Helen landed her dream job thanks to her degree course and the opportunities it brought to combine vital work experience and study. Work placements totalled around two years’ worth of job involvement, significantly boosting career prospects.

Why University of Cumbria? 

Living in Carlisle, I could save on travel and accommodation. I couldn’t afford to go back to uni in a different city. Being close to home allowed me to study and earn money.

 

Course appeal? 

I’d got as far as I could in my previous job and wanted a degree to help change career. My husband has a company with connections to the events industry. It’s hugely versatile - with many career options. 

An event management qualification brings opportunities and faster career progression prospects.

UoC has a great reputation with a lot of links to local and national events’ businesses. I knew studying here would bring valuable contacts and skills from experienced people in the industry.

 

Highlights? 

My personal tutor, Laura Baxter, was amazing. She encouraged us all. It helped build confidence over three years. Early on, she shared information about an internship and told me just to go for it. I couldn’t believe it when I got it.

After that, I applied for just about everything else, which eventually led to my current job.

 

Favourite university experience? 

I had an amazing three years, but the very best thing was getting my final mark - and knowing it was all totally worth it.

 

Memorable/ funny times? 

I got married on a Friday and started uni the following Monday - coming to UoC was pretty much my honeymoon.

 

Did we change your life? 

I tried uni after sixth form - it just wasn’t for me. Ten years later, I came here and it transformed everything. I studied the most interesting subject, with amazing people. Taught by inspiring tutors and lecturers, I went on to bag my dream job - sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.

 

Maximising resources

I definitely made use of everything. I don’t think I would be where I am now without the valuable experience of Unite Placements.

I worked as events’ assistant at the Whitehaven Festival, digital marketing assistant for Lake District Hotels, digital marketing assistant with designer Lydia Leith - who developed the royal sick bags - and social media advisor with a local legal company. Even just applying for these jobs was great experience.

Work placements were perfect. I found out what I enjoyed and what I didn’t, useful in deciding what I eventually wanted to do. I totted up all of my work placements. It came to a total of about two years’ worth of experience. That’s a huge advantage when you’re looking to apply for jobs.

Taught by inspiring tutors and lecturers, I went on to bag my dream job - sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.

Did you achieve your career ambitions? 

When I started, I thought I might work with my husband when I finished uni, but soon abandoned that idea. Ultimately, I just wanted to be working in a job that I enjoyed. I’m definitely doing that now.

 

Has your degree made a difference? 

Although my job isn’t really to do with events, without my degree I wouldn’t have had the confidence to even attempt it. It’s opened so many doors for me.

 

How did you get your current job

I helped organise a fashion show with costume students. Looking for press coverage, I met Tom Little, studying journalism and producing the student section of the News and Star newspaper.

It’s all about networking and I kept in touch with Tom, who told me about a blogging competition on entertainment website Cumbria Live.

I had to write about events and gigs happening in Cumbria, first prize an ipad. I didn’t win, but did some summer work for them, the best result as it turned out.

I worked on Cumbria Live through my final year and was lucky enough to get a full-time position when I finished my degree.

 

Best achievements?

As part of my final, I had to stage an event. Using my work with Cumbria Live and interest in social media, my editor and I came up with #cumbriaweekend. 

We used social media to showcase the best the region had to offer with a huge ticket giveaway worth £5,000. We encouraged everyone to get out and about and share their favourite things on social media. It was amazing and worked really well.

 

How did you stay motivated to pursue your dream job and work for a degree?

I was so lucky to have the chance to study. I knew it wouldn’t happen again, so I had to work hard.

 

How can students make the most of their time here?

Easy - say yes to everything.

 

You can see more of Helen's work on www.cumbrialive.co.uk