I had the absolute pleasure of being invited back to my secondary school to be the Guest Speaker at the Senior Awards Evening. I helped give out awards to students and gave a 15 minute speech in front of 400 people (something which was quite daunting for me!). The students were all fantastic, and I was very proud of each and every one of them. Over the last year I have been involved in a number of events with Weatherhead High School, including Careers Fairs and Mock Interviews; it’s always a strange feeling to be back at my old school, but it’s also a very humbling experience.

In my speech I talked about my education and career to-date, and what I have learnt so far. It went something along the lines of:

I attended Weatherhead between 2003-2010; it seems like a lifetime ago now! From when I started in year 7, right the way through to sixth form, doing well in school was important to me; something that my parents had taught me from a very young age. For A Level, I studied, Maths, Further Maths and Physics. It’s such a cliché to say, but school really is the best time in your life; make the most of it! Although I enjoyed all of my subjects at A Level, Physics was my favourite. When it came time to decide what to do next, I thought University may be the best option for me. I was fairly bright and ambitious, and besides that, I didn’t really know what other options were available to me. I decided to study Physics with Astrophysics at the University of Leeds, and it was such an exciting time in my life. I was 18…going off to live in a brand new city on my own, to study a subject that I really enjoyed.

Now, don’t get me wrong, University was an unforgettable time in my life, but I also faced tremendous struggles. I had chosen to study one of the hardest degrees you possibly can, and for the first time in my life I felt out of my depth. I was not doing as well as I would have hoped, I was struggling with not only understanding the work, but also the sheer amount of it. Throughout school I had always been near the top of my class, and suddenly I found myself closer to the bottom; there were times when I felt stupid. But, this is where my first ‘Tip for Success’ comes in – I never once gave up. To be honest, it never even crossed my mind. I just did the best that I could and used the support that I had available to me; and at the end when I came out with a 2:2, I patted myself on the back and was proud of my immense achievement. So, if you ever come across a situation where you feel like that, please don’t give up. Just keep trying your absolute hardest, seek help where you need it, and you will be rewarded.

So, after university I had no idea really what I wanted to do! It was very overwhelming; I felt like my whole adult life was starting and I had no idea what was in store for my future. I focused on what I did know; I knew I wanted to stay in Liverpool, and I knew I wanted to work in a professional office environment. I happened across a recruitment agency called Marshall Moore. They specialise in recruiting for Financial Services, Accountancy, and Maritime and Logistics in Liverpool, and they helped me obtain my first ever full time job! A few months after finishing University, I started working at Investec, a Wealth Management firm in Liverpool. Now even though I had been to university, I still had to start as a junior administrator and work my way up; which I was more than happy with! Investec are a fantastic company to work for; they allowed me to sit relevant exams, and I was able to progress and learn within different areas of the business.

After 4 years, I had a new qualification under my belt, a sound knowledge of Investments and Wealth Management, and I had progressed into a fairly technical role. But something was niggling at me. Although I was in this fantastic, prestigious company in an envious role, something wasn’t right. I didn’t feel fulfilled in the role. This is where my next ‘Tip for Success’ comes in. Do what makes you happy! It’s scary to think, but we spend over half of our lives working, so make sure it’s something you enjoy. When I was thinking about leaving Investec and embarking on new career, I needed to make sure it was the right decision. So, I sat down and really thought about what I wanted and what my skills were. I knew I wanted my career to have variety, and I knew that I wanted to work with and help people. After much consideration, I decided that a career in recruitment may be for me; and that’s when I started working at Marshall Moore. I had such a good experience with Marshall Moore when I was a candidate, so when I was thinking about a career in recruitment there was only one place that I wanted to work. I was looking on their website one day, and I noticed they were recruiting for a recruitment consultant; perfect timing I thought!

So, here I am. My official role now is a Financial Services Recruitment consultant. Investment and wealth management companies get in touch with me, and ask me to help find them the best candidates for specific roles. No two days are the same, and I am meeting new people every single day. I love telling people that they have been successful in finding a new job; it’s such a good feeling! Don’t get me wrong, I also have to tell people when they haven’t been successful, but you have to learn to take the lows with the highs.

I will always remember my first ever placement. An investment company got in touch to say that they had a temporary requirement for a very basic administrative position; scanning, filing, data entry; that sort of thing. Now around the same time, a girl got in touch with me who had just finished her first year of university. This was around May time, and she knew she would have around 4 months off; she wanted to gain experience in an office environment, and she was happy and willing to try anything. I got in touch with her and invited her in for an interview with myself. She was a lovely girl, a little bit quiet perhaps, but very keen to get stuck in and learn. I immediately got in touch with the company and explained that I had a candidate who I thought would be perfect. I sent Charlie across for an interview with them and she was successful! I had just helped a 20 year old get her first ever office job for the summer! Over the years, Charlie has now built up a relationship with that company; so much so that she has been invited back to work over the subsequent summers. To know that I have played a part, however small, in helping this young girl shape her career is an amazing feeling. And this is where my last "Tip for Success" comes in. If you have a goal you want to achieve, ask for as much advice and help as you can! This can be from parents, friends, friends of friends – you name it. But also, don’t be afraid to ask further afield, people are always happy to help. If you have aspirations to be an accountant, for example, don’t be afraid to find an accountant online, email them and ask for their advice. They may not reply….but you never know! They may give you some invaluable advice and help set you on the right path to achieve your goal. Please don’t be afraid to ask for advice and help. And on that note, I wanted to add that I am always here to help – please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if you want any advice.

I hope that you have found what I have had to say useful, or insightful in some way. Just know that I have been in your exact shoes before, sat in this very room, wondering what my life would look like, and how I would get there. My life and my career haven’t always gone the way I thought it would, but I can honestly say that I am happy, and I feel very proud of what I have achieved so far. Just remember to ask for advice, do what makes you happy and never give up!”

I wanted to speak to the students on their level, and hopefully pass on some advice! I think what I wanted to show was that no-one has it figured out, and sometimes life can take a different turn; and that’s ok. If you are reading this and thinking about a change of career, whether it be into Financial Services or Recruitment, or you have a requirement for a motivational speaker (kind of joking, kind of not joking!) please don’t hesitate to get in touch.