I got all the wrong advice at school and now I feel stuck and unable to get the career as an engineer that I really want.
When I was at school I struggled a bit with maths, but in the end with a lot of support (and lessons) from my parents, I comfortably gained a grade B GCSE in maths. I also really loved electronics and I was good at it – being awarded a prize for my GCSE project.
Nevertheless, I always thought that I would like to be a primary school teacher and I was advised to take my A-levels and then to apply for a university degree course in childhood studies, which I dutifully did. I gained A-levels in English literature, sociology and philosophy, then I studied hard for three years and gained a first-class honours degree in childhood and integrated studies.
I walked straight into a full time job at a nursery but after around a year I was told by my employers that they were going to move me onto an apprenticeship and pay me an apprentice wage. Needless to say, I left. I looked at accessing a career in teaching but I was told that even though I have a first class degree, with no A-level in science or maths this wasn’t an option for me.
I took on an admin role within an engineering company and found that I really enjoyed being involved in engineering, however my role only involved checking and signing off technical drawings and I felt that I was capable of much more so I applied for a junior CAD position and got it.
Having worked as a junior CAD engineer for over a year, I had learned so much it was unbelievable – I was working in 3D, which was something that not many others on the team could do and I really felt like I’d found my future career. I have since moved on to another company as a junior CAD designer and my hope was to develop as an engineer – the only problem? Although I can use the software and can do an awful lot I don’t think that I will ever be offered the opportunity to become a proper engineer because I don’t have an engineering qualification.
Whilst I’m sure that having a first class honours degree does me some good in putting myself forward, my lack of an engineering qualification seems to have prevented me from pursuing a career that I really want.
I hear about people doing great engineering apprenticeships and it makes me tremendously sad that this is not available to me because a) I have a degree and b) I’m now 25 years old. I’m now faced with trying to find an online HNC and HND course and effectively starting again from where I was when I was 17 even though at my age I’d love to be looking to buy my own home and progressing my career.
My advice – keep your options open by choosing subjects wisely and do loads of research because you might not get the right information when you’re at school.