Icenian Interview – Harry

Harry PeekHarry was at Langley between 2014 and 2016, studying A-Levels in Business Studies, Design and Technology, and ICT. Here we discover what he went on to do after school.

Did you know what career you wanted to follow when you were at Langley?
I had always held a strong interest in the Visitor Attraction industry so, while not necessarily knowing the specific area, I always had the desire to work in the industry in some capacity.

Which co-curricular activities were you involved with at Langley?
I was lucky enough to be a Design and Technology scholar, so naturally spent a lot of time in the DT department. I was also involved in a number of music activities, playing with the school orchestra, dixie band and in the annual productions. While lacking any kind of footballing skill, Mr Clarke still kindly found space for me in his football squad! I was proud to also form part of the Headmasters Council as Head of Communication.

“My time at Langley opened my eyes to the opportunities out in industry and helped me to continue to push myself to achieve my career goals and continue to set long term aspirations.”

Do you think these activities have been useful within your career?
The vast program of activities on offer certainly helped me broaden my knowledge and have a well-rounded Sixth Form experience. All of this I have taken forward into my career, particularly those skills gained during my time on the Headmaster’s Council.

What did you do after school?
I attended Staffordshire University to study FDA Visitor Attraction and Resort Management in affiliation with Alton Towers Resort before continuing remotely to complete an additional BA (Hons) Business Management.

How did you career first start?
My career in the Visitor Attraction industry began during my time still at Langley, working locally at Pensthorpe Natural Park alongside my studies in Upper Sixth. It was an industry I always had a great interest in, and having a taste of working in it cemented my career aspirations and long-term ambitions.

Things really kick started for me as part of my FDA Visitor Attraction and Resort Management studies, where I worked in affiliation with Alton Towers Resort. I was able to work in a variety of roles across the operation and gain practical knowledge and experience at the UK’s largest theme park. During my relatively short time I was able to work in marketing, entertainments, hotel operations and food and beverage in a variety of roles, and gain hands on management experience. Following conclusion of my program, with a desire to move back closer to home, I took up the position of Visitor Experience Manager at Colchester Zoo.

Where are you now in your career and what have been the highlights?
The impact of COVID-19 on the Visitor Attraction industry has meant I have had to diversify my career slightly, moving into the wider tourism and hospitality industry. I am currently working as Guest Experience Manager for Best of Suffolk, leading the award-winning guest operation across 380+ luxury holiday properties around Suffolk.

I’ve been fortunate to work at some special places during my career so far, so certainly am not short of highlights! As somebody that loved theme parks and Alton Towers growing up, the opportunity to help launch a brand-new rollercoaster, work on an award-winning Halloween event and even graduate at 68mph on a rollercoaster, remain particularly prominent to me. My time at Colchester Zoo was just as amazing, including seeing the planet’s most beautiful animals every day and witnessing the incredible work the Zoo does for conservation and to protect endangered species around the world.

Did your time at Langley School help inform your career choices and your attitude to your career progression?
My time at Langley opened my eyes to the opportunities out in industry and helped me to continue to push myself to achieve my career goals and continue to set long term aspirations.

What advice would you give to students currently considering joining Langley, their A-Levels or career choices?
Don’t be afraid to take a gap year! Heading into my final few months at Langley, I was set to take up a place at the University of York to study an Interactive Media course, with a plan to work out what I wanted to do while I was there. A quick change of heart instead saw me take up a gap placement at Norwich Lower School. This gave me a chance to think about what I really wanted and eventually find the perfect university course for me.

Final thoughts
I was keen to take up every opportunity presented to me at Langley as to not leave with any regrets. While this meant my two years there were action-packed and a bit of a whirlwind, I don’t think I can look back and say there was anything else I could’ve done or wish I would’ve done. Saying that, I did shy away from a penalty in a 2nd XI Football game away at St Felix!

A huge thank you to Mr Norton, whose Design and Technology scholarship assessment day really showed me that Langley was the place I needed to be for my A-Levels, and his support continued throughout my time in the DT department. I am also forever grateful for the guidance and support from Mr Haysom both in ICT and across my wider studies.

Thank you also to Mrs Cossey my fantastic form tutor, for keeping me on the right track, and to my Heads of Sixth Form Mrs McRoberts and Mr Kempton for all their support.

Published On: December 9th, 2021Categories: Icenians, News