Genna Holliss

Decision to return to education has set 27 year old Genna Holliss on a path to a successful career in STEM

27-year-old Genna Hollis from Basildon struggled at school with ADHD and had her two children whilst she was quite young. With both children now at nursery/school, she decided she wanted to get back into education.

Having enjoyed similar subjects at school, she chose to study for a BTEC Extended National Diploma in Graphic Design at Barking & Dagenham College. Genna said, “As I got older, I found it much easier to focus and it was perfect timing for me.”

Whilst on the graphic design course Genna got to take part in a Career Colleges Trust/ Amazon Web Services (AWS) project and was one of the finalists and got to go to the AWS head offices in Shoreditch. She says “It was an eye opener; I got to learn a lot of other things, not just graphic design. It gave me loads of ideas about other careers, particular STEM careers that I might enjoy. 

“When I first left school I knew that I enjoyed the design and technology-type subjects. However, at college I realised that I also really like the technical side of design. So, after successfully completing my course at Barking & Dagenham College and achieving a triple distinction grade, I signed up to a brand-new course at Ravensbourne University called Creative Computing. It’s perfect for me as it’s a merger of creativity and technical skills, so I get to use my graphic design skills, as well as learning the technical side of things.”

Through the university there were opportunities for students to apply to be one of just two Ravensbourne students to receive the Amazon Future Engineers bursary, so Genna applied for it. The bursary aims to diversify the STEM industry, supporting students from a range of backgrounds and disciplines.

Genna’s application was successful.

“I was speechless when I found out I got it. The bursary is for £10,500 over the three year degree and I also got a £300 gift card, an Amazon Echo and I will be getting a mentor.” beams Genna.

“Going back into education is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’m enjoying the course so much. I’m not sure yet what job I’m going to when I finish my degree, but I’m really positive about the future and the opportunities.”

Genna’s message to other people thinking about returning to education: “It’s never too late to give it another go or change your career choices. If you put in the hard work you can get anywhere. Take any opportunity that comes your way; make sure you network and communicate with as many people as possible.”

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