What did you do before joining the training scheme?
After completing my undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences, I joined the Civil Service Fast Stream and worked in the Government Office for Science and on National Minimum Wage policy. In the Government Office for Science I worked closely with researchers in a number of different fields and this sparked my interest in learning more about research. In 2011 I began a PhD in the evolution of antibiotic resistance.
What attracted you to the scheme?
I wanted to find a career that would build on all of my previous experience, and so Higher Education management was ideal. The opportunity to make a broader contribution and the greater stability offered as a Higher Education professional as compared to a researcher was very appealing. Having decided to work in Higher Education management, the Graduate Management Training Scheme was the ideal entry point. I was keen to build a breadth of experience by undertaking different placements before deciding which area to specialise in. The scheme has a strong focus on professional development and offers opportunities for progression into a wide variety of roles at the College.
What has been the highlight of your time on the scheme?
I have been at the College for about a year, and I have already gained a great deal of experience and been involved in a wide range of work focused on key issues. A particular highlight was my involvement in the development of the College Strategy for 2015–2020. We hosted a series of workshops to discuss ideas for the Strategy, and it was fascinating to hear academic and professional staff from across the College talk about how the College and higher education sector may develop over the next five years and further into the future. Working on the College Strategy has also been a great way to meet some of the most senior staff in College.
What has been the biggest challenge?
My first placement was split between two teams with very different work types. In one team much of my work was driven by external deadlines, for example preparing returns to government, whereas in the other team I was working on a longer term research project. Time management was therefore very important to ensure I made progress on the longer term project whilst meeting deadlines, and I received valuable support from my placement managers in achieving this balance. I have been able to apply what I learnt in my second placement, which is split between Communications and the College’s Antimicrobial Research Collaborative.