Going full-circle: My GO Wales experience
My experience with GO Wales hasn’t been the most conventional one I would freely admit, certainly looking at all of the case studies on the website and all of the stories on the very blog that you’re reading, and you’d be right to think “Well yeah, of course it is, you work for GO Wales”. However before starting here nearly two years ago I myself went on a 10-week placement (and was kept on afterwards!) and before then a participant in one of the first Graduate Academy groups in what seems to be aeons ago now.
Having been on both sides of the project, I can definitively say that being able to give back to what gave my own career such a boost has been both hugely rewarding and interesting. Reading stories of people who have gone from struggling to find work to being in their ideal role never ceases to remind me of my own similar story, not only in just experience but also in how these people have developed their skills and confidence by being in roles that they enjoy. Even whilst writing this blog post I’ve just found out about someone new with a fantastic story to tell after going on a placement.
When I applied for the Graduate Academy I hadn’t had stable pay after graduating for a good six months; I’d organised live music events out of my own pocket and volunteered to get some more experience but that was it. More so I lacked a direction for my career after being out of a stable role for so long.
I’m just going to stop for a second because every Graduate Academy related blog post and case study will tell you the same thing as I will now; it turned my career around in a matter of weeks in terms of my skills and employability but also in my confidence and drive, and it had also given me the career direction that I’d been lacking for so long. That’s not just me flying the flag for GO Wales, who knows what soul-destroying role I’d be in had I not been fortunate enough to go on the course?
Fast forward a year and a half and I’d organised more live music events with the skills that I’d learned from the Graduate Academy, completed a Masters and started a GO Wales placement in Swansea that focused on marketing and organising academic events across Wales (including an all-dayer across the Wales Millennium Centre, The Senedd and St David’s Hotel!). I found through this role that marketing, and all of the bells and whistles that go with the job, really was up my street, and dare I say, a calling.
Then almost two years ago I joined the central GO Wales marketing team, what a great opportunity to really dig my teeth into something really fantastic, to get new skills and swathes of knowledge and experience! Over the last two years I’ve spoken to businesses, students and graduates with all different kinds of needs, with exciting stories and exciting plans, and being able to see the difference that the GO Wales project makes to them over the course of a few months is never less than fantastic. Again, reminding me of the parallels of my own path!
And so it comes to the present day, my contract with GO Wales is coming to a close and I’ll shortly be moving onto pastures new. Who, what and where? Well that’s a secret, but having come full-circle with GO Wales and having been privileged to be a part of an initiative, in more ways than one, that really is unique to Wales; I can definitely say that I’ll miss the old place.