My name is Emma Gilman and I am a Free Schools Programme Assistant Accountant working for the government. I went to Tollbar Academy for my GCSE’s and live locally.
What particularly made me want to go to University was that all of my friends were going and I definitely didn’t want to miss out!
I didn’t take the standard route to university. I left sixth form with just my AS levels in French, Psychology and History and went to a college in Lincoln to study BTEC Music Business, which I loved.
After finishing my BTEC qualification, I enrolled onto a degree in Leeds Metropolitan University to study psychology. Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy the busier city centred lifestyle and decided to return home to Grimsby to work full time for a year.
After a year of working full time, I still decided I wanted to do a degree but I didn’t want the busy city lifestyle. I enrolled onto the degree Business Management with Accounting at Grimsby Institute because I could still live at home and gain a degree at the end of three years.
From working full time for a year to going to university; I was worried about how complicated the student finance application process would be for me. I had two children during studying and so I had a complex application with childcare grants and parent loans. Despite this, I found the application process easier than I thought it would be.
One of the main reasons why I enjoyed university was that I made some really good friends and due to taking varied modules I had a clearer idea on what career path I wanted to choose.
When it came to applying for jobs I was very aware that most graduate schemes are based in cities; particularly the best ones. Due to having two children in my family relocating wasn’t an option either. I therefore looked at the graduate schemes which had reputations for offering flexible working arrangements and focused on cities closest to home.
I ended up getting on a graduate scheme that was number 2 on The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers list as a Free Schools Programme Assistant Accountant. My job is flexible and meets my career aspirations as I’m able to work from home 2 days a week. On the other 3 days, I travel to Sheffield, but despite the journey I’m home by 5.30pm every day.
I earn a good salary, which increases after 2 years, and then I change positions every 12 months to work in a variety of departments. If I didn’t do a degree I don’t think I would have found a position I loved as much as this.