Read the stories of local individuals just like you who have completed University or a Higher Apprenticeship and found great jobs in the local area.

alexdutton008 (1)

My name is Alexandra Dutton and I work as the Business Partnership Executive for Reach plc - Britain’s largest newspaper, magazine and digital publisher.

I went to school at Cleethorpes Academy when it used to be called the Lindsey School and Community Arts College.

I left school with 11 GCSE’s at A*to C, a mass of great experiences and lifelong friends.

English was my favourite subject, and I had a lot of notable teachers that helped to inspire me. When I chose my A-Level subjects at Franklin College, I naturally focussed on my interests: English Language, English Literature, and Government and Politics.

I knew that I wanted to pursue further study at university after really enjoying studying English at college.

In August 2012 I received my A-Level results and was accepted into Loughborough University to study English.

My university education taught me a tremendous amount, the self-directed study, the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded people and the wealth of passion shared by the lecturers helped to make the three years truly unforgettable.

I would be lying if I didn’t say that the social side may have also contributed as well!

I went on to study for a Masters degree at The University of Lincoln. My Masters degree allowed me to specialise in a research area and completing my dissertation is to date one of my greatest academic achievements.

After graduating in September 2016 I was unsure about what exactly I wanted to do, at the time I was worried about this and thought I should have everything figured out but thinking back, I needed to be in the workplace before I could get clarity on my direction.

In October 2016 I accepted a job as a Graduate Area Manager for Amazon.

My first step on the career ladder taught me a lot about myself and what I wanted out of my career. My academic skills were transferred into employability skills and I met some fantastic colleagues that also inspired me with their career journeys.

At the start of this year I accepted my current role and integrated quickly within the team. I have always been interested by a career in the Media sector but was unsure whether this was a realistic possibility in the local area.  Every day I continue to learn and develop in my role as the Business Partnership Executive for Britain’s largest newspaper and the most valuable piece of advice I have ever received is that this process never ends.

emmadavison007 (1)

I went to Healing School and graduated in 2010. I wanted to pursue a career in graphic design so I took BTEC ICT, photography and Graphics at A level.

I applied for Uni and went to visit a couple of them. At first I deferred for a year and then finally decided it wasn’t what I wanted to do and decided an apprenticeship would be more fitting.

My parents helped me to decide what I wanted to do and helped me apply for apprenticeships. It definitely helps to have someone to go through this with you, even if it’s a careers advisor or a teacher.

I started my apprenticeship in Business Administration at ENGIE in 2014, completing my NVQ Level 2 qualification. About a year and a half into my apprenticeship, my role was made permanent and I became a Management Systems Administrator.

Over time I became more involved within HR and when a job became available I applied. I am now the HR Assistant on the contract and have been with the company for almost 5 years. I have successfully completed my Level 3 & 5 CIPD in Human Resource Management.

One of the projects I get involved in is developing the programme of apprentice opportunities on contract. This involves working with schools, colleges and other learning providers to promote our opportunities within the partnership.

I’m really glad I took the path I did and feel that I have found as many opportunities here in North East Lincolnshire as I would have any where else.

Did you have a clear plan of what you wanted to do? How did it evolve over time? What role did ENGIE play in this?

I didn’t have a clear plan of where I wanted to do, when I started in this company I had no idea that HR is where I would end up. I was able to work in different areas of the business and get involved in many different aspects of HR including working with other contracts across ENGIE. This allowed me to gain experience and helped me to develop in my role. ENGIE also supported me with my qualifications which included time out of work to complete this.

What do you enjoy most about the work that you do?

I get to work with people, because every situation you deal with is different this means every day of the week is different and brings a new challenge.

What plans do you have for the future?

I would like to continue my learning and move on to the Level 7 CIPD in Human Resource Management. This would be equivalent to a degree.

Did you ever think about leaving NEL? Why did you choose to stay in the local area?

No, I enjoy working and living in this area. I work close to home and enjoy being close to friends and family.

Any advice for other young people about opportunities for work and education in the local area?

Not everybody knows what they want to do when they leave school or even when they leave college. Make sure to explore all options and don’t feel pressured into going down a particular route.


My name is Louise and after graduating from Franklin and going to the University of Lincoln I started working for ABP Humber.Straight from university, I actually started working for ABP in an administrative role for what became the world’s largest biomass handling facility.

I loved working with my colleagues and I was very interested in the business but I felt that I should pursue other career options.

