James Perkins

"Nothing beats putting what you learn in to practice"
About my career

Having visited quite a few cities in the UK, Manchester - with its eclectic mix of fashion, music and massive student population - seemed like the perfect option. Having not had much experience in my chosen field, I did not get on to my first choice and it was at this point that Social Change was highlighted to me. This was quite possibly the best thing to have happened to me. This course not only gave me an understanding of Social Work (which I then decided I definitely did not want to do), but it opened up my eyes to a variety of other career paths which were more suited to me.

I learnt many valuable skills on the course which I have taken with me in to my career. These include learning about the mind, developing the art of attentive listening, ethnicity, multiculturalness and how different communities and society work, and good practice in the work place. I was also able to be creative by looking at Social Change in the media and on the big and small screen, while the foundations of learning how to write academically backed it all up.

Nothing beats putting what you learn in to practice. I completed two work placements, both of which were found for me by MMU. The first was in a six-bed children’s home where the children were on either short, medium, long term or emergency placements and experienced abuse, neglect, exploitation or exclusion in the past. This was an incredible opportunity to offer practical, physical and emotional support to vulnerable children. The second placement was in an integrated learning and supported housing project for young people aged 16 to 25. This was a fantastic opportunity for me offering support to young people wishing to return or remain in education and training.

Since graduating, I went on and studied a pre-clinical Postgraduate Diploma in Psychoanalytic Observational Studies through The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. I also joined a multidisciplinary consultancy team and became a member of the Bristol Safeguarding Children Board, Emotional Abuse Forum. I hope to either go on to the Doctorate in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy or continue working in some sort of mental health, therapeutic setting with children or young people.

My top tip for students is…

Despite the climate being difficult, there are jobs out there. I found a company who were growing and taking on a new contract, which would make them the largest providers of all youth and play in Bristol. I started at the bottom working as an Engagement Worker, but within the first year I had helped to create and develop a mental health therapeutic role that suited me, enabling me to incorporate my psychoanalytic thought/ thinking in my work.

I’m inspired by…

A Psychotherapist I met whilst on placement inspired me. Their job seemed very interesting and helping/talking to people on a 1:1 basis interested me.

Why I love Manchester Met

Without having attended MMU my life would have taken a completely different direction. I wouldn’t have had the experiences I have or had my eyes opened to the variety of other career paths which I now know are more suited to me. However, most importantly, I have made friends for life who I met during my three years of living in Manchester and studying at MMU.