Tom Derrick, The Talent Tap 2017 & 2018

What The Talent Tap has done for me is indescribable. I feel so enhanced by everything that The Talent Tap has given to me. I’ve had some incredible experiences and met some incredible people. I’ve developed my skills, knowledge and understanding in a way that isn’t possible in the classroom, and that I never could have achieved without The Talent Tap. Every single person associated with The Talent Tap that I have met has helped me.

The other students really live up to the name of The Talent Tap! I learn so much from them alone, and that’s without even mentioning the mentors, the business leaders and the special guests that The Talent Tap has introduced me to. I’ve been able to rub shoulders and talk intimately with founders and CEOs. That’s something I can only have thanks to The Talent Tap – I have been able to gain some incredible insight and advice from The Talent Tap which has not only enhanced my ability and employability, but it has changed my mindset in my everyday life. This, I think, is highly significant in what The Talent Tap has given to me. On a day-to-day basis I feel confident in asking people questions that help me gain a deeper understanding from their knowledge and experience. I try to continually improve my knowledge and skills by taking what I learn from people and building on it every day. So, when combining this confidence and inquisitiveness instilled in me by The Talent Tap with the experiences, knowledge and skills the scheme has given me, it is genuinely no exaggeration to say that The Talent Tap has changed my life.

I am part of a tremendous alumni network of The Talent Tap, not only with the business leaders and mentors I’ve met through the scheme, but also my fellow students on the scheme that I know will go on to do great things in future. I could not be prouder and happier to be a part of The Talent Tap – if you ever have a chance to get involved with the scheme, I absolutely implore you to do it.

By a 2016 leaver after their first summer on the programme:

In the past two weeks I believe I have undoubtedly changed as a person. I never thought that when I applied to The Talent Tap scheme at the beginning of this year that I would be here, months later, with all the great memories and new friends, wishing I could rewind time and do it all over again.

Understanding business. I have come to appreciate business a lot more than I did prior to The Talent Tap. Before, I didn't really know what was involved in business; I just imagined people in suits reading charts and sitting behind desks all the time. Yet now I know it involves so much more.  For example I learned that Tim Warrillow, the CEO of Fever Tree, went to the Rwanda Congo border to find the perfect ingredient, quinine, for his tonic. It's safe to say that now I have a completely different view of business- it can really take you anywhere.

Team Building. Though school had many team building opportunities, team building in The Talent Tap scheme has been the best yet.  The Holiday Park project and Restaurant project in Darwin and Balderton have felt like the most realistic team projects I've ever had to do, and they've helped me understand how a team can work together to achieve a goal. Even the Escape Room activity that Joe and Naomi hosted really helped me see what a real team looked like and allowed me to bond with the rest of The Talent Tap group.

Living in London. Living in Central London these past two weeks has shown me what a real working life can be like.  The different sorts of people you see in the morning on the way to work and the chaos of the tube during rush hour allowed me to appreciate how different the world is when you leave school. Everyone you see is serious about what they're doing which is a huge difference to the atmosphere of school. The freedom we had really threw us me into the responsibilities of an adult life and helped me mature and change massively in only a few days.

Summary.  I am so thankful for the opportunities that The Talent Tap has given me this year, and I have already been nagging my friends in the year below me at Wellington to apply as soon as they have the chance, because it has been one of the best experiences of my life and I wouldn't have missed it for the world.


Megan Davis, The Talent Tap 2013 onwards

In 2016, the committee welcomed its first student member, Megan Davis, who was instrumental in the smooth running of the summer package.  She is also a good example of how The Talent Tap is taking students forward; she has done a number of work experience packages with The Talent Tap with both established and entrepreneurial media companies and as a result of that she has just been selected for a Masters in Journalism.  After her Masters, the strength of her CV and the confidence she has gained with The Talent Tap should ensure she is a truly competitive candidate for a top job in journalism. The inclusion of Megan on the committee is just one step in the process of empowering The Talent Tap students and turning The Talent Tap into a self-perpetuating alumni network of successful people. 

Ryan Littlefield, The Talent Tap 2012

Ryan was one of our first batch of The Talent Tap students.  He remains in touch with The Talent Tap and he recently wrote the following:

My name is Ryan Littlefield, I attended the very first The Talent TapScheme in 2012 after graduating from Wellington Academy Sixth Form. Whilst on The Talent Tap, I interned at Balderton Capital as well as a start up company called PledgeMusic.

