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From CANDI Sixth Form College to Government Economics

Lucia Slater studied at our Sixth Form College from 2012-14. After graduating from the University of Birmingham to study Economics, she is now working at the Department for International Trade as an Economist. We sat down with her to find out all about her time at the College, working in economics and her advice to our students.

From CANDI Sixth Form College to Government Economics

What did you study at CANDI? 

I studied A Levels in Economics, Philosophy and Sociology.

Why did you choose CANDI?

I was drawn to CANDI because of the vast range of subjects on offer. A lot of sixth forms around London didn’t offer the subjects I wanted to take. It also offered lots of careers and higher education support. That really appealed to me as I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do post-college. It looked like a diverse, fun and exciting college, and I was proved right. I thoroughly enjoyed my years there.

What was your college experience like?

My experience was everything I could have hoped for. I made amazing friends, got along well with the teachers and really enjoyed the college lifestyle.

What did you do after college?

I achieved A*, A and B grades in my A Levels and went on to study Economics at the University of Birmingham.

What are you doing now?

I’m working for the UK Government at the Department for International Trade as an Economist where carry out analysis of data to provide strong evidence for developing public policy. I started this role straight after my undergraduate degree. My role is on a graduate scheme called the Civil Service Fast Stream. This means that I get to try out many different roles in government within my first three years, giving me a better understanding of how government works, increase my skillset and find out which role I’m best suited to. Another benefit of joining a graduate scheme is that you start working on quite a good salary straight out of university and have a lot of responsibility from the outset.

What do you typically do day to day in your role?

I work in the office of the Chief Economist. I support and advise him on the UK’s economic strategy for trade policy and brief him on meetings. I also discuss policy with academics from universities. My role has a mixture of independent working, collaborative projects and meetings. It is very varied, which is what I love about it.

My previous role was quite different had more typical duties for an economist. I worked in policy analysis; analysing investment data to feed into free trade negotiations for the UK and recommending which sectors the UK should be focusing on in negotiations for investment. I also worked with different government departments to discuss which investment treaties the UK government should be pursuing.

Do you feel CANDI helped with your career path? 

CANDI really helped me through their careers service, university outreach and regular emails with opportunities about careers. 

What advice would you give to students?

Take advantage of opportunities the college gives you. This stage in your life is the best time to try and get work experience through internships or volunteering. This gives you the opportunity to find out what you may be interested in and make connections with firms and industries for when you go on to further study or are looking for a job. 

Think about what you want to do post-college, keep an eye out on the careers emails the college sends and chat with the college’s careers advisers. Be proactive, create a LinkedIn account and reach out to employers in industries you are interested in. This can open up opportunities to shadow people or get work experience. 

Get in touch with organisations such as SEO London, Rare Recruitment and Bright Network, who connect young people, particularly those from working class backgrounds or ethnic minorities, with employers from competitive industries such as finance, law and accounting. Through these organisations, I was offered work experience, given interview advice and got to meet representatives from a countless number of firms. This helped me get to where I am today, and I don’t know whether I would have got here without them.


Queen's Award for Enterprise