Ashley studied for an LLB law degree in 2007 and completed my post graduate studies in Legal Practice in 2008. He decided on a law career from the age of 12, after a chance conversation with his parents in the car, which ended with the line “…okay then, I’m going to be a solicitor”.
Comley recalls his time at University fondly. He particularly enjoyed graduating which he describes as ‘the culmination of three years of hard work, spent with people you’d gone from not knowing a few years previous to calling family.’
He also acknowledges that although his qualification isn’t directly the reason he’s got the job he has now, it’s the transferable skills he acquired whilst studying that have taken his to where he am today.
Ashley explains how he went from graduating as a law student to working in the third sector:
'I’d volunteered at my local Citizens Advice Bureau since part way through my first year, so already knew that ideally I wanted to work in the free advice sector. Shortly after finishing my studies I found work at the CAB in the Vale of Glamorgan – delivering training inside HMP Parc and Cardiff, it was a fantastic experience and really challenged my thinking around prisons and offenders. Sadly, that was only a temporary contract and I soon found myself searching for work again, I was successful in applying for a role in my current location (Pontypridd) delivering advice in local community settings.’
In the 8 years since graduating, Ashley has achieved a huge amount. As Asst CEO he oversees 42 staff 45 volunteers and an annual budget of £1,100,000.
Ashley finds his role extremely motivating, as it allows his to see the positive impact his work can have, not just on his own team, but the wider community. Last year RCT CAB helped 13,000 people with more than 40,000 problems and helped people to manage debts totalling more than £12,000,000.
Seeing that difference and knowing that I have a part to play in those changes gets me out of bed in the morning (and from time to time keeps me awake at night!) Ultimately, I love to be challenged, in the ten years since I finished my degree I’ve realised that it’s the challenge as much as the outcome that drives me.
He is keen to suggest students never underestimate the value of volunteering when looking for work. He believes that is a great way of evidencing skills and potential and shows employers that you aren’t just driven by money.
Would you like to find out more about volunteering whilst at University? Contact the office to find out more.