What is your background?
I studied at Coventry University from 2000 – 2006 completing a Ba(Hons) in Human Geography before completing a PhD looking at the Socio-economic Implications of Organic Vegetable Production in Leicestershire and Oxfordshire. I applied for the Project officer job in the last few weeks of completing my PhD and was offered the job straight away.
What initially attracted you to your job?
It kept me in an academic arena without needing to become an academic. I wanted to broaden my skills based and a project officer has the opportunity for tutoring and facilitating and also some course development.
I also co-ordinate the enterprise activities at the Centre for Student Development and Enterprise. Event organisation is requires a strength and I enjoy this element of my job too.
Define your job?
UK GRAD – Promoting skills training for PhD students, facilitating group work and teambuilding exercises for PG students. Organising, hosting and running promotional events and courses for students, staff and employers. Distributing UK GRAD information to the Midlands Network of HEIs.
Enterprise – Organise enterprise events, devise and contribute to the enterprise strategy for the Centre.
Can you walk me through your day to day activities?
Promoting events and distributing information to the Midlands Hub HEIs. Organise training and events for students and staff. Liaise with HEIs to organise GRAD events and HEI visits for the Project Officer.
Enterprise – On an annual basis, organise BIZCOM an ideas competition and promote enterprise at the University of Warwick
How has your job changed in the last 5 to 10 years?
I have only been in the job 9 months
What are the key issues facing your sector?
Enterprise is now a key government target so trying to get the students to engage is challenging.
HEIs have been given money from the Research Councils for PG training. What happens when this money is no-longer available?
How does government legislation affect your job?
It has a big impact on both parts of my job (see above)
What impact has technology had on your job?
Not much. Although I don’t know how we would cope without the internet and email
What are the best things and worst things about your job?
Varied, never a dull day, lots to do, different challenges every day.
Meetings in London and Cambridge + others (overnight stays) but not getting the chance to visit anywhere apart of the lobby and meeting rooms! Also the dreaded UK GRAD database
Do you have any horror stories?
None I want to tell you about!
What attributes do you need/ what are you looking for when hiring someone in your role?
Good Project management skills, ability to cope with lots of different jobs ongoing at the same time.
What are your tips/ advice for those starting out?