Arran Marais-Gilchrist

Old Bedalian 2008

Have you undertaken any kind of further study since leaving Bedales and have you gained any further qualifications?

After leaving Bedales I studied Chemistry at the University of Bristol, which included an exchange year at the University of British Columbia, in Canada. I obtained my MSc with 1st class honours in 2012. Following this, I obtained a TEFL qualification and moved to Brazil to teach English and self-study Portuguese. I returned to the UK a year later to study a second MSc in Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London, graduating in 2014.

What kind of work are you currently involved in and how and why did you come to be doing it?

I began a Chemical Engineering graduate scheme with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) shortly after graduating from Imperial College London. I believe my experiences both as an organic chemist and an engineer proved to be valuable in interview and assessment centre.  I initially started worked as a Process Engineer in one of GSK’s manufacturing sites in Scotland, specifically aligned to the manufacture of Ventolin (an anti-asthmatic medicine). I now work in the London headquarters as a Project Engineer, in the Global Projects team. My current focus is on designing new pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities and supporting the global manufacturing and supply network.

Did attending Bedales help you in getting to where you are now and how satisfied are you with what you are doing?

I spent almost my entire pre-university education at Bedales Schools, so it had an influence on me. It was a very enjoyable time, and it certainly shaped my personality. Undoubtedly, the arts and music culture gave me diversity that I might not have encountered elsewhere. I’m very satisfied with my current employment and I’m grateful to be engaged with such interesting and important work.

Have you been involved in any other interesting activities or occupations since leaving school?

Between my university degrees, I lived in Brazil self-studying Portuguese and teaching English. Learning a language from scratch by total immersion had a profound effect on me, and was extremely rewarding. When I eventually returned to the UK, I worked as a Centre Director for Ardmore Language Schools, in a site based north of Reading. I was responsible for about 20 members of staff and 450 students over the summer period. This afforded me highly valuable leadership experience, which has also proved to be career defining.  

I am now working towards obtaining Chemical Engineering chartership (CEng). I’m an associate member of the Institute for Chemical Engineers (AMIChemE) and I am an active committee member of the IChemE London & South East group.

(August 2016)