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What is a typical day at work for you?

No two days are ever the same! I usually get into work around 8:30, have a bit of breakfast and a chat with the fantastic staff at UCS and then get cracking with the day. My role is pretty wide-ranging and I spend a LOT of time in meetings – lots of those are at Guildhall, but often I might be in Chester or in the local community at things like Shropshire Mental Health Forum, Team Shrewsbury and other groups. At the moment we’re all working from home – those meetings are still taking place but it’s all happening online from my living room! Everything is about working hard behind the scenes to improve the experience of students. Students always come first in my job and often my plans for the day can quickly go out of the window if there’s an urgent issue to resolve – that’s what makes it so unpredictable and why I love it so much. It’s never boring!

What is your favourite thing about your job?

Helping people overcome challenges and barriers that are stopping them being happy and/or successful. Seeing transformations in people and watching them realise their potential is just ace.

What has been your proudest moment whilst working at the university?

Graduation, every year. It’s a massive privilege in my job that often I get to know individual students very well, and often know details of what they’ve had to overcome in their personal lives. Life is so complex and difficult for lots of people, and seeing them collect their degrees and celebrate with their loved ones can be really emotional. Being able to share those moments – even in a tiny way – is really special.

Have you seen anything funny or surprising while working at the university?

The Deputy Provost singing with our Musical Theatre students – I had no idea he had a Musical Theatre background so it came as a bit of a shock! He’s not bad to be fair.

Do you have any exciting upcoming projects?

Loads! It’s important to have projects and targets to work towards. I’m involved in various projects in the local community to support under-represented groups of people access and succeed in education, training and employment. We’re already planning ahead to Welcome Week and Induction next year, and we’re planning to launch the next #run4healthshropshire Couch to 5k.

Outside of work is all about keeping fit – I quite fancy doing an ultra-marathon later in the year. Also, have some big plans to make our garden really exciting for my two girls to play in!

What is the best thing about student support at UCS?

UCS is still pretty small so we’re able to properly get to know our students and invest time into helping them realise their potential. Bit it really is ‘the best of both worlds’– while UCS is like a small family, students are also part of the wider (and much bigger) University of Chester family. I’m lucky to work with loads of fantastic people with specialist knowledge in Student Futures that are there to help our students when they need it.

If you could have a superpower what would you choose?

When I was a kid there was a cartoon called Bernard’s Watch. He had a magic watch that could pause time – the world would completely stop while Bernard sorted stuff out, then he’d press play again and nobody would ever know. My superpower would be to be like Bernard, imagine how much you’d get done. What a guy!

What should your students remember about you?

It doesn’t feel long since I was at Uni and all of those experiences are still pretty fresh in the memory! I’m also trying to do a part-time Masters at the minute so technically I’m still a student myself. I like to think that I understand things from the students’ perspective and can personally relate to a lot of the issues and pressures faced.

What might people not know about you?

Outside of work I’m a pretty keen fell runner. That’s basically just running but off-road and up mountains and hills. Shropshire is amazing for it – the landscape here and across the border into Wales is like a massive outdoors playground. I love it!

What is the best piece of advice that you could give to a student?

Just enjoy every minute of your University life – it goes so quickly! Throw yourself into as much as possible and take every opportunity that comes your way.

Also, I’d say don’t spend time comparing yourself to others or judging yourself against markers of “success” that are imposed on us by other people. Everyone’s life is unique, and that means that your achievements are all relative to your life and the personal stuff you’ve got going on.

What makes University Centre Shrewsbury unique?

This is the third University I’ve worked in, and I think the sense of community is genuinely special here. That’s the internal family feel amongst staff and students, but also the way that almost everything we do is linked in with the wider community in Shrewsbury. Shrewsbury is a brilliant town and it’s just a really lovely environment to be part of.

If you would like to know more about studying at University Centre Shrewsbury, you can chat to one of our students

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