We interviewed one of our graduates about her career to date. Naomi graduated from the BSc (Hons) Psychology programme, and is now about to finish her training as an Educational Psychologist. Read the full interview below!
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Which course did you do at Northumbria and what have you done since graduating?
I studied the Psychology BSc at Northumbria. It was the first time I was able to thrive by studying something I was really interested in. I graduated with a first class honors, before spending the summer on a psychology placement in Sri Lanka with SLV volunteers. When I returned home, I started working in an independent children’s home with education for children with autism in the role of an education care mentor before becoming a therapy assistant. Alongside this, I studied a MA in Autism part time. Since then I have had roles which have included a volunteer assistant clinical psychologist, a teaching assistant within local authority special school and a assistant educational psychologist before I began the Doctorate in Educational and Child Psychology at Manchester University in September 2018.
What is your current job title and what does your job involve?
I am a trainee educational psychologist and I am in my final year of the doctorate. I enjoy how varied educational psychology can be depending on who you work for, where you work and what your interests are too. The role involves working with children and young people from 0-25 years with special educational needs. As part of this I work with a range of professionals, such as speech and language therapists, paedatricians, school special educational needs co-ordinators (SENCos) as well as other local authority staff. My work can involved individual casework with young people, developing training for teaching staff and other professionals, carrying out research and working systemically in schools to create change. Some of my recent activities have included carrying out research to understand the barriers children and young people can face in trying to attend school and looking at how to develop relationships and promote participation with children and young people. No day is ever the same and there is always something new to learn.
What inspired you to follow your career path?
I have a family friend who was diagnosed with autism when I was in my early teens. I found it fascinating the differences between him and his sibling. This sparked my interest in child development. I was drawn to educational psychology because it provides opportunity to work holistically with a child, their family, school and other professionals.
What advice would you give to current students wanting to follow a similar path?
For me, the journey to getting to the doctorate was amazing and just as valuable as the doctorate itself. It can be competitive to get on the course, which can prove daunting but with perserverance it is achieveable. I have enjoyed having many varied roles and I feel it is this that has contributed to me being able to get on the doctorate at a young age (I had three jobs whilst I did my undergraduate degree!). Enjoy each role and think about what psychology you are using. Psychology is all around us!
What was your favourite thing about studying at Northumbria?
My time at Northumbria was an enjoyable one. I loved the city, the coast, the locals- I was never stuck for something to do. The university itself is the hub of the city. My experience of the course was fantastic with my tutors always been on hand to give advice or a little reassurance. It can be daunting moving hundreds of miles from home but this might just be the friendliest city in the country!
Want to hear from more of our graduates? Head over to the Careers in Psychology Blog
Interested in Educational Psychology? Look at the British Psychological Society Careers section
Want to hear more work linked to learning disabilities? We have a specialist learning disabilities subgroup in our Health and Wellbeing research group – keep an eye out for future posts from them!