Having finished my A- Levels in 2015, I was faced with a major decision – to follow the crowd to university or head into the intimidating world of employment. After much consideration I chose the latter, deciding to get as much experience of the real world as possible and hopefully get a head start on my classmates.
From here I embarked on my search for full-time employment, and I was pleasantly surprised by the array of options such as apprenticeships now available to young people who find themselves somewhat in a state of limbo. It was here I was introduced to the world of Public Relations.
PR isn’t really something you learn about in school. It’s also incredibly hard for anyone to describe a typical day in the life of a PR, as this will vary in every organisation. What attracted me most into PR is that you are constantly communicating and dealing with a variety of people, whether that be face-to-face, via phone or email, or indirectly through the content that you create.
When I arrived at Capella, the goal set for me was to try to make sense of what was going on around me; I think personally this was a good place to start. What I was really pleased to find is that everyone around me was really helpful and understanding; when a task was set, I was constantly given feedback and soon I learnt a number of key lessons, such as how to create media lists and prepare research documents for both clients and new business prospects. After a few weeks, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I began to pick things up.
Personally, I’m a very hard-working and motivated person when I see an end goal -I think this is why I (and thousands of others like me) thrive in the working world more than in education.
Saying this, it’s not as easy as it sounds to go against the tide – always answering the question ‘why aren’t you at uni? You could do so well’ becomes tiring and arguing that you can progress in your career without a degree is nigh on impossible, but you get used to it.
Times have definitely changed though. In my parents’ time, it was as simple as going up to an employer, waving your degree in their face, and getting an instant “you’re hired!”. However, now with the tidal wave of graduates each year, it’s far harder to stand out from the crowd. Figures from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development show that nearly three in five (59%) of UK graduates have ended up in non-graduate jobs.
I can vouch for this. Before starting at Capella, I worked in a number of bars, restaurants and so on, and was surrounded by people that had good degrees yet were struggling to find a career like they had fantasised about whilst at University. With thousands of pounds worth of debt on top of this, you have to ask: is it really worth it anymore?
I’m not discrediting going to University; it’s a fantastic experience for a lot of people. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t do my best to live the Uni lifestyle on the weekends! What I myself was worried about, and I’m sure a lot of people are, is missing out.
However, it’s really the opposite; it’s great to wake up with a sense of purpose and leave work with a sense of fulfilment, whilst having a clear goal of where being able to see where I want to be professionally in five years time. Joining Capella PR earlier this year was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve made.
Josh is studying for a Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship in Public Relations, equivalent to the first year of a degree. His apprenticeship is managed via the PRCA initiative.