It all started when I decided to change my career path. I’d always assumed I’d be working within the scientific field – it was my main focus from school to college and then studying Microbiology at the University of Surrey. Alongside this I had multiple creative interests – such as photography, videography, dance and portrait drawing – having spent years managing my own side-projects. I always knew I had a creative streak but felt it was dampened by the intensity of my studies. Pursuing science felt like the logical thing to do because I found it interesting and I knew accessing creative professions was a challenge, even for those who dedicated their life to it.
During university my passions shifted further towards creativity and I learned that, although I had a degree in science, I did not have to stay on that path. I decided to look into creative roles but the field was totally new to me and the received wisdom was that it was difficult to access. Despite feeling ready to change and adapt I still felt helpless and lost, and the longer I remained without a clear direction the less motivated I became. Even when I got creative career advice from my local Job Centre I was only told the things I already knew. I voiced my concerns to my career coach who referred me to Making The Leap.
Initially my expectations were that I would be able to perfect my CV, cover letter writing and improve my public speaking skills and confidence. It turned out I’d achieve much more. I soon realised the course is carefully designed to help young people step out of their comfort-zone, willingly take on challenges and improve adaptability. I figured I would only get back what I put in and, after the first week, I could already feel a shift in my confidence.
Things picked up really quickly in the second week – I started to feel like I was preparing a portfolio that would be useful for the rest of my career and the activities opened my eyes to the importance of selling yourself well. Prior to the Workshop I’d avoid public speaking as much as possible but at this point I started to enjoy it. I finally found myself excited to look for work thanks to the guidance and support of the experienced staff.
In the final week I realised how much can change in a short space of time. My Fellows started to feel like family – we’d shown each other our vulnerabilities and helped one-another grow, further validating how essential team-work is. I was more optimistic than ever and I had picked up a plethora of essential skills along the way, notably presentation, communication, leadership and resilience. Graduating the course I felt more ready than ever to start my career journey and I was excited. I also truly appreciated social mobility and saw how vital this charity was in our society.
While I was on the Workshop, the current Social Media Intern gave a presentation about his experience. His enthusiasm and passion grabbed my attention. I had used social media outside of work to market my drawings, photography and videos but now I saw potential in testing my creative interests in a business sense. I met the manager to discuss the role further and managed to get an interview, giving me an opportunity to put my training to the test.
I found the Internship highly engaging, challenging and rewarding as I was marketing a cause that meant a lot to me. I carried out my own projects, including managing a campaign for the UK Social Mobility Awards, and learned all about social media marketing strategy. Thanks to the fantastic support and guidance I received from all the staff I developed quickly. Similarly, my manager was patient, encouraging and offered great insights. I saw how vital to an employee’s progress it is to have a manager with these qualities.
Beyond this, I learned a lot about prioritising workloads, organisation and determination. I was introduced to data-driven marketing and a variety of social media tools, and I improved my writing, editing and even videography skills. The part of the course I enjoyed most was photographing Associates, pitching ideas and spreading the great work that Making The Leap does for young people in London. I was able to practice engaging followers and building online relationships and I even wrote an article passing on advice to future Fellows.
After the Internship I wanted to continue in this line of work and started applying for similar positions. The Making The Leap staff kept me informed about available positions and supported me in writing cover letters and preparing for interviews. I was soon attending interviews for a Researcher position at a PR company called Right Angles, utilising all the training I’d received at the Workshop. The interviews went well and I received an offer. All my hard work had paid off and I could finally begin my journey!
Starting as a researcher, I aim to find out all I can about what makes a great PR consultant. I enjoy engaging with people as much as I like a google deep-dive, so the opportunity excites me. I am thrilled to be in a constantly evolving field and I can see myself developing along with the dynamic nature of the job. Best of all, no two days are the same and I have plenty of creative opportunities.
I’d hate to think where I would be had I not been brave enough to change career direction or open-minded enough to attend the Workshop. The change was a gamble but I don’t regret anything! I went from disillusionment to genuine excitement about my career. I can’t thank the team at Making The Leap enough for the experience and the opportunities they helped me make the most of. For anyone wanting to brush up on their skills or receive professional guidance, this is the place. Best of all, you get to meet some incredible people and make great friendships on the way. I see nothing but a bright future for the organisation and can’t emphasise enough how incredible their work for social mobility is. I wish the very best to all of them.
By Jawan, aged 25
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