• Question: Did the exams that you took at school link to your future career and aspirations. How did you come to choose your job and is it easy to balance life outside as well?

    Asked by Nicola to Chris, Gina, Jack, Laura, Tom, Yetty on 20 Jun 2017. This question was also asked by Anna.
    • Photo: Tom Rooney

      Tom Rooney answered on 20 Jun 2017:

      oh yes – I chose my exams to suit my career choice to be an engineer. I joined a technical & vocational education scheme that focussed my options and, in addition to my GCSEs, I went to college 1 day a week to get a BTEC ONC in design and fabrication.
      I often recall things I learned back then as they support what I do now

    • Photo: Christopher Bullock

      Christopher Bullock answered on 20 Jun 2017:

      There’s quite a lot of questions to answer here…

      Yes exams are important, you will find that you need certain qualification to get engineering jobs, apprenticeships and university places and you will have to get good grades in your exams to get them. However, it is also important to remember that in many cases you can re-take exams and it is never too late if things don’t work out the first time around.

      I chose my job by basically just doing what I was most interested in. I thought about the kind of job that I wanted to do when I was thirty and thought about the best route to get there.

      I unfortunately don’t have much of a social life at the minute – I do have to work very long hours. But I would say this is really symptomatic of doing a PhD rather than being an engineer. Most of my friends who work in engineering companies have much more free time than I do.

    • Photo: Yetunde Kolawole

      Yetunde Kolawole answered on 20 Jun 2017:

      Hi Nicola,

      Yes, the exams I took at school were linked to my desire to study engineering. So I sat maths and all science subjects at GCSE level and then I went on to Uni to study electrical and electronics engineering, all the courses and exams I took were leading up to my career in telecommunications.

      My love for physics and maths played a great role in me choosing electrical and electronics engineering. I already decided I was going to be an engineer because I have always been interested in how things work

      Nicola, you can balance life outside whilst being an engineer or any other profession for that matter, you just have to be deliberate about it. Don’t let your work consume you, take time to play and hang out with your friends, this is what I do and that’s why I work Monday to Friday and use my weekends for other things.

    • Photo: Gina Schade

      Gina Schade answered on 21 Jun 2017:

      Hi Nicola!

      I knew that I wanted to do something in science or technology at school so I chose relevant topics for GCSE and A-levels to do so. Certain degrees at university require certain subjects so be mindful of that when you are making your decision.

      However, my partner did art and theatre subjects for her A-levels and decided to do Biomedical Science in uni. The way she got onto the course was by doing an entry to science course in college (which is an equivalent of 3 a-levels). So don’t stress too much about it, you can always change direction later in life if you fancy.

      Yes, it is easy to balance life outside work as well. You have to be proactive though and not get into a habit of coming home from work and just falling asleep or sitting on the couch! I found that organising my time after work by booking sports/music lessons, arranging dinner with friends etc. forces me to not be lazy 🙂

    • Photo: Laura Walker

      Laura Walker answered on 22 Jun 2017:

      yes – I picked the exams which would suit the jobs i wanted.

      I chose my job because I got offered an apprenticeship here 7 years ago – They paid for my degree and training (and me for being there), I got to work 1 day a week and started a career here throughout the 4 years of being an apprentice.

      I manage to balance life outside of work – it isn’t much different to being at school, you see friends and do activities when you can