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Life After Education – Falling into my dream job at the age of 22

August 25, 2016 - fifteen

So, those of you who have just finished school will have opened your GCSE results today. Some of you will be happy with them, others will be disappointed that you didn’t get the results that you wanted or hoped for.

The aim of this blog post is to let you know, that there is life after your GCSE’s and it’s never too late to decide what career path you want to take, you’re young, you’ve got a world of opportunities ahead of you, and you need to grab it while you can.

For those of you who might not have gotten into college, you are now faced with a decision of what to do next. There are many further education opportunities out there, for example; we are working with Learning Unlimited, an apprenticeships provider, who offer a range of apprenticeships in a range of industries, you walk into a job opportunity and you get paid to learn, what better way to set you ahead of the rest of the pack?!

In today’s day and age, employers look at a persons experience over their education, if they have the relevant experience, can prove that they are good at their job, and present themselves in a professional and friendly manner, they are more likely to get a job over someone with no experience. I learnt this very quickly during my university degree, and took it upon myself to go and get relevant work experience in a range of media businesses that were in line with my degree, this taught me valuable lessons about the working environment, and how to talk to clients, integrate with staff and expand on my skillset.

Now, for many of you, whether you go to college or not, this is the big step into adulthood, what do you want to do with your life? Well, take it from someone who fell into what they love by chance at the age of 22, you don’t need to decide right now.

Here is my story:

I got my GCSE results on my 16th birthday, after choosing to study Media, Music and Drama as my 3 core subjects (despite being told I was silly for choosing all creative subjects which I enjoyed and no academic ones such as history… what use was that going to be for me in the future anyway?) I was happy with my results. I got A’s, B’s and C’s and knew I was off to college in the September, with my friends, doing the subjects that I had chosen, great, so what next?!

I went to college, and completed my A-Levels, not really getting the results that I had hoped for there, but off I went to university to complete a degree in Performance and Media (very little of which I actually apply to my job today), you see, I wanted to work in the BBC as a film editor/be an actor on Dr. Who…. but that is a very difficult world to get into, and without a bit of luck on your side, you don’t really stand a chance.

After completing my degree, I started working full time in a bar, and got asked to take on the bars social media, which turned into re-designing their menus, and then all of a sudden I was offered a temporary position within the Marketing department at the head office which was situated down the road from the pub, from there I went on to edit the range of pub websites across the region, did their email marketing campaigns and arranged photo-shoots and menu reprints. Working here made me think, about marketing…this is actually what I want to do!

I started looking around for a permanent position somewhere, and was offered an opportunity within a company that would pay for me to go on a marketing course and learn more, so that’s what I did. I re-branded the company, rebuilt their website and did all of their marketing literature and digital marketing. This taught me a lot, and I really enjoyed the digital and website side of things.

After 9 months of working for this company, they decided to not renew my contract, so I was left unemployed. I was lucky that the people who rebuilt the website was looking for an account manager, and were so impressed by how I had managed the website project on the client side, they wanted me to work for them. This presented me a new opportunity with a chance to learn new skills, and from my work experience of working for an agency and in a bar, I was able to transition with ease into the customer-facing role.

I started work, learnt the role, the processes and everything that goes along with Project and Account management (most of which is common sense), salvaged a few failed relationships with clients by giving them great customer service, and then started to learn more about websites, how they are built, user experience, different CMS systems and different ways of managing projects and clients to ensure that the projects were completed on time and on budget.

I had finally found my calling, and then along came Fifteen, who were looking for a Project Manager and offered me a great opportunity where I could come in and make a difference. They wanted to listen to my ideas, seemed like an amazing place to work, and provided so many opportunities to grow as an individual and develop my career further, and as they say the rest is history.

Here I am now, working with the best team of people anyone could wish to with, I’ve got an apprentice who I’m training up to do what I do (and doing very well I might add), and looking forward to seeing what happens next!

The moral of the story;

If you feel a bit lost in your next steps, don’t fret, it took me years after completing school to find my true calling, and while I still enjoy acting and singing on the side as a hobby, it worked out well, look where I am now, in a great stable permanent job, within a great company!

But, as a word of advice, if I had the choice of going to university or getting an apprenticeship, I’d definitely go and get an apprenticeship. You can learn as you work, and grow as a person within a great business, get valid and all important work experience, and if you are good at what you do, the company you go to work for will offer you a permanent position at the end of it. That’s a win all round if you ask me.

On which note – we are looking for a Digital Marketing Apprentice and an Accounts Assistant, so if your wondering about your next steps, why not get in touch with a member of the team, and see what we can do to help you in your career.

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