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“You have to go to University!”
Those were the final words my Head of Sixth Form said to me on results day. Looking back, he had my best interests at heart - he wanted to ensure I didn’t waste all my hard work from the previous two years while balancing a busy part-time role managing a pub. I had also been working in my family business for many years which had always encouraged a strong drive to work and learn on the job. However, having applied for University to do a Marketing and Public Relations degree and then quickly gone through clearing to do Geography instead, the thought of actually going to University and living out my next 20 years paying off loans without complete certainty of the career I wanted, just didn’t sit well with me. I decided to wait a year, earn some money and really work out what I wanted to do.
I knew I wasn’t ready to give up education, I still had loads to learn! I scoured job sites searching for something that caught my eye, still offering opportunities to further my education but something that allowed me to learn on the job too. I was lucky enough to be accepted on a Civil Service apprenticeship completing a business administration qualification while taking on the responsibility of being a Director’s personal assistant in the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
I loved it - I had a great support system who taught me not just the basics but the ins and outs of how to work in the Civil Service. Working for such a senior leader improved my confidence and resilience and I slowly built strong connections across the department. With Government changes, DECC became BEIS (Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) and so with that came some new challenges, an interim role in the HR Resourcing Team helping to bring in over 300 staff to work on Brexit and a role in our Transformation team working to bring together the two previous departments and learning about the world of project management.
Project management has been my focus now for 2 years. I’ve completed recognised qualifications, led on departmental wide projects and I’m always on the lookout for what more I can do to learn, increase my knowledge and work out what my next career move will be.
When I sat down in front of my Head of Sixth Form discussing my next steps, I never would have dreamed of the Civil Service being my home and I didn’t even know what project management was outside of a building site. The Civil Service is a place to a find and build a career you love, there are so many opportunities, roles and experiences available. Even better, it’s inclusive! It doesn’t matter what your background or education is, if you want to do a job well and want to succeed there will always be a place for you.
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy