Anna Broomfield – Events and Membership Assistant
Degree – Psychology 2016
My current job
Events and Membership Assistant at Federation of Scottish Theatre. FST is a membership organisation for theatre professionals. We provide networking, training & development, and advocacy for the sector. I am responsible for supporting all aspects of member relations and the delivery of events, including Members’ Meetings, Forums and our annual networking event “Emporium”. My role also includes general office administration, and I provide a first point of contact for existing and potential members.
My career history
During my final year at university, I worked part time with Edinburgh University Students’ Association as Box Office Coordinator. I kept working there until December 2016, whilst also taking on other part time/seasonal work with the Cancer Research Events Team, Edinburgh International Film Festival and the Fringe Society. After this, I did two full time temp positions:
- Deputy Box Office Manager at the Lyceum Theatre (January – April 2017)
- Widening Participation Intern at University of Edinburgh (April – September 2017) – Until I finally found a full time, permanent job with FST!
Using my degree-skills in my career
For me, my critical thinking skills have been the most useful. I’ve found these skills really valuable for evaluating myself, the work that I do and the projects I assist.
The skills you get from doing stats and writing up reports are also hugely valuable – I’ve been in roles where I’ve had to provide reports including basic stats to evaluate projects. My report-writing experience from uni was really useful for this. Plus, my experience of using statistics software (e.g. SPSS) means that I’m more confident with my IT skills – once you’ve conquered stats software, Excel spreadsheets feel like a breeze!
Additionally, because Psychology is such a broad subject, there are lots of areas of the subject that I can pull on to inform the work that I do. For example, I can apply the knowledge I gained from studying class in Social Psychology and disability in Perception to make the events I work on more accessible.
My useful experience
I worked part-time from second year onwards (first a receptionist and then an office position at the Students’ Association) and even though it was hard, I found it so valuable. It helped me to understand the kind of work I enjoyed and the work I didn’t, so that I had an idea of what I wanted to do when I graduated. It also helped me to remember that there is a world out there other than essays, exams and deadlines!
My career decisions
A lot of my work experience has come from research. Once I started working at a Fringe venue, I knew I wanted to get into events/theatre/festivals so I:
- familiarised myself with the different organisations relevant to these areas,
- found the sites where relevant jobs came up most often and kept an eye on them.
- spent time with people who worked in these areas and asked them about their career histories – this was really helpful for highlighting possible routes for myself.
I also attended a couple of careers fairs and a Festivals networking event, but the most valuable support I got from the Careers Service were the practice interviews and appointments to discuss cover letters. Absolutely recommended!
Advice to students interested in this area of work
Work experience and passion are both really important – you need evidence to show that you have the organisational and communication skills needed for arts admin roles, plus an understanding of what it’s like on the ground at the events (this is where my festival experience came in handy). The arts/events/theatre sector can be a lot of hard work for not great pay so employers want to know that you are really dedicated and are going to love the role. So try to get involved in as much as you can and show people how much you enjoy it!
Advice to current students
Keep an open mind – try and get involved in extra-curricular like volunteering or societies, and (if it won’t hurt your studies) try to get some work experience so that you can understand what kind of work you enjoy.
But also don’t worry too much! It’s tough to find the right job but it will happen. Talk to people around you about their career trajectories – this helped me to realise that career progression isn’t linear, and people do all sorts of different roles throughout their life.