For many reasons, I didn't choose to go to university like most of my family members, school peers and even best friends. I can't say that I didn't have moments of doubt about my decision. As the last term of school was coming to a close, I began to feel very anxious about the choice I made to be different and start an apprenticeship.
Although my A-level results day was one in which I felt extremely proud, I knew that the general feeling from most of my teachers was disappointment, in their eyes I wasn't 'fulfilling my potential' and going to university. The support towards applying for an apprenticeship was available in my sixth form, however, I felt the assistance I received could not compare to that of my peers who were applying to university. I completed my application, did a series of aptitude tests and interviews, and nine months later - I began an apprenticeship with Sellafield Ltd.
As soon as I started, I knew straight away that I made the right decision. From the people I met, to the on-the-job training that I was experiencing, I began to feel a real sense of purpose and could see a successful career in an industry that I found so interesting and challenging, paving the way in front of me. I never thought when I was in sixth form that I would be working in the nuclear industry, but now I can't imagine working anywhere else.
Since finishing my apprenticeship over two years ago, I've had countless opportunities to develop myself both academically and personally. I've bought my first home; I was chosen to be a part of the Government's Get In Go Far apprenticeship campaign, and offered an amazing and unique secondment with the Environment, Health, Safety and Quality department at Sellafield.
I have no doubt that without my apprenticeship I wouldn't be in the position I am today, but equally I know that it was only the beginning for me.
My apprenticeship inspired me to explore different career paths in the nuclear industry, and it gave me the confidence to know that I can succeed in transitioning from being at the forefront of decommissioning the Sellafield site to a role which focuses on the overriding priority of keeping the site safe and secure.
Four years ago, when I was in school and pregnant with my daughter, without a clue how to move my future forward or how I was going to support my family - I never thought I would be aiming for the top. I don't see why anyone else can't do that too; move outside your comfort zone, never stop learning - be the best that you can be.
Choose an apprenticeship and you'll start a long and successful career.