Tom is a foundation degree graduate who completed his performing arts degree in 2010 at North Hertfordshire College, validated by the University of Hertfordshire. He is now studying part time to top up his degree to a BA in Performing Arts at Middlesex University and works part time at North Hertfordshire College.
I embraced student life by participating in many extracurricular activities, such as being vice president of the executive committee for the students’ union and being an academy representative for the creative and cultural sector. My involvement helped me to develop my employability skills, gain part-time employment as an admin assistant in student services and fund my second year of higher education.
I work in student services in my current job as an assistant manager at North Hertfordshire College and I believe I got this job as a result of my work experience and academic skills, gained through my foundation degree. Working for student services has enabled me to gain a good working knowledge of the college and develop good public speaking and customer service skills.
On a day-to-day basis, my job involves organising and coordinating events for the students’ union, supervising student union executives, and where necessary, providing welfare support to students. The role is varied and works around curriculum, enabling me to work with a variety of students and staff across six academies. Working on various projects, such as World of Work Week, has also involved networking with various employers and organisations in the community.
The job can be administrative and involves undertaking an array of tasks, including gathering statistics on student representation of the union, collecting money for charity events and processing catering orders for the student bar. Every week is different and the nature of the job requires flexibility, patience and diplomacy, particularly when dealing with customer and staff complaints - part of the job I find most challenging. My favourite part of the job is working with people and the best thing about working in this sector is being offered the chance to develop my own career path.
Completing my foundation degree and undertaking a very student-centred role in student services has helped me develop good career management and communication skills. This has enhanced my interest in performing arts and reinforced my vision to teach drama and become a secondary school teacher, an interest I developed at school. My subject of study is relevant to this career pathway as it is 70% curriculum related and I intend to study a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) next year.
My advice to other students and graduates is do not limit yourself to what jobs are available, particularly if your first ambition is to gather the appropriate skills and finances necessary along the way. My current employment is funding my third year at university; therefore, being flexible and open minded can create a useful stepping stone from which to springboard into the career of your choice.
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