Posted on Monday 19th November 2012
Brigid Jones talks about her time at Birmingham and how it helped to shape her future career as a Birmingham City Councillor.
I'm Brigid Jones, I studied an MSci in Physics and I’m currently working for Birmingham City Council as a councillor for Selly Oak ward and cabinet member for Children and Family Services.
I'd say get outside of the student bubble. It’s very easy in student life to get caught up in the student bubble around the university and student lifestyle and that’s fantastic but you're in the UK’s second biggest city with one of the largest - well, the largest local authority in Europe – on your doorstep and it's incredibly diverse. Get to know the city, get to know all the different walks of life that exist in the city. Get to know the different areas of it. I think the key to being successful in local Government and doing a good job there is really knowing the people that you serve and knowing the city that you’re operating in.
I'd say the most important qualities for graduates to possess today are resilience and an open mind. Don't come in with a fixed expectation of where you're going to end up when you leave. Come in ready to try new things, new experiences and leave a different person to where you started.
I'd say civic engagement is integral to especially the University of Birmingham. Birmingham was the first civic university set up over a hundred years ago to serve the people of Birmingham and to serve the needs of the city and the area and we've still got very strong links there whereas a hundred years ago we had the Departments of Mining and Brewery to serve local industries, now we have a social work academy at the university that works very closely with the city council to help promote social work in the city and train our social workers for the city context. Those links are to be found all over the university and the Institute of Local Government Studies, you name it, there are links there where we’re working together in that tradition.
Well as a councillor in Birmingham I represent Selly Oak which is a very heavily populated student area. About 1 in 3 of the residents there are students so having lived the student lifestyle there as it were, but also lived the settled lifestyle in that area as well, it's sort of given me a good knowledge of both sides of the community and how I can serve them both.
The university reflects the city and it’s an incredibly diverse and rich place. There's a huge amount of research going on within the university that's incredibly relevant to the people of Birmingham and to the way the city operates and there's a lot of links already in existence and further ones that could be drawn there between the two.
See our degrees in Local Government Studies.