What are you doing now?
I have worked within Higher Education for nearly 5 years. I’ve just started a new job working as an Academic Employability Consultant at Anglia Ruskin University, based in Cambridge. Currently my focus is integration of employability related opportunities within the undergraduate curriculum. I’m passionate about this because it provides an inclusive opportunity that all students can access regardless of their circumstances.
Previously I worked as a Lecturer at the University of Exeter, based in Cornwall.
What's a typical workday like for you?
Working as a Lecturer, my days were very varied. When not teaching/facilitating, I spent a lot of time in 1-2-1 appoints with students, either regarding welfare or employability. I also oversaw student placements for the school I worked in and therefore would be in frequent communication with various external organisations. Additionally, depending on the time of year, I would undertake dissertation supervision and marking, or module planning and designing. Needless to say, no two days were the same.
Since beginning my new role, I am much more ‘behind the scenes’ as it were, focusing mainly on developing the undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum. This means I spend a lot of time organising and facilitating meetings between external partners and other academics, evaluating and reporting, and working on curriculum design.
Have you ended up in the job you thought you'd do when you were at school?
Not at all. Whilst in school I had my heart set on working within the area of forensic science. However, when choosing my A Levels, I just couldn’t find the confidence to choose science subjects. Instead, I pursued English because I enjoyed creative writing, but with no career goal in mind. From there I took a non-linear path until I began to understand what I was passionate about –helping people develop confidence and realise their potential as well as removing barriers to opportunity.
What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
This a tough question that I’ve given a lot of thought. I think the best advice I’d give to anyone is that we can’t always control what happens to us or around us, but we can control the way we move through life and how we impact the world and others. With this in mind, I would say identify strong, well-founded values that can be referred to in decision making and problem solving. They will act as a compass to aid navigation through situations, easy and tricky.
What are the best/worst/interesting things about your job?
Best - Seeing each student progress and develop in confidence
Worst - Anything that stands in the way of creativity and innovation
Interesting – I’ve found HE to be a very interesting and fast moving environment. If you’re curious, enjoy learning and research and/or inspiring others, then there is always something to be involved in.
Any advice to young CCS alumni reading this, about to go to University/starting their career?
Volunteer as and when possible – it is a great way to stay grounded, to help others and to explore your own interests and values.
All the best!