With GCSE and A-Level results approaching we’ll be bringing you stories from young people about how their different decisions and paths they took after results day affected their life.
Today we hear from Bethany (who we also heard from in May), who took an apprenticeship at Leeds Grand Theatre, about her difficult choice between university and an apprenticeship, and what choosing an apprenticeship meant for her:
(Pictured: Bethany, on the left, and Grace)
I always knew that I wanted to work in theatre but I wasn’t really sure in what way. I applied for Theatre Studies courses on UCAS despite knowing that I didn’t actually want to go to university. I thought a degree was my only option to get into theatre because that was the only option presented to me by my sixth form.
After finishing my A-levels I decided to listen to my gut and not go to university. Instead I tried to get a job at a theatre, which was difficult as they either required degrees (which I didn’t have), or experience (which I also didn’t have). Volunteering wasn’t an option as I didn’t want to rely my mum and dad to financially support me, so in the end I had to resort to being a part-time shelf stacker at Marks & Spencer.
I thought I would be stuck in a career that I didn’t want to be in forever…
So when I saw the vacancy for the apprenticeship at Leeds Grand Theatre I was really excited because it was a way of gaining a qualification and experience in the industry that I wanted to work in. I was even more excited when I got the phone-call from the theatre to say that I was successful in the interview and that they had chosen me as one of their apprentices!
I had such a fantastic experience doing my apprenticeship in Heritage Venue Operations under the guidance of the Learning Team at The Grand and Leeds City College. I was always treated as an equal in my team, however I knew that extra guidance was always available if I needed it from my manager Rachel, and also from my college tutor Jo.
What I loved most about the course was that it was very practical and I was actually doing things; I was delivering tours, supporting workshops, creating learning resources- rather than being sat in a lecture hall writing notes. And getting both a both monthly pay-slip and student discount was pretty good too. My shared office was underneath stage corridor so I could hear matinee performances from my desk which as a massive musical theatre fan was amazing!
The apprentice vacancy was for a year, so I decided to squeeze in as much as possible in and seized the opportunity to gain experience in other departments, such as: Technical, Front of House and Finance. That’s when I discovered that my analytical and numeracy skills and passion for theatre were really suited for the Finance department, which is something I hadn’t even considered before- probably because I didn’t want to admit that I love maths and numbers – but I do, I really do.
Then a vacancy for a Finance Assistant came up, so I jumped at the chance to apply for it. I was chosen for an interview and (thanks to all the transferrable skills I acquired during my apprenticeship) I got the job!
Now I am working in my dream job which combines my two greatest loves- theatre and maths- and it enabled me to become a home owner at the age of 20. It’s all thanks to Leeds Grand Theatre offering an apprenticeship which gave me the chance to gain experience in the arts sector, work towards a useful and relevant qualification, and help me realise and achieve what I wanted to do in life.
A big thanks to Bethany for telling us her story! You can find further information and careers advice through Leeds Pathways: http://www.leedspathways.org.uk/. Follow results day on Twitter with @child_Leeds and #leedsresults .