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Inspiration and insights at Careers Convention as boys develop the skills they need to reach their goals

There was standing room only in several of the expert talks delivered as part of the 2019 Year 11 Careers Convention.

The convention – a major event in the QE calendar – this year featured an increased number of talks. The speakers for these were among representatives of 35 companies and organisations attending in total, including Old Elizabethans and other visitors.

They came from professions ranging from medicine to app development, and from chemical engineering to the law.

All gave their time to meet boys and their families as Year 11 start to consider their future career paths.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “It was another tremendous evening. I am grateful to all those who helped our current pupils in this way, whether old boys or other friends of the School. The boys benefit immeasurably from the advice that they receive, not least because seeing alumni thriving in their various careers is in itself a source of inspiration and confidence to them.

“At this stage in their education, it is as important for the boys to develop the soft skills they will need when planning for life after school – in order that they can actually achieve their desired outcomes – as it is to provide insight into the many different options available to them.”

The main Careers Convention was held in the Shearly Hall, while the nine talks – several of which were repeated three times during the course of the evening – were delivered in classrooms. The talks included:

• Dental surgeon Dr Nirmal Wilwaraarachchi (OE 1996-2002) on dentistry
• Joseph Vinson (OE 2007-2013), an Associate Product Manager for US software firm, Granicus, on Getting a job in Tech
• Ramesh Pari (OE 1997-2004), who took up a senior role in engineering for online grocery company, Ocado, after more then a decade as an architect, on Architecture and its transferable skills.

Other talks were on general topics such as studying abroad and about choosing and progressing a career, such as the presentation by Kam Taj (OE 2004–2011) on How to find your ideal career.

The evening also benefited from experts attending from organisations with which the School has strong partnerships, such as the National Citizen Service (whose summer programme is always popular with Year 11 boys), the STEM Ambassadors programme and the RAF.

Alumni had a chance to catch up with each other at a reception hosted by the School before the event.

Celebrating the past, looking to the future: Old Elizabethans Association Dinner 2019

Former pupils from across the generations turned out in force for the annual Old Elizabethans Association Dinner, enjoying the opportunity to celebrate with fellow alumni, rekindling past friendships and forging new ones.

During an evening marked by much convivial chatter and by lively speeches, the diners also observed a silence in memory of former Headmaster Eamonn Harris, one of the great figures in the School’s recent history, who passed away only a few days before the dinner.

The celebratory tone was amplified by a good attendance from the ‘ten-year leavers’ – the class of 2009–2010 – while older Elizabethans present included Brian Gilbert, returning to the School after a gap of 50 years.

The event in the Main Hall was the first dinner to be hosted by the new President of the Old Elizabethans Association, Eric Houston, who taught at the School from 1976 until he retired, as Second Master, in 2010. Mr Houston is both a Governor and a Foundation Trustee of the School.

Another change this year was the reading at the dinner of the Queen Elizabeth’s School Prayer before grace was said. (The prayer is appended below.)

In his speech, Headmaster Neil Enright paid fulsome tribute to Mr Harris (HM 1984–1999): “Few can have had such a profound, transformational and lasting impact on Queen Elizabeth’s as Eamonn Harris, without whom we, quite simply, may well not be sitting here this evening.

“His bold decision-making, in making the School independent of the local education authority and then restoring academic selection, and the high expectations he had for all in the School community are the bedrocks of our present pre-eminence. We all owe him a debt of great respect and gratitude.”

Mr Enright reported on significant developments during the year, including “the exciting news that we have secured £2.2m of government funding…for our new Music School”.

To prepare the site, the Mayes Building was demolished during the summer. This facility was named in honour of Harry ‘Curly’ Mayes who “spent a full 60 years (from 1902 to 1962) as butler, porter, steward and then caretaker”.

Alluding both to Mr Harris and to Mr Mayes, the Headmaster said: “The present fortunes of the School have been built upon the foundations of the great service given by so many.”

Mr Enright gave a warm, if piquant, welcome to the many ten-year leavers at table, pointing out that Assistant Head David Ryan had described this particular group “as his most challenging in all his years in the Sixth Form”!

“I’m not, though, surprised to see a good turnout, as they have actually proved to be one of the more actively engaged alumni cohorts and are doing lots of good work in support of the School,” he added.

