Sean McardellSean Mcardell

A levels were a big step up for me. I took subjects (History, English Lit and Maths) that I'd previously done really well in but found really hard in sixth form. Luckily for me, the support at Hardye's was great. I recognised I needed to put in extra effort to turn things around and it seemed that the school matched my effort. This meant a full time assistant in M6, coaching on how to write fast but legibly, and more or less constant encouragement. With this help I did well enough to reject my initial UCAS university offers, take a gap year and apply again to the top unis.

- What I’ve done since
I initially went travelling - 3 months in Italy, 6 months in Dorchester working, 3 months in South America. That was great and, looking back, matured me a lot for university. Then I went to Durham University and read History 2010-2013. Uni was great. I made a lot of new friends, took up rowing as a new sport and learned a lot academically (from friends on other courses as well as my own course). I graduated with a 2:1 and found that I hadn’t thought much about what I wanted to do afterwards. I’d sent in applications to a range of jobs, but more because I knew I should instead of actually wanting that job. I think that probably came across in my job applications. So I came back to Dorset and lived with my parents, for want of anything better to do, and got a job working in Vodafone and then in the County Council. It’s not what I saw myself doing after uni but I still got a lot from that year. After a bit of time in the Council I realised that I really liked the job satisfaction of public service and decided that the Civil Service sounded good. I got a job in the Cabinet Office as private secretary and general team support to the Leadership Team. I was really lucky to find a such a supportive team and used their help to expand my role into data analysis, logistics, policy recommendations and a bunch of other things. After two years, I’ve now been promoted into the Home Office, where I’ll be working for the Office for Counter Terrorism and Security.