Nia-Faith Williams says hard work, being herself and a work placement helped her to build a fulfilling career.
She was home-schooled but was able to get into employment with the help of Careers Wales.
Getting support into employment
Nia-Faith Williams didn’t sit GCSE or A-Level exams but despite having no formal qualifications and limited work experience, she was supported into employment through Careers Wales. That first placement meant she could work her way up to a sales and marketing coordinator role at Confederate Chemicals.
She said: “Growing up my siblings and I learned through a home-schooling programme called ACE. It’s an American system that encourages children to teach themselves, but it meant I didn’t learn with the same structure or take the same exams as most people.
"When I was 17 I applied for college, but because I didn’t have any GCSEs they assumed I wasn’t academic and put me on a lower-level course than the one I’d applied for.
"Eventually I decided going straight into work and getting some experience in the real world would be the better option for me. I completed an access course with Bethany Training to gain some of the basic skills and work experience I would need to find a job.
"When it came to looking for work I didn’t know where to start, so I went to Careers Wales to find out more about my options. They were helpful and supportive, asked what skills I had and listened to what I wanted from a job. Through support from them I applied for a placement with Confederate Chemicals as a laboratory technician. I was only 18 and I’d never had a proper job before, so I really didn’t expect to get it.
"In my interview I was completely honest about my education and experience, but I got on well with my boss and he decided to take a chance on me.”
Finding the right career path
“Being supported into employment was the opportunity I needed to get my foot in the door. Since then I’ve become permanently employed and moved out of the lab into a sales and marketing role which is more suited to my personality.
"I’m learning on the job, but I like a challenge. In my spare time I’m also completing a part-time psychology degree with the Open University and hope to go onto a masters and maybe even a doctorate one day. Being home schooled taught me to be independent and self-motivated so learning in my own time through the Open University suits me and I’m really enjoying the course.
“To anyone getting their results this year, I’m proof that qualifications don’t necessarily reflect how capable you are. Traditional, academic learning isn’t for everyone and not getting the results you were hoping for doesn’t mean you can’t find a fulfilling career that you enjoy.
In my experience getting help from the experts, being yourself and trying your hardest are the most important things when it comes to finding a job."
"That first placement allowed me to find a career path I’m enjoying and start working towards a degree that I’ll have for the rest of my life.”
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