"I really enjoyed learning from staff and feel that they supported myself and fellow students in our pursuit of a range of different careers. "
I applied for work through an early years agency which supported me to I went straight into a job as an Early Years Professional (EYP) – now known as Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS) in a private day nursery in Manchester for ages 0-5. The EYP Pathway really prepared me for the job and I felt confident to apply what I learned in the role straight away.
I completed the MSc Psychology (Conversion) at MMU and graduated in 2017. This allowed me further explore my interest in developmental theory but also lead me to become passionate about the importance of promoting positive well-being and mental health in child and adolescent education. I have also volunteered with some mental health charities across Manchester which have provided me with training in Mental Health Awareness, Effective Listening Skills and Crisis Counsellor Training.
I am now a first year PhD Education student at Manchester Institute of Education at The University of Manchester, exploring mental health and resilience in adolescence. More specifically, I am focusing on the experiences of adolescent boys in education and preparation for work. I also work in a Data Support Officer role as part of a wider research team, liaising with schools who are taking part in mental health research across the UK.
Volunteering is really rewarding and has provided me with lots of opportunities to develop my skills and gain new ones through training and practical experience. It is also well recognised and valued by future employers and allows you to explore working in different job roles and setting –which is really helpful when you are uncertain of what your end career goal is.
I think it is really important to undertake a placement and embrace the advice given to me by a past tutor that “there is no such thing as a bad placement” as all and any experience is really useful for figuring out what you do and don’t like. I also felt that undertaking a placement helped me to feel more confident when entering the world of work after graduation and was valued by employers who want to know that you have experience as well as knowledge gained from a degree.
The ability to apply developmental theory in a flexible way has been most useful as it encourages me to adopt a person-centred approach. This has really helped me develop my skills in work with Children and Young People across a broad variety of ages across the 0-25 age range. I have had the opportunity to use these skills in a variety of settings including private day nurseries, Sure Start children’s centres, Specialist Support secondary school, a Youth & Community Centre and the Supported Learning Department in a FE College.
I loved learning alongside my peers who were and still are equally as passionate about improving outcomes for Children and Young People. I also appreciated being taught by academics and professionals who were supportive in our pursuit of a range of different personal, educational and career goals.
I really enjoyed studying the breadth of topics covered which I feel was instrumental in giving me the opportunity to explore different avenues of work. This was important to me because I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do when I graduated other than working directly with Children & Young People.