“They were, and remain (on this evening’s evidence), a very sociable and enthusiastic group and it is always a great pleasure to have them here at School events.”

He reported on the start of a project to digitise QE’s archives, beginning with photographs.

And, he said, with the School’s 450th anniversary in 2023 approaching, his predecessor as Headmaster, Dr John Marincowitz (1999–2011), was well on the way to completing his book on the School’s history.

“Recording and giving access to the School’s history is important so that the contributions of people such as Eamonn and Curly Mayes are remembered and so that generations of Elizabethans to come are able to learn about their place in the long and fascinating narrative.”

Mr Enright concluded his speech with a report on QE Connect, the School’s recently launched online community for alumni, which has gained more than 450 members in the space of just a few weeks.

“Whilst we want to help OEs connect to the past, we also have QE Connect to help enable connections in the present and the future,” he said.

The School Prayer

O Lord God, the Maker and Builder of every house not made with hands, we give thee thanks for this School in which we have our share.

Give thy blessing, we beseech thee, to all this our body, to the Head Master, to the members of the staff, to the boys, and to those who minister our needs.

Inspire us, O Lord, so to do our work today that, even as we are being helped by the remembrance of the loyal lives of those who came before us, so our faithfulness in thy service may aid those who shall take our places.

Remember, O Lord, for good, all who have gone forth from this School, to labour elsewhere in thy kingdom.

Grant that both they, and we, may fulfil thy purpose for us in this life, and finally may attain thine everlasting kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Helping the world’s largest online-only grocer sell to other supermarkets

Ramesh Paripooranananthan’s rather dramatic career change following his solo trip to the Indian sub-continent is, he says, proof of the importance of networking widely and staying flexible in your attitudes.

A Chartered Architect who studied Architecture at Nottingham University and then worked in the discipline for more than a decade, he now has a senior role in engineering for Ocado, the grocery company.

“Not many people know this, but Ocado have been investing heavily in automation technology and engineering for years and are in a position now where they are selling this as a service to international grocery companies,” said Ramesh, who uses the surname Pari professionally.

“I am working as a lead designer within the Ocado Engineering department to deliver new sites across the world for these partners.”

He explained how the opportunity came about: “I went to a technology-in-construction event and met someone who works for Ocado and they invited me to meet the Head of Engineering at Ocado. Several meetings later they offered me a role and I was making a fundamental change to my career at a time I wasn’t actually looking for it!

“This whole period really shows the value in making contacts and meeting people outside of your usual circles.”

Ramesh (OE 1997–2004), who was in Underne House at QE and studied at Central St Martins before moving on to Nottingham, plans to keep his Chartered Architect status active for now – “who knows what the future holds! “ – but he says that “having the opportunity to define a way of working in a brand new team felt too good an opportunity to miss!”

He is also featuring in a recruitment video for his new employer this autumn – “quite a privilege for me considering I have been at the company for less than a year”. The resulting film will be posted online, including on LinkedIn.

“Outside of my career, before I took this job I had embarked on a solo travelling trip through northern India and Nepal. This had always been a dream of mine, to have such a trip where I could travel in a very simple way – a small bag and my camera. It had been something I put off for a long time as seven years of architectural education took priority, followed by the necessity to earn as soon as I had graduated.

“This trip was very cathartic and I appreciated it much more being at a time where I needed respite from the hustle and bustle of working life.”

Ramesh recently moved to Stanmore, closer to his parents: “I definitely enjoy spotting the QE blazer at the bus stop on my drive to work!

Whys guy: how QE Art teacher Mr Buckeridge changed Jay Shetty’s life

Old Elizabethan and global internet celebrity Jay Shetty continues to make headlines as he pursues his quest to ‘make wisdom go viral’ – and one of his recent podcast shows he has not forgotten his QE roots.

Through his bi-weekly motivational podcast, On Purpose, which was ranked number 1 in the CNET media website’s recent list of the ten best health & fitness podcasts, Jay (OE 1999–2006) dispenses serious advice from doctors, successful business people and other guests.

Issued every Monday and Friday, the podcast is so popular that it has also become a magnet for celebrities, too: recent scoops included an interview last month with Khloé Kardashian in which she discussed her relationship with her ex-partner and father of her baby, Tristan Thompson.

