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Children affected by steel closure given ‘invaluable’ insight into careers


Jun 19, 2017

PRIMARY school pupils in a community hit hard by the closure of the local steelworks have been given an “invaluable” insight into a range of careers.
The youngsters at New Marske Primary, near Redcar, wrote letters to people in various jobs, inviting them to visit the school.

The result was a host of presentations from visitors, including: a banker, author, nurse, air stewardess, police officer, firefighter, radio presenter, physiotherapist, vet, college principal, and chocolatier.

The Mayor of Redcar, Councillor Karen King, a former pupil at the school, also gave a talk.

The latest visitor was Colin Fyfe, Chief Executive of Darlington Building Society, who told the pupils about his career in banking.

He said the secret of success was “to work hard, be keen to learn, and to volunteer to take on challenges”.

Mr Fyfe was born near Glasgow, and spent nearly 30 years working for the Clydesdale Bank before joining Darlington Building Society as chief executive in April 2014.

In answer to pupils’ questions, he explained that a building society is different from a bank because it is owned by its customers rather than shareholders.

Darlington Building Society is the only building society based in County Durham, Tees Valley and North Yorkshire, and to have its headquarters in the North-East.

Asked what job he would have enjoyed most, he replied: “My ambition was to be a footballer for my favourite team – Motherwell – but I wasn’t good enough.
“However, I’ve been lucky to be chief executive of Darlington Building Society which is really varied and interesting. It’s never boring.”

Teacher Kirsten Allen said: “The community has been hit hard by the closure of the nearby Redcar Steelworks so it’s important to raise the aspirations of the children and show them what’s possible. The visits have been invaluable.”

By Emily