Skip to content ↓
Meadowhead School

Meadowhead SchoolAcademy Trust

Questions & Answers

Students asked questions of the employers they heard from during World of Work Week, and you can find these together with the answers below:

Nick Shaw - documentary film-maker

Nick Shaw, documentary film-maker

What qualifications do you have? Did you go to university?                              

I did 4 a-levels in Manchester, then a BA degree in French at the University of Sheffield, then a MA masters postgraduate degree in film production (directing and cinematography) at Sheffield Hallam. Then later professional qualifications including a commercial drone piloting accreditation, various health and safety courses, including mental health awareness and coronavirus awareness. 

What film are you most proud of? Have you made any films aimed at our age group?      

At any given moment I’m most proud of what I’m working on at that time, because in general you have to believe it can be the best thing you’ve ever done - so that you’re challenging yourself to improve. That said, the recent series of Surgeons: at the edge of life on BBC two was a brilliant TV programme, full of cutting edge science and tense patients’ stories. I shot most of the series and I’m very happy with how it came out. It was a joy to watch. 

I have worked on a few shows made for BBC three, including a series called Supercar Superfam, about two brothers who have a custom car modification garage. They race around London showing off their noisy cars and balance it with the family values of their Pakistani heritage. A lot of people like 24 hours in A&E and Ambulance but they’re not really for the youth market. Way back, I started out making music videos for local Sheffield bands, none of which I think you’d be interested in!

What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring film maker?                           

If you know you enjoy it; don’t give up. Keep making films - they’ll get better. You don’t need much to get started, so don’t let not having equipment stop you. It’s all in the power of the idea. Nobody cares if it doesn’t look or sound amazing if the story draws you in. And then your own vision will come later. 

And if you like documentaries, find something to capture, a story that only you could tell, because of who you are. Think about what you could film that is part of your world that is unusual, or the last of something, the biggest of something, the strangest of something etc. 

In one line, all the best stories say something universal about being a human, but through the lives of only one group of people. A global theme, at a local address.  

Watch his video again here: 

You have not allowed cookies and this content may contain cookies.

If you would like to view this content please



What does Amey do as a company?                                                                

Amey is absolutely vast so I would advise the students look at our website:

Amey is one of the top five support services suppliers in the UK. We maintain the UK's road and rail infrastructure, keep schools safe and clean, manage the UK's defence estate, safely escort prisoners and keep prisons and courts secure. We also collect and process waste, as well as deliver utilities services.   Sheffield is part of Transport Infrastructure/Highways.


Aaron (Highways Apprentice)

What future prospects does your job hold? Where could it take you in terms of a promotion or other having increased responsibility?

Unfortunately Aaron has left Amey but his role as a Highways Apprentice led to him being a qualified Highways Operative and from here he could move up to be a supervisor (leading a team of people on site and being responsible for planning the work, making sure everything was done correctly and to high standards, dealing with any problems and ensuring the highest levels of health and safety). Beyond this he could have applied to progress to Assistant Manager and then Manager of Operations leading all the teams. He could also have diversified, done further training and moved into another role to specialise in a different area of interest. Some people start a trade like Aaron has done and end up as Senior Managers and Directors if they’re prepared to work hard and have got what it takes!

What does your day to day schedule look like?                                           

A 7.30am start! His day to day schedule would have depended what was going on. His role was to help to construct, alter, repair and maintain the carriageway and footway surfaces e.g. asphalt, kerbs and flagstones. He would have learnt how to measure up an area to be worked on and to calculate the materials required, best method of work and how to order materials. He would also have learnt how to install traffic management on low speed roads (cones, traffic lights, signs etc when working on the roads). He would have learnt how to use tools, follow safe methods of work, operate machinery and drive the vehicles (if he had a driving licence).

His weekly schedule  would have included going to college on one day to study and he had the option to do the Duke of Edinburgh gold award.

What is the social side of your job like?                          

