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Chantelle's story


“I always remember feeling embarrassed to talk about my upbringing and where I was from. I grew up in a single parent household in an area of deprivation within Birmingham. I often remember my mother giving me the last pennies out of her pocket just so that I wouldn’t miss out and could go out with friends. Now that I’m older I’ve realised how much she went without and I feel lucky I’m in the position I am now to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

Throughout school I developed an ambition to work in animal care, so I took the option to complete a Level 3 BTEC. When I tried to apply for university to become a vet, I didn’t realise the barriers I’d face with not picking A Levels as I’d just assumed the BTEC was equivalent. With a number of declines, and offers only at universities too far away, I didn’t think I’d manage to get a degree. I remember my mother trying to calculate how she could support me but going to university, paying course fees and accommodation costs was something that just felt unattainable. I then decided to think about other career prospects.

I headed to an interview for a Level 3 Business course at my local college, where I was surprised to be offered an alternative route – studying for my degree through the college, enabling me to pursue the possibility of graduating while remaining in my area!



Whilst at college I developed an interest in HR. I remember asking my tutor about the possibilities and how I could get into the sector, and I reached out to my local careers service as it felt they were the only people who might be able to support me. It just happened that a few weeks later an organisation reached out for a volunteer to support their HR Team so I took the chance! Little did I know this opportunity would be the starting point to my career.

A college tutor then shared Jaguar Land Rover’s undergraduate placement with me and I had to take the chance to apply. I’d had no prior experience of an assessment day or what to expect and no family member to ask to share their experience, but to my surprise I was offered the placement! I remember someone close to me saying that I’d just been selected on the basis of where I chose to study and the area that I was from, not recognising that I had the potential to succeed. JLR has been a great employer, enabling me to continue onto their graduate scheme and providing me with a number of opportunities and experiences.

I’m so proud of where I am today – the imposter syndrome often kicks in but I’m really lucky that I’ve returned to a role in early careers where I know I’ll be able to support students throughout their career choices. There’s so much more to do in this space and we’re just getting started.”