To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, we're talking about ways to get your career on the up, and not forgetting to bring other women up with you! We'd like to introduce you to Jenna, Career Women Wales' amazing intern who came to us through a sponsored programme with Cardiff Metropolitan University. She's written about her experience in the hope it will inspire other young women to take up paid internships and apprenticeships.
Dinner at 9pm, weekend work, and a work-life balance totally out of whack were my day-to-day until last year, when Career Women Wales offered me an opportunity that changed the trajectory of my career.
I have an excellent relationship with my previous employer, but it had come to a point where, after three years, I'd had enough of being in the time and energy-consuming customer service industry. There wasn't much room for career progression, I'd climbed pretty much as far as I could go, so instead I was looking for something that could help me grow in new ways, help me learn new skills that I could potentially transfer into my own business one day, and leave enough time at the end of the day for some of my own projects.
I don't know about you, but I get especially nervous when applying for a job that seems like the perfect opportunity. areer Women Wales' internship through Cardiff Met was exactly that: the right amount of hours, the right area of work (I'd gained a years worth of experience in social media marketing during previous position), room to grow and the giant bonus that CWW's focus on helping and promoting women really aligns with my own values. I like to think that my passion for this social enterprise came through in the interview, because it wasn't long after that Sarah let me know I'd got the role.
During the first three months of my internship with Career Women Wales I've been able to focus and grow my social media marketing skills considerably, through encouragement from Sarah and all of the events, seminars and courses that she sends my way. Thanks to her connections I've been able to get tips and advice from those in my field who have a wealth of experience in the marketing industry. We also reach out to inspiring women across Wales for our Interview series and getting to speak to everyone personally has been a great privilege. As a result, my network of contacts has expanded considerably, and I'm learning the importance of maintaining and growing these connections.
Watching how Sarah works, and seeing how much of herself she puts into Career Women Wales, juggling it with her family and public life (she's standing in the Welsh elections with the Women's Equality Party), has really inspired me to dream big for my career. Without this opportunity the vision for my career, after leaving the customer service industry, would still be very murky, so I'm so grateful for everything that's brought me to this point.
All of the transferable skills that I learned during my Illustration degree at Cardiff Met have also been incredibly useful. My design knowledge and drawing ability especially, I use this expertise almost every day to help create promotional materials for projects and to design social media content. I really want to let more creative students know how appealing these skills can be to employers! It's very fulfilling to work in an environment where these talents are recognised and utilised. But best of all, it feels like the work I've been given the opportunity to do is really helping to promote women in Wales and the amazing things they are doing.
I'm learning a lot, but there's still so much more to do! The next three months of my internship will be sure to bring even more challenges my way, and I'm looking forward to finding out what they will be. I hope my experience will help inspire you to jump start your career by seeking out internships or by going for one of the many apprenticeship opportunities available in Wales. Or maybe you own a small business yourself? You could make a huge impact on someone's future by offering an opportunity like this. Let's make sure we are all doing what we can to give each other a leg up!