Leaving school and knowing what you’d like to do for the rest of your life at the age of 16, is one of the most daunting challenges we face in our teenage years. At the time, I found the process just as confusing as many other young people around the country!
I left secondary school with 7 GCSE A-C’s and enrolled at Luton 6th form college to study A Level Psychology, Business and PE. Unfortunately, I found the courses difficult and my confidence was badly affected by the experience. In my second year of college, I was introduced to the BTEC Sport qualification and was instantly drawn to the layout, modules and flexibility of the course. I went on to achieve a distinction and this was key to me going on to further education – especially as I hadn’t achieved the appropriate grades in psychology and PE.
After my BTEC, I enrolled at the University of Bedfordshire to study Exercise and Fitness Practice, with aspirations of becoming a physiotherapist. I found university a tough challenge and whilst I enjoyed the social aspect of uni, as with A Levels, I didn’t really enjoy the learning experience. I didn’t feel like I was able to fulfil my potential and ended up leaving the course after one year.
I was now at another crossroads, questioning myself and wondering if I was smart enough or dedicated enough to truly be successful. It was then that I decided to take up another vocational course – mainly because of the positive experience I’d had from completing my BTEC Sport qualification – and I enrolled on a C&G electrical installation course. I passed this course and worked as an electrician for 3 years, but left the profession due to the recession and feeling like it wasn’t my true calling.
I changed direction and became a youth worker after completing a JNC youth work diploma, progressing to becoming a Behaviour Manager in a special needs school. It was incredibly rewarding, and I worked there for nearly 10 years; but finally, my love of sport and especially Man United carried me towards the job I do now.
I am now a key part of the YouTube fan channel ‘The United Stand’ (which has nearly 700k subscribers) and I get to travel the world interacting and interviewing both football fans and players, as an influencer and presenter. After a few bumps in the road, I finally feel like I’ve really found my purpose and am living my passion.
When I look back on my crazy journey, it would be so easy to see my path as inconsistent or incomplete. However, I prefer to see it as a journey of courage that has developed into something I could never have imagined. Taking a BTEC showed me that there were different ways of learning and many paths to success. I’m proud that I was brave enough to keep trying different things until I found the right career for me; and I’m proud of my BTEC, because of the skills and confidence it gave me while I worked out what my dream job was.