Nielsen Sales Operations Director Jane O’Brien (left)with a student at Hinchingbrooke School and Natalie Marshall, Future First Head of Innovation and Learning (right).

A senior leader from London and Oxford based international company Nielsen has gone back to the classroom at her old Huntingdon school to inform students about career opportunities in international trade and commerce as part of the national education charity Future First’s ‘Commerce in the Classroom’ initiative.

Jane O’Brien, Sales Operations Director at Nielsen, spoke to Year 12 students at Hinchingbrooke School as part of the scheme designed to inform students about careers in global businesses and international trade and encourage them to consider jobs in this growing sector.

Jane spoke to the students about her career progression and how supply chains are affected by external events. The students also had an opportunity to ask questions about the job possibilities open to them should they choose to work in an international company. Jane was joined by Robert Peters, Senior Research Analyst at Ambrey Risk, who also discussed his career path with the students.

Under the programme funded by the Commercial Education Trust, employees working in international trade and commerce, from interpreters to market analysts, linguists to civil servants, volunteer to go back to the classroom in state schools and colleges in Sussex, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. These are areas where the government feels social mobility is low and the programme informs students about the wealth of jobs available and the skills they need to succeed in such fields.

Jane said, 'It was a pleasure to return to my old school and talk to the current generation of students about careers in international business and commerce. The students were so engaged and interested and I hope I was able to prove to them that there are so many amazing opportunities in this growing sector and different journeys towards an exciting and challenging career. The Commerce in the Classroom initiative is a valuable way to broaden their work horizons and show them what is possible. Who knows, they could be the talents of the future.'   

The Commerce in the Classroom initiative builds on Future First’s work in more than a thousand state secondary schools and colleges across Britain enabling them to harness the talents and experience of alumni to support students as relatable career and education role models, work experience providers, mentors, governors and fundraisers. The charity’s vision is that every state school or college should be supported by a thriving, engaged alumni community which helps it to do more for its students.

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Natalie Marshall, Head of Innovation and Learning at Future First said,

‘International commerce is a rapidly growing sector which offers a wealth of interesting opportunities students may not know about. Young people cannot be what they cannot see and talking to those working in the field will expose current students to the range of job opportunities available internationally and dispel misconceptions about who can succeed in them. Hearing first hand success stories from staff in companies like Nielsen shows what can be achieved through hard work, regardless of a student’s background and upbringing.’

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