Closer to home, Jay this month re-tweeted a recent episode in which he paid warm tribute to his QE Art teacher, Stephen Buckeridge, during an interview with American gym and fitness entrepreneur, Payal Kadakia.

In the course of a discussion about mentors, Jay said this about Mr Buckeridge, who is now QE’s Head of Art: “This man changed my life. First of all, I was a rebel at school. I was the worst kid from 11-18 – not grades-wise, in terms of just being a rebel, trouble-maker…I was suspended three times, asked to leave.

“Mr Buckeridge was one teacher who always stood by me, never judged me. The most important lesson he gave me was every time we did any art – whether it was collage, whether it was graphic, whether it was charcoal, fine art – whatever it was, no matter how good it looked, his question was always ‘Why did you do that?… Why did you put that colour next to that colour? Why did you put that brush stroke versus this one?’ He would always ask me ‘why, why, why, why, why?’

“…It took me years to recognise that he had coached me in always looking at the meaning and the ‘why’ – without me even knowing.”

On leaving QE, Jay went on to Cass Business School in London, from which he graduated with a first-class degree in Management Science. Then, however, his life took an unusual turn: he spent three years as a monk in India in the Hindu Vedic tradition, which accounts for his later sobriquet of the ‘urban monk’.

His career began to take off when he was spotted by Arianna Huffington and brought to New York, where he rapidly gained a following for his daily show, HuffPost Live #FollowTheReader.

Jay featured in the influential Forbes European 30 Under 30 in 2017 and his social media channels attract huge followings: some of his videos have now had over 1 billion views.

Helicopter hero: Old Elizabethan’s medal-winning bravery in the Troubles revealed

The family of Old Elizabethan helicopter pilot Roger Southgate have unearthed details of a heroic flight in hazardous conditions to rescue a comrade during some of the darkest days of Northern Ireland’s Troubles.

Major Roger Lee Southgate (OE 1958–1963), who died suddenly in April 2016 aged 70, served for 49 years as a soldier and then as a retired officer, spending most of that time in the Army Air Corps (AAC). He won his Air Force Medal (AFM) for an operation in 1974 and is believed to have been the first-ever AAC recipient of the award.

He was, his youngest son, Philip, says “a very humble, selfless and secretive person. He was well known, highly loved and also highly respected.”

Since his father passed away, Philip, who attended Bishop Wordsworth Grammar School in Salisbury, has been compiling his life history, including details of the episode in February 1974 that won him the medal.

Although the award was twice mentioned afterwards in the London Gazette – the British Government’s official journal of record – no details were given, and the family knew little about it until the day of his funeral. But, says Philip: “We managed to get his citation released from Whitehall, which it is very rare to obtain.”

The citation makes clear the extent of Roger’s heroism.

At 6pm on 27th February 1974, a request came into Roger’s unit for helicopter illumination of an area of the Sperrin Mountains near Londonderry, where two powerful command-detonated landmines had exploded on a country road, destroying two Land Rovers and injuring ten soldiers, one very seriously. This casualty was pinned beneath a Land Rover in a deep crater and was being fired on by the enemy in hiding. Darkness was falling, there was no moon, and the weather forecast was for haze and fog.

The citation explained that the Sioux helicopter Roger was flying had only limited night-flying capability, lacking full instrumentation and navigational aids. “Furthermore,” the report stated “it is easy to become disorientated at night in the Sioux, a condition where the pilot experiences an almost overpowering sensation that his aircraft is diving, spiralling or in other unusual attitudes. Because of this hazard, orders do not allow the Sioux to be flown at night unless the horizon is clearly visible.”

Roger knew of this, and knew, too, that it had been the cause of fatal accidents in the past. “Yet despite the lack of a visible horizon, coupled with a bad weather forecast, Southgate, knowing that a soldier’s life was at stake, agreed to fly the sortie and was accordingly authorised to do so,” the citation stated.

He flew straight to the site – the surrounding mountains, which he could not see, meant he could not circle the area in relative safety first – to find that the soldier had been freed from under the vehicle.

Roger now asked to be released, as the weather was deteriorating, but was asked to remain while the rest of the patrol were safely removed from the area. “This was because snipers were known to be in the area, and any localised light would draw fire. Knowing that his continued presence could prevent further casualties, Southgate decided to stay to see this operation through,” the citation continued.

