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David Burt – Working for Next Steps South West


Hi, I’m Dave.

I’m currently a student studying photography at the University of Plymouth, and I’m also a student ambassador working for Next Steps South West. I’m here today to just talk about my university life and why I chose to work for NSSW.

First off, my journey to university was a bit unconventional in a way. I didn’t go through the usual process of applying like everyone else did. Instead, I took a year out and decided to focus on getting some real life experience by working a full-time job. I personally wasn’t ready to go straight into university from college at that point in my life, and that’s ok.

I found was that this was a huge benefit to me and gave me more time to think about what I really wanted to do at university. I didn’t want to waste my time once I was there.

So, one day, while working my usual 9-5, what I wanted to study at university became clear to me, and that was photography. My heart was set on it, and my mind was made up!

“I managed to apply in an incredibly short time frame and, fortunately, got in. This proved to be one of the best decisions I’d ever made!”

Now, university is great; however, your course isn’t the be-all and end-all when it comes to your time as a student. As you probably guessed, money can be tight, and I’d heard NSSW were hiring student ambassadors when I was about halfway through my 1st year. I thought this would be a great way to balance work and studying. It turned out that it is.
Being an NSSW ambassador is not only super flexible, but is also something I can really get behind and support. Helping students at school make decisions that I knew I was confused about at their age is incredibly rewarding. This is especially true when it is someone who didn’t have any clue of what he/she wanted to do at the beginning of the day, but by the end had a set of options that they felt they could really see themselves doing, whether it be an apprenticeship or university course.

Not only is it rewarding but it’s also really fun as well – helping people and calling it your job! It’s also a refreshing change to your university work, especially after a stressful week of deadlines.

One of my favourite memories of working with NSSW is when I worked on the Articulate programme near the end of my 1st year. It was my first time working this type of event, and I had no idea of what to expect.

Everyone had been saying how amazing the sessions were, and all the talk was right. I started to engage with each of the participants as they were mind-mapping ideas of what they wanted to do for their presentations. It was incredibly fulfilling creating a bond with each one of them as the week progressed. The thing that I really enjoyed was the fact that you could see by the end of the week how far each and every one of them had come with developing their speaking skills, presentations skills, and just employability skills in general. I thought to myself ‘What if now they’re more likely to get hired in the future because of our hard work this week?’ and that’s what was more rewarding than anything else.

“University offers a whole range of opportunities for each and every student, and the key to making the most of your university experience is to grab these opportunities as they come along because you never know where they’ll take you.”

I’ve met some great people through NSSW and have gained some valuable skills and experience just from taking 10 minutes to send through an application.

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