Re the social side of his job, he worked in a team of mixed ages and enjoyed that very much, there is always time for a bit of banter as long as the job gets done and they work hard and safely. Everyone at Amey is given a paid day every year to do some community work and this is often done in teams (e.g. a pathway was built at a hospice, a new sensory area was made at a school for children with special needs).


Jess, Assistant Environmentalist

What does your day to day schedule look like?

For the past year I’ve been working from home. On the average day I’ll start at 9am, and will check any emails and check my calendar for what meetings /deadlines I have that day. I coordinate major highways projects so my days usually consist of design meetings, programme meetings and catch ups with my environmental leads (landscape, ecology) to check we are on target to meet our programme deadlines. We have a ‘north’ team catch up every morning where people can drop in to a Teams video call and have a chat and a catch up on anything work or non-related.            

What is the social side of your job like?   

I’ve made good friends with people based in the same team (north), so we get together for walks and have Zoom catch ups once a month where we talk about non-work related stuff. Christmas is good for social stuff as some of our contracts have really good Christmas meals and Christmas parties. We have a ‘Teams’ chat where people can share good news and talk about non-work news. When we were in the office we would have ‘pay-day pints’ which was a really good social event where we could relax and wind down after a working day and socialise outside of the work place.


Sarah, Quantity Surveyor

What does your day to day schedule look like?   

Working hours is 7:30am-4pm and working at home still at the minute due to COVID.

  • Start by reviewing email and actions for the day,
  • 9am we have a commercial team meeting of what everyone is doing, any pressing deadlines, how everyone is doing etc
  • From then on I continue with my tasks.

These vary weekly from pricing up jobs, sending out Early Warnings to clients, pricing up for compensation events, doing design journals and claims to send to the client, doing weekly maintenance records and claims for an ongoing flooding site, visiting 6 weekly sites to ensure the traffic management (fencing) is still intact until the client instructs us to do work on the inspection site, setting up contracts for new sub-contractors to work with us in Sheffield, having interviews with them to ensure they have the right insurances, skills, working hours, PPE etc. any measuring up of sites for progress of the scheme, valuing this work per site, putting subcontract payments through and doing timesheets with cost allocations per person, per day to each scheme and logging the costs of these.

As you can tell it’s a very busy job!                                      

What is the social side of your job like? 

Normally as a team we went out every payday Friday of the month to the pubs in Sheffield but due to COVID this hasn’t happened! We have a WhatsApp chat which we speak in every couple of days and we’ve just arranged the first pub get together. Oh and you learn fast to keep up with the rest of the team (as I’m the only girl!!). Working from home works really well for me as I have a horse and a dog so I am usually at the stables for 5:45 when I’m working in the depot, however now I get there for 6:30 and home for 7:15!

You can watch the videos again here:

You have not allowed cookies and this content may contain cookies.

If you would like to view this content please


You have not allowed cookies and this content may contain cookies.

If you would like to view this content please


You have not allowed cookies and this content may contain cookies.

If you would like to view this content please



Virgin Money

Vicky Travis, Growth Manager

  • How much money does someone in your role make? Were you well paid for those different jobs on your way up to manager?  

Job roles in Store tend to range from £17,000 to £35,000, my salary has increased gradually over the years as my career has progressed.                                           

  • How long was the transition from starting at Virgin to becoming a manager? How long have you worked for them? What jobs have you had on your way to being a manager?      

My first Manager role came after 25 years but that was my choice, over that time I’ve had 2 career breaks when the children came along & worked part time.  It wasn’t until I returned to full time that I was ready to progress to Manager & that came quickly.  I have worked for the bank for 32 years now starting at entry level as a cashier & I then went on to account opening, supervisor, financial adviser, Manager & now Growth Manager Manager.

  • What are your work hours? 

My hours are 35 per week Monday-Saturday – at the minute we are open 10-4.                                

  • Do you work with a lot of people in branch/community?

