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DLG got my career back on track

news #careers #people

Let me take you back to my GCSEs. I managed to get an A* in maths and the highest overall mark in my year (I didn’t write this blog just to brag about this - honest). Naturally, I decided to pick my A-levels based on my maths ability: maths, further maths and physics. I also did music tech, but that was more of a hobby.

A-level maths was difficult, but further maths was on a different level. After a maths lesson, the last thing I wanted to do was further maths, especially when it was twice as difficult. It’s fair to say I lost my love for numbers.

I ended up failing further maths (surprise surprise) and also physics. I needed to pass three A-levels to continue, which meant I had to drop out of sixth form.

With my academic progression in tatters, I felt lost and didn’t know what I wanted to do. Could I still get a career and be successful without A-level qualifications or a degree?

When I first dropped out of sixth form I tried all sorts of jobs. I tried tiling for a month, and then window fitting for a month, but I quickly realised doing manual labour for the rest of my life wasn’t what I wanted to do.

I started to fear that my lack of qualifications could let me down.

I’ve always had a passion for computers, after using one to produce my own music from the age of 11 (again, I didn’t write this blog just to share this, but if you're interested my music can be found here). So, I decided to do an advanced IT apprenticeship, earning Microsoft qualifications within eight months. This helped me get a job doing software support.

I learned lots of skills and got plenty of experience, but after six years it was time for a change, and that’s when a new opportunity came along.

There was an assessment day for a data analyst role at DLG. I already had a job, so I had nothing to lose by giving it a try.

On the assessment day, there were five other people also going for the role. Introducing ourselves, I realised everyone else had a university degree of some sort, with one holding a masters in mathematics.

I couldn’t even pass my A-level in further maths.

I started to fear that my lack of qualifications could let me down when it came to who DLG would employ for the job.

The assessment day consisted of a group exercise in the morning, where we had to analyse data and present our findings. One person left at lunchtime as they realised it wasn’t for them. In the afternoon we each had to stand up and talk about something we’re passionate about for five minutes. Both exercises were outside of my comfort zone. Everyone did really well.

A week later I was called in for an interview. I stayed in the night before to prepare for the interview, missing out on seeing my beloved Crystal Palace beat Arsenal 3-0.

Thankfully, my preparation paid off. The interview went really well and I was offered the job.

Me - the guy who couldn’t pass his A-levels - managed to get a job as a data analyst ahead of all these people with degrees.

So, if you don’t get or haven’t got the results you wanted, remember it’s not the end. Put in the effort and you can still land a great career without going to uni.