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At Tollbar MAT Sixth Form College, we retain strong links with our alumni, and are always delighted to hear of successes involving our former students. Over the years, Tollbar students have gone on to achieve great success in their further studies beyond.

Please check back here regularly for updates on how our alumni are getting on. If you are a former student, and are interested in sharing your success with us, please do not hesitate to get in touch.


Matilda Fairgrieve

Tollbar Sixth Form 2020 leaver
A-Levels studied: Psychology, Media
and Business

What are you doing now?

Now completing a degree in BA Business Management and the Human Resource, alongside part time work as a student ambassador at the University of Leeds.

What do you feel is the best thing about doing a degree?

The best part about my degree is the comprehensive study of business, including modules on current economics and finance. Furthermore, being in a vibrant city surrounded by new people.

How did Tollbar Sixth Form help you prepare for a degree?

Tollbar Sixth form helped me to prepare by providing me with excellent critical analysis skills from a range of teachers across my A levels subjects, which is useful for essay assignments. Moreover, Tollbar's confidence in my communication skills encouraged me to pursue a role in the Business School as a course representative, involving meeting with senior faculty to discuss student queries and problems.

Olivia Simpson

Waltham Toll Bar Academy School Leaver 2021
Apprenticeship: Viking Inspection
Trade: Business Administration/Reports Author Apprentice

What do you feel is the best thing about doing an apprenticeship?

The most beneficial thing I have found from doing an apprenticeship is having the chance to have a break from full time education and learn a skilled role that feels completing different from learning in the classroom. I have also been able to meet a range of aged people and grasp an idea of what it is like to be working yet still being allowed time for my educational studies, 20% of my total working hours in fact. Due to the nature of my apprenticeship it has been interesting for me to learn a completing different craft that I would not have learnt about in full time education as widely.

How did Tollbar help you to prepare for an apprenticeship?

At Tollbar I was privileged to have a lot of help from my teachers in searching and creating an account on UCAS to apply to Universities and write my personal statement towards applying for various degree courses. However, once I knew this was not for me straight away after finishing college, I was able to speak to business teachers to gain further background knowledge before I started applying for various business apprenticeships so that I was confident in my applications with not studying business as one of my A-levels. This did not set me back in my goals to study a business apprenticeship at all.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

Going back, I would’ve perhaps liked to have had the opportunity to speak to more people and reached out to people who have done an apprenticeship themselves or are completing one. This would’ve given me more confidence towards starting my apprenticeship as I was only the person in my year who had made the decision to not go to University. This being said, I have been pleased with my decision to do an apprenticeship and I am open to answer any questions, worries or concerns about starting a career this way.

Harvey Newby

Waltham Toll Bar Academy School Leaver 2016
Apprenticeship: Phillips 66 Humber Refinery
Trade: Fabrication and Welding

What do you feel is the best thing about doing an apprenticeship?

I would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone. The best thing about doing an apprenticeship is the freedom you have - getting paid whilst learning. My company, like many others, has also given me the opportunity to study a HNC and HND in Mechanical Engineering.

What does a day in the life of your apprenticeship include?

I am a 4th year apprentice now. After leaving school, I started my apprenticeship with HETA (Humberside Engineering Training Association). They are a training provider that different companies use to take on apprentices.

I studied for a full year at HETA, before going to my company for the next 3 years. During this time, I studied one day a week at Grimsby, and then North Lindsey College for my HNC and HND. I learnt my trade amongst other things, such as health and safety and technical drawing.

I finished my NVQ Level 3 qualification a year early, and even though I am still on my apprenticeship, Phillips 66 has given me the opportunity to join the HSE (Health, Safety and Environmental Team). This year, I hope to gain a NEBOSH and a Level 3 teaching qualification, to become a HSE Advisor and Trainer at the Refinery.

How did Tollbar help you to prepare for an apprenticeship?

Tollbar gave me the tools I needed to be in the position I am today. Not just technical, but social and communication strengths that play a vital part in the work I do. Without this skillset and my apprenticeship, I might not have been able to buy a house at the age of 18!

