Jack Walton works as an Access & Participation Coordinator at the BIMM Institute.
Did you always want to study your chosen subject at university or did you change your mind when you were researching/applying?
I stumbled into the world of Public Relations (PR) and certainly didn’t plan to do it from the beginning. When applying to BCU I initially wanted to do the Music Industries pathway on the BA (Hons) Media & Communication course. Then, in the second semester of my first year, I did a PR module with Kelly O’Hanlon as my lecturer and it was like a whole new world! I didn’t even know what PR was before undertaking this. I then fell in love with it and decided to change my specialism for the second year of my degree and I haven't looked back since!
What challenges did you face while studying here, and what support did BCU/your Faculty provide you during your degree?
In terms of challenges, I came from a single-parent household and was the first person in my family for many generations to attend university, so that transitional process was a lot to deal with at first. However, my faculty within the School of Media made me feel at home and welcome from day one, everyone felt equal and that sense of community really made my journey a positive one at BCU.
In what way do you think BCU developed you as a person for you to flourish in your chosen career path?
BCU developed me in so many ways. When I started, public speaking was something I hated with a passion, due to the low confidence levels I had as a teenager and young adult. The PR modules forced me out of my comfort zone, I went from being scared of doing small in-class presentations, to speaking at a regional PR conference presenting my paper and absolutely loving it! This new confidence I now have grew during my time at university, I have no doubt about that. I now do public speaking at various events discussing topics that I’m passionate about, who knows if I’d be doing this without my experiences as a student at BCU. Also, I didn’t have much knowledge of social media when joining BCU, I didn’t understand how it worked or even how I should be using it. Doing the PR modules and learning more about the power of social media has been fundamental to my brand and how I market myself daily through the wellbeing work I do. From releasing my first book to launching my podcast, there is no way any of these things would be possible without the new social media knowledge I possess.
Did you gain any relevant experience whilst studying at BCU that allowed you to easily adapt to your job role?
Alongside my growing wellbeing brand, I also work as an Access & Participation Coordinator for BIMM Birmingham, a music and performing arts college & university located in Digbeth. This role includes a great deal of public speaking, from presenting at Open Days to going into local schools and doing outreach work. I also have to utilise social media and help manage our BIMM Student Association. Overall, I’m still using the skills I learnt at BCU every single day, whether this is for my brand or day job, nothing has gone to waste!
What key skills have you been able to take into your job role and how have these helped you excel?
I suppose the key skills have been time management, which is crucial to my role, public speaking, social media & marketing, teamwork and the ability to have a growth mindset – something BCU helped me develop from being immersed into a diverse community of students & staff.
If you have any advice for anyone who is studying the course you studied, what would you say?
That’s a great question! For me, from day one I was involved with as much as I could be. I remember creating a LinkedIn profile from the first semester and started networking as much as I was able too because it’s never too soon to begin laying down the foundations for your future career. However, on the flip side, I’m now in a job that isn’t totally related to my degree, and that’s also okay. I think it’s about experimenting and having a play around with what you enjoy, what ignites that spark within and makes you want to explore it more – go with how it makes you feel, then, everything else will soon fall into place in a beautiful way.
Can you tell us some exciting things you have been involved in since starting your new job role?
Since leaving BCU my life has changed in many ways, and it’s only been two years this summer since I graduated. I released my first book titled Being The Best You in June 2019 after I left, along with releasing a follow on journal titled The Best You Journal in August 2020. Alongside this, I’ve since developed my own podcast, YouTube channel and I’m in the process of training to become a life coach.
What does BCU mean to you?
Wow, that’s a powerful one! I have to go with the very first word that comes into my head… community! Secondly, opportunity. It’s a beautiful environment to be in, I would always stay after my lectures and just study on campus, it was a genuine pleasure to come in over those three years. I can’t wait to return in person soon!