After training to be a dancer and a teacher, Polly Williams is now working for Cancer Research UK in a job that combines all of her skills – and helps to improve people’s lives.

I discovered an interest in teaching through my Dance degree. It wasn’t something I had considered before but, through the teaching module, I got to go into schools and talk to teachers and I found that I really liked working with children. I didn’t just want to teach Dance though, so after graduating I completed a PGCE and went straight into a job at Arundale Primary School in Hattersley.

“I enjoyed my job but after a while I realised that teaching wasn’t for me, and I started looking for a new challenge. My boyfriend worked for a charity and I often thought, “I could do his job!” so when a vacancy came up for a Fundraising Manager at Cancer Research UK, I applied.

“Although I didn’t have fundraising experience on my CV, I had built up a lot of transferable skills, like people management, time management, hitting targets – all things that I’d started to develop at Edge Hill.

“I started working at Cancer Research UK in February this year and every day is different. My job is to look after our supporters, whether they are large companies or individual fundraisers, and encourage donations to the charity. One of the areas I cover is the ‘L’ postcode so I’m always out on the road, looking for ways to tap into the community spirit of Liverpool. One day I could be helping to plan an event for volunteers or ordering fundraising materials, another day I could be meeting potential corporate supporters. I’m constantly surprised by how much the charity does, and I’m proud to play a small part in that.

“I really enjoyed my time at Edge Hill and learned a lot that I’ve taken into my career. My advice to current students would be: don’t be disheartened if you don’t become a professional dancer because not everyone has the ability to do that. There are a lot of careers out there – I managed to gain skills for a job that I didn’t even know existed at the time! Edge Hill really opens your eyes to a whole range of careers.

“Although I couldn’t have imagined when I started my degree that I would be a teacher and then a Fundraising Manager, I wouldn’t change the way I’ve done things. Each step on the way has taught me something, and I’m continuing to develop and build on those skills every day.”

If you would like to get involved in any fundraising for Cancer Research UK please contact Polly on 07918 193045 or polly.williams@cancer.org.uk