Nicola Rigby (1993-2000Nicola Rigby)

Nicola has been recognised in the North West Business Insider’s ‘women of influence’ list, a prestigious business list highlighting influential business women in the North West region.

I left Bolton School in 2000 and went straight into Newcastle University to do a BA (Hons) in Geography. After three great years I came home and started work experience in the Planning, Development and Regeneration team in the Manchester office of GVA, an international property consultancy. I had a brief spell in London in 2008/2009 before coming back to Manchester and have worked at GVA consistently since my work experience started. I am no longer work experience though, having made Director in 2014. I specialise in advising the public sector on their assets and the delivery of strategic regeneration projects from town centres to housing estates.

What is your connection to Bolton School? Were any other members of your family here?
I studied at Bolton from 1993 to 2000, from Thirds to Upper Sixth. My sister went to the school two years ahead of me, and before us in the late 1960s and early 1970s our uncle attended the Boys Division.

What is your fondest Bolton School memory?
My fondest is also my earliest. When my sister went on her open day before joining the school, I tagged along for the ride. I was amazed by all the maps on the wall in the Geography room on the C Corridor (I am a bit of a map geek). From that moment I was desperate to go to the school, and they remained my favourite rooms in the school. Other than that – my one line career on the stage calling “Daisy, Daisy Old Girl” from the back of the theatre during the Drama Festival in what was I think my Upper 4th Year….

Did any member of teaching staff particularly inspire you while you were at school?
A number of teachers helped and inspired me at Bolton, and for so many reasons. Mrs McLellan needs a special mention – as my form tutor during Sixth form who helped me get my personal statement into shape and who counselled me on my A Level Results day. Just generally I believe the teachers at Bolton are second to none and always seemed to care about so much more than my results.

What do you feel your experience at Bolton School has given to you personally?
There is no doubt that going to Bolton School opens doors for you, but that’s only half of the story. Personally I learnt a lot about myself at school which still applies today – how much structure I need, how to get the best out of myself, etc. But most of all I would say I left school a relatively confident young woman who had been exposed to some wonderful opportunities like the Lower 5th Challenge Day, Young Enterprise, and opportunities for public speaking including whole school assemblies, all which were significant learning experiences for me that have definitely helped me since.

What is the best career advice you can give to Bolton School pupils today?
Find something you enjoy and keep doing it in some capacity – further education, a hobby or a job. Don’t worry too much or put too much pressure on yourself if you don’t know what you want to be yet, but whatever you do, make sure you enjoy it. This will make getting up in the morning so much easier, and the rest will fall into place.

What do you think about Bolton School’s 100 Campaign aim to re-establish genuine open access through its bursary fund?
If it wasn’t for the bursary fund I would never have attended Bolton School. From personal experience, the fund is a wonderful gift to students who otherwise would not have the opportunity to attend the school which shouldn’t be underestimated. It is one of my ambitions to fund at least one child who otherwise would not be able to attend Bolton through the same secondary and sixth form years that I studied. I would love to pass on this opportunity to another child to benefit from all the school can give and I would encourage anyone to support the bursary fund as much as they can.