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Schools Alumni Week: Liam Briggs

As part of Future First's #SchoolsAlumniWeek, we're interviewing five former Creative Education Trust students to raise awareness of the importance of role models in schools. 

Liam attended The Bulwell Academy until 2011. After studying at Bilborough College, Liam went on to complete an apprenticeship in IT for a charity. He’s since completed 2 further apprenticeships: a Level 3 in HR support and a Level 5 in People Development.  He’s worked for a range of local organisations including Nottinghamshire YMCA and Derby County Football Club, and now works in HR and Payroll for Griffith Foods.   

Liam has spent time as a volunteer both in his former school and with the wider Creative Education Trust network.  

What did you enjoy about your time at Bulwell? 
“I really enjoyed science, music, and media. I remember opportunities through media to design your own perfume bottles and movie posters, which was really interactive. 

School helped me to develop soft skills. I felt that I was quite shy, but I became good at understanding others and their personalities. It’s very useful in my HR career now, as it helps me to personalise my approach for others”. 

What has your experience been like working in Human Resources (HR)? 
“I fell into HR and really enjoyed it. HR is focused on making the company a better place to be, acting as a middle person or protective barrier between the business and the employee. There are so many aspects involved, from managing new starters and leavers, to working on employee relations, being involved in salary reviews, and introducing incentives for employees. There’s also an aspect of being good with numbers; analysing data and using the IT systems in place. Across the different roles you need to be good at communication, working with others, have good IT skills, and keep on top of trends. I am a process driven person, which is really key with HR.” 

What did you gain from your apprenticeships, and would you recommend this route? 
“My first apprenticeship was straight out of college, which was really valuable. It gave me exposure to the workplace, rather than learning second-hand. I then got the education and theory to underpin the skills I use on a daily basis in the workplace. For anyone who really wants to learn but doesn’t want to be in full time education, I’d recommend an apprenticeship."

How have you stayed involved with Creative Education Trust schools?  
“I volunteered with Bulwell helping with year 10 interviews, and I also took part in an employability skills day in Northampton. This day was about equipping students with knowledge they can take forward as they start applying for their first jobs. It was a great event and I made friends on the day! The workshop I was involved in was about interviewing and CV writing. Being in HR, I’ve got 6 years' first-hand experience of reading some questionable CVs, so I was able to pass on some top tips and dos/don’ts to the students as they begin entering the job market.” 

Liam supporting sixth form pupils through an interview and CV skills workshop.

What motivated you to stay involved with your former school and CET as a role model?

“It was something new! I've always volunteered my time in some capacity over the years and this seemed like a great experience to support and be involved with. When I was in year 10-11, we got maybe 1 or 2 sessions about CVs and looking for a job, so we didn't get any of the sessions that are being run now. It was all down to doing your own research and talking to family about how to write a CV or job application. I wanted to be a part of the Trust to be able to offer what wasn't around when I was in school.  

Over the sessions I've been involved with, I feel a sense of pride that I have been able to give back. At the Northampton event, I was able to grow my own network and make friends with new people which, for me, is very much outside of my comfort zone.” 

Liam and other alumni volunteering their time through a sixth form Employability Skills Day. 

What would your advice be for students considering their next steps? 
“If you’re unsure of what to do, follow the path of what you think you want to do. Something will come up along the way, and you may end up discovering something you never knew existed. I previously wanted to be a teacher or youth worker, but my job now uses similar skills but in different ways. Working in HR, you discover how experience and transferable skills are so valuable. There are many skills that you can pick up along the way from different roles.” 

We look forward to working with Liam on more events in future! 

If you're a Creative Education Trust alum, and you're interested in getting involved, our next virtual network event will be Tuesday 23 May 6-7.30pm. Our events are a chance to meet other alumni, hear from a guest speaker, share ideas for the network, and find out about upcoming opportunities. Please email for all the details.