I am lucky to be surrounded by a great team in Sheffield, there are 30 of us in store although it’s rare for us all to be in at the same time.  Some of my colleagues work part time & we have lots of annual leave to fit in between us!  In terms of working with the community, that side of my role hasn’t properly started as our event space isn’t open yet.  I’m having lots of virtual meetings at the minute with them but I can’t wait until we can fully open our doors & welcome the community back in!

  • Is your job focussed on handling money more or going around schools and events?   

My job now is more community & event focussed – there is a lot of cash handling in store as we have 3 teller positions & 4 ATM machines which need reconciling regularly.  We have note counters that really help us when we have to count & sort large amounts of money but I don’t get involved with that side anymore.                

  • In the bank do they have safes with lots of money/gold in? (my favourite question!)     

We do keep a supply of money inside our safes for the machines but no gold unfortunately!!                                                              

  • Why did you want to be a manager?  

I wanted to be a Manager for a number of reasons.  I was ready for more responsibility & had reached the top of my role in terms of skills/knowledge so I needed a new challenge.  I do like to keep learning & developing myself & felt I had so much I could share/pass on to my colleagues.  Also the salary increase & additional 5 days holiday was attractive!

You can watch the video again here: 

You have not allowed cookies and this content may contain cookies.

If you would like to view this content please



HR Manager 

How long did you study to get the right qualifications for your job?

I’m not actually “qualified” in my role so to speak, I have learnt with a lot of experience, I have a degree but it’s not HR related.

The most relevant qualifications in HR (the ones employers usually look for) are CIPD, there are different levels and the courses range from 1 - approx 3 years to complete. Anyone interested in HR but not wanting to go to university I would recommend the CIPD entry level course, there is a link here

you can watch the video again here: 

You have not allowed cookies and this content may contain cookies.

If you would like to view this content please



Software Developer Q&A

How much do you get paid?

We couldn’t disclose salaries but the pay is generally very competitive for a software developer and it is a desirable skill that means earnings potential is high once experience is gained along with qualifications.  Software development is a role that naturally lends itself to flexible working in terms of being home based and not set hours, which is also attractive to individuals that don’t particularly like to be tied to traditional set hours/location.  Projects can vary in terms of timescale but can be on-going for years as they require regular updates in line with technology developments or changes in what the client/consumer wants.

You can watch the video again here:

You have not allowed cookies and this content may contain cookies.

If you would like to view this content please


Wessex Archaeology

Archaeologist/Geomatics Technician Q&A

  • What is the rarest object you have found and how much is it worth?     

I was very lucky as a student to work on the University of Sheffield Thornton Abbey Project over several years. We found lots of interesting items including a lead container for carrying holy water on pilgrimages, a pendant with depictions of a disease called St Antony’s Fire and lots of other things that gave us an idea of the lives the monastic community of the Abbey may have lived. My two favourite things from that project were a small fragment of clay pipe from about the 17th century which had the names of French towns carved into the stem (there was a French militia garrisoned there after the Abbey was no longer in use for religious purposes) and a medieval mass grave containing hundreds of individuals who were probably victims of plague. The mass grave was located next to the monastic hospital which had lots of burials of people with evidence of interesting diseases. Neither of these examples are worth much financially but I will likely never get the opportunity to excavate on another site like it in my lifetime.                                

  • Do you get to keep the artefacts? 

No, generally any significant finds or objects go to local museums. Once they have been removed from site they are carefully processed, cleaned and sorted by our Finds and Archives team. They’ll work with local museums and other interested parties closely so that the museum can select the important finds for storage and conservation. Anything not considered important often goes through a Discard policy, this doesn’t mean that things just get thrown away – we’ll usually keep some items for reference or display in our own collections or for use in community events, sometimes we might also donate finds like animal bones and pottery to local universities to help inspire and teach the next generation of archaeologists.                                  

  • Do you have to have a palaeontologist qualification to do archaeology?