In a moment of madness, I applied for a voluntary role in Devon, teaching forest school techniques to children. I lived on site in a yurt for eight weeks and had a brilliant time gaining experience of working with children whilst also learning some life skills (that hopefully I’ll never need to use!) but again, I didn’t have a career focus in mind.

I started working back with ABP as a Communications and Commercial Co-ordinator. The communications aspect really sparked my interest and thankfully, I was successful in the role. That was in May 2013 and having ventured through a number of different positions, I am now happily settled as the Communications Manager for the four major ports on the Humber.

No two days are the same! I can be doing anything from giving a port tour to a foreign delegation, interested in pursuing trade options to attending primary schools to talk about the careers we have on offer at ABP. I regularly speak to the local media and on occasion, National press. Our team keeps the country (and our employees) abreast of upcoming developments and projects that the company is investing in. I’m very rarely sat at my desk for more than a few hours a day.

It’s my job to tell the world about our company and to inform others about our pivotal part in the UK economy.

Previously, I had always had my mind set on becoming a teacher. I’d been told that this was a job for life and that I would find it a rewarding career. It wasn’t until I worked in marketing for the first time that I realised, there were so many more career options on offer that I felt I could pursue.

People often ask if it’s difficult to work as a woman in a male orientated industry and honestly, I wouldn’t know the difference! I’m not treated any differently, my male colleagues respect me for the work that I produce and I in turn, respect them. I think that different genders working together brings a great dynamic to the industry and I’ve never seen this to be an issue.

It’s been a common misconception that since the fishing industry decline in Grimsby, there’s been little on offer in the way of careers. People who believe this couldn’t be more wrong. In ABP alone, we offer careers in operations, marine, engineering, human resources, finance and property – as well as so many other departments.

Knowing that you can be making a difference to the town that you were brought up in and knowing that you can change the future of the area for the next generation is an extremely rewarding feeling.


I went to Healing School and graduated in 2009. After my GCSE’s I went on to take three A levels.

I studied Health and Social Care, Geography, English Language (and ICT to AS level).

I decided to do a variety of subjects because I was unsure what I wanted to do after I left college so I thought I would get a grounding in several subjects to give myself options.

I thought about going to University and went to a few Open Evenings before I decided this wasn’t the route I wanted to take. I then started looking at, and applying for apprenticeships.

I looked at opportunities within North East Lincolnshire because I wanted to stay close to friends and family who live in the area.

My parents helped me to apply for apprenticeships.

I started my apprenticeship with ENGIE in 2011 in Business Administration. I have been able to progress a lot in the company.

I completed Level 2 and Level 3 NVQ in Business Administration within my first two years. I was taken on as a Premises Management Assistant in September 2012 before my apprenticeship was due to end and from there was able to cover maternity leave as a Facilities Performance Officer from January 2014 to March 2014. In March 2014 I became the supervisor of the Service Desk, and then in January 2017 I was promoted to Service Desk Manager.

I didn’t have a clear plan of what I wanted to do and when I started working for the company. I did not know this is what I would end up doing. ENGIE helped me by employing me in a permanent position and giving me the opportunity to develop and progress within my role.

In my job I enjoy speaking to and dealing with a variety of different people, and I like that every day is different.

I know deciding what you want to do after school can be a difficult decision to make but my advice to other young people would be to explore all options before making a decision on what you want to do. There are lots of opportunities in the area but try and get advice from different people and places.


I’m Charlotte and I went to Tollbar. Although I did a lot of GCSE’s I felt I was lacking life experience and exposure to the working environment.

I was unsure what to do after my GCSE’s. I looked at apprenticeships but found that the lower level ones were very limited and gendered like health and beauty or mechanical engineering.

All my friends were going to Franklin I wasn’t sure it was really my kind of thing- going to study with a pencil and notebook; I wanted to get under the skin of things.

I looked into the kind of jobs I could get without higher education but there was hardly any progression. I knew that higher education would allow me more opportunities in the long term.

I didn’t want to close doors for myself when I had the chance to do further study and regret it later on.

Franklin put on trips to Uni and I went to York, Leeds, Lincoln and Manchester.

I picked Lincoln because it had a nice feel to it and the business and marketing course was good. The building I would be studying in was new and it was a clean city. I found accommodation that I liked whereas Manchester seemed too hectic.

I knew it was important to feel comfortable, there would be a lot of new things at Uni and I didn’t want to dampen it by picking somewhere I didn’t like living.

I wanted to branch out from the student bubble so I got a job working at a pub and made good friends there.  

