Grace graduated from Activate Learning’s City of Oxford College with a Business Level 3 Extended Diploma in 2019.
Grace’s school had been pushing her to go to sixth form college, but she knew that she wanted to face a new challenge in a place where, in her own words, she would be “treated more like an adult”. She was also certain that she wanted to dedicate all her efforts to just the one subject: Business.
“I was already certain when I started college that I didn’t want to go to university. I always just wanted to get into a job and start earning. With business, I think you can get into a career quite quickly and start learning on the job and progressing in your career that way.”
Although Grace had been certain before starting college that she did not want to go to university, she now works in one! While discussing her opportunities after college with the Careers Advice team at Activate Learning, she learned more about apprenticeships and the concept of earning while learning and getting all the advantages that a regular employee would get (paid holiday, employment rights, a steady salary etc) really appealed to her. She is now in an apprentice role at Oxford Brookes University. She attributes part of that success to what she learned while at college, and not just what she studied in the classroom, but what she learned about herself.
“At college, I was really able to figure out what aspects of business I didn’t enjoy and which parts I did. I really didn’t like the finance side of things, but I really liked Human Resources, so that’s why I chose the HR route as a potential career.
“I can see now that I am applying the practical skills I learnt at college. I'm going back over part of my project management program at the moment and using all the notes I took to help me with a business administration course I’m doing as part of my apprenticeship at Oxford Brookes!”
Grace also mentions that the Career Pathway maps from Activate Learning, available in the prospectus and online, were helpful in mapping out her plans for continued professional development too. “At the interview for college, we went over the Career Pathways that were available and what you do year by year, and then at the end of the first year you choose a particular route.”
Although Grace has excelled during her time at the college and has gone on to begin a fantastic career at Oxford Brookes, her time at Activate Learning wasn’t always about serious business!
“I thought the facilities at college were really good and we spent a lot of time hanging out at the Westgate, because it was so close. I made so many friends there. Most of my friends now are from college and it was nice to see we all came from different places. Some are from Banbury, some are from Bicester and even on days when we didn’t have college we would just head into Oxford and hang out with each other there.”
Proof, then, that you can relax and have fun with friends but still attain your dreams.
Grace also has some words of advice for any potential students at Activate Learning, whether they want to study business or not.
“If you know what you want to do, then do what you want, not what others tell you to do as you know yourself better than anyone!”