National Careers Week

Not everyone finds the perfect career when they leave school. Most people try a few different jobs before they find a career they love. 

Members of the DurhamWorks team have been providing their career history to celebrate National Careers Week. 

Barrie and Laura talk about their past career experience, from leaving school to doing the job they love today. 

Meet Barrie Evans, DurhamWorks Progression Worker. He left school with few qualifications and was unemployed for a while. After trying out a few different jobs, he finally found a career he loves:

Name: Barrie Evans
Current Job: Progression Advisor’
First Job: ‘cleaning machinery in a factory’

Age 16: Left school was unemployed and did not do well at school.

Age 17: Worked in a Factory cleaning machines! didn’t like this job!

Age 18: Joined the Army (my dad and grandad had served). I think I followed what others thought I should do! (did not enjoy the Army)

Age 20: I left the Army and was unemployed/ volunteered for a Youth Project and became a youth worker! Got paid work in the project

Age 21: Worked in youth clubs and went abroad on exchanges! (To Holland and Sweden).
Eventually I went to university (I was the first in family to do this, and didn’t know if I could do it! (thought I was not clever enough).

Age 24: Started to get well paid jobs! became a manager of different Youth projects, built up my confidence as I went and began doing as much training and learning as I could.
I had gone from not enjoying school to now liking to learn.

Age 30 – 46: I would probably say that I never knew what I wanted to do in life. Other than liking to work with people.
I have found that I have followed my instincts (what I feel rather than my thoughts when choosing jobs).
I have done lots of jobs now and have worked with lots of great people and have had a great time along the way.
So my message is don’t worry if you’re not sure what you want to do as many of us don’t.
Try things out you never know what it might lead to.

If you are unsure of what you want to do as a career and need some support, contact the DurhamWorks team on 03000 262 930 who will be able to guide you in the right direction and provide you with opportunities you may have never considered.

Meet Laura Carrick

Hi I’m Laura, and I’m a Progression Worker for DurhamWorks.  I am really lucky to love the job that I do, but my path to getting here might not be as straight forward as you think…

If I was to tell you every job that I’ve ever had you’d be reading all day.  

So the shorter version is this:

I’ve had all sorts of jobs from when I was at school – waitress, retail staff, bar tender, call centre operative.  Some of my jobs were better than others, but what I realise now is that they ALL helped me develop the skills I needed to get to where I am now.

A little later in my life, after university (which I dropped out of after a year, but then found a course I loved), I had jobs as a mail stuffer (imagine 10,000 letters that need to go into envelopes by hand!), I worked in admin, in customer service and for a conservatory company too.  Another round of varied jobs, but again they helped me build my knowledge and transferrable skills that I use to this day.

Finally, three years after graduating, I finally found work as a Housing Support Worker for a charity that provided young people with housing.  I loved that job.  I really felt like I was finally in the line of work that I wanted to be in, that I had studied for, and it was great.  From there I actually moved positions within the charity twice more; working as a Personal Advisor - giving careers advice, supporting into work or training, helping with life skills, and then ended up as the Youth Centre Manager – running all the youth provision for the charity which was hard work but lots of fun too.

Since that time I’ve had other roles that took me away from working with young people, and away from careers advice, and I’ve loved those jobs too but I’ve always felt, deep down, that I want to help people, so I knew I needed to make a change.  I have been through redundancy, which was incredibly traumatic, and affected me for a long time.  I then had a baby, and had to navigate the world of work as a new parent, which was challenging too, but I got through it, and can look back now and see how that experience has helped me be who I am today.

Now I have a career that I love – all of my jobs have been great but knowing that what I’m doing can make a difference, and that I’m supporting people to reach their own goals makes me genuinely happy.  So whatever your situation is now, just know that you can get to where you want to be.  It might not be a straight road, there might be twists and turns along the way, but the experience that you gain can only help you.  Keep going and you can achieve whatever you set your mind to, just like me

Posted in DurhamWorks Participants, General News on Mar 05, 2021

Share this story