Hello. My name is Joanne, I am 23 years old and I studied at South Essex College from 2008 to 2010.
Before joining the college, I went to Cecil Jones School where I completed 11 GCSEs. Whilst looking for places to take my A-levels, I remember reading about South Essex College and being impressed by it. I spoke to one of my friends who went there and when she mentioned how supported she was during her studies, and how much she had enjoyed herself, it seemed an obvious choice when she recommended me to go there.
I studied A-Levels in maths, law and business studies whilst working part-time in a bank. Of course, at times my studies were difficult, but I did enjoy what I was learning so this kept me motivated. My favourite memory of being at the college is being part of the basketball team – it was actually a nice break from the lessons and revision. After studying law at college, I realised that I really enjoyed criminal law so I decided to study criminology at university. My time at South Essex College helped me to prepare for higher education because it broadened my views about the various courses and jobs out there. I came to the college wanting to be a banker and that was partly because I hadn’t explored many career options.
In my final year of my degree, I learnt about corporate social responsibility (CSR). I thoroughly enjoyed the module and found myself reading about the topic all the time. I also achieved a good grade in my essays which made me realise that I was quite good at it too. The best thing about university is that studying a variety of modules introduces you to a range of subjects and niche topics that you may not have known existed. You also get lots of support and tips on how to get a job.
After I graduated, I realised that CSR was a branch of PR, so I did an internship with the Taylor Bennett Foundation to see what it was really like to work in the field. I really enjoyed my internship and this led to my first PR job with a top ten technology PR firm. After this, I was offered my current job as a Communications officer at Health Education England, which is a Non-Departmental Public Body.
My job involves a lot of writing – I update content on the website, write features, newsletters, bulletins and much more. I am in contact with the media on a regular basis and I pitch stories to various newspapers and magazines. I sometimes have to write articles, which journalists then publish. I also help to organise interviews and this involves ‘media training’ to prepare the interviewee. Furthermore, I have to coordinate the production of videos for media purposes. Events are also a huge part of my role. I have to work with external companies to coordinate the logistics, which range from making sure that all the electrical equipment is ordered, to organising guest speakers. On the day of each event, I attend to make sure everything is running smoothly. I liaise with various companies on a daily basis because Health Education England is a national organisation; I often work with NHS trusts, the Department of Health, various schools across the country and PR agencies too.
My proudest moment in my career so far has been when I worked on a project to launch a new government scheme. I felt very proud of myself and my team when I saw our work in a number of papers including the Financial Times, Telegraph and BBC news. In the future, I would love to work in the communications department at the United Nations.
I really love my job and I wouldn’t change it for any other occupation. To anyone thinking about going to South Essex College, I would say go for it! You’ll get lots of support which will help you with your career in the long run!