This meant, as Philip points out, that he had to hover for over two hours, giving air support to the soldiers below whilst being continuously shot at by IRA snipers.

He was forced by the conditions to descend to just 150ft to provide illumination instead of the usual 1,000ft, which made the dazzling Nitesun beam reflect back into the helicopter’s bubble cab, adding to the difficulties imposed by the weight of the armour, of the Nitesun itself and of other fittings.

Eventually, with the patrol evacuated from the area, Roger was able to return to base safely, where he had to face the reaction of his superiors. “He was nearly court-martialled for this act of bravery, as he disobeyed orders from his commanding officer to return to base due to horrific weather conditions, being assisted by his navigator, who was only two weeks qualified. The commanding officer said it would either be a court martial or he would be awarded a medal!”

The citation concludes: “It is difficult to describe to those who do not fly helicopters the dangers inherent in this sortie and the degree of competence and courage which were necessary to make it a success. Sgt Southgate is an experienced Sioux pilot, and was prepared to experiment. The fact that he arrived at his destination and remained, despite appalling weather, to successfully complete an operation in conditions of considerable danger, which required the highest degree of skill, concentration and nerve, is to his great credit.”

Some months later, the AFM medal was duly bestowed on Roger by the Queen at Buckingham Palace, where he was accompanied by his father, Leslie, and wife, Norma.

As a boy, Roger lived with his father and mother (Joyce) and sister (Brenda) in a ground-floor council flat at the bottom of Cat Hill, East Barnet. Philip, who spent much of his childhood in Germany, where his father was stationed, remembers holidays spent with his grandparents at this flat, which still stands.

His School report card from QE indicates that he was an accomplished sportsman – “useful [at] rugger & cricket”. He was “not at all a bad boy in character. Quite co-operative and willing…[with] a solid, straightforward manner”. Philip visited the School himself this summer, eager to see where his father had been educated.

One of the report’s final entries reveals that he had applied to join the Metropolitan Police but had been rejected because he was ¾ inch (1.9cm) too short.

Instead, he joined the Royal Military Police at the age of 16. He started flying training in 1968 and flew in the early years for Strategic Command in England, Denmark and Germany.

“By 20, he was one of the youngest pilots in the British army, by 25 he was in the first helicopter display team,” says Philip. He won his AFM at the age of 37.

Roger, later promoted to Major, was in charge of 7 Flight AAC in Berlin in the 1970s and of 654 Squadron in Detmold, in northern Germany, in the following decade, with most of the final years of his career spent at Middle Wallop, the Hampshire home of the AAC.

“He served a total of 39 years as a soldier and continued for another ten as a retired officer, based at the AAC headquarters in charge of pilot selection. Most of the modern-day pilots went through his courses, including HRH Prince Harry, and he was known by many more.”

Roger died from a sudden heart attack at the family home in Porton, Wiltshire. In addition to Philip, Roger is survived by Norma, his wife of 47 years, older son Richard, and grandsons Rohahn, aged three, and Lincoln, aged one.

More than 700 people attended his funeral, and those inside the church – and indeed spilling out of the rear doors – ranged from civilians to generals. The family received messages of condolence from all over the world, including one from Conservative peer Lord Glenarthur who knew and flew with Roger.

Major Roger Southgate AFM now rests in the military cemetery in Tidworth garrison in Wiltshire.

Spice of life: Electrum combines career investigating financial fraud with Latin dance and teaching the Bible

Eleven years after he left the School, Electrum Anpitan’s life is as varied as it is full.

Electrum (OE 2001–2008) manages to fit in his demanding role as a Forensic Analyst for KPMG with extensive work in the local community and with running a dance business that has led to collaborations with some of the most famous Latin dancers in the world.

His community work includes promoting increased knowledge and understanding of the Bible; as he has done for many years, Electrum continues to give regular public discourses to large audiences, as well as teaching on a one-to-one basis.

Working, by his own estimation, 15-20 hours a day “pretty much every day of the week, all year round”, Electrum has no regrets about following the advice of his Headmaster, Dr John Marincowitz, to “get stuck in”.

While at QE, he was variously First Form Captain, Games Captain, Colt Lieutenant and Senior Lieutenant. He was involved in chess, debating and peer mentoring, and gained several commendations and bursary awards, including the John Owen Prize for House Service.

