Elizabeth Hand

Current employer: CASS+

Current job title: Plymouth CASS Co-ordinator.

Current location: Plymouth

“The lecturers were brilliant. The other members of staff were also very supportive and approachable, and they could not do enough to make the degree a positive experience!”

Tell us about your career path since graduation

I did not go straight into a job after I graduated. At first I volunteered with Just People where I did some mentoring; then I volunteered with PROMISe (Plymouth Reducing Offending through Meaningful Intervention Service) working as a Women’s Safety Worker with female offenders in the community.

I have since worked as a part time Mental Health Recovery Worker in the CASS Office, Plymouth Magistrates Court, where I had to manage volunteers, complete risk assessments and administrative duties, and feedback in court. I have also worked as a part time Project Worker supporting clients, creating support plans, and fulfilling multi-agency work; I have worked as a full time Mental Health Recovery Worker; and I am currently working as a CASS Co-ordinator.

Has your career path changed since graduation?

I previously wanted to be a Probation Officer, but they stopped recruiting whilst I was at university. I also became quite disillusioned about the changes to the Probation Service.

More recently I have moved into more of a supervisory role in the last few years – still very much within the criminal justice sector – and continue to work with vulnerable people.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

My whole career has been pretty exciting as every day is different; however, probably setting up our own charity this year has been most exciting.

I also think securing my current job has been a great achievement for me, but all of my positions, voluntary and paid, have provided me with a sense of satisfaction. I have met some wonderful people along the way, both clients and colleagues, and learnt so much: it has been a real journey and I feel that there is still a long way to go.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could?

I wish that I had taken the opportunity of a work based placement whilst studying, as this would have been greatly advantageous to my career. I therefore advise anybody at university, even if your course does not include a placement, to undertake some form of internship so that you get a real sense of the industry which you wish to enter.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

I chose University of Plymouth because I lived in Plymouth, and as a mature student I had parenting responsibilities and a child at school in the city. It was therefore accessible to me as I had a dependent child at the time. However, I chose this particular course at the University because my Access course in social sciences had sparked a particular interest in the criminal justice system. I expected to gain a broader knowledge of the subject area by completing the course available at University of Plymouth.

The lecturers were brilliant. The other members of staff were also very supportive and approachable, and they could not do enough to make the degree a positive experience!

Would you recommend undertaking a course with University of Plymouth, and why?

Yes, I thought University of Plymouth was great, with very supportive staff, and the modules were quite diverse. I would thoroughly recommend the course, but you will only get out of it what you put in. Also, I would recommend doing some voluntary work as it is very hard to find work after.

If you are looking to volunteer at CASS+ it is worth getting in touch with me as we can offer an interesting and varied placement.

Surveillance camera and graffiti (image courtesy of iStock - 000011792920)

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