After enrolling on her first apprenticeship at the age of 18 and completing a degree in business management, Natasha Kirby has been able to secure a role within the NHS as an assistant directorate manager.
Speaking about her journey, Natasha said: “I left high school with below-average grades and started a beauty therapy course at college. I already knew that this wasn’t what I wanted to do, but felt my options were limited. When I completed the beauty therapy course, I then enrolled on a Travel and Tourism course; I dropped out after six months and became a waitress, stuck in a rut. I then found out about a company called The Growth Company, which trained young people to become an apprentice. I completed a 12-week course and then was successfully interviewed at a company called Creative Support. I began my apprenticeship and studied for my Level 2 NVQ in Business and Administration. I then went on to complete a Level 3 in the same field, and then completed a Level 3 qualification in marketing.”
Natasha added: “Following the completion of my qualification in marketing, I applied for the Foundation Degree in Business Management. Gaining a degree was something I never thought I’d do, or would be able to do. To cut a very long story short, I’m now an Assistant Directorate Manager working within the NHS, thanks to my Business Management Degree. “
Discussing her experience of approaching The Growth Company, Natasha said: “They provided me with an opportunity to join the Business Management course and to complete a degree without worrying about the fact that I didn’t gain any A-Level qualification when I left school, and my age wasn’t an issue. I’d never heard of opportunities like this before and didn’t want to pass it up. “
She added: “This was a chance to build my future and it provided me with the tools and knowledge I needed to gain the Business Management qualification I required for my career goals. Nothing was too much trouble for the tutors. I personally took advantage of the 1:1 extra session for support. Without my degree, my career path would have been much harder to achieve, and it has enabled me to work at a Senior Management level and gain valuable experience to remain a successful employee in the NHS.”
The second year of Natasha’s degree was challenging, with her being in and out of hospital for various treatments. Nonetheless, despite such a stressful time, she claimed the support she received was incredible. Natasha received extensions when needed – although she tried to avoid this. She did the best she could at that time but couldn’t have gotten through it without the support of her tutors.
Natasha’s process of studying for a degree qualification whilst also taking on everything that life threw at her has made her realise how resilient she is. No matter how hard or challenging a situation is, she has proven to herself that she can get through anything. Natasha has a lot of support around her but has gained confidence in herself that she never knew she had, and even though the struggle, she maintained very good grades and made it all the way to the end, however, close she came to giving up! Natasha said: “If I can do this, anyone can!”
Natasha successfully completed her degree in November before the pandemic hit – however, due to the pandemic, her graduation was moved to 18th November 2021. She said: “It truly made all the stress of the degree worth it. Walking on that stage in a cap and gown was my proudest moment to date. I would like to say a special thank you to Caroline Parker, who made the effort to join us in our graduation celebrations! Caroline was the first person I met when I first inquired about the course. Her support is second-to-none, and she genuinely cares about her students every step of the way. “
Now with a Degree in Business Management, Natasha is thankful for the opportunities she has been given. She said: “Thank you to the Growth Company for giving people of all ages the chance to learn, develop and improve their career progression no matter the circumstances. I wouldn’t be where I am today without gaining a Business Management Degree and developing my skills and knowledge to be able to gain promotions throughout my career.“
Natasha recommends The Growth Company. “I would tell any of my friends, family and colleagues who are looking to progress and develop to look at what’s available at GC, and to go for it!”, she said.
Click here to find out more about how the Growth Company’s high-quality education and skills can develop your career path: https://apprenticeshipguide.co.uk/the-growth-company/