Involved in several sports teams, he counts among his proudest memories “scoring the winning try against Haberdashers’ whilst playing for the First XV”, which he had joined in Year 11.

On leaving QE, Electrum went to King’s College London to read Physics.

In the intervening years, he has:

  • Returned to the School in 2010 as Guest of Honour at Junior Awards while still an undergraduate;
  • Become a qualified party wall surveyor – “I have extensive experience in this industry due to some business connections that were successfully explored,” he explains. He joined the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists, before eventually leaving to focus on his work in financial services and the Arts;
  • Undertaken work experience for the government of Ghana, working on its Land Administration Project – liaising with several UN dignitaries. “[This came about] because of a business connection made whilst I was still at QE, actually. Hopefully this will encourage the current boys to keep their eyes, ears and minds open for any suitable opportunities that may present themselves, and to realise they are never too young to demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit!”

KPMG Forensic focuses on helping clients reduce reputation risk and commercial loss. His career in its London offices involves international work in areas such as: fraud risk management, anti-bribery and corruption, anti-money laundering, investigations & compliance, forensic technology, contract governance and intellectual property.

It is, he says, “an extremely rewarding and challenging field of work which makes a tangible difference to real-life situations in the business world and in people’s lives. There exists an excellent business network, and the work itself provides exciting opportunities to participate in newsworthy, high-profile cases.

“Working for a Big Four firm, I encounter QE alumni every month. It’s empowering to exchange success stories and have a ready-made network to give you an advantage over your competition,” he says.

His aims for the future include qualifying as an Accredited Counter Fraud Specialist and securing “a secondment in a financial services/law firm to broaden my practical experience”.

Alongside that demanding career, Electrum relishes the challenge of running his dance business, which offers its services to corporate, commercial and domestic clients. There have been performances in front of hundreds, he says, including celebrities and other notable figures, such as Sir David Attenborough, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, TV presenter Kate Humble and singer-songwriter Sofia Karlberg.

“Though physically very demanding, this area of my activities is particularly enjoyable not only for the pleasure and exhilaration that I derive from it, but also because I am able to tutor and assist others (from a wide range of backgrounds) who aspire to improve their dancing skills, to express themselves and connect with others in life-changing ways that they never thought possible. My approach to dance is that it is more than mere movement or rhythm – it is a medium inviting one to strive for consummate artistry and expressive beauty.”

In addition to the time he spends teaching the Bible, his community work takes in mentoring young people in challenging circumstances and helping with construction projects that benefit the community.

Reflecting on what he has learned over the past decade, Electrum has two further pieces of advice for current pupils at the School: “Never be intimidated by senior staff in the workplace. If they are worth their salt, they will value your insights!” and “Your career starts the moment you join QE, so plan ahead – secure some work placements during your GCSEs, A-levels and degree courses.”

QE poet-in-residence up for top prize

QE’s poet-in-residence, Anthony Anaxagorou, has been shortlisted for the prestigious TS Eliot prize for poetry.

After the Formalities, a collection of poems by Old Elizabethan Anthony (1994–1999) was selected by the judges among the nominees for the £25,000 prize, the UK’s most valuable poetry award.

The work, which is also a Poetry Society recommendation, features poems in which the threat of violence is never far away, looking at episodes including the pulling of a knife, racial abuse of an Uber driver, a father bathing his son in ice water and a schoolboy driving a pin into a map of the world.

The title poem is a meditation on racism and ‘race science’ that draws on the Cypriot heritage of British-born Anthony.

A poet, fiction-writer, essayist and poetry educator whose work has appeared on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky, Anthony won the Groucho Maverick Award in 2015 and this year he was made an honorary fellow of the University of Roehampton. He has toured extensively in Europe and Australia.

At QE, Anthony is a contributor to the School’s academic enrichment programme, leading workshops and other events promoting and developing creative writing among the boys.

As reported by the Guardian, the chairman of the judges, John Burnside, has paid tribute to all the shortlisted writers, whom he describes as “some of the finest and most fearless poets working today”.

“In an excellent year for poetry, the judges read over 150 collections from every corner of these islands, and beyond,” said Mr Burnside. “Each had its own vital energy, its own argument to make, its own celebration or requiem to offer, and we knew that settling upon ten from so many fine books would be difficult. Nevertheless, as our deliberations progressed, the same titles kept coming to the fore.”

