Aspiring Professionals Programme Co-ordinator
My Degree subject: BSc Psychology, graduated 2015.
My current job
I currently work for the Social Mobility Foundation (SMF) as an Aspiring Professionals Programme (APP) Coordinator. We aim to help high achieving students from low-income backgrounds get into university studies and support them from S5 – graduation. This involves working with Local Authorities, employers, teachers and students in order for the students to get their 4 areas of support – a professional mentor, internships (for the most engaged students), university application support and soft skills sessions. I deliver and organise these events and all of the programme in Scotland with one other colleague, Elaine.
My career history (Jan 2017)
During summer after my graduation, I worked as a LEAPS Summer School Tutor, was a waitress at Koyama Japanese restaurant and finished my internship with the Saltire Foundation, and started my job with the SMF in October 2015. I am now also enrolled in a COSCA Counselling Skills course at the University of Strathclyde alongside my job.
Using my degree skills and knowledge
My degree has taught me how to use qualitative and quantitative evidence in order to form hypotheses, examine these and the outcome which should always be questioned. The study of Psychology allowed me to realise that all evidence is valuable and this is very helpful in my job when thinking about how we can develop the APP programme further.
The numerous voluntary & work experience (LEAPS, Health in Mind, EUSA, the Saltire Foundation) I had throughout my degree ensured I was further up the career ladder when I graduated, and without this I would not be in the position I am now. Any experiences outside of your degree open your eyes to the wider working world and this is paramount during interviews and also shaping you as a person which is incredibly important!
My useful experience
I have mentioned most of my experiences during job interviews – each of them acted as building block for the next step in my career. Having a good mix of voluntary, paid work and interests makes you well rounded and is very appealing to a number of employers across the board.
My career decisions
I made the decision to take on a few different jobs at once right after I graduated! It may have been hard but it really tested what I was capable of, and allowed me to be immersed in multiple experiences at once. This really accelerated my growth and my knowledge of what was required to be a self-starter which is a big part of my job now. I also found that this made me more productive in my down-time as I was still in a productive mode of thinking and could reflect on what I enjoyed about each job, and that helped guide my thinking in where I wanted to make my next steps.
Advice to anyone interested in my area of work
I would say work experience and voluntary experience in the third sector is really paramount to work here – having that experience of working with the less able (in any way at all) is really important because it shows that you have the skills and knowledge which you have already learned and applied. Make sure you are also passionate about the cause you are working for because that is your motivating factor every day!
Advice on making career decisions
Make sure you are clued up about the sector/role you want to enter, have the experiences to back you up and feel excited about where you’re going and what you’re doing! It might seem daunting – and I did feel a bit lost when I first graduated – but remember, if you don’t think you know right away that’s okay! Take time to think about your options, keep an open mind and check the careers website MyCareerHub (that’s where I found my job!)