We recently caught up with Alumna, Nikki Greaves, who left RMS in 2018. Here, she shares her journey from joining GSK as an apprentice, to her current role in a charity, which encourages and inspires young people into STEM careers.

When did you leave RMS for Girls, and what did you go on to study and where? 

After leaving school, I went on to do a Laboratory Science Apprenticeship at GSK where I studied a Bioscience degree alongside working full-time. The degree was accredited through the University of Kent. I was given one day a week to complete my studies at my own pace. There were mentors, lecturers and colleagues always on hand to help if I ever needed advice/ assistance with a certain subject.

What influenced your decision in choosing your particular place of study? Were there any specific factors from your time at RMS that influenced your choice?

During my time at RMS, I realised that I am a very explorative, hands-on learner, so being able to learn and study on the job sounded much more interesting than being talked at in lectures. After doing quite a bit of research, I realised that an apprenticeship was a lot more appealing for the type of person that I am.

Could you describe your journey since leaving GSK? What are your plans for the future? 

I joined GSK in September 2018. Going from school into a work environment was a big step, but I hit the ground running. I quickly got used to the working ‘adult’ life and routine. I spent the first three years doing a level 5 laboratory apprenticeship which is equivalent to a foundation degree.


I worked hard enough to be onboarded early and was promoted to be an Associate Scientist before I had finished my apprenticeship qualification, which was an amazing achievement

I continued with my studies part-time and finally completed my Level 6 bachelor’s degree apprenticeship after four years at GSK. I was able to go to a graduation ceremony just like full-time university students to celebrate my hard work, and that was a special moment.

I learnt so much at GSK but I was ready for a new challenge. I now work for a charity called the Engineering Development Trust, whose aim is to encourage and inspire young people into STEM careers.

I am really enjoying working for them and being able to give the students personal insights and tips from someone who has experienced a STEM career and a different career route

In what ways do you feel RMS prepared you for life beyond education? 

RMS helped me with my teamwork and communication skills, but most importantly with my resilience. The world likes to throw curve balls, so being able to accept and adapt to the changes is so important and a skill I have found useful.

RMS also definitely built my confidence and drive to achieve and push myself in whatever I am doing

This also applies to life outside of work. I still enjoy participating in team sports and have also started to grow a small craft business.

Can you recall any specific teachers, courses or experiences at RMS that had a lasting impact on you? 

Mrs Isherwood was beyond helpful in checking over my application to GSK, including preparing me for my interview and presentation. I cannot be more thankful for that invaluable support and guidance. Of course, I also have all the sports teachers to thank for their support throughout school, in all the sports I was involved with, including at County and National levels.

I think its safe to say everyone wishes schools focused a little more on ‘real life’ situations and tasks to make you more prepared for the ‘real world’, but in all honesty, I don’t think anything teaches you more than just throwing yourself into new environments and learning as you go

Based on your journey, what advice would you give to current students at RMS thinking about their next steps beyond school?

My advice would be to explore all your options, don’t just go with the crowd or what you are being told is the ‘right’ way, because there isn’t one! Also, not be afraid to do things differently.

The university route isn’t for everyone and there really are so many avenues and options out there and it’s about finding the one that’s best suited to you

Our alumnae are a vital part of our vibrant RMS community. Whether you were a boarder in the 1940s, a recent leaver, or somewhere in between, we would love to connect with you. Please send us your details using the alumnae connect form to stay in touch.