Guardian reviewer Jade Cuttle wrote: “Anthony Anaxagorou’s After the Formalities is a novel response to anxieties surrounding the growth of the immigrant-descended population, informed by his British and Cypriot heritage. […] The poet speaks out ‘against darkness’ to a divided nation and seeks the solace of home, whether assigned or adopted.”

Published by Penned in the Margins – a company producing new work live, in print and online – the anthology has also been praised by rapper, poet and political activist Akala as a work by “a poet at the peak of his powers”.

Anthony dedicates the collection to the memory of “my beloved grandmother who passed away during the writing of this book”. In a note of thanks at the start of the book, he also addresses his son, Tabari: “I hope when I’m old you’ll read these poems with the same fondness I discovered when writing them.”

  • Previous winners of the TS Eliot prize include Carol Ann Duffy, Ted Hughes and Alice Oswald. The winner will be announced on 13th January 2020.
‘Meditate and do something productive’: sounding out career plans

Countless hours spent jamming with friends in the Music block at QE sowed the seeds of Sergio Ronchetti’s career as a composer and sound designer for video games and films.

Returning to the School to deliver a careers lecture to Senior School pupils, Sergio (OE 2004–2011) recalled that when he decided to go into music instead of taking a place at university, everyone around him said he was making a mistake.

But, he told the boys, he had no regrets about his chosen path, since it had put him in control of what he was doing. He loves practising music six-to-eight hours a day as he finds it therapeutic and it gives him direction. He had been true to himself, his career giving him opportunities to learn from, helping him to mature and making him happy. “It’s more about the journey, rather than the end game. Every day I get a little bit better at something, I progress.

“Give yourself time to make decisions – meditate and do something productive,” he advised the boys gathered in the Shearly Hall. “If you don’t know what to do for a career, take a year out, work, take a course. There’s no rush!” Just as in rugby, you must actually take steps forward in order to achieve your career goals, particularly if those goals are ambitious, he said.

Sergio spent the first four years after leaving QE as a professional musician, culminating in the release of a full-length album. During this time, he achieved several accolades, including an artist endorsement from ESP Guitars and Laney Amplification, while also performing at major festivals and at sold-out shows in both UK and mainland Europe.

He did eventually go to university – but in his own time and as the next logical step in his career plan. Although he came from a rock background (influenced by his uncle’s heavy metal collection), he decided to eschew a possible future in a touring band playing guitar, because he “wanted to be a part of something bigger”. He loves the indie game scene and says his ambitions include working on “the biggest video game in history”. Asked what his ten-year goals were, Sergio staed: “I would like to score a couple of good jobs in film – possibly become head of a music production department”.

Thus, in 2016, in order to facilitate this burgeoning ambition to become a film and game composer, he went to Goldsmiths, University of London, to study Music, from where he graduated with a First.

Today, Sergio works as a freelancer, describing himself on his own website as a ‘composer/sound designer’. His recent work on the indie game Eldest Souls was showcased at E3 Los Angeles, the premier trade event for the video industry.

He is a regular supporter of the School and gave a presentation on sound design in video games at last year’s Year 11 Careers Convention.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “Sergio’s story is a very interesting one – through a combination of determination and talent, he is successfully forging a career in a highly competitive industry. Of course, unlike him, a very large majority of our boys do go on to university immediately on leaving the School or after a gap year, but we are keen to make sure that pupils are fully informed about all the different options available to them so that they can make the choices that are best for them.”

Sergio advised any boys interested in following in his footsteps not to rely on making money from such a career in the beginning. “Freelance work takes a while to build up. Do it as a hobby first. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, either; you can use your laptop or iPhone.”

Sergio was happy to dispense a little technical advice – he suggests Logic or Ableton software for music production, using Logic himself, while Pro Tools is good for film-editing.

Asked about the skills required for a career similar to his, Sergio urged the boys to be open to possibilities and to be prepared. “If someone comes to you and says ‘are you ready to mix this album?’ you need to take the challenge.” He does not believe in luck: “It’s all about work ethic and discipline.”

