What did you do before joining the training scheme?Owen

Before joining the scheme, I worked at a business incubator at the University of Sussex, providing business support to start-ups and university enterprise projects. Prior to that, I studied Politics, Psychology and Sociology, before completing an MA in Gender, Violence and Conflict. Alongside my Master's, I also worked as a researcher, investigating issues of student community engagement and social isolation in Brighton.

What attracted you to the scheme? 

I enjoyed working across the worlds of higher education, business and innovation in my previous role, and Imperial was the perfect place to build on these experiences. I was also keen to make further use of my social science and community engagement backgrounds, and the College’s growing interest in and commitment to these areas was a huge attraction. The rotational nature of the scheme presented a great opportunity to pull these diverse interests together while developing my own career.

What are your highlights so far based on your time on the scheme so far?

My very first project in Academic Partnerships was a review of volunteering activity at Imperial. Volunteering forms a key part of College events and initiatives, so the review allowed me to learn a lot about the inner workings of the institution and get out and meet people who make so much of what happens at Imperial happen. We brought a lot of these people together and produced a report, with recommendations, around how to better support volunteering activity and enhance its impact. It’s been great watching how this has progressed since moving on, and subsequently getting involved with volunteering opportunities myself.

More recently, during my time with the Digital Learning Hub, I’ve worked on the development of some of the College’s online courses. This is a new and exciting area for Imperial, and it was a new area for me as well. Getting involved with this at a very hands-on level has been a brilliant learning experience, giving me an insight into the project management aspects of delivering education in an online setting.

What would be your one tip for applicants?

Do your research and think laterally about future challenges the College, and higher education sector as a whole, might be preparing for. Start thinking about how your own experience might inform these discussions, and don’t be afraid to offer a unique perspective on things – your insights will be really valued.