Kieran Richardson – Career Story

“Be fearlessly authentic”

 

We sat down with Receptionist, Kieran, to discuss the decisions and steps that got him to where he is today. The outcome? A refreshing discussion about the importance of pursuing opportunities that match your interests and the need to keep building on the skills and knowledge you develop along the way.

Did you enjoy your time in education?

At school I really enjoyed the more practical courses like Business Studies and Public Services, as they helped me develop work relevant knowledge and skills which would support me to make the transition from education to employment. I was initially undecided on my next steps after school, but after some careful consideration I chose to go onto further education and pursue a course that best aligned with my interests, and enrolled onto a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Business Studies at Gower College Swansea. The course provided me with detailed theory across a wide range of subjects, from the principles of management to event management. I thoroughly enjoyed the diversity of the course content and the huge range of opportunities it provided for me to expand and broaden my existing knowledge.

Did you pursue further or higher education?

Eager to further my education and continue developing my knowledge, I pursued a Business Management (Marketing) degree at Gower College Swansea. I really enjoyed this qualification; I had the opportunity to explore different areas of business and I started to think about my future career plans and the different sectors of interest to me. It wasn’t until the second and third years of the qualification that I accessed the ‘marketing pathway’ and was introduced to the area of digital marketing. I was immediately fascinated by the process of connecting and engaging with different audiences online, and I knew this was an area I wanted to further explore as a possible career path.

What shape did your career take post-education?

Towards the end of my degree, I made contact with the Futures team at Gower College to start exploring my post-course career options. I was alerted to a summer job opportunity at Better Jobs, Better Futures, supporting the team with administrative tasks and working with the marketing department to help design and implement plans and activity for the summer transition project. I jumped at the opportunity to interview for the role as it seemed like the perfect first step into the marketing world where I could gain first-hand work experience and valuable insight into the work that goes on behind the scenes to market and promote the department. I was absolutely thrilled to be offered the role and I wasted no time in making the most of the opportunity; the team were fantastic and extremely supportive of me, and I loved being able to work across the department with different business areas, gaining a huge amount of knowledge and experience along the way. I worked with so many different people from a huge range of backgrounds, and the opportunity hugely accelerated both my personal and professional development. The role also provided me with the opportunity to test whether a career in marketing was the right fit for me, before I made any further decisions.

After an exciting 3-month period in the role, a position came up to join the Reception and Administration team full-time to cover a colleague who was going on maternity leave. Having loved the working environment and not being ready to leave the team, I applied for the position and was successful! I was so happy to be given this progression opportunity; I was excited to learn the responsibilities of a brand new role, improve my administration skills and further develop my understanding of effective customer engagement.

Are there any career decisions that you regret?

I am still very early on in my career, and so far all of my decisions have been positive ones. I’m sure that with time and hindsight, there will be choices and decisions that I wish I hadn’t made, but that’s all part of the journey! My outlook on life is to avoid having regrets; you can’t go back and change the past, so instead of wishing you had done something differently, use the experience as a learning opportunity to influence what you do going forward.

Is there one thing you wish you’d known when you were younger?

I wish I’d had more career focused advice throughout school, especially around the type of job roles I might be suited to; I have always been ambitious, and I was looking to start career planning early so that I felt fully prepared for my next steps. The support wasn’t there and I think this is a missed opportunity to help young people feel informed and confident about their choices from the outset. It wasn’t until I was progressing through my college course that I realised that I was more suited to marketing type roles despite originally thinking that I wanted to pursue accountancy-based positions. I think it’s incredibly important to identify your strengths and skills as early as possible so you can be effectively matched to job roles and sectors – I think a lot of people are pleasantly surprised by how many different opportunities are relevant to their skillset!

What is your ultimate piece of advice?

Be the best version of yourself and never try to be someone you’re not. In pursuing your goals, you have to be fearlessly authentic and courageous; try your best, stay committed, believe in yourself, and feel confident that you’re doing all that you can to get to where you want to be. It’s never easy, but it’s always worth it!