Public Affairs Advisor
Royal College Physicians
I’m originally from a small village about 30 minutes away from Reading, I was originally going to study computing at University, but had I change of heart after studying Politics at A-Level. I’d been interested in social justice and equality from a relatively young age and the change to study politics felt like the right thing to do. I’ve never looked back!
Coming to Kent was one of the best things I’ve ever done, I knew from the minute I arrived on campus on an open day that Kent was for me. So much so that I ended up spending 5 years at Kent, 3 years as an undergraduate and then 2 years as a sabbatical officer at Kent Union. I think the thing that sold Kent for me was the greenery of campus and the 20 minute walk into the city centre.
I now work for the Royal College of Physicians, which is turning 500 years old this year! The colleges mission is to ‘to drive improvements in health and healthcare through advocacy, education and research’. I work in the policy and campaigns team as a public affairs advisor, leading on workforce, Brexit and global advocacy. Everyday is different, but broadly I make sure that the voices of our 35,000 members are heard by parliament, government and stakeholders including the many arms length bodies that exist in the health and social care sector.
One of the things I’ve led on since I started has been making sure that the huge amount of evidence the college holds is used to its greatest effect. I’m currently leading on a UK wide campaign to share our localised workforce data with parliamentarians to help create a sustainable workforce strategy for the NHS.
The best piece of advice I can give anyone going to or at University is throw yourself at every opportunity that arises, which was the approach I took. From day 1 I knew that I wanted to join the Kent Labour Students and the Sailing and Windsurfing club. The Labour Club because I’d been a member of the party for a while but wanted to get more involved, and the sailing club because it had been a big part of my life before university and I wanted that to continue. Both these experiences lead to me getting further involved in university life and student politics. I ended up on the exec committee of the labour club and the president of the sailing club, including securing a £10,000 grant from Sport England to purchase more equipment for the club.
From there I ended up running to be a sabbatical officer of Kent Union, firstly as Vice President Welfare and secondly as President. I’m really proud of the things the teams I worked with achieved, from securing £120,000 from the University to remove barriers to participation for students, to changing Canterbury City Council’s Licensing Policy to require licensed premises to tackle sexual harassment happening in their premises, a UK first.
When I look back on my degree I have two modules that stand out. Firstly ‘Politics in the Classroom’ which I can’t recommend enough, it was a brilliant module that allowed me to practically apply what I was learning, I spent a term teaching at Simon Langton Boys in Canterbury and got to write a reflective essay on the role of grammar schools in Kent education system. The second is my dissertation when I had one of the world’s leading experts as my dissertation supervisor, looking at the Geneva Conventions and their application at Guantanamo Bay. However the 2015 general election arrived and I temporarily moved to Birmingham to campaign for a Labour Government in the 6 weeks leading up to my dissertation deadline, so my dissertation might not have been the priority it should of been…
I learnt early on that I was going to enjoy and learn more when I was able to apply what I was learning, hence getting heavily involved in everything that I could. My final bit of advice is to stand up for what you believe in, challenge and stretch yourself, and fully embrace what Kent has to offer.