Max Searby

Tollbar Sixth Form 2019 leaver
A-Levels studied: History, Psychology and PE.
Apprenticeship: Siemens

What do you feel is the best thing about doing an apprenticeship?

For me an apprenticeship gave me the hands-on approach to learning I needed and enjoy. I am being paid (above national apprenticeship wage) to gain my qualifications, which will include a degree.

What does a day in the life of your apprenticeship include?

My first year has been five days in the classroom learning. My second year will only be one day in the classroom, and four days on site. This will then leave my third and final year all being on site. During my third year, I am also going on a six-month placement to Denmark, which is all paid for by the company.

How did Tollbar Sixth Form help you to prepare for an apprenticeship?

I would definitely say that all the support and advice that the staff offered leading up to, and during the apprenticeship application process really helped. When I was speaking to Siemens about details, I was going back and forth to my teachers to discuss points and ask for help. The staff, both teachers and sixth form managers, were really supportive and helpful. My advice to anyone thinking about apprenticeships is to really concentrate in the tutorial time when your tutor talks to you about things like what to write on a personal statement, or how to lay out a CV. The information transfers to everything, whether it is university or an apprenticeship.

Sophie Fowler

Tollbar Sixth Form Leaver 2018
Apprenticeship: Chartered Business Management Degree Apprentice with Morrisons

What do you feel is the best thing about doing an apprenticeship?

The best thing for me has been being able to gain vital experience in several areas and progress in the business whilst doing a degree funded by Morrisons. I have been able to build a positive reputation for myself within the company and have a guaranteed job at the end of my degree. Having the opportunity to work across many different departments means I now have a much better idea of where I would like my career to go in the future and I have built a wide support network to help me get there.

What does a day in the life of your apprenticeship include?

During my first six months, I learnt about every department in the store and what is needed for our business to be successful. I then progressed to do a couple of different team management roles over the next six months including customer services and stock and systems where I learnt how to successfully manage a team and get results from my department. Now, I take a senior management position in running my store and coaching other colleagues. I go to university in Sheffield for a week every six weeks and have had the opportunity to do many things with Morrisons for my development including being taught to cook by the chefs in head office, visiting manufacturing and logistics depots and having regular meetings with the leaders of the business.

How did Tollbar Sixth Form help you to prepare for your apprenticeship?

The teachers at Tollbar supported me through my entire application process. They went through mock interviews with me and allowed me to spend my Wednesday afternoons shadowing a senior manager at Morrisons so that I would be able to get an insight into the role I was applying for. Time was also spent on writing an effective CV which I will take forward with me when I apply for jobs in the future. I can’t thank the staff at Tollbar enough for all the support.

Tom Mills

Tollbar Sixth Form Leaver 2019
Aircraft Engineering Apprenticeship — EasyJet — based with BAE at Humberside Airport
A-level Courses: Maths, Biology, Chemistry

What do you feel is the best thing about doing an apprenticeship?

For me, the apprenticeship route has been valuable due to the actual hands-on experiences of being in the workshop whilst learning, and not just in a classroom. I’m developing personal and people skills, whilst also learning the skills of the job. My apprenticeship was a much better choice for me than university, as I am in the workplace from the very start.

What does a day in the life of your apprenticeship include?

The first eight months of my aircraft engineering apprenticeship have been based in the classroom five days a week. Here, I have been learning the theory aspects whilst earning a good wage, above the national apprenticeship wage. Following this, I will be based in the workshop for 3 months. The next period of my training involves moving down to Gatwick, where I will go on a shift pattern of four days on four days off for 15 months. My wage goes up significantly during this time. At the end of the 15 months, I have an assessment, and will hopefully be awarded the qualification and license, allowing me to graduate from the apprenticeship scheme.

How did Tollbar Sixth Form help you to prepare for your apprenticeship?

My A-levels and time at Tollbar Sixth Form really stood me in good stead. I feel I am better prepared than some of the other people on the course, and this is mainly due to learning the skills of managing a workload. I can cope with the time demands placed on me with deadlines, and have good organisational skills which I developed at Sixth Form. The Sixth Leadership Team helped me complete my application and provided references, supporting the process fully.

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