koko- blog

Your journey is unique to you

Growth

I’m quite often asked by family friends, friends, and strangers if I went to university. The simple answer is no. Not because I didn’t want to, not because I didn’t get the grades but because I decided further education wasn’t for me.

After my first year of A-Levels I decided I was done with school, I’d had a bit of an unfortunate time with one of my chosen subjects and felt it was the right time to leave and begin my career path. I spoke with my parents, who were fully supportive of my decision, and helped me to find the assistance I needed with my search for a career.

I managed to book in with a service for 16–18s who were NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) though I worked casual hours in a local pub and for the events team at my local YMCA. Here I was given details about some job fairs I may have been interested in attending. At these job fairs there were many different stalls and an advisor from the DWP was in attendance and I spoke with him about apprenticeships.

I was then able to get a Christmas temp job alongside my hours for the pub and events work. As this was temporary, I started to look for apprenticeships in my local area. Apprenticeships are a great way to get your foot in the door to a company and you may have opportunities to gain employment or continue with further levels of your apprenticeship.

Christmas eve came around and this was my last day at my Christmas temp job and the events work at the YMCA had slowed, however I had a shift in January. We had a successful dinner service and myself and a few waitresses were polishing a big bucket of cutlery at the end of the night. Out of somewhere, this confidence came to me and I approached the conference and events manager and told him ‘You’re going to hire me because you need me.’ I’d never dream of saying this now! I was then invited for an interview as a formality and given the role of Administration Apprentice for the conference and events centre within my local YMCA. Following the completion of this I was taken on full-time, discovered I enjoyed working in a finance role and was given the opportunity to study two further apprenticeships in Associate of Accounting Technicians. I was with my local YMCA for 7 and a half years before I decided it was time to move on, but I’m forever grateful for their support with my studies.

If I could go back, would I have chosen different options for my A-Levels? Maybe. But am I happy with where I am today? Yes.

Most people who know me are aware I have a twin sister, if ever I’m asked for a fun fact she’s mine and I’m hers! We’re completely different – she has blue eyes, I have green; she is right-handed whereas I’m left-handed; she went to university and I didn’t. I’m immensely proud of my twin sister, as after all her hard work she graduated Liverpool John Moores University in 2018 with a first-class honours in Business Studies. I was able to watch on the sidelines while she worked and studied and she now works for a sustainability company in London.

As we’re all different, one route does definitely not fit all! Speak to your friends, family, and colleagues about your choices, think and pray about it as your journey is unique to you.

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