There were also questions about the UK grime & rap industry and whether it incites violence. Sergio said he believed not; artists were merely expressing the violence going on around them. He added, however: “As a musician you do have a level of responsibility and need to be aware of what messages you’re spreading.”

White-collar crime, marathons and meeting old classmates

Right from the start, Joshua Domb’s professional life had its fair share of excitement!

Just a few months after leaving QE, Josh found himself working at an investment bank and thus witnessed at first-hand the careers carnage among the bankers as the 2008 global financial crisis swept across the City.

He then embarked on a legal career that has so far taken him from the Old Bailey in London to court rooms formerly used for Mafia trials in Milan and from down-town Abu Dhabi to the heart of Sao Paolo. His work as a lawyer has seen him supporting big business and advising wealthy individuals, while also saving the jobs of 17 quarry-workers.

In his spare time, Josh (OE 2001-2008) now enjoys long-distance running and also frequently makes time to meet up with fellow old boys of the School.

After taking his A-levels in History, Politics, Business and Accounting, before taking up his place to read Law at Nottingham University, Josh spent eight months working for professional services firm Accenture.

“Most memorably, my first day on a client site saw me walk into an investment bank on the day that Lehman Brothers went bust – the ultimate experience of being thrown in at the deep end.

“Not having a degree or really being able to contribute to the project I had been assigned to in any significant way, I instantly became the most hated person in the office, protected as I was on an external project team whilst, over the next three months, bankers with 20-plus years’ experience got fired around me. By the time I moved on, you could fit everyone who was left on the three floors that the bank had in that particular building on to a single floor. Not fun, but a great learning experience!”

After his gap year, Josh read Law at Nottingham University. He thoroughly enjoyed his studies at Nottingham, but says the real highlight was serving as the President of the University Karate Club and fighting on the University team.

He then worked for law firm DLA Piper, where he trained as a solicitor, ultimately qualifying into the Corporate Crime & Investigations (CCI) Team. After four years, he moved to Paul Hastings’ London office and was tasked with helping build the American law firm’s CCI team there. He has now been at Paul Hastings for two-and-a-half years.

His work broadly involves:

  • Advising companies in relation to internal investigations, for example in relation to allegations of bribery or conflicts of interest following a complaint by a whistleblower, or representing those companies if they are being investigated or prosecuted by a regulatory authority
  • Advising and representing individuals who are being investigated or prosecuted by regulatory authorities
  • Advising companies on matters which generally fall under the umbrella of ‘compliance’ – including areas such as anti-bribery, anti-money laundering, competition law and sanctions.

In addition, Josh occasionally deals with tax fraud investigations and spends quite a lot of time doing work involving the gambling industry “which has to deal with all of the things listed above, but with the added slant of industry-specific regulation”.

Among the highlights from his “exciting” last six years as a lawyer, he lists working on former News of the World editor Andy Coulson’s defence team in the high-profile phone-hacking case, spending almost four months in the Old Bailey during the trial itself.

He spent six months living and working in Dubai, mostly doing internal investigations in the pharmaceuticals sector.

“I am also part of a team which represents a former member of the British Government in an ongoing trial in Milan, where I have probably been 20-30 times over the last few years.”

There have been definite highs – “rescuing a quarry near Newcastle from a bitter dispute with HMRC and saving the workers’ jobs in the process” – and even, he recalls, the occasional low: “Going to prison! It was to interview someone who had stolen £1.7m and they let me back out again after – still, not an overly pleasant experience.”

In one period, he held meetings in an aircraft hangar full of disassembled private jets, just outside Paris, while at other times he was to be found variously: wandering around downtown Abu Dhabi at 2am; eating out in Sao Paolo; running around Central Park whilst the sun set on New York, and spotting the world’s largest sail ship whilst walking the streets of Gibraltar.

Travel is, in fact, at the forefront of his interests outside of work: “I love to get away long-haul at every opportunity. Cuba, Japan and Malaysia have been some recent highlights on that front.”

He is a also keen runner, completing his first sub 3-hour marathon in Frankfurt last October and finishing his first 50-mile ultra-marathon around the Chilterns in just under 10 hours a couple of weeks ago. “I am also a keen photographer, and enjoy listening to audio books, which I find is a nice change from the substantial amounts of reading I do every day at work.”

