Zoology alumni from Universiity of Leeds

John Kenning

Why did you choose to come to Leeds University to study the above course? 

I wanted to study in a fast moving, cosmopolitan city – coming from a small country village, it was important to get out into the world and meet lots of people from different backgrounds.

What did you enjoy about your course? 

The academic content was interesting, but more than anything, I felt that the course was an opportunity to develop personally and widen my life experience.

What have been the highlights of the course/programme? 

Making lifelong friends.

What were your greatest challenges throughout your degree course? 

I was always academically challenged!! The work was inevitably hard, and required lots of study time. I was also very shy, and university was an opportunity to break out of that shell – it worked well!

How would you rate the facilities that were available to you throughout your degree? How did this enhance your experience?

When I was at Leeds, we had just moved into the new biological sciences building – so they were brand new and industry leading. 

What have you been doing since finishing your studies? What are you doing in terms of your career? Career developments/highlights to date?) 

I made a short foray into teaching (GCSE/A Levels) before going back to university. I then worked for 16 years in the NHS as a specialist in diagnostic microbiology. I was an examiner and assessor for both the IBMS and the Royal College of Pathologists and in addition to my diagnostic work, I spent lots of time teaching and lecturing. Alongside this (part time) I was a flying instructor and commercial pilot and eventually switched roles. I am now working as a full time airline pilot but like to keep my medical skills current!

What company are you working for, what is your role and what does it involve?

At present I work for Europe's largest regional airline - Flybe. I am a first officer (co-pilot) on the Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 fleet of airliners and operate all over Europe – typically flying up to 4 sectors per day. It’s a busy job! 

What experiences at Leeds do you think have particularly helped with your career/will help with your future career? (How did your degree benefit your career?)

My first career in diagnostic pathology was, of course, a direct benefit of my time at Leeds. My first degree gave me a solid grounding in the biological sciences. Over and above all of this, however, were the life skills that I developed whilst there - determination, professionalism and self-discipline.

Looking back, why did you choose to study your particular course and why did you choose the University of Leeds? 

Looking back – Leeds was a good choice. I developed as an individual and made lifelong friends. I chose Leeds because it was cosmopolitan, modern and vibrant with a university that held a good reputation.

Have you any advice you would offer to current and prospective students? 

Choose carefully and think of your future – the job market is difficult but it is in everyone's power to mould their own future. It is often difficult, but determination and the ability to keep on going is essential in today's most difficult and rewarding roles.

Do you have LinkedIn profile? Would you like to provide a link?