What does your role involve?
My role is Employability & Campaigns Manager at the University of Lincoln Students’ Union / student associations, which means I look after 2 key areas of our Union’s work. Within this is our Work Ready programme, part of our Employability strategic theme, covering everything from volunteering, Swans Den (our version of Dragons Den) and the Duke of Edinburgh Award. I also oversee the Campaigns Network which includes our Liberation Groups, Community Officer, RAG and student-led volunteer projects. I have staff in my team who are really passionate about making change & who work closely with students to make things happen. I have a more strategic role looking at ways to continuously develop our department and making sure we are relevant to our students.
What’s the best thing about it?
It’s impossible to pick out one best thing – I work with an amazing bunch of people who are all so passionate about their own area of work. Being considerably older than many of my colleagues I love the energy in the office and there’s never a dull moment. No two days are ever the same – in the last week I have written policies, attended community meetings, delivered first aid training, been in meetings with our Liberation Officers listening to their plans and set up new volunteer roles. Oh, and I’ve also been to a meeting about the charity skydive I’ve foolishly agreed to do! I think this variety is what makes working here so good.
How did you get here?
I had a rather unconventional route in – I started as a temp in 2006 and if I’m honest knew nothing about what SU’s / Student Associations did (I hadn’t even been to Uni myself). However, I soon started to learn, and just loved what they are all about. Added to this, our SU / Student Associations and University were still very young so I came in when the Officer team outnumbered the staff team, and the SU / Student Associations was still a department within the University! It was really exciting to be part of something that could only grow and develop. I soon came to realise what a privilege it is to be able to work with really passionate people who are all focused on making a difference, and 11 years later I’m still here.
What’s was the most helpful piece of learning you picked up along the way?
I don’t think you ever really stop learning. Each new Officer team has different ideas, every 5 years we write a new strategic plan, and the world is an ever changing place. So I guess one of the key things I’ve learned is to embrace change, as change brings opportunities. Working in an SU / Student Associations enables you to use your skills and have the chance to learn loads of new ones along the way, so I’d say to anyone soak it all up, learn from those around you, and always look forward.