Meet the KEW-NET star mentor!

Freddie Ryder graduated from the University of Kent with a Philosophy degree. We caught up with him recently to find out about what brought him to Kent, what he’s been up to since graduating, and why he volunteers to mentor current students.

Where were you raised?
I was born in the outskirts of London but grew up in the Kentish seaside town of Ramsgate. This is where I attended secondary school before coming to Kent.

What made you decide to study/work at Kent?
What initially attracted me to Kent was the Philosophy department by way of its excellent reputation and favourable balance between Anglo-American and Continental philosophical focuses. Once I visited on an open day I instantly fell in love with the campus itself; its verdant green spaces, stunning views overlooking Canterbury’s charming Cathedral, and, its unmistakably welcoming, tranquil and friendly feel. From that moment, I had decided I would go to Kent.

What are you doing now?
I have enjoyed what can best be described as a varied, unconventional or non-standard career. I have a fairly broad range of interests and try to incorporate all of them into my working life. Essentially, I wear many hats and have several different roles: I am a teacher, a Director of Studies, an examiner, a retail trader, an entrepreneur and a property developer. As a Director of Studies, I manage teams of teachers overseas on short-term intensive English courses as well as the in the UK. I have I have taught all over mainland Europe including in Austria, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Holland and as far afield as Azerbaijan. I have also worked as an examiner marking GCSE and A-level papers. When I’m not teaching or examining I play the stock market, manage my small property portfolio and I have various entrepreneurial interests including promoting my late grandfather, Cyril Parfitt’s, artwork and marketing it as art (greetings) cards amongst other things,

How have you volunteered for Kent?
Since encountering the Kent Experiences of Work Network (KEW-NET) I have been a volunteer mentor providing guidance, support and just general correspondence with current undergraduate and postgraduate students at the university. This has been through both face to face communication including at KEW-NET networking events as well as online via the web based platform providing both practical as well as moral support.

What made you want to volunteer your time for Kent?
My reasons for volunteering were two-fold. Firstly, I wanted to help people as I have been helped and inspired in my life. I’ve been fortunate enough to have had some inspirational teachers, lecturers and individuals in my life and so I know just how value that can be. Secondly, I had such a great time at Kent I wanted to share my experiences and give something back to an institution that has given me so much.

What advice would you give to a new graduate embarking on a career?
Graduation can seem like a daunting prospect, leaving behind the safety and familiarity of university for the unknown world of work, but it should be thought of as a time of opportunity. This is when graduates can see their hard working paying off, putting their studies into practice and starting to earn some money. That said there are many possible paths and graduates shouldn’t expect to find the right one first time. One size definitely does not fit all here. Graduates should be prepared to try your hand at lots of different things and make the most of any opportunities. If nothings seem to come your way then you need to be proactive and put yourself forward wherever possible.