For me it was all quite straightforward – get a good education, go to university and get a job. Couldn’t have been simpler. It was hard work of course, but the process was simple.
So, why was I lucky? Timing. In those days, “sandwich courses” were popular – especially for engineering courses. I spent six months of every year at university, and six months in industry. I did that for three years, followed by a full year at university. And whilst looking for a job in my final year, I was able to refer to my 18 months of industrial experience. Imagine being my hiring manager – “You’ve got a qualification and relevant experience? Music to my ears”. And let’s not forget that when I graduated, I had already been on the company payroll for four years. I was rich!
In the years since then, things have changed a great deal and those university courses are harder to find. Others are not as lucky as I was. That early experience was absolutely critical to me; those formative years played a huge part in my development, and continue to affect me even now.