There’s more to university life than just your time in the classroom – as one Edge Hill success story discovered.
Martin Middlehurst was due to head to the US on a football scholarship, but then his dad lost his job which meant the university wouldn’t take him. Until that point, sport had been his whole life, so finding a physical education degree in the UK was an obvious choice.
“I thought I could be a sports teacher,” says Martin, “so I went looking for the best university which had a reputation for sport and teaching and quickly found Edge Hill.
“The facilities were great but then I started to go in to schools and voluntary work and discovered I just didn’t enjoy teaching. As a teacher you affect people’s lives and I didn’t want to do something that I simply wasn’t committed to.
“Then I had to work out what I wanted. It was tough, but I decided to stick it out until the end. It was then that I met the University’s careers team and discovered their employability programme which is a way of meeting graduate recruiters. They also help you with your CV and interview preparation as well as teaching you about management styles. They also get you great exposure and a recognised qualification.”
One of the companies the careers team dealt with was Enterprise Rent-a-Car. Martin discovered they had an intern programme, applied that night and was accepted – then he had to persuade the University to let him intercalate and defer his studies. Usually this was only offered to students on medical grounds or under exceptional circumstances.
“I wanted to defer for 12 months and be able to retain my results so I could do this business placement. It was unusual because I was doing it because I wanted to change career.
“I definitely made the right decision,” adds Martin. “I was nominated Intern of the Year and, on the day I went back to work after graduation, I was promoted to assistant manager. Now I’m responsible for branches with turnover of £2.2 million and a fleet of 250 cars, each worth an average of £10,000 each.
“Intercalation was unusual but it worked for me and I’m so pleased that the University allowed me to do it. It meant I had a great job when I graduated, in a career that I really enjoy.”