National Careers Week – My first job

National Careers Week – My first job


National Careers Week has put the CASCAID team in a reflective mood; thinking back over those early work experiences and the skills learnt.

Our Marketing Copywriter, Kellie Tillyer, reflects on her first job:

“I started work at a young age; just 14, working Saturday and Sunday in a factory shop in the basement of a working cotton mill!

Being from Oldham, a major player in cotton spinning, in many ways it was hard to avoid, in some capacity, working in a mill – there were simply so many of them.

The shop I worked in was large, selling everything from toys to clothes, food to homewares. I worked there for many years, even going back and working over my university holidays.

As a retail assistant my duties were wide and varied, there were those I enjoyed; putting out stock and those I loathed; vacuuming the shop floor!

Beyond the practical skills of the workplace, my early work experience taught me how to work with people of different ages and backgrounds, how to manage my time effectively and it created in me a sense of independence that is very much at my core.

However, I also look back on my early working life with a twinge of sadness, I really enjoyed creating product displays and presenting merchandise – and I was good at it too. As an adult I now realise I would have loved a career in visual merchandising but through the limited careers guidance I was given, my skills and experiences were never explored beyond the academic. At that young age I didn’t understand a ‘career’ in retail was a possibility; careers were things such as doctor, nurse, police officer etc.

Of course, the career path I have ultimately followed, within marketing communications, has been fulfilling and I have had many great work experiences. I can’t help but wonder though, if the careers guidance I received had spent more time understanding my likes and dislikes, skills and experiences, rather than focusing on predicted grades, would I have followed a different career path?”

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