Andrew took part in our Oxford Summer School back in 2006, and has since gone on to have a successful career in the Energy sector, helping clients to understand the complex and evolving energy landscape as they seek to develop and implement plans to achieve Net Zero. Andrew spoke to us about his memories from the programme, the people he met, and how it shaped his journey beyond school.

Tell us a little bit about your background…

“I grew up just outside of Hull with mum, dad and my older sister – attending catholic primary and secondary school.

I enjoyed school and generally did well, though was not always the most diligent about homework… Aside from school, I enjoyed playing sport – mainly volleyball, badminton and a bit of rugby. And traveling across Yorkshire regularly to watch Leeds play at Elland Road.

My parents did not go to university, but always prioritised our education when growing up. It wasn’t necessarily that my sister and I had to go to university – but it was an option that my parents wanted to make sure that we would both have.”

Did you know what you wanted to do for a career before university?

“I had really very little idea about what the world after university would look like. And to be honest, this was probably as true at the end of four years of university as at the start. What I do remember is that the people I met, both at the Summer School and later at Oxford, opened my eyes to a wider world of possibilities than I could have ever considered before and inspired me to be ambitious in the goals I set for myself academically, professionally, and personally.

The Summer School programme played a pivotal role in my decision to apply to Oxford University and setting me on the road to where I am today.
I have been lucky since leaving university to have found my way to a good career and a fantastic team. I have been guided along the way by many wonderful colleagues and mentors.”

Can you tell us what you remember about your programme? What stands out?

“I remember being excited to go – as much for the adventure of spending a week away in a new place. I did not really know what to expect. It was fun getting to know new people and exploring the city. The different colleges and the history surrounding everything seemed like another world – all of it equally fascinating.

On the academic side, the course itself was varied and well-pitched to give a flavour of what studying at Oxford would be like – incorporating literature, translation, language as well as a visit to the impressive Taylorian Institute. I remember finding more of the materials more stretching than anything we had done in school – but enjoyed the challenge.”

Any other reflections or memories you’d like to share?

“I guess the real testament to my experience is that I was not only inspired to apply to Oxford – something I would never have considered beforehand – but specifically to the college that hosted the summer school.

One thing that I often think when looking back, is how little I understood about what the world of work looks like post-university. While I would not change any of the decision I have made along the way, I cannot help but think about the challenges facing others in similar circumstances. It is great to see the Sutton Trust offering pathways through university into the world of work.

I have heard some of my peers talk of being overawed or even intimated by the setting, the expectations, the history. I can certainly relate to this – but reflecting on my first weeks as a ‘proper’ student in Oxford, I cannot help thinking that the transition into student life was made that bit smoother by having spent time getting to know the university and the town during the summer school.”

If, like Andrew, you’d like to share your story with us – just complete our form or get in touch with the alumni team via [email protected].