Jon is the Founder and Director of UniTasterDays Ltd, an award-winning university events resource for schools and students.
What happened after you left Bridgnorth Endowed School?
After I left Bridgnorth Endowed School at 18, I took a year out and worked full-time as a Lettings Agent in Much Wenlock, which gave me a taste of business and full-time work.
I then decided to apply to university and I completed a BA (Hons) degree with the University of Central England. I had a great time at university, and I got involved in various initiatives. As well as completing my undergraduate course, I was also a Student Representative on the campus I studied at, which amongst other benefits, included free university accommodation for my girlfriend (now wife!) and I.
I then started in the world of full-time work – with a job at a university. It is funny how your first job can steer future jobs after that. I started working in higher education, and haven’t left the sector – perhaps I never will! My first job after university was for the University of Wolverhampton, managing marketing and school links for their Law School.
I completed a professional qualification, the CIM Professional Diploma in Marketing, alongside working part-time, which was a really good idea as a professional qualification opened up many more doors. Later, I worked at Birmingham City University, and the University of Birmingham in similar roles. I started UniTasterDays.com in 2012.
What does your current job involve?
I now run my own company – UniTasterDays Ltd, where I work with schools all over the country, running interactive university workshops to support students to make future informed university decisions. I also manage the day-to-day operations of the UniTasterDays.com website, which has had over 500,000 visitors to date, and keeps me really busy when I am not out working in schools.
What achievement are you most proud of?
In professional terms, turning an idea (UniTasterDays) into a business that now employs me full-time is what makes me most proud.
UniTasterDays won a Shell Grand Ideas Award back in 2012 for the idea, and has since been nominated and a finalist for many education awards. This year, it has been shortlisted as a finalist at the national Education Resource Awards 2019, in a category up against BBC Bitesize and the English Heritage.
Closer to home, I have been married for ten years, and have a two-year-old daughter. We all still live in Bridgnorth. I am also now back at Bridgnorth Endowed School, working on an aspirations project, to support students to make informed university decisions, and delivering workshops in the school.
What were the highlights of your time at Bridgnorth Endowed School?
School is one of those places that you don’t appreciate until later. Thanks to my teachers (sorry not to have been more appreciative at the time) for everything you did to support me and everyone else!
As well as the excellent facilities, and teachers who were wonderful (a few of which are still there!), probably it’s the friendship networks I developed that I look back on most fondly. I am still friendly with many of the people I studied with, even now, and I know several people in Mr Middleton’s old Business Studies class who now run their own businesses.
I loved the house system and sports days – it is great to see Washbrook is still going strong. I was pretty sporty, and represented the Endowed and Bridgnorth at football and athletics, and loved that. I wish I did more rugby at school when I look back as I’d know the rules when I watch it now!
A word to the wise
Get involved in as much as you can – volunteer for things. Start that process in school and hopefully that will steer you through life as well. Always try and put yourself out there. Then when you do fantastic things in the future, stay in touch with the school and support those just starting out to achieve great things too!