Head of Policy, Social Work England
BA International Relations and French, 2011
My brother went to Birmingham, which is exactly why I didn’t want to go! I wanted do my own thing, but was soon captivated by the campus, the POLSIS department and the combination of degree subjects I could explore. As someone who had to work throughout university, I also wanted to be close to the city where I could find part-time work.
Why did you choose to study International Relations and does it continue to impact on your experiences?
There really wasn’t any other option for me. I wanted to carve out a career that would allow me to travel and I’d always been fascinated by the world of diplomacy, so I knew I need the right degree to give me the start I needed.
Tell us about your career journey from Birmingham student to where you are today
After completing my degree, I was desperate to spread my wings and travel, but I was also keen to gain some experience in international relations. I interned at an NGO in Berlin for one year and then joined a master’s degree in Amsterdam to study conflict resolution. After that I joined a graduate internship with the Foreign Office that led to some incredible opportunities working at Embassies in New York, Poland and the Overseas Territories. After a brief pitstop working on EU exit for Defra, I moved out of international policy and moved to head up the policy team at Social Work England.
What one word would you use to describe the University of Birmingham?
“Invest time in your essay writing skills. It’s incredible how important writing with impact is in policy work and essays are in important opportunity to start refining that skill.”