Careers Advice, Preparing for your future

We can help you realise your potential

Taren Youngs shares her experience as a graduate and the value of Enterprise.

Taren Youngs

SO, what’s it all about …
This time of year I find myself talking to a lot of students. This isn’t unusual; I talk a lot to pretty much everybody all the time. But, it’s a bit different in October and November because I find myself explaining what the Enterprise Team does about 100 times a day. I am not complaining, as the interest in the team is wonderful, but I sometimes find it a little difficult to communicate our message properly.  The way I describe enterprise education is this: we help you find out what you don’t want to do. I know that sounds odd, but it’s true. To make my point, I will use myself as a cautionary tale. 

After four years at University I graduated with a couple of degrees and no clue what I wanted to do for a career …
For some reason, it wasn’t until two weeks after graduation that I began to worry about my future. I had always assumed that once I finished my degree a job would magically appear. Boy was I wrong! After spending some time unemployed and feeling depressed, I took the first job I could get as a receptionist. I did that for a while, and I liked it, but I wanted a more secure career. So, I ended up taking several more jobs over the course of five years to figure out what I wanted to do. In that time I also accrued some significant debt sitting a Masters to help enhance my career prospects. This was a difficult time for me. It made me realise that not thinking ahead while at University had been a mistake.

I wish that I had done more while I was a student…
That I had tried out business skills workshop or taken part in enterprise challenges, participated in a business simulation game or two, because then I could have gotten my feet wet in a safe environment and figured out the kind thing that I liked doing, and more importantly, what I didn’t like doing. It would have saved me some frustration.

Maybe if I had attended a university that valued enterprise as highly as Cardiff University does, I would have focussed more heavily on what career path I wanted to follow
I am sure that people from my alma mater have set up successful, innovative and thriving businesses, but at the time I graduated I thought the only people who could be considered enterprising were people who had studied business. I wouldn’t find out until years later that media and journalism, art and design, IT, sports and fitness and banking and finance are the most popular degrees types for the self-employed.

That’s why today, through this blog post, I want to say that it is important that students and graduates realise that being an entrepreneur doesn’t always mean starting your own business, and it isn’t only for business students…
It often means doing things a different way.  You can create a new role within a company or established organisation or contribute an idea that can change the way an organisation runs its operation. Being entrepreneurial or enterprising is about being thoughtful, creative, determined and different. It’s about finding out what makes you happy and making that your career. So please, attend a few events or activities and try to figure out what will make you happy in your future. Don’t do what I did and wait for opportunities to come knocking, make them happen.

Get started by attending one of our events, participating in our challenges and competitions or simply come in and have a chat with the team. We are here to try and help you realise your potential!

For more information visit our website: www.cardiff.ac.uk/enterprise

Best wishes
Taren

Taren is an Enterprise Officer for CU Enterprise, part of the Careers & Employability team and is based at Cardiff University’s Centre for Skills, Enterprise and Volunteering (within the Students’ Union) on Park Place.

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