Former Wyke and Winterton student, Rebecca Johns, has recently started working as a communications officer for 10 Downing Street after taking a varied career path inspired by her love of languages.
During her time with us, Rebecca studied French alongside Biology, Chemistry and Maths. She had clear aspirations to become a doctor, but chose to study French after deciding that she wanted to keep other options and career pathways open to her.
She said: “…it was always another point of interest that I have, and it was something different that universities and employers look for on CVs. It shows a really good skillset and taps into a bit of a different learning style compared to what I was going to be studying.
“The most enjoyable thing about learning a language is that you don’t just learn about the language but also about the culture, through books and films that you wouldn’t normally come across.”
Upon completing her studies at Wyke, Rebecca went on to study biomedical science, but soon realised that becoming a doctor was not the right career path for her. She soon moved on to looking at the different options that were available to her. During her time at university in Liverpool, she spent two summers working as an au pair in Madrid, an experience which she credits her language studies for. After graduating, Rebecca moved to China for a year and studied Mandarin, after securing a scholarship with the British Council.
She said: “I didn’t think they’d pick me because I studied a STEM subject and not a language at university. It’s another reason why I’m so glad I did French at A Level, because I think it showed that I did have language skills.”
Upon returning to the UK, Rebecca joined an events company, producing various business events and working her way up to become a project manager, which allowed her to utilise her language skills when producing international events. She has also worked for Just Eat as an account executive, which included managing a portfolio of restaurants and working with them on social media campaigns.
“Working for a big tech company is completely different to events, and I think that when you study a language you can show that you’ve got versatility especially if you study it alongside other subjects.”
At the beginning of March, Rebecca joined 10 Downing Street as a communications officer for the Prime Minister’s office. It is something that she has wanted to do and hopes to move on to work for the Foreign Office in the future.
What advice does Rebecca have for upcoming students?
“Be organised from the beginning and revise, revise, revise! It will make everything so much easier.
“It’s taken me two and a half years to get to where I want to be, but none of it is a regret because I’ve have such good experiences and gained so many skills from doing the different jobs. I thought I wanted to be a doctor, and I knew a year or two into university that I didn’t want to follow that career path. So don’t think that what you study at A Level means that you have to follow a certain career path.
“I’d always advise people to study a language because it gives you that little bit of flexibility and shows that you have a different skillset.”
Watch Rebecca talk about her experiences of Wyke, university and work on our YouTube channel https://youtu.be/SXOoergvIsQ