The Hub, Bristol


Emily L

00:00:02 My name is Emily L and I’m a secretary. My favourite subjects at school were art because I was good at it, it was easy for me. I got an art scholarship to secondary school which was great because it made the school fees less for my parents but I felt duty bound to be good at art from thereon in.

00:00:19 My father went to art school and was taught by a woman called Dame Elizabeth Frink and he could see that I was struggling a bit and he knew that she lived nearby so he took me to meet her and I used to go, cycle over to her house at weekends and work with her in her garden. I felt so privileged to be able to work with her and she’s been a huge influence on my art career, I guess.

00:00:43 Being good at art, I was all set to go to art school and I actually dropped out of school at 17 having got my art A Level early and find myself aged 17 living in a flat on my own at art school and just totally out of my depth. Socially mainly. I really wanted to do the art but I just didn’t feel like I fitted in with the other people there. So I quit after one term and feeling quite depressed and down and just not knowing what on earth I was going to do next, my father, bless him, took me on a business trip to the States with him and left me there with some family friends in Washington DC and I spent weeks wandering around art galleries and going from one family friend to another and worked my way up through New York and the east coast up to Canada. It really gave me some space to have a think about things and after that I came back and decided to set up my own small crafts business making wood carvings. My wood carving business sort of expanded and I’d shifted up from being a crafts person to more of an artist. The work got bigger and the exhibitions got more interesting and ended up exhibiting in London.

00:01:58 I had one exhibition in London which all got stolen on the first night, on the opening night. Never saw the work ever again, got a massive insurance cheque for the stuff that was stolen and felt like travelling so I disappeared around the world for two years. I just wanted to be away from everything that I’d known before and start again for some reason. I knew people in New Zealand and just went there and just thought, “This is me, this is where I really want to be. I just love the lifestyle.” Had some friends who had farms and it just…everything just seemed to work.”

00:02:33 I met someone who wanted to, she had a business, a gallery in Wellington, New Zealand and she wanted to go to, to move to Japan for a couple of years to be with her husband and she invited me to run her business while she was away which was just perfect for me. It was right up my alley and that’s what I did. My family have been a big influence on decisions and I think that was probably part of the reason why I went as far away as I possibly could in New Zealand to get away from that influence for a while and really find out who it was to be me without someone breathing down my neck and without me perhaps wanting to seek approval from them all the time. It was really a chance to kind of blossom on my own for a while.

00:03:25 Before I went off travelling around the world my parents insisted that I do a secretarial course because it might be useful one day. But I didn’t use it when I was travelling but I have started using it again when I found myself needing a job and needing some flexibility. I really only got into being a secretary about four years ago. I don’t know what’s next, I’m just a secretary because I’m a single Mum and I’m there for my children and it’s flexible hours, sitting typing with headphones on all day is not particularly good for me. I think I’m going to get a new job in the autumn when my youngest children start secondary school so then I don’t have to be at home quite so much for them. That’s what’s next.



Emily L works as a secretary at The Hub in Bristol. Her original passion is art which was inspired by her father's old teacher and lead to her establishing a wood carving business. Her entire stock being stolen and the ensuing insurance cheque created the opportunity for round the world travel and managing a business in New Zealand.

More information about Company secretaries

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average salary

The UK average salary is £28,758

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

74%  female  26%  male 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment?


Company secretaries (excluding qualified chartered secretaries) file and maintain company records, translate notes and dictation into typewritten form and perform other clerical tasks within commercial organisations.


There are no minimum academic requirements, although entrants to professional secretarial courses typically require GCSEs/S grades. NVQs/SVQs in Administration are available at Levels 2, 3 and 4.


  • Opens, sorts, distributes and files correspondence (both hard copy and electronic);
  • Uses appropriate software to produce correspondence, memoranda, reports, presentations and other documents from drafts, handwritten copy or by transcribing dictation;
  • Deals directly with routine correspondence;
  • Files and retrieves documents, sets up and maintains filing systems and reproduces copies of documentation as required;
  • Keeps appointments diary, makes travel arrangements and arranges conference and other functions;
  • Arranges meetings, circulates agenda and other meeting documents, attends meetings, and takes and prepares minutes;
  • Answers, screens, handles and directs telephone requests and enquiries, takes messages and forwards to the appropriate member of staff;
  • Undertakes reception responsibilities by greeting visitors and arranging refreshments;
  • Ensures office supplies such as stationery and equipment are maintained.
Employment by region?
Top 10 industries for this job?
Head offices, etc 5344
Food & beverage services 4137
Specialised construction 3239
Services to buildings 2927
Computer programming, etc 2409
Architectural & related 1966
Wholesale trade 1859
Real estate 1224
Advertising, etc 1174
Construction 1095
Employment status?