This week is National Careers Week (7-12 March), an annual celebration of careers guidance and free education resources across the UK. Given my background in education and careers, it’s something I like to support each year.
Along with National Apprenticeships Week in February, this week is one of the most important weeks in the calendar for helping young people learn about career choices and options.
Do you remember being 16-18 years old? Did you know what you wanted to do then? If you did, you were lucky. I really had no idea. Passionate about language, I knew I wanted to do something with them, but I wasn’t sure what.
The chances are you probably explored some career options related to your interests. Did you want to be a teacher, laywer, plumber, florist or work in a bank maybe? Or perhaps you followed a similar career path to your parents. That’s quite common and there’s nothing wrong with it. But there are so many
more possibilities, which you often don’t discover exist until you’re much older and already working.
Did you have access to careers guidance at school, college or university? Was it helpful? Did you get to meet real people doing the type of career you were interested in?
Although I had heard of marketing, I hadn’t considered it until I ended up in a temp role, aged 24. And I certainly hadn’t heard about PR. Although I loved languages, I didn’t want to be a translator, interpreter or teacher. I studied French at university and spent a year living in Lille, in north east France. During that time, I taught English in a school which proved to me I didn’t want to become a teacher!
After working in a library for a year, followed by a few temporary jobs, I got the temp role I mentioned. It was in the communications team at a big grant giver. I’d applied there because I was interested in working for charities at the time – I’d done a lot of fundraising at university, so I wondered if I could pursue it as a career. In my time there, I learned about marketing and PR. And I had a very good line manager who gave me the opportunity to develop and grow. From there, I moved into other marketing and PR roles, before setting up my own business in 2011.
I’ve been lucky to find something I love doing – and in recent years I’ve focused more on content writing because I love writing. These days,
writing for the web is very much in demand and it allows me to get back to my long-standing passion for language. Yes, I’m writing (mostly) in English but that doesn’t matter. English is such an amazing and complex language itself. It’s the concept of language I love more than anything else.
Throughout my career, I’ve worked with companies who place a big importance on training and helping young people with their careers. I work a lot with the construction industry, which has always employed apprentices. I also work with education and charity clients who help young people think about their career choices.
So, for me, it’s a no-brainer to help young people myself where I can. I’ve been a mentor for Career Ready and I’m an ambassador for Bromley Education Business Partnership. With them, I take part in careers events for local schools and talk to young people about career options. Spreading the word about working in marketing and PR, and related careers, is something I love doing.
It’s something I wish I’d had when I was at school. The opportunity to meet real people doing real jobs is so valuable. Many young people only have the experiences of their parents, family members or school teachers to go on. Meeting other adults doing different types of work helps to raise awareness of other possibilities and – we hope – inspire them.
And, over the last few months, I’ve had the pleasure of giving my nephew a remote work experience placement with me. Read his blog about his placement here.
Do you know a young person considering their career options? If so, point them in the direction of Careers Week and their virtual careers fair this week.