Studying at Sheffield helped me get my dream job
At age 24, having developed a strong interest in inclusion through working in the education sector I applied for and started studying the Education, Childhood and Culture BA at University of Sheffield; it was the best thing I ever did.
We were taught by the leaders in the field who were inspiring and passionate, and supported by an amazing, friendly and welcoming department.
Our degree course was so interesting and varied, even when it blew our minds it was never boring.
Not only did we get to expand and develop our theoretical knowledge of a wide variety of subjects, we were also given numerous opportunities to apply our knowledge and understanding in the real world, through placements, but also through modules which actively engaged with the local community.
The course was designed to push us to develop as well rounded graduates, but also took account of our personal interests and preferences at that same time. As such a small cohort it felt like a really personal degree experience that I know very few people are lucky enough to experience whilst at university. I really couldn’t have asked for more.
BA Education, Childhood and Culture
After graduating I went straight into a job in a local secondary school as an SEN Teaching Assistant.
This was great experience, and I found it really interesting to be apply things I had learned in my degree course to my new role; especially my knowledge around SEN, play, and the psychology of difference.
After eight months I applied for a job with a local charity as a Link Worker, working with homeless young people with complex needs.
Thanks to the experience gained through my degree placement, in addition to the knowledge I had gained through my degree and my previous work experience, I was lucky enough to be offered the position.
My colleague and I set about setting up the new scheme in the local area from scratch.
For the next two years I recruited and worked with a complex caseload of up to 18 young people, who were homeless at the time of referral.
I worked to not only house my clients, but also to raise their aspirations, support them in gaining independent living skills, and move towards stability, with the end goal being my clients entering education, training or employment.
I absolutely loved being a Link Worker, it was a challenging yet hugely rewarding role. I know that without this degree qualification I wouldn’t have been in a position to be offered the role.
In addition to the formal qualification of my degree, the variety involved in it allowed me to develop a broad range of transferable skills that not only made me a more attractive candidate in applying, but also enabled me to do my very best for my clients within the role.
After two years I decided to make the move back into the field of formal education and started applying for 'pastoral and inclusion' roles in schools.
I had a very high success rate in these applications, and I believe that my degree qualification and the doors it has opened were largely to thank for that.
I now work in a local secondary school as an Inclusion Manager – my dream job. I now get to work with the most challenging students, which was what I always wanted to do. I work to support the school in reducing the exclusion rates and support the students in meeting the school’s expectations in terms of behaviour and attainment.
My years at university were really special. I feel like both the course and the department enabled me to make the most of my time at university.
Studying for my degree really taught me to believe in myself and my own abilities, and the whole experience taught me to seize opportunities as they come.
Studying this course has changed the course of my life for the better, and I can’t recommend it to others highly enough.