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Hi everyone... my name’s Fran and I graduated from the University of Chester in November 2019. I’ve never written anything like this before so please bear with me! I am going to write a little about my journey after university.

I started at the University of Chester in September 2016 and moved up to the city from London. I was never really sure what I wanted to do but going to the University of Chester was definitely the right decision for me! All the lecturers at the Business School were so supportive throughout my three years, and I amazingly managed to achieve a First Class degree after years of hard work.

I wasn’t completely sure what I wanted to do after university either, and it was at the beginning of my final year when I realised that I needed to start looking into life after university – all good things come to an end right?! 

Anyway, I applied to over one hundred jobs in my search for a career after university, and after multiple interviews at a range of different companies, I got offered a place on a graduate trainee scheme with a company called Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL), otherwise known as Better. I was thrilled to be offered a place on their two-year programme and as one of the biggest leisure providers in the UK, was super excited for a new adventure.

I finished university around June 2019 and started with GLL in September, so I had a few months to travel and get prepared for my new career with the company. My first couple of days were held at the London Aquatics Centre where all the new recruits on the scheme from across the country came together to meet. It was a bit like starting university for the first time, meeting people who you don’t know, but at the same time having common interests - we were all in the same boat! By the end of the first two days, we were all friendly with each other and still often message one another for advice and tips.  

The two-year programme is well structured and organised. Whilst it is difficult and challenging, it’s also extremely rewarding and in the short six months that I have now been with the company, I feel as though I have come so far already. The first year of the programme is split into six two-month placements, all of which are predominately front-line roles such as sales, reception, recreational assistant and fitness instructing, as well as head office positions like human resources and marketing. In the second year of the scheme, I will complete two placements of duty manager and health and fitness supervisor. The wide range of these roles as well as the many training courses that the company have provided me with means that by the end of the programme, I will be able to reach roles within the company such as assistant manager, general manager and higher. Moving around different locations often can have its challenges, but it also means that I have the opportunity to meet many different people all the time and means that I always have a new challenge to look forward to!

I have been able to use many of the skills I learnt at university such as course content from modules like Event Tourism and Customer Service Management, as well as additional activities like employability training and placements where I worked at Chester Zoo for five weeks during my second year of university. All these invaluable experiences gave me the knowledge and skills needed to be able to pursue a career directly related to my degree and interests in the leisure industry following on from university.

My advice for any current students would be to grab every opportunity that comes your way, no matter how big or small, and be prepared! Don’t leave it until once you’ve finished your studies to decide what you want to do, start brainstorming now so that you have some idea on what you want and need to achieve. Anything is achievable if you believe you can do it! 

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