancing, I don’t think I’d be sitting here now.

    At Lancing, when I expressed an interest to pursue a career in medicine, it was met with a mix of encouragement and considerable doubt in my ability, and my grades. Fortunately I had carried out enough work experience in my school holidays to get interviews and offers for a medical school undergraduate programme. However when results day came my Chemistry A Level let me down and my offers were withdrawn. Devastated, I took myself up to the University of Edinburgh for a Biological Sciences degree, where I pursued and developed my research interests, winning a Scholarship to undertake a project at the Medical Research Council, which was subsequently published.

    I also worked abroad in Tanzania running a project for a University of Edinburgh charity. Through all of this, my determination did not falter, and with a fantastic reference from that same Biology teacher from Lancing, I gained a place on the Graduate Entry Medical Programme, which is now far more competitive than the undergraduate route.

    Once in medical school I thrived, and with my research experience was able to undertake extensive research projects with the Emergency Department and Pre-Hospital Care arena with London’s Air Ambulance; I have presented research at both National and International conferences as well as having been published in a number of well respected journals. I was elected Principal Student at the Royal Society of Medicine and have mentored many a student with applications to medical school.

    My highlights have been an elective with London’s Air Ambulance, witnessing the incredible life changing work they do, and working in research teams in the emergency department with studies that really change a patient’s outcomes and help to save lives. I am excited about the next stage of my career, gaining academic jobs in both London and Leicester, and have decided to continue my research in emergency medicine in the Midlands. I would love to support any students from Lancing who wish to embark on the amazing and challenging career that is Medicine.


  • Joshua Phillips, Gibbs' 2003-2008 : Nuclear Engineering

    Joshua Phillips, Gibbs’ 2003-2008, tells us about the world of Nuclear Engineering:

    How did I end up in this profession? Well that is a good question! My friends still wonder how I came to take a post working at a Nuclear Power station.

    After Lancing I was always going to pursue an Engineering degree of some sort. It was during Sixth Form that I decided on the mechanical side of things as it is probably the most general of them all. I never really knew what I wanted to do before going to university, so a general degree with a varying number of job opportunities suited me fine. We all have that same feeling of trepidation when we get our results. Have I got my grades? Have I got in? Then, if you’re in my boat, have I got into my second choice? Thankfully I had and it was probably the best thing that happened. So, I ended up going to Bristol University, not a bad second choice in anyone’s book.

    You would think that during university a certain area of mechanical engineering would take my fancy, but I wasn’t making this easy for myself at all. By the start of the fourth year, all my friends knew roughly what they wanted to do, such as finance in the city, civil or renewable energy, to name a few. Not having any idea what you want to do doesn’t lend itself to job hunting either! Throughout my time at Bristol I was never the most technically gifted, but always willing to get stuck in and try most things out, which is definitely a trait I picked up at Lancing! Having graduated with a Masters in Engineering, I put my CV on some graduate websites to see what would happen. I was fortunate enough to get an interview, and then a job, with Cavendish Nuclear. I was lucky I guess, but then you look at it more closely; I got a good degree, but companies these days look for more than that. This is where Lancing excels - there are so many opportunities for personal development if you’re willing to take them.

    I’ve been based at Sizewell B for a year and a half now and I have loved every minute of it. My current highlight is a project I’m working on, to replace three old compressors. It’s a fairly big project, requiring the replacement of alarms, pipework, valves, electrical circuits and management of the entire project. What’s more, my name will be forever linked to this work, which is a nice thought for the future.

    The best part of my job? I work at a nuclear power plant, and not many people can say that!

  • Camilla Harris, Field's 2006-2011 : Singer

    Camilla Harris, Field’s 2006-2011 (far right), recently graduated from Durham University, having studied Music.

    Camilla says it was during her time at Lancing that she was given the grounding and inspiration that encouraged her to pursue a career in singing. In 2011-2012 she worked with Harry Christophers and Eamonn Dougan in the inaugural year of The Sixteen’s apprenticeship programme, Genesis Sixteen, and subsequently performed with The Sixteen, including The Messiah at the Barbican Centre and in the Carols at Quadrant Chambers.