“Thinking back to my time at QE, the thing that has surprised me most, over ten years on, is how many people are popping back up in the most unexpected of places! I have taken many old classmates out for business and social dinners over the last year or so, and have a few more to get through this year also.”

When he stopped by for the Founder’s Day Fete in June, he found it “a source of great satisfaction to see how well the School was doing”.

“There are plenty of teachers and moments that stand out from my time at QE. To pick one of the funnier stories, I used to play rugby at scrumhalf, normally on the C team, but occasionally scraping my way into the B team. It would be a stretch to say that I was much good though and, my growth spurt coming a little late, I was certainly amongst the smaller in stature on the field.

“I recall on one occasion that we were playing away (I think against Habs) and I got unexpectedly drafted in at fullback on the A team (to cover for an injury, not because I was anywhere near good enough!). Thankfully my colleagues did most of the work and I wasn’t called on to get particularly involved – I never did have that ‘off-switch’ for danger in my brain that I think is so important for a fullback!

“Even if I wasn’t much good as a player, the School did give me a real love of watching rugby, which I maintain to this day.

“My single most important piece of advice to the current students is to never be afraid to ask someone for something. It’s amazing just how much people are willing to give of their time, contacts, knowledge and experience, if only you are willing to ask. Related to that, get over the fear of being told ‘no’ or turned down. You almost certainly didn’t have whatever you asked for before you got told no, so really you haven’t lost anything!”

QE Connect launched: strengthening the ‘QE experience’

QE Connect, a new interactive online platform for alumni and other supporters of the School, has now been launched.

A bespoke social and professional network, it helps old boys stay connected with the School and each other, while allowing them to access new contacts and career opportunities. Furthermore, QE Connect makes it easy for alumni to support current boys at the School in a wide range of different ways.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “I am thrilled to be able to announce the launch of QE Connect and pleased to see that our OEs are quick off the mark: many have already signed up!

“When a boy starts at the School he becomes an Elizabethan for life: QE Connect is about enhancing and celebrating that association, recognising that we all benefit when we assist each other. It seems especially appropriate that we have launched QE Connect during a week in which more than 3,000 boys are sitting our entrance exam for places in Year 7 next year. Built on the bedrock of the enduring friendships formed by boys while they are pupils, our community spans the generations: the ‘QE experience’ starts early and continues long after pupils leave here and go on to university and into their chosen careers.”

In recent years, alumni engagement with the School has been expanding rapidly, as Old Elizabethans generously contribute their time, expertise and money in a whole host of ways. QE will streamline this process, making it straightforward for every alumnus to get involved in whatever way he chooses, and at a level of time commitment that is appropriate for him.

“We aspire for our boys to go to the world’s leading universities and to have the best careers,” the Headmaster added. “Through QE Connect, our alumni and other supporters can help us give pupils every advantage while they are here, including access to the latest resources, the best facilities and the finest brains.”

Ways in which they can assist include: work experience placements; internships both for sixth-formers and for recent leavers; university application and ‘personal statement’ advice; Mock interviews, including the annual University Mock Interview Evening in October; careers advice; giving talks and lectures; reviewing CVs; help at events, and financial support through the Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s (FQE) Giving to QE campaign.

The Headmaster added: “Many of our pupils are the first generation in their families to go to university and on into professional careers; they do not have the network of family and other connections typically enjoyed by pupils from fee-paying schools. QE Connect will assist the School in broadening boys’ horizons and in overcoming this gap by putting them in touch with their predecessors at the School.

“My appeal is for all Old Elizabethans to get involved and ‘give something back’: by doing so, they are exemplifying the School’s longstanding tradition and ethos of service to others and philanthropy.”

Just a few examples of Old Elizabethans who are actively engaged in supporting the School include:

  • Akashi Gandhi (2005-2012), a junior doctor in Harrow, who helps aspiring Sixth Form medics with their UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test) preparations and was the Guest of Honour at this year’s QE Junior Awards Ceremony;
  • Neil Madhvani (1992-1999), a Switzerland-based Global Service Manager with investment bank UBS, who assists QE through regular financial donations;
  • Kane Evans (2003-2010), who, since reading History at Cambridge, has forged a career in research and strategic planning, first at Manchester United FC and now with Formula 1. A regular participant in QE events, such as our Year 11 Careers Convention, he was the guest speaker at the 2017 Elizabethan Union Dinner Debate.