Alumni Spotlight: Languages, Geography and Taking Opportunities
Where can languages take me? Ex-Bilborough student, Matt, used his Geography and Language A levels to kickstart a career in the charity sector as well as travelling around the world. We caught up with him recently to find out how he got there!
1. Can you tell us your name and current job role?
Matt Cooke, Supporter Engagement & Income Generation Officer at Framework Charity.
2. What does an average day look like in your job?
It’s a job where no two days are truly the same. I work as part of a small and amazing team and our primary goals are to increase the profile of the charity in the areas within which we work, raise awareness of homelessness and raise funds so that we can continue to provide the vital and lifechanging services that Framework offers.
I primarily look after our relationships in the community and so spend much of my time working with schools, youth groups, colleges, universities, faith groups and other community groups to facilitate opportunities for them to support our work.
I also help organise events and work with individual supporters to make sure they are happy and feel included in what we are doing, especially those who choose to make a major donation to Framework or to leave us a gift in their Will.
Matt gives a talk in Nicaragua.
3.What subjects did you study at Bilborough?
I studied Spanish, German and Geography at Bilborough from 2011-2013.
4. When you started at Bilborough, were you planning to go down this route?
Having studied languages at Bilborough and continued these at University, I always intended to pursue a career in which I could use my language skills on a daily basis. I did do this for a few years whilst at University and after graduating, spending time living abroad in Germany and in Central America and working for large multinational corporations where I was able to put my language skills to good use. This was really fun and a great experience, but for personal reasons I wanted to try something a bit different and ended up making a move into the charity sector.
Whilst I am not using my language skills directly in my current job, studying languages taught me so much more than just the language and has allowed me to develop some really important skills and build my self-confidence. It is only because I studied languages that I have been able to have all the experiences I have had to-date and am able to do such a good job in my current role.
Matt receiving an award from Bilborough.
5. After Leaving Bilborough, what was your next step?
After leaving Bilborough I went on to study Translation Studies with German and Spanish at University and spent time working and volunteering in Germany and Nicaragua. These were some of the best experiences of my life so far, but it was studying at Bilborough that gave me the confidence and belief to go out there and grasp these opportunities.
6. What advice would you give your college-age self?
Take every opportunity that comes your way and keep an open mind. There are so many paths you can follow when you leave Bilborough – not just in terms of the working world but in terms of life as a whole – and if you work hard and dream big at Bilborough, you could find yourself walking down any of them. You’re incredibly lucky to be studying in such an amazing environment, so enjoy it and have no regrets.
I would also say that, when it comes to the world of work, find a job that makes you happy and don’t be afraid to experiment and try different things. There is nothing worse than not wanting to get out of bed every morning to go to work. Find something you are passionate about because, when your job becomes a passion, you’ve won.
Matt graduates from Aston University with a degree in translation studies with
German and Spanish.
7. Is there a highlight of your time at Bilborough that helped put you on the path you are on?
I don’t think I have a particular highlight or moment that I look back on. I just loved my two years at Bilborough and would say that, by taking every opportunity available to me, I was able to get the very best out of my time at college.
8. What’s next for you?
Who knows – I am loving working in the charity sector and for now am looking to make a career out of it. But life takes you to unexpected places and I know there will be other opportunities and different paths that become available. I plan to keep an open mind and enjoy the ride!
With thanks to Matt Cooke for sharing his career story with us!
If you are an ex-student of Bilborough and you would like to share your story, please email [email protected]