An ambition to do something more creative inspired one Aberdeen graduate to swap oil and gas for events management.
Harley Somerville from Portlethen left her full-time job to pursue a HND in Events Management at North East Scotland College, where her skills in finance and logistics came in handy.
The 25-year-old enjoyed it so much she has now progressed to third year of an honours degree in the same subject at Robert Gordon University.
She said: “A friend of mine was studying at NESCol and, knowing how much I enjoyed being part of the sports and social committee at work, suggested that I might enjoy the course.
“We got to organise our own events in first and second year which was really challenging but also fun.
“In second year we ran a ‘Through the Decades’ themed event in the college’s training restaurant to fundraise for the local charity Me Too.
“It was really successful and we raised over £500.
“I had a lot of opportunities to do work experience and make connections which was invaluable.”
Alongside her studies, Harley is also in the process of setting up her own business on the city’s Holburn Street.
The plan comes on the back of her part-time job in a beauty salon where she does HD brows and makeup.
She said: “I’ve been quite successful and decided I would rather have my own salon and employ people than work for someone else.
“The business will be open in the next few weeks so things are a bit hectic at the moment while I get everything organised for that and keep up with my university course.
“I’m going to use my experience in events and beauty and link the two together.”
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Although Harley is extremely busy, she would not have it any other way – and recommends college to anyone who wants to work in the industry or progress to university.
“The hands-on experience of organising events we got at college is proving very useful.
“It is only through practical experience that you learn what works and what doesn’t.
“I’ve gained a variety of transferable skills, especially communication skills.
“I’m able to work both in a team and on my own.”
Looking forward, Harley is planning to use her events management experience alongside her salon business to offer a “one-stop shop” for those looking to organise weddings.
She said: “I think the two sides of the business will work really well together and appeal to people who want everything organised by a single company.”