You should love what you do, and if you don’t, you should look for something that really inspires you...

Georgia (Personnel and Admin, The Bristol Port Company)

I am just 21 years old and have been at The Bristol Port Company for about 18 months. It has been, without a doubt, the most exciting 18 months of my life. The day goes fast, and I look forward to coming into work every morning. Before The Bristol Port Company, I worked in retail. I found it dull and repetitive. By comparison, my job at the Port keeps me on my toes, I feel like my own boss, and I feel really valued as a member of the team. In my current role I help with the post and delivering any packages that come into the port. Occasionally that means ordering in things like sugar and tea. I also help with visitors, often giving them tours around the Port. My uncle works here too which is lovely. The Bristol Port Company is very family orientated and emphasises its role in the community. I have friends from school and friends of my parents who work here. It’s like a family.

Work is, of course, very important to me. I hated my first job, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t an important learning curve. It enabled me to figure out what I enjoyed and gave me a better idea of what I wanted to do next. My other lesson for young people reading this would be, never settle for a job you don’t love. You should love what you do, and if you don’t, you should look for something that really inspires you.

Ben (Apprentice Engineer, The Bristol Port Company)

I went to a local school in Shirehampton, just a few miles from where I currently work. I have always been one to push, to get as many qualifications as I can, and do my absolute best. I was delighted to get all my GCSEs. I also got a Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award, which has served me well at work because I am now the DoE point person at the Port.

My Dad works at The Bristol Port Company, as does my Uncle, and indeed my Grandfather. The reason this company feels like a family is because most of us are family. It made sense for me to come and work here. So I got an apprenticeship (the company do an amazing job promoting apprenticeships) as an engineer, which has given me the opportunity to learn a huge amount while earning and getting my foot on the career ladder. I spent the first year of my apprenticeship at college. It was a useful way of developing a technical understanding of everything in engineering, from CAD skills, to advanced mathematics, machinist skills, and basic management concepts.

This year I have been working in the Port. Currently, I am one of the engineer teams looking after the Lock Gates. I clock on at 7 and throughout the day I am given projects by my team leader to carry out. Projects could include basic maintenance, repair, cleaning, de-mudding, oil management, and various other things that pop up regularly. I love getting my hands dirty down in the pit, it is where I want to be. I want to be someone on the tools, not handing them out. There is nothing repetitive about my job, it is different every day.

My advice to anyone starting out in the world of work is to find out what you want to do and go for it. My first job was at B&M when I was doing my A-levels. I wanted to pay for driving lessons and getting a job allowed me to do that. But it was also a source of pride and independence. I felt like I had freedom for the first time in my life. I would also recommend that everyone focuses on listening. Be a sponge and absorb everything you can, and try to learn at every opportunity.