It’s not about the route you take, but the talents you have
CHOOSING THE WORLD OF WORK OVER UNIVERSITY
October 5, 2015
One of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make was what to do when I left sixth form. I was just 17 and under a lot of pressure to go to university. I’d enjoyed learning about advertising and marketing in Business Studies, but I had no experience of the industry and quite frankly I was unsure if I enjoyed it simply because I had a good teacher. The university route was clearly laid out for me, but it seemed so risky to commit so much time (and money!) when I had no idea what I wanted to do.
I knew I wanted to get some work experience, not only to find something I enjoyed doing, but also to learn on the job. I had always been under the impression that apprenticeships were mainly for skilled labour and had never imagined that companies like Facebook or Google might actually open their doors to me. Thankfully this is no longer the case and I applied for an apprenticeship with Google during my last year of sixth form and was over the moon to be offered the job.
My experience was very different to that of a typical student. I was up at 6.30am every day, working nine to five, whilst juggling my A-Levels and gaining an NVQ in Digital Marketing. It was hard work and it took a lot of adjusting, but I loved it. I made a great group of friends in the other Google Apprentices and although we weren’t out socialising every night, we still managed to have a few good nights in Dirty Martini! Full immersion in a company such as Google helped to spark my love for digital marketing and made me all the more determined to make it my career. Finally I could see a clear way forward.
After my apprenticeship I was offered a job at Futureproof as a Brand Assistant. Going from such a large company to a small independent agency was the best decision I could have made. I was thrown straight in at the deep end, managing my own clients and company interns, once again learning as I worked. At first I was embarrassed to admit to the graduate interns I managed that I was only 19, but as time went by I realised that I’d worked extremely hard to be in the position I was in. I deserved to be there and I had learned plenty I could teach them.
There is so much pressure on school leavers to go to university, but there is a lot at stake and I would encourage anyone in my position to get some experience first. My apprenticeship helped me get ahead of my peers and meet a fantastic network of people who I can call upon.
Two years later I have embarked on the next stage of my career: to become self-employed and part of Huckleberry Partners. I’ve loved becoming my own boss and having the freedom to pursue old hobbies which I’d given up, like acting. I also now have the flexibility to start my own business venture alongside the work I do for Huckleberry which is very exciting.
Millie-Mae Twort is an Associate at The Hoxby Collective. She has previously worked within the Brand Management team at creative agency Futureproof, and as an Apprentice at Google and has recently returned from three months travelling in South America.