“It definitely made a difference that I used to go to All Saints and was from Kirkby. If someone else came who wasn’t a former student I don’t think they would have connected as well”.
Jyssica Murphy went to All Saints Catholic High School and is now a Health and Safety Advisor.
I was in middle sets at school. I misbehaved sometimes but for the most part I enjoyed school. Maths was a particular challenge for me as I doubted my confidence. My teacher was really good and he always pushed me and told me that I could do it but I struggled to believe him and looking back, I wish I’d applied myself more.
After leaving school I re-sat my Maths GCSE so I could that I could apply for a college course. I was disappointed that I didn’t pass in school when I knew that I had the potential to do better. I wish I’d approached Maths differently as a bit more concentration would have saved me an extra twelve months’ study and put me on my career path faster.
I didn’t know what I wanted to do after college so I looked at apprenticeships and completed one in science. I shadowed the health and safety manager in the company where I was working and it sparked off my enjoyment for it so I self funded my qualifications. I worked at a consultancy for five years which was great with lots of variety working with companies across the UK and now I work at a housing association.
I volunteered to visit my old school because I wanted to give something back. Kirkby is a deprived area and when I was a student you didn’t hear from people who had been to my school and gone on to have successful careers, role models who could inspire you. I think it is important to know that you don’t have to follow in someone else’s footsteps. There is so much out there to achieve and you can choose your own path.
It was really rewarding to go back to All Saints Catholic High School and felt good to be back where I started from. It was a different building when I went back which was really strange!
There were two workshops with big group of students. We did different exercises where they had to guess my job, how they thought I spent the day in work, what qualifications you would need to work in health and safety. The students were interested in what I had to say and asked lots of questions about a career that was new to them. They didn’t have a common understanding of what a Health and Safety Advisor were interested to learn and discover a new career path.
I answered all the practical questions about my job but students were also interested to know I went to their school, that I was from the place where they live and what my experience had been like. It definitely made a difference that I used to go to All Saints and was from Kirkby. If someone else came who wasn’t a former student I don’t think they would have connected and listened as well. The workshops were really good and I can see how valuable they are for all the students.
What advice would I give to students? Do the best with what you’re given and don’t waste opportunities. I had to pay to get to and from college to resit my Maths. You don’t realise how much of an inconvenience it is to take time out to do something that you could have passed first time. You’ve got very few commitments or pressures on you, like to get a job. Take advantage of it!