Josh Cockburn lives and studies in Prudhoe and currently works for AS Design and its sister companies in Low Prudhoe.
We talked to Josh about taking the leap into employment while still at school and what he’s learned during his first year in the world of work.
PB: You started your first job last year at 15, what made you want to start working at that age?
JC: I wanted to make my own money instead of just asking my parents whenever I needed it. I also knew it would give me good experience.
My brother Nathan had already been working for AS Design for a few months and arranged for me to come in for some work experience, then that turned into a summer job, and I stayed on after going back to school.
PB: Did you settle into working straight away or did it take a while to get used to?
JC: I settled into work quite fast and I think having Nathan there helped me, but it didn’t take long until I was comfortable working by myself.
PB: Tell us a bit about your job…
JC: I work for AS Design and three of our main clients, which are sister-companies, all based in the same unit. They are North East Gifts, CCS Products and MyMerch Studio. AS Design is all design and website work and the others are product and ecommerce based, all co-run by AS Design.
Most of the work I do is for those clients, picking and packing orders, helping with printing and pressing products and doing regular counts of stock and materials.
PB: What subjects are you studying at school?
JC: I study A-level geography, business studies and sports science.
PB: Has working helped you with any of your school studies?
JC: AS Design has helped me in my business studies A Level as I have been able to ask questions about certain parts of the business and learn straight from a business owner. I think I could also practise what I’ve learnt in an actual business of my own in the future.
PB: What else have you learned since starting your job?
JC: I’ve learned more about my time management, how I wasn’t very good at it when I started but now I can manage it quite well. I have also learned some skills like how to use Excel better and how to deal with orders and products on a website.
I have also done a few business projects at work, like learning about profit and loss, and I’ve learned to prioritise and understand more about how your own time is a factor in whether a business makes profit.
I now know if I work out how many orders I can pack in an hour, how much each order costs in my time and that gets added to other costs like materials and packaging. I also recently learned that a good thing to do with profit is invest it back into the business.
PB: How have you managed to balance work, school and recreational time?
JC: Although at first it was difficult, because I had to go back to school and I was playing in two football teams at the same time, I have managed by having specific working days and times, as much as possible, and to spread my hours to include a Sunday so I still have recreational time throughout the week and have time to finish my school work.
Work is very flexible so if I need to change my days or hours I can and that helps me juggle everything.
PB: What do you hope to do when you leave school?
JC: I’ve been looking into going to university in America, but I’m still unsure about what I want to do. I would like to do something that makes me money straight away, instead of further education, but I am still undecided. I like earning my own money and one thing I have enjoyed about work is learning to budget by keeping a record of how much I need to pay out each month and how much I am getting paid, so I know how much will be left.
PB: What do you enjoy doing outside of work and school?
JC: I enjoy playing football, I am back going to the gym, and my friends are a big part of all my enjoyment outside of school and work time.