…I’d like to share a brief, potted history of my own journey from undergraduate to my current position. I graduated in 1993 with a degree in Geology, after which I studied part-time for a PhD in igneous geochemistry. Unfortunately I was eventually lured away from this scholarly activity by the exciting opportunities that arose as a result of the arrival of the internet. It is now almost impossible to imagine a time before the internet existed, but back in 1995 the web was very much a new frontier with lots of space for experimentation and growth. Having taught myself to become a web designer and developer I managed to secure a position in the first incarnation of the University’s web team, eventually becoming the manager. After several years I left the University to work as an eMarketing consultant for various agencies before returning to build a new career as an enterprise lecturer, which provided me with the opportunity to share