No, palaeontology is different to archaeology, although there are some crossovers. Palaeontologists study fossils and dinosaurs, whereas archaeologist study anything and everything relating to human history and artefacts.  There are even archaeologists who specialise in the study of human poo!   

  • How long do you have to study for?

It depends on the area of archaeology you want to go into, but usually people have a degree in archaeology. However, we also have staff without a degree or a degree in a different subject. The main thing you need is an interest in history and archaeology!

  • What is your average wage?

This varies depending on job roles and expertise. Starting salaries for fieldwork technicians (the people who do the digging and where people generally begin their career) are £20,000 a year plus. There are also plenty of opportunities to progress after gaining experience.

Generally specialists will get higher salaries than fieldwork archaeologists but these roles are very competitive as a result. I’m currently in a Senior fieldwork role and I earn enough to afford my own home, car (sadly not a Ferrari) and to take an annual holiday to the USA and usually another holiday in the UK as well. You can see some vacancies and salaries on our website -

You can watch the video again here:

You have not allowed cookies and this content may contain cookies.

If you would like to view this content please


MP’s Caseworker

What GCSEs did you take? What are your qualifications?                

  • You don’t need specific GCSEs to do well in the UK Parliament, although English is really important (good writing skills etc.). History can be very useful. Adequate maths skills are needed because sometimes you might have a constituent who has an issue with their tax or benefits. You would be expected to gain at least 4s in most GCSEs.
  • My qualifications:
    • GCSEs: standard compulsory English, Maths, and Science etc. I also opted for French, History and R.E.
    • I did A-Levels in French, English Lit, and Art.
    • I then went to Nottingham University to study French and German.
  • To be a caseworker, no specific qualification is required. A university degree is advantageous and it doesn’t have to be in politics (although, it is incredibly useful if it is). I think I may have included in the video how my Office Manager didn’t do A-Levels or go to university; he did BTECs at college and then started working in various office environments until he was hired as Admin Assistance/Caseworker by the MP and then worked his way up.  

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

  • It can be challenging to work with some stakeholders (eg other organisations we work with to resolve a constituent’s issue). If it is a very complex issue, with lots of different organisations involved, it can be time-consuming to speak with each group and find a quick resolution.
  • Sometimes, stakeholders might take a long time to respond or work on an issue. This slows things down and can be quite difficult.
  • We deal with a wide variety of people, some of whom have very passionate views on local or national politics. Without going into detail, this can be very hard at times.
  • Sometimes, residents might have a very sad and emotional issue which can be challenging as well.

Do you get paid?  What hours do you work?                                                                           

  • Yes, I get paid.
  • The hours should be 9-5. However, the role carries a lot of responsibility and the need to work to tight deadlines. With that said, working hours are usually longer. I usually finish around 6pm. If you want to work for the UK Parliament in some way, you generally should expect to have long working hours and the occasional evening or weekend event (for example, for resident meetings – where individual or a group of residents want to speak with the MP; or if there is an local meeting to discuss a particular issue in the local area).  Most MPs work incredibly hard for their local areas, working through weekends and taking very little holiday. Our role is to support them with their work and make it as easy as possible for them to serve their constituencies.

Should the MP lose their seat, would that affect my position?

  • Great question - yes it would! Should the MP lose their seat, I would lose my job. I was working for the MP just before and during the 2019 General Election. In all honesty, I didn’t really think about what I would do if I lost my job. If one MP loses, the new MP would organise their own new team.


You can watch the video again here:

You have not allowed cookies and this content may contain cookies.

If you would like to view this content please


Yorkshire Water

What type of role is suitable for someone who enjoys science and IT?

There are a range of IT-based roles at Yorkshire Water and all the roles using science would also require some use of IT. Find out more here: Yorkshire Water - Jobs & Careers You can also contact to request a careers meeting to discuss this in more detail.

You can watch the video again here:  

You have not allowed cookies and this content may contain cookies.

If you would like to view this content please