Written by Emily Hale, Business Management and Entrepreneurship student (second year accelerated course)
I’ve had a slightly odd and unconventional career path already, and I’m only twenty years old. My pursuance of a career in Musical Theatre was cut short at 15 when I had major back surgery, and was later diagnosed with chronic pain. I auditioned for and was rejected from 8 different colleges, all stating my health as the reason.
Aged 17 I stumbled across business apprenticeships and everything clicked in my head. I had always been entrepreneurial, setting up little businesses like a cake stall in my village, and Business fit my mismatch of interests and skills perfectly. I turned up to my first apprenticeship assessment centre bright eyed and in a new dress, only to be told I was too naïve – I think I may have been a bit ambitious to tell them I wished to be a board member at 30 years old.
Now I was a bit stuck. I didn’t want to go to university as I felt claustrophobic in a classroom setting and needed something a bit different. I ended up taking a year for myself. I travelled as a surf instructor, worked in a big corporation, did volunteer work with my local hospital, and I searched and searched for an opportunity that seemed right.
I applied for another apprenticeship the following year, and after reaching the final rounds of interviews and assessment centres, once more I was turned away. And then again when I applied for the same position the following year. My story turned around from here, when I was offered a place to study by Pearson College London. Run by Pearson PLC, a FTSE 100 company, Pearson College London take education from a unique and industry-lead viewpoint.
Alongside my studies at Pearson College London, I was offered the most amazing opportunity to work part-time with a small Digital Communications Agency, KVA Digital, as an Account executive. Pearson College London offers students a very experiential way of learning, and this is hugely aided by my experiences at work. The agency only employs around 9 people and even though I'm in my first year I have already been offered a permanent position after my studies finish next year.
Digital communications encompasses everything from email campaigns to blogging as well as web development and project management. I have been mentored and taught by my wonderful boss Kelly Allison, who has taught me all of these skills in the short time I’ve been here.
I have had the chance to work through every aspect of each project the agency has run, including beginning to learn to code in order to progress at work. This skill has mainly been self-taught, however a coding course at Pearson College London and mentoring from my boss has greatly helped with my development. This has allowed me to learn amazing new skills and have opportunities that most entry-level workers would not have access to.
Pearson has helped at work because I can apply both the theory I learn to situations and problem solving at work, as well as using my workplace knowledge to further my learning within my degree. I’ve also learnt people-skills and been inspired by my learning, both of which have made me a much better employee. At the Buckinghamshire Best Business Awards this year, our agency won ‘Small Business of the Year’, and it’s amazing to see hard work paying off in the real world.
As someone who was set on not attending uni, attending Pearson College London has been one of the greatest accidents of my life. Yes, the work can be heavy, but this has only helped with my ability to deal with stress and improved my time-management. The opportunities to network at university events have helped me when talking to potential clients, for example my work promoting the university at Higher Education Fairs has been directly helpful with my work at this year’s Marketing Week Live show in South Kensington, where I spent each day promoting the company and selling our services.
This really highlights the importance of Pearson College London's learning style, as well as how important it is to bring young people into a professional environment and provide mentoring. I like to think my story and job offer says something about the calibre of students at Pearson College and how go-getting and driven we are compared to other students around the country. Working alongside my degree has been a great experience so far, and a fantastic platform to apply my learning.