Sheffield gave me a lot of flexibility in choosing a lot of different optional modules and the opportunity to do a year of employment experience

Photo of Josh Bates
Josh Bates
Policy Executive - DeHavilland
BA History & Politics with Employment Experience
Josh Bates talks about his year of employment experience he undertook as part of his degree, his time as Chair of History in the City and what his current role at DeHavilland involves.

A transcript of the video:

Hi, my name is Josh Bates and I'm a Policy Executive at the political monitoring firm, DeHavilland and alumni of the University of Sheffield. 

Firstly I really just sort of fell in love with Sheffield as a city, both being on the edge of the Peak District. and being a sort of busy and vibrant city, there's so much going on. And for me it was the perfect balance between being able to get out and explore the outdoors and really sort of living in a busy city. It was also because the course and the university offered a really good experience. Whereas some universities were asking for quite a lot of compulsory modules to be studied, required sort of set direction of where your course was going to go. The University of Sheffield gave me a lot of flexibility in choosing a, both a lot of different optional modules and the opportunity to do study abroad or a year of employment experience. 

I was really keen to get an understanding of where my degree could lead on to and work out what sort of skills I'd need. and what sort of skills I can develop. And so a year of employment experience is really a fantastic taste of what a career in sort of history or politics or something related can be like, and what it is you can sort of focus in that final year. To help you prepare for when you graduate. 

So I was lucky enough to work for a public affairs consultancy in Brussels called FleishmanHillard. I worked within the financial services and tech team. And so got to work some clients in both helping them understand the EU process, the EU Parliament and Commission, and then also how they can play a part in influencing policy and helping to ensure that they understand what's going on on a day-to-day level. I was also lucky enough to be going out to the EU in the year that we both had the European elections and there were the Brexit negotiations. So it really was sort of a fantastic time to really understand what EU politics was like. And really develop those skills I learned in the first two years at university. 

So I was lucky enough to be the Chair of the History in the City Programme in my final year of university. This meant coordinating and leading a team of other students who run a number of projects throughout the city to help preserve the history of the city of Sheffield, and then ensure that the young people of Sheffield were engaged and got hands-on experience with history and basically helping them enjoy and study it at such a young age that hopefully when they come to university level they're just as keen to continue studying history. It was a really fantastic opportunity to sort of develop my leadership skills, organisation, to give something back to Sheffield after a fantastic few years there, but it also taught me the importance of adapting and planning to unexpected situations. Because sadly COVID hit during my time as Chair and we really sort of rethink how we're going to run our projects and how we were going to ensure that history in the city survived and could to be passed on to the next year of students. 

So as the Policy Executive leading on the tech and telecoms portfolio, at DeHavilland, I get to work with some of the leading platforms, companies, and my clients basically within the tech and telecoms sector. And I follow parliamentary process, parliamentary procedure, government announcements on a day-to-day and really sort of granular level, helping them understand how a bill progresses, how parliament works. Really getting to sort of use those skills and knowledge that I learned in my time at university. 

My number one piece of advice would be to honestly just take every opportunity and new pathway presented to you by the university. There are so many different things you can explore whether that be a society, study abroad, a work placement, a volunteering opportunity. All really fantastic experiences that are both rewarding in themselves, but will also just help stretch your CV out more and show you're a really well-rounded candidate. And Sheffield can offer you so much in terms of that. So I'd definitely say make the most of your time at university and just take as many opportunities as you can.

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