I joined the National Youth Theatre in on a voluntary basis in 1988 straight after leaving school, working in their offices. I returned in 1989 for a second season. My travel costs were covered by a grant from the Princes Trust. I then worked as a temp with Thames Water for 4 years(!) but used my spare time performing with local amateur theatre companies, and studied A Level English at an evening class. In 1994 I gave up my job to return to studying, taking the BA (Hons) degree in Arts Management at De Montfort University in Leicester. This was made possible thanks to me receiving a full grant and maintenance allowance. I would not have been able to do the course if tuition fees had been Â£9K per year, especially as the job I went into after graduation paid less than the job I had at Thames Water 3 years earlier. My time at university gave me a fantastic group of friends and unique opportunities to get a foot in the door with numerous arts organisations. In my final year, I did a 6-week work placement at Wycombe Swan. Two and a half years later, I was approached by the Theatre Director to return as Marketing Director where I spent almost 5 years before joining Bristol Old Vic as Head of Marketing. At this time I studied further with the Chartered Institute of Marketing, achieving their Diploma qualification, and more recently, Chartered Marketer status that reflects my commitment to CPD. Since 2006 I have worked as a freelancer and consultant with a wide range of arts organisations. I have worked with the University of Bath and the University of Bristol, and for two years I led the industry-leading residential training course for junior arts marketers. I have been extremely fortunate in establishing a career that simply would not have been possible without my university education. I am keen to ‘give something back’ and help give the next generation – now burdened by student debt and a philistine government – every opportunity to succeed with arts careers, and to pass on my advice and experience. Arts Emergency is a fantastic initiative and I’d be proud to be associated with it.