I can't believe it's ten years ago now, but I'd completed my A-Levels at Cardinal Newman College in Preston and moved onto a journalism degree course at the University of Central Lancashire. Why didn't I travel further a field for University like my friends? Two reasons actually, the first is that UCLAN is one of the best for Journalism courses in the country, and secondly my feet were well and truly under the table at Red Rose. Throughout college I'd been helping out in the mornings, crucially getting paid (a little!) at last and reporting and reading the news on-air.
I was about half way through my degree course when I had to make the biggest decision of my life. Two of the journalists at Red Rose had left to work elsewhere and the news editor suggested I apply for one of the jobs. He argued that I had worked in the newsroom long enough and `knew the job like the back of my hand`. It was a great offer, but one that sent me into turmoil. I couldn't decide whether or not to drop out of University and take the job. I was worried that I might be disadvantaged later in life if I didn't have a degree. In the end I decided the reason I was at University was to get a job, and here I'm being offered one.
Needless to say I got the job and I accepted on the condition that Red Rose provided some training for me, something that would be officially recognised. We agreed that I would complete on-the-job training through an NVQ Level 5 and I would be released to complete the Journalism Law and Public Administration elements of the Postgraduate Journalism Course at the University.
So there I was, officially a journalist, reading the news on Rock FM and Red Rose Gold and going out and about covering news stories in Lancashire.