Current employer: Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS)
Current job title: Commercial Project manager
Current location: London
“I loved Plymouth and consider it my second home. You have a vibrant and modern city, a great university offering usable degrees and a good campus, plus you are no more than 15 minutes from beautiful moorland in Dartmoor or stunning beaches such as Whitsand Bay. It’s a great place to study!”
Tell us about your career path since graduation.
The day I handed in my MSc dissertation I was approached by the students' union and ended up running entertainment for three years, bringing the likes of Muse, Chris Addison, and Al Murray to the SU. I left to take a partnership in a business in the north of the UK which didn’t work out and I declared myself bankrupt in 2001 (ironic as I left university with no debt). I then became a civil servant in Plymouth and worked for the Pension Service in Crownhill. This brought me to London where I finally got to put my degrees to use at the Department for Transport working on Tonnage Tax, UK Seafarer Training and International Conventions (IMO). This in turn led me to aviation security which I have worked on for six years. I left the service and joined the ICS in 2012.
What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?
Aviation security without a doubt – I loved it. Aviation has a genuine buzz to it and I held the power to enter any part of any airport in the UK when I needed to. I even spent some time covert testing airports across the UK. I can’t go into detail about this but it is the best mystery shopper job you can possibly do.
What, if anything, would you do differently if you could?
I am not sure I would do anything differently; perhaps had I known more about it, I might have tried a seagoing career when I left school as the master mariners ticket is hugely valuable later in life. (Oh, and I probably wouldn’t have taken up the partnership in 2001).
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?
Well, don’t go bankrupt for a start or at least don’t get into a position where that is the only option available to you. It is hard to give advice because I have always drifted into different positions and stayed with the ones I liked. Qualifications are the key, it is the way the UK employment is moving and will continue to move for some time.
What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?
I have so many: from arranging and taking 1,100 students on coaches to the Ottery St Mary fire festival, to setting up a may ball in a park five miles out of town for 2,000 students. But the main one would be that I was a warden in private halls for five years looking after 190 first year students a year on my own (no assistants): that was an experience in itself. I dealt with everything from students losing keys at four in the morning to full on medical emergencies – I even had one come after me with a pool cue one night after far too much special brew! I witnessed 18 to 19 year olds growing up more in a year under my care than their parents had witnessed to the point where they dropped them off at Raglan Road and it was a pleasure.
I loved Plymouth and consider it my second home. You have a vibrant and modern city, a great university offering usable degrees and a good campus, plus you are no more than 15 minutes from beautiful moorland in Dartmoor or stunning beaches such as Whitsand Bay. It’s a great place to study!
Do you stay in touch with other Plymouth University alumni or lecturers?
I do: with both. I keep in touch with lecturers (who haven’t yet retired) mainly through the Plymouth Nautical Degree Association – PYNDA – for which I am social secretary in London. I keep in touch with alumni through work and PYNDA. It’s amazing how often you bump into someone else from Plymouth and how often you meet people from your year groups – in some unusual places too, like on holiday in South America!
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