I didn't set out to have a career in the third sector. I volunteered at my local hospital radio while doing a sociology degree, and this sparked an interest in broadcast media. I decided to go for it when I graduated, even though the competition was tough. I wrote to TV companies, gained an internship with ITV and networked to gain freelance contracts.
I worked as assistant producer on TV programmes including Pop Idol and The Great British Bake Off. I enjoyed travelling and meeting interesting people, but friends of mine wondered how I could live like that.
In 2009 I started to volunteer at Love to Learn near my home in Battersea, south London, supporting young refugees. I gradually realised that I was interested in youth work and that it was time to rethink my career if I wanted to settle down.
I felt that working in marketing and PR for a youth organisation would enable me to put my skills to good use in a sector I cared about. I was thrilled to get a job at the charity UK Youth in 2011; over three years I climbed the ranks from project worker to membership officer. My role required me to work with the national youth organisation Ambition on a number of joint activities; when its comms manager left, I was approached to take over the role in August this year.
It was a big promotion for me - I feel that all my hard work has paid off and that I'm in a fantastic position to make a difference to a new generation of young people.
Lucy Allen is head of communications at the youth charity Ambition