What are you doing now?
I am the Public Engagement Manager for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Which course did you study at Kent?
I studied French and History BA Hons with a year abroad.
What attracted you to your course, and to Kent?
I love that Kent is a campus university, you had everything you needed in one place and it really felt like a community. Canterbury is a beautiful city which I saw myself living in. I was attracted to the French part of my course because of the year abroad options. I was excited by the History part as there was such a variety of modules to choose from and lots of topics I hadn’t studied at school or college.
Which aspects of your time at Kent did you enjoy the most, and why?
I enjoyed my year abroad as a British Council Language Assistant immensely. Not only did it improve my French speaking skills, but I also made friends in France that I still have today.
How did you get into your current role, and what advice would you give to anyone wanting to follow a similar career?
Kent has a well-established relationship with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), and it was through Kent that I found out that the CWGC had an internship programme. The internship programme opened the door to the career I have today. My advice for anyone wanting to get into community engagement would be to gain a variety of experience engaging with local communities, whether that be through volunteering or public facing work.
How has your time at Kent helped you in your career so far?
My experiences at Kent that gave me the skills to succeed at the interview stage of the internship. My time as a language assistant, as well as working as a Student Ambassador, improved my confidence and interpersonal skills, which are key skills needed for a public engagement role.
Are you still in touch with any of your friends from University?
Some of my housemates who I lived with in Turing College in first year are still some of my best friends today. I also met my boyfriend through the Athletics and Cross-Country team at Kent.
Did you work or undertake any work experience whilst at Kent? What did you do? Did you find it was helpful in your studies and has it benefited your career to date?
I worked as a Student Ambassador on campus, but we also did outreach at local schools. On campus, I delivered tours to prospective students. In the schools, we delivered outreach programmes to educate sixth form students about higher education and ran workshops on how to apply to university, and other related topics. I volunteered with Canterbury Homeless Outreach and achieved the KSCV silver award. This work experience added to my CV and provided me with lots of examples to talk about in interviews.
Could you describe a typical day in your current role?
I spend roughly half of my time managing the team of Public Engagement Coordinators, of which there are 11, and making sure they have everything they need. The rest of my time is filled with engagements. This could be delivering guided tours of Brookwood Military Cemetery to school groups, talking to a local community group about the CWGC or meeting up with local partners to work on projects and events. No week is ever the same which is one of the things I love about my job!
What are your future plans/aspirations?
I would like to continue working for the CWGC and engage even more people, especially young people, with the work that we do.
What is your favourite memory of Kent?
Aside from some very memorable nights at Venue, I loved being a part of the Cross-Country team. I’d never been one for team sports, but it was good fun going to different races together across Kent, including a half marathon in Lisbon!
What advice would you give to somebody thinking of coming to Kent?
Get involved with clubs, socials, and other student experiences. I thought a 4-year degree would feel like forever, but the time just flew by so enjoy it!
Are you currently working, or have you recently worked on any interesting projects that you would like to tell us a bit more about?
We have lots of volunteering opportunities available so have a look at our website. We also have free volunteer led tours taking place across the UK so check out those too.