I had enough funds to go Interrailing throughout the first and second summer of Uni and in the third summer I went to Thailand. It was a great experience and I was more comfortable

Applying for graduate schemes and going to assessment days was daunting but I ended up getting my first job by putting my C.V. online.

My degree was useful to me finding work but my work ethic and problem solving skills were also important. Employers are looking for someone with a degree but also with the right attitude.

It was difficult at first to feel confident about what I wanted as a career path. There are so many options.

I wanted to get work in another area so I started temping at ENGIE to get experience being in office. The department was lovely and I enjoyed the work.

I did business support for one and half years which was great for building confidence and gaining practical, useful skills. A job came up internally which I got and am very happy in.

Don’t worry about finding your dream job straight away, many degree’s offer a broad range of career paths. I would encourage any grad to do some business support work; it is helpful in almost every working environment.

I am comfortable in my role as a project officer but it’s learning curve, wouldn’t have been able to speak to stakeholders, it’s a learning curve, didn’t have confidence.

Go to Uni, get experience and skills alongside your studies, take all the opportunities you can for social events, travelling and learning new skills.


I have lived in Grimsby ever since I can remember. I went to Tollbar academy to do my GCSE’s and later went to Franklin to study Maths, Law, Physics and Graphics at A level.

I then completed my degree of Computing Technologies through Grimsby Institute as I’ve always wanted to do something more. I wanted to get into higher education. I didn’t look at other unis and wanted to go to Grimsby straight away as I had a full time job here already so it was convenient to study here; particularly because the Institutes library is open 24 hours.

I recently enrolled on a postgraduate master’s degree in Education at Grimsby Institute starting this September and found the new financial application process very simple.

I enjoyed university thoroughly. The self-study and adult sessions were much more mature at Grimsby Institute. I feel this mix of young and old students combined with my full-time job helped me mature and reach my highest potential. It was sometimes a struggle to study towards a degree and have a full time job, but I had the motivation and determination to succeed.

After completing my degree, I found work in Grimsby easily. With the support of my tutor we decided I needed to do something that suited my personality more than my previous dream of being a graphics designer such as pursuing a career in teaching due to my outgoing personality. I put myself out there towards the end of my degree by volunteering in the institute, spending a couple of days a week at workshop sessions and shadowing different lessons.

Because I volunteered over the summer of my final year, I got offered the position of programme leader for computing at Grimsby Institute in September last year. When I heard the news I was ecstatic. I knew it would be a lot of work- I had to do a PGCE teaching qualification at the same time but it was worth it.  

Alongside my enrolment onto my Master’s Postgraduate this September in Education, I have just started my personal development plan to be a curriculum manager. For this I have done an aspiring managers course at Grimsby, receiving a level 5 CMI management and leadership qualification. My future aspirations are to run the computer department within 2 years. 

I then plan on doing a PHD in education as part of my long term plan which is to be a principal before I am 35.

Overall I’m so glad I took my studies further, I found so many opportunities locally and feel that I have created a great life for myself.


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.  


I went to Tollbar and studied History and Sciences at GCSE. I continued into sixth form and did International Baccalaureate (I.B), Design and Technology, Physics, History, English, Spanish.

I found that I really enjoyed History so I went to Franklin for an extra year to study Ancient History and Classical Studies.

I felt that I could do more so I applied to University College London, Leicester, Oxford Brooks, and University of Lincoln.

I settled on the University of Lincoln because it was closer to home. It was perfect because I wasn’t quite ready to live on my own away from home and the course suited me because it included a placement and good lectures.

Franklin was really helpful because it offered lots of assistance with things like applying for student finance and choosing classes. You sat down with a tutor who helped you fill in the forms.  

Understanding student finance and filling out forms and applications can be a barrier to University, but it doesn’t really need to be, there is lots of support around from people who know what they are doing who can talk you through it.

I made friends with like-minded people at Uni and enjoyed the activities I got the chance to do while studying. We did an archaeological dig and got to stay in a hostel throughout.

I made the choice to work full-time as well as doing my degree which was challenging at times but I graduated with a Degree in Heritage Studies and feel proud of what I accomplished.

I thought about travelling after Uni but got offered a placement at ENGIE. I am in a good graduate job as a Conversation Officer. I wouldn’t have been able to get this job and experience without my degree.

I am now pursuing my masters with Edinburgh through distance learning in Historic Building Conservation.

Higher Education has been a really positive experience for me and I would encourage others to do it.