Jenny joined Langley in 2007 for A Levels in Photography, Design & Technology, and Media Studies. We hear from Jenny about the boarding and sense of community at Langley, and how she has shaped her onward career as an HR Business Partner.
‘The overall experience of Langley meant I developed a strong sense of community, as the boarders all supported and looked after each other.’
Did you know what career you wanted to follow when you were at Langley?
Absolutely not. As you can most likely tell by my A-Level choices, I wanted to go in to some sort of Design career when I first started at Langley. In my second year, despite Design Technology being my strongest subject, I decided I wanted to do something media related so I chose a related degree to study at University. When I first started, I quickly realised it wasn’t for me and changed courses to study Educational Development & Psychology. Even when I graduated, I changed my mind regarding a career path and went on to study Work & Organisational Psychology at Masters level.
Which extra-curricular activities were you involved in at Langley?
As a boarder, I was quite quickly integrated into what Langley was all about. You quickly develop strong friendships and I loved being part of that community. Being a boarder meant that you were involved in a lot of extra-curricular activities that were provided. I also took part in volunteering through a programme that Langley provided and volunteered at Barnardo’s in Norwich.
Do you think you benefited from these experiences?
Although I didn’t get involved in a lot of the extra-curricular activities that others did, I feel being a boarder contributed towards my transferable skills. Having spent my childhood and educational years abroad, I moved back to England to study my A-Levels. This meant at the age of 16 I was away from my family and I developed strong resilience and independence. Langley encouraged this and supported me any challenges I faced. Furthermore, I feel the overall experience of Langley meant I developed a strong sense of community, as the boarders all supported and looked after each other. This has helped me develop really strong relationships in the workplace.
What did you do at University and after your studies?
I studied my undergraduate degree in Educational Development & Psychology and then a Masters degree in Work & Organisational Psychology. Post University I worked for an Oil & Gas company in their Global Shared Services department. This is where I first started my career in Human Resources. After university I also studied towards becoming a Chartered member of the CIPD.
Where are you now in your career and what have been the highlights?
I am now a HR Business Partner for Nottingham Trent Students’ Union. I started at NTSU as a HR Coordinator and worked my way up the business. I provide strategic HR services for more than 500 members of staff and have been very fortunate to get involved in lots of areas of the business such as reporting HR reports and data to the Board of Trustees, contributing towards our recent five year strategic plan, sitting on the Strategic Implementation Group and the Incident Management Team for our Covid-19 response. While with my current employer I also became a Chartered Member of the CIPD and consult for other Students’ Unions in England. I’ve absolutely love my career and the opportunities it has offered me to date.
On reflection, did your time at Langley help inform your career choices and your attitude to your career progression?
Langley were very encouraging when it came to deciding what I wanted to get out of my career. I owe a lot to Gerry Frost, who was my form tutor. He took me under his wing and regularly encouraged me to push myself (even when I didn’t want to!). This extra support made sure that I was constantly looking to find what was best for me and not settle for the safe option. Even though I changed my mind when I arrived at University, and later when I decided upon a career path, I feel Gerry’s encouragement to not settle for what felt comfortable has contributed towards my successes.
What advice would you give to students currently considering Langley, their A Levels and career choices?
Do it! If you’re struggling with what you want to do with life, don’t stress! Do something you enjoy but don’t settle for something comfortable – push yourself. Give every opportunity that is presented to you a go. I am an example of someone who was unsure about what to do and has succeeded despite this. While I a firm believer that your A-Levels are the foundation of what you want to do next, they don’t define what your success will be in the future. I changed career direction lots of time and do not feel that I’ve been disadvantaged because of this. If anything, it’s given me a wider experience and knowledge base. However, if you know what you want to do, Langley will support that and ensure you have what you need to take that step towards University or a career.
I had a great time at Langley and developed a great group of friends that I still keep in touch with. Langley has something for everyone.