After the two weeks of the The Talent Tap Scheme in July 2012, my whole outlook on where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do in my future career path changed. I was massively inspired by the businesses, how they worked and how their success has progressed. This gave me a massive encouragement to not be afraid to go out there and start something for yourself. To not be scared to start something new, even if people put me down about it. When I got back from London I began to think about my future and made a promise to myself that I would start a my own company and see where it would take me - if it failed, at least I could say I tried and if it succeeded; well that speaks for itself.

Nick, Rupert and the team gave me large amounts of support and advice which was the catalyst for me to venture into my own business. Whilst at University, I started a company called LondonMint Agency, 5 years later the company manages 27 DJs, with a monthly audience of 31,000 and operating in two offices in Portsmouth and Perpignan, South of France. After four years I sold a majority share of LondonMint Agency in order to start EsportsForce which highlights a recruitment gap within the $1billion dollar e-sports and gaming industry. Since launching we have established ourselves as the industry leading and only dedicated e-sports recruitment firm working with the global e-sports and gaming companies.

I strongly believe that without The Talent Tap scheme, my drive and aspiration to invest, build and develop as an entrepreneur wouldn't be that which it is today. Working within companies like Balderton was one of the greatest experiences and provided you something education just cannot teach alone. In an age where it is becoming increasingly difficult for students and graduates to get relevant work experience, I can only thank the whole team at The Talent Tap and Wellington Academy for providing me with an opportunity to get ahead of the rest.


Jadene Smith, The Talent Tap 2013 & 2014

Jadene Smith is another The Talent Tap student who is on the move.  She met Charlie Coode on her first The Talent Tap package and since then she has stayed in atouch with him.  Jadene impressed Charlie with her drive and persistence, so much so, that she was offered a full internship with Coode Associates last Summer; an invaluable experience that will undoubtedly lead on to great things. 

As Jadene explains:

I first participated in the The Talent Tap programme in 2013, with two weeks experience with Balderton Capital. Our project involved working as a team to plan a hotel build in which Balderton may be interested in investing in. It gave me an opportunity to apply my academic knowledge to real life situations. For example, I was managing the financial aspects of the plan and enjoyed creating a cash flow forecast amongst other collateral to present to a panel of potential investors. Another experience, which I found to be particularly valuable, was meeting with a HR employee at Nomura; the advice given still sticks with me today.  I returned to The Talent Tap the following year for experience at Rathbones. This gave me the opportunity to use data sources to gather and analyse information to justify potential investments – something I really enjoyed.


Hazel Chalk-Pope, The Talent Tap 2014 & 2015

The Talent Tap 2014 lasted for two weeks, and involved working with various companies completing a series of tasks within different deadlines.

Firstly, we spent a day meeting various business men and women. This was insightful as we were able to learn about different roles within the business sector and the different ways to approach the business world. We met with Charlie Coode, who explained the importance of first impressions, simple things such as firm handshakes, smiling and standing upon someone's entrance. These things may have seemed obvious, but when you're in the moment, you can sometimes forget. He taught us of the importance of appearance and mannerisms, which would potentially make us more approachable and employable. This was very useful and allowed me to reflect upon myself and how I would like others to see me.

We worked with a company called 'Rentify' for a couple of days, ran by George Spencer; this was an incredible experience as we were able to see how different offices functioned. We were then given a task to create a phone app in a day. This was a great yet challenging activity, as it meant we had to come together as a team to work towards a deadline. At the end of the day, we created a presentation and presented our app. I learnt how to pitch a business idea to an audience, and it gave me an understanding about business shares and how to go about getting funding for a new idea.

We worked in Balderton Capital for the rest of the week, who had a very different approach to business. Here we were given the task to create a business plan for a shop on the corner of Oxford Street. They gave us the tools we needed, including the correct outline for the plan. They provided us with our own office space where we worked closely as a team to come up with an idea and put this into action. To make the project more real, we visited the venue to see the location and the surrounding shops. We also asked members of the public which types of shops they thought were missing from such a high-­end shopping street. We collated all of this information to then come up with the idea of “Baby Baby”­ an affordable baby enterprise. We put together a presentation, which we then presented at the end of the week. I learnt from this about formal pitches, and how to create a business plan.

