I spent my school life being told I would do well in life; I was bright, enthusiastic and ready to learn. The world was my oyster and it was predicted that I would sail through my final exams, go to college and end up in a fantastic job earning lots and lots of money. I’m sure it will come as no surprise that it didn’t quite work out like that.
Firstly, like many young people, I had no idea what I wanted to be and so I decided to train as a beautician, but finding that it wasn’t for me, I left after a year. Next I tried A-Levels but the subject matter was so boring that once again I left. After that was Business Studies, which might have been a success if I hadn’t by this point dipped my toe into the world of work and discovered that having money of my own was quite a nice thing. By the time I was twenty one I was ready to become something big and important in life. What I became was pregnant.
So, there I was, early twenties, on my own with a child and no qualifications beyond GCSE’s. I ended up working in a call centre for a few years, but left when my daughter reached school age and they wouldn’t change my hours, so I spent a little while living off the state. Finding this mind numbingly boring, I was soon back in work but found the only thing I had the experience to do was bar work or more call centre work.
I didn’t really enjoy my job, but I was good at it. I had accepted by this point that I wasn’t going to have a successful career because I had no qualifications, but I hoped that by working hard I could get promoted (that didn’t happen). After about six years my employer announced a training program. An assessor came in once a week and worked with me, watched me doing my job, asked me questions and marked me as competent in the key skills and knowledge that ultimately added up to my very first post school qualification. In hindsight, I realise that this was my first apprenticeship and it turned my life around; I was thirty two years old.
That was only six years ago, but today I am a different person. I am doing another apprenticeship with my current employer and this time I’m learning new things that not only fit in with my job, but give me the skills I need to go further in my career. I have my eye on that next promotion and I now I also have both the experience and the qualifications that make me an ideal candidate; the world is my oyster.