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News > Life After Yarm > Former Pupil Combines Busy Career As An Actuary With Becoming a Published Author

Former Pupil Combines Busy Career As An Actuary With Becoming a Published Author

Former pupil, Eloise Richer, enjoys a successful career as an experienced actuary and has become a published author with her new children's book.
Eloise Richer
Eloise Richer

Eloise joined Yarm School Sixth Form in 2010, studying Mathematics, Further Mathematics (AS), Physics, Chemistry and German. Upon leaving Yarm, she read Physics at the University of Warwick whilst also taking German courses for two years. 

Eloise was offered the graduate position at an actuarial consultancy firm, Hymans Robertson LLP, in 2016 where she has worked ever since, qualifying as a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries in 2020. 

Making the most of the extra time she has had since finishing her challenging qualifications, Eloise has recently pursued her interest and passion for creative writing, and has published a children’s book.

We spoke to Eloise to discover more about her journey since leaving Yarm.

Q. When did you first consider applying to read Physics and why? 

When I first joined Yarm in Lower Sixth, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted beyond my A Levels. I threw myself into my A Level subjects, making the most of the varied opportunities made available to me, and it soon became clear that Physics was my favourite subject. I particularly enjoyed the combination of experiments and theoretical work which kept things new and interesting. 

I still wasn’t sure of what career I wanted to pursue, but Physics seemed like a brilliant entry way into a wide range of careers. The high level of mathematics, as well as the skills in applying that maths to find solutions, has certainly put me in a good place to take on career challenges. 

Even when I was unsure of my path, I received constant encouragement from my teachers at Yarm – as well as comprehensive teaching – which I know set me up for university study and beyond.

Q. How did your Physics degree lead into your eventual career? 

Between my third and fourth years at university, I applied for an internship at an actuarial consultancy firm, Hymans Robertson LLP, and was lucky enough to be offered the graduate position to start after graduating from Warwick.  

Q. What are you doing now? 

I am now an actuary. I stayed at Hymans Robertson LLP and worked my way through the rigorous actuarial exams. I qualified as a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries in 2020.

Actuaries can work in many areas; I work in pensions which means I advise trustees and companies on all aspects of managing their pension arrangements for employees. Becoming an actuary is very academically challenging; with 15 exams to take and pass before qualifying as a Fellow it’s not for the fainthearted!

Since qualifying as an actuary in 2020, I’ve found the time to revisit my early passion of writing and storytelling. As a child, I loved writing and being creative and I was forever making up short stories or creating imaginary worlds with my toys. As a teenager, however, my focus shifted from creative subjects and I was swept up in the world of maths and science.

Q. What inspired you to write?

I’ve always loved animals – the furrier and cuter the better – and enjoyed the idea of combining this love with my passion for writing by creating an animal themed story. It wasn’t until I was visiting a conservation park in Birmingham and was so taken with the adorable red pandas that I found inspiration for my first story, Ming Ming’s Foodie Adventure. The book follows brave Ming Ming, a sweet red panda bear, as he journeys near and far to discover his favourite food.

Q. How did you go about getting your book published?

Getting published for the first time can be tricky. Once I had written my story and had a draft I was happy with, I typed it up and emailed it to as many children’s publishers as I could think of. I also searched online for more publishers who were accepting manuscripts at the time.

I was lucky enough to get a couple of responses; before making my decision on which publisher I wanted to go with, I considered the deal on offer (royalty rates, author contributions etc.) and the reputation of the different publishing houses.

I also had to find an illustrator to help bring Ming Ming’s tale to life – I don’t think my stick panda would have had quite the same impact!

Q. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Be confident in yourself. If you have an idea for a story, have the courage to write it down and send it out – you never know where it might take you. Even JK Rowling was rejected when she first sent out Harry Potter, and look how her life has been changed by persevering with her ideas!

Q. Do you have any plans to write more books?

I don’t foresee myself leaving my current job to write full time, but I’d certainly like to continue writing in my free time and see where it takes me. 

I also have lots of other ideas for similar children’s books featuring a range of animals from penguins to koalas! Ming Ming may also be going on more adventures in the future… 

Q. If you had your time at Yarm again, would you do anything differently? 

I think I’d take more advantage of having a German nationality German Teacher to learn from and would try to be more confident speaking the language with her. I also would have tried more of the extra-curricular activities on offer as the School has so many to choose from – I regret not going surfing when I had the chance! And, of course, I could always eat more of the incredible school lunches.

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