I started at Wetherspoon while studying for a degree in musical theatre. I completed my training quickly and received several promotions to become shift manager, enjoying my role at Wetherspoon so much that I decided to stay.
In my last year at university, my friends – who had observed me struggling to meet deadlines and witnessed the difficulty I’d had socially and with my impulsive behaviour – suggested that I should speak to a doctor about the possibility that I might have ADHD.
I received my diagnosis in January 2022. Although, at first, I struggled with the diagnosis, I was able to take control after receiving counselling. I also started boxing lessons and pushing my energy into work as a way of keeping me grounded and getting fit.
I contacted the ADHD service to speak about medication, which helped with my mood and concentration. I was able to speak openly about my struggles to my work team and felt, by doing this, that I could hopefully become an approachable person for anyone else struggling with the same condition. The company has helped me by putting in place reasonable adjustments, meaning that I am able to perform my duties with more ease.
The team has supported me when I have had fights coming up, celebrating my success outside of the workplace, by ensuring that my schedule makes space for training sessions. Had I been in a less flexible work environment, I wouldn’t have been able to maintain this hobby.
I felt upset that I received my diagnosis too late to have received the support which I needed during my time in education – and shared my feelings with my mum. I feel that I could’ve done so much better, had I known earlier.
I’ve always had a passion for learning and find that I enjoy work more when learning new skills or teaching someone else. When I heard about the level 3 food and beverage apprenticeship, I jumped at the opportunity, thinking that I would at least be gaining another qualification while deciding what my next step was. By the end of the apprenticeship (in which I received a distinction), I had made up my mind that I really enjoyed working for Wetherspoon – and the next step was the degree apprenticeship.
I started this in July 2023 and have since been able to speak to my area manager about my struggles, again receiving reasonable adjustments to support me. I am also in the process of receiving more support through university.
I truly feel that I’ve been handed a second chance in life. I would never have imagined that a part-time job, while a musical theatre student, could turn out to be a complete career change (for the better) – and can’t see myself changing a thing.
If she had known about apprenticeships earlier, my mum always says that she’d never have steered me or my brother towards university, since we are both very much hands-on people. She loves to see my achievements and so does the rest of my work team.