Joanna Jackson

"Don’t be scared to start small. If you have an aspiration to join a big company, don’t be worried about starting off in a different position."
About my career

Towards the end of my final year, I got a summer job in the Customer Contact Centre at Manchester Airport as they were taking on temporary staff for the summer season. I still wasn’t sure if I wanted to go straight into a teaching post. This role involved replying to customer feedback, and booking car parks. I had no idea that I would end up in the aviation industry, but I fell in love with life at the airport, and knew I wanted to stay for the foreseeable future.

After taking part in various volunteer opportunities at the airport, I met the Community Relations team, who offered me a job interview, which resulted in me getting a full-time job with them.

My role has a variety of different aspects including: organising and coordinating events in the local community, usually with primary and high schools, designing educational resources, conducting educational tours and organising work experience for high school students. Our strategy as a department is Education into Employment which is very rewarding. 

The most important skill I learnt during my degree is organisation. The success or failure of an event usually lies with how well it is organised. I believe this was down to my tutors drilling it into me to keep my placement files in order!

Educational theory, and placement experience has defiantly helped me with my role today, as I can create quality events and resources for schools. I feel that is has allowed me to see what schools really need.

Most of my further development has been self-taught, and through my colleagues in the department. As I have gone in a different direction to my degree, I have had to learn many new skills. I have done this by reading, doing free online courses and practising. I am really enjoying learning new skills every day. 

My top tip for students is…

Don’t be scared to start small. If you have an aspiration to join a big company, don’t be worried about starting off in a different position. Just make sure that you network with others in the business, get involved with volunteer work and take every opportunity you get. Whilst graduate jobs are great, there are also many other opportunities out there. As long as you show your company you are willing, you will go far.

I’m inspired by…

My parents and partner. After graduating I worried that I would be a failure if I didn’t use my degree for what it was intended for (primary teaching) However, my parents supported me throughout, and constantly reassured me that other opportunities were out there that I could use my degree for. This happened and I couldn’t be happier.

Why I love Manchester Met

The tutors' support and the lifelong friends I made.