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What I’ve Learnt: Ciara O’Callaghan, Marketing and Communications Officer Apprentice, St. Rocco’s Hospice


Ciara Wilkinson O’Callaghan graduated in 2019 from Leeds Arts University, after studying Graphic Design.

She is currently working as a marketing and communications officer apprentice at St Rocco’s Hospice, a charity providing free care for people with life-limiting illnesses. 

As part of National Apprenticeship Week, we’ve teamed up with The Juice Academy and Apprentify to showcase some of the North’s talented apprentices across the digital and creative sectors.

In this special edition of What I’ve Learnt, O’Callaghan shares her experiences…

Which single daily habit or practice could you not do without?

Back in 2021 I thought I would give meditation a real try, I had practiced a few times previously but never took it that seriously. Now I meditate almost every day, only for five or 10 minutes but it allows me to be present with myself, whether that’s first thing of a morning to calm myself for the day ahead, or last thing at night to relax.

What’s been your luckiest break?

Getting my current job role. When I graduated university, I was stuck with what I wanted to do, I had always spoken about wanting to work for a charity at some capacity so when I was offered this job role at St. Rocco’s I felt like my career could finally begin.

What’s your best failure?

Perhaps the lack of confidence that I have in myself and my capabilities, I am an introvert which in a profession such as marketing can be a challenge! I have grown to accept this about myself, and I think my failure in my lack of confidence has allowed me to really understand myself as a person.

Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship?

Even though I am 27 and older than most of the other apprentices, I am a big believer in starting a new career path at any age, this apprenticeship has taught me a lot about marketing, as well as life skills that I can adapt to become more confident in myself.

Which podcast or book would you recommend others to read and why?

Notes To Self by Emilie Pine, it is a collection of essays where the author tries to understand her role within society, how her experiences have shaped her. It reads almost like her diary entry, it’s very raw, honest, and insightful. I would also recommend the podcast ‘Time Alone’, hosted by Siobhan Lauren, where she chats about all things from navigating adult friendships, learning to experiment with life and how to be your own best friend.

What are your career ambitions?

This I do not know, and I think that is ok! I find my job role now incredibly rewarding. Everything I am doing, I am doing to help patients with life-limiting illnesses and their families. I can see myself always working for a place with a cause. There are so many job roles within marketing, and I think the various avenues you can go down are great!

Who or what has had the single biggest influence on your working life?

My parents! They have both worked within education and I have seen first-hand the hard work and dedication that they have put into their work. It’s a job that doesn’t always allow you to switch off during evenings and weekends and can be very demanding at times. 

Tell us something about you that would surprise people.

I have been vegetarian my whole life and vegan for the past three years now! People are often very surprised when I tell them I have never eaten meat, and yes that includes a McDonald’s chicken nugget (and no I will never try it!)

If you had a superpower skill, what would it be and why?

I would love to be able to talk to animals, specifically my dog Pebbles. I just want to know what she is thinking and what she is trying to communicate to me when she puts one paw up off the ground. I talk to her all the time so it would be nice if she could chat back! 

What does success look like to you?

It may be cliché but happiness, being surrounded by the people and things that make me happy and inspired. I don’t want to look back on my life having not done things because I was too scared or anxious about what may happen or if I failed at them. I lived my teenage years in fear of the unknown, but I have come to learn that that is what life is all about, you have to take risks and push yourself out of your comfort zone.

If you’re looking for some inspiration for your next career move, check out our dedicated jobs hub here.

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