For many school leavers, the thought of navigating life after so many years in full-time education can be daunting. Some people have their sights set on a career early on and know exactly how they’re going to get there, but others might not feel so certain about their next steps. When you throw the stress of Results Day into the mix, it’s easy to see why you might feel under pressure when making decisions about your future.
While our three youngest team members, Bel, Amy and Abbie, have had very different journeys that led them to a career in PR, they all wanted to offer some reassurance to this year’s school leavers by sharing their own experiences of life after A-levels.
Bel – Journalism degree:
While my degree in Journalism wasn’t exam-based, I’m all too familiar with sitting at a computer for over five hours while silently writing, editing or researching, often surrounded by other students working hard to meet assignment deadlines, or as I recently did, hand in their dissertations.
I started at Target in November last year, working two days a week as an Account Assistant while completing my degree at the University of Gloucestershire. I loved the role and was excited by the prospect of working with the team full-time after handing in my dissertation.
I’m now getting into the swing of things with my full-time role, and I enjoy it even more than I anticipated. Although I liked school, sixth form and university, it’s so rewarding to leave university with a job in an industry I love and with a team as driven as the Target team.
Amy – PR and Communications apprenticeship:
Two years ago, after receiving my A-level results and leaving Sixth Form, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next. I had considered going to university, but I didn’t want to commit three years of my life to a course I wasn’t sure about, and after two years of full-time study and tough exams, I felt ready for a change.
I had loved Business Studies at Sixth Form, particularly the marketing module, so I took on some virtual work experience through Springpod for the Chartered Institute of Marketing, which piqued my interest in communications.
I was instantly excited when I came across the listing for a PR and Communications apprenticeship at Target; I loved that there was a creative element to the role and that every day would be different, so I put in my application, came in for an interview, and was offered the job the next day!
Since joining the Target team, I’ve had some amazing opportunities to develop my skills, from supporting with launch events to executing social media campaigns. Working across a diverse range of accounts and learning on the job has helped me get to grips with the fast-moving world of PR, and although balancing this with my college studies was overwhelming at times, I had lots of support from my colleagues.
I was promoted to Account Executive after achieving a double distinction in my assessments last year, which was one of my proudest moments. Gaining valuable experience while earning a full-time wage in an industry I’m passionate about has been a great way to kickstart my career, and I’m certain that the apprenticeship route was the best choice for me.
Abbie – Performing Arts degree, Masters:
Exams were never my strong point while I was at school. Whenever I sat down in the exam hall, my mind would go blank and I wouldn’t remember a thing of what I was supposed to be doing.
I’d decided I wanted to go to university when I was a lot younger and that nothing would get in my way, meaning I put a lot of pressure on myself to achieve something that I really wasn’t the best at. But I got through it and achieved a B and two C’s at A-level which, looking back, are very good grades.
I originally wanted to do something creative and applied for the University of Gloucestershire in January 2019 to study Performing Arts and finally move away from the small town I grew up in. I left on September 14 2019 for my first year and was sent home on March 16 2020 when Covid hit, and the university cancelled all lectures indefinitely.
Fast forward 18 months, and I’d missed out on important training and had fallen out of love with performing.
I decided to stay in education for another year to try and ride the post-pandemic wave and applied to do my Masters in PR, Communications and the Media at the University of Gloucestershire. Starting a course in a brand-new subject was daunting at first, but I soon got into the rhythm of it and became passionate about pursuing a career in PR.
Learning new skills from my lecturer and beginning to understand the industry was so interesting to me and when I started part-time with the Target team in February, I knew I had made the right decision.
My time at university taught me a lot, but nothing can compare to working in the ‘real world’ and since starting full-time in May, less than a week after finishing university, I have already learned so many skills that I can continue to develop throughout my career.
It can feel like there’s a lot of pressure to get it right first time when deciding what to do after leaving school, but whether you develop transferrable skills on another course, choose a practical option like an apprenticeship, or have a complete career change altogether, there will always be a route into the PR industry.
Here at Target, we are always keen to hear from people who are passionate about communications or interested in learning more about PR, so if that’s you, contact us on 01242 633100 or email@example.com.