    As a soloist Camilla was delighted to be accepted into the Samling Academy (inspiring musical excellence in young people) and The Hilliard Ensemble’s training programme, which have resulted in performances on BBC Radio 3 as well as in renowned concert halls, such as The Roundhouse and The Sage, Gateshead. Recent solo highlights include Pamina in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Semele in Handel’s Semele and the soprano soloist in Mozart’s Requiem in D minor, and Bach’s Mass in B minor, St Matthew Passion and St John Passion. Most recently Camilla has enjoyed performing the soprano solos in Brahms’ Requiem at Lancing in the College Singers’ concert, under the direction of Neil Cox.

    Camilla has recently signed an international recording contract with DECCA (part of the Universal group) as part of Celeste. This is a classical group of five former cathedral girl choristers. They have recorded an album due to be released in the summer of 2014 after the release of their EP in May/June. They will be touring with Katherine Jenkins in May, June and July and will be performing on BBC Songs of Praise and BBC Radio 4 as well as making other TV appearances.

    Camilla is really excited about this wonderful opportunity as she has always dreamt of making a career out of something she loves. For further information on Celeste like them on Facebook at Celeste Sing Official, follow them on Twitter @weareCeleste, or visit at their website:

    Camilla Harris (far right) with Celeste

  • James Nightingall, Teme 2003-2008 : Property Search Network

    After leaving Lancing, James Nightingall, Teme 2003-2008, took a gap year and qualified as a ski instructor in Switzerland. James also worked with the Development Office on Lancing’s first telephone campaign: “I had the pleasure of speaking to many OLs and I was inspired by those who had set up their own businesses.” After his gap year James went on to complete a degree in Real Estate at the Royal Agricultural University. During his time there he was President of the Entrepreneurs Society, hosting a number of charity functions, including an event with Levi Roots.

    James started his property search network concept at university whilst completing his dissertation on the buying agency industry. Since then he has successfully founded James & James (, a property search network matching clients with the UK’s leading buying agents. “We help clients find and select the right buying agent for their property search.” James explains there are over a 1,000 buying agents across the UK, varying in expertise and coverage. “An estate agent acts for the seller to achieve the highest selling price but buying agents act on behalf of the buyer. Buying agents find properties, carry out due diligence and negotiate the lowest possible price. Certain buying agents also have access to properties that never see an estate agent’s window. Our buying agents bought 55% of properties over £1m off-market last year. They are sold privately, mainly for privacy and the only people who get access to them are those who hire the right buying agent.”

    James & James helps clients from all over the world.

    Recently James has been awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship from the University of Cambridge. He is looking forward to launching a new concierge company and is on a mission to make relocation stress-free!

  • Oliver Soden, Teme 2003-2008 : Writer and Broadcaster

    Oliver Soden, Teme 2003-2008, graduated from Clare College, Cambridge with a prize-winning double first in English. He is a writer and broadcaster on music and the arts. Oliver’s work has appeared in publications as diverse as Gramophone, The Art Newspaper, the BBC Proms Guide, and in peer-reviewed academic books and journals such as Tempo (Cambridge University Press) and the Edinburgh Companion to Music and Literature. He recently edited a new edition of RSC director John Barton’s epic cycle of Greek tragedies, Tantalus. He has broadcast on BBC Radio 3, and lectured at the Royal College of Music, the Wigmore Hall, London University, and the Royal Opera House. He is currently the music researcher for the long-running BBC Radio 3 programme Private Passions, and worked on the BBC’s Britten Centenary tributes and on BBC4 films by the award-winning documentary film-maker John Bridcut.

    Oliver’s writing concentrates particularly on the life and works of twentieth-century British composer Michael Tippett. His projects on Tippett currently include chapters in two multi-authored books, as well as reviews and articles. Oliver has contributed programme notes for almost all the recent major performances of Tippett’s work, most recently for the 2013 BBC Proms, the Royal Opera House, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Wigmore Hall’s ‘Tippett Retrospective’, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican Centre. He has twice been a guest at the Proms Plus Intro events held at the Royal College of Music and broadcast on BBC Radio 3, and is a talking head in a recent film about Tippett. He has also worked as a voice-actor, contributing readings for lectures and discussions, voice-overs for documentaries on BBC Radios 3 and 4, and both fiction and non-fiction audiobooks.

    Oliver Soden photo by Rebecca Pitt

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