The second week was very different, working with Future Cinema, a theatre company. This experience gave me the opportunity to strengthen networks and gain an insight into the professional performing arts industry, with a more hands ­on approach. We worked with the company as volunteer actors in their show “Back to the Future”. It was an invaluable experience. I even got the opportunity to perform in the last three shows. The performance was incredible and it provided me with the contacts to potentially work with Future Cinema in future projects.

I was very surprised at how much I learnt over the two weeks, and how much I enjoyed taking part in the business elements of the scheme; it is definitely something that I would like to expand on and learn more about. Each company and person we met and worked with were very different in their approach to business and their role within the field. This gave me an insight into what I would like to do in the future and how I would like to go about it.

Grisham Ramesh, Swindon Academy, The Talent Tap 2014, 2015 & 2018

I was fortunate enough to be part of The Talent Tap scheme for 2014. Thanks to this organisation, not only did I get an in depth feel of my choice of career but I also learned to be more independent and responsible. I learned to be friends with people from completely different career paths. I also learned to respect and love each one of them. I am grateful to The Talent Tap, to Nick and Rupert, for giving me this life changing opportunity.

During my stay with The Talent Tap, I attended a two weeks’ placement in various medical areas. My first week started off with Chelsea and Westminster Hospital shadowing Dr Naresh Joshi. Here, I attended the operating theatre for the first time in my life as well as visiting eye clinics with other eye doctors. I learned about the science behind the human eye. It interested me so much that I’ve already started researching all the different forms of eye surgeries available. During my placement with Dr Joshi, not only did I learn about the importance of a surgeon or a doctor but I now also recognize the importance of an anesthetist, a scrub nurse and all the other equally important staff members. Today, I truly understand why team work is recognized as a vital part of medicine. Attending the eye clinics was also equally as fascinating as the theatre. I have so much knowledge and experiences to share with others now.

My second placement was at World’s End Healthcare Centre, where I was given an opportunity to shadow Dr Emma Potter, a fantastic General Practitioner, who inspired me to become a GP one day. I absolutely loved spending my day here. I learned so much attending the clinic with Dr Potter; how she dealt with each individual patient with patience and care was really interesting to observe. She has taught me to be calm and composed during all situations, regardless of what medical symptom the patient shows. I could never thank her enough for looking after me so well and helping me understand the importance of a good patient to doctor communication system.

Finally, my third placement was at St Mary’s Hospital, where I had the privilege to shadow Mr Lawton, a plastic surgeon, in a Trauma Surgery Ward. The whole team of doctors in this ward were amazing people. They looked after me very well as well as teaching me things I didn’t even know existed. Not only have I learned about the importance of medical professionals but I have also observed what it takes to become a good doctor and a good nurse. I now also understand the importance of team work in theatres as well as in general situations. Throughout my week with Mr Lawton, I learned to be patient and tolerant; to be spontaneous and optimistic; to be a team worker and an individualist. From my previous knowledge, I already knew that doctors worked immensely hard but this experience has shown me that they actually have no life for themselves. They sacrifice all their needs to give someone else a better quality of life. That, in itself was the most inspirational and rewarding thing I witnessed at the placement. I’ve never had a precise answer for why I wanted to become a doctor. I think I do now.

I guess the most important question I can ask myself after these two weeks is: could I see myself being a doctor in the future? The answer is, I can’t see myself in any other profession. This experience has opened my eyes about the world of medicine. Today, I want to be a doctor, not just to treat patients (who are of course the main priority) but also because I know that it’s what will make me happy. Treating patients for doctors shouldn’t be an obligation, it shouldn’t be just the requirement of their profession, but it should come from the heart. And that’s the main thing I’ve learned from this experience. In order to become a doctor, of course the first thing I will need is the required A Level qualifications. However, personally, I think it’s more than just academics and your BMAT or UKCAT scores. It is about your personality and your passion for the profession. In order to make a good doctor, you ought to have amazing communication skills: you ought to be a team worker: you ought to respect everybody’s opinion and learn to step down when needed: but most importantly, you ought to do everything in your patients’ best interest. After all, you’re there for them.