Dr. Julie Riggs

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Julie Riggs (1990)

Academic Practitioner

(Head Girl and Head of House 1989/90)

Since leaving Park School, I have been fortunate to travel and work around the world. I started my career working as a health and safety advisor for a leisure/holiday company and progressed to global strategic roles leading health and safety practitioners across corporate organisations. During this time, I completed my MSc in Occupational Health and Safety Management and a Doctorate (DProf) in Environment with Middlesex University. I also conducted additional activities, such as conducting UK wide research looking at mental health in the workplace, I presented the findings to a select committee in the House of Commons.  I have been interviewed by a Times Reporter, featured in safety trade journals, interviewed for four BBC radio programmes including an invited guest on the Jeremy Vine show.  I currently work for a consultancy whereby I write and deliver training material for degree students. However, I believe that a career does not have to be 9-5, but you can add flexibility to your role and shape your career with portfolio work.

Firstly, I would state that ‘Kingsley rules’ and was always the best house, led by a truly inspiring House Head and art teacher Ken Doughty. His influences still remain, particularly a common phrase he would use all the time of ‘go for it’. He was unrelenting in his support and gave huge confidence to his students. I also had an incredible Form Tutor and French teacher, Chris Ley who inspired, made me laugh and was a strong role model in my life. I particularly enjoyed music, technical drawing, science and history classes, but took the initiative to engage in all activities across the school, from Duke of Edinburgh, Young Enterprise to the school bank, sports teams, drama and music activities, which gave me a more rounded view of life.

I loved my time at school and have so many fond memories, At 15 I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life. I also put myself into a category of believing that I was fairly average academically and therefore my options were limited. But I eventually realised I could be whoever I wanted to be.  I have learnt that with hard work, dedication and being tenacious you can achieve anything. I strongly believe that education gives opportunities and choices in life. Do not consider yourself to be disadvantaged, as education creates a level playing field for everyone.  I would reassure myself that life is an exciting adventure, get out of your comfort zone and do not fear the next steps. Do not worry about failure, nothing is permanent, you will learn from it and strive forward with even more vigour. Choose the good side of life (stay away from negative people and experiences that are self-harming). See life as a continuous learning journey, not just something that you leave behind after completing school or college. Finally, live your life with passion and make a pledge to yourself to return one day to Park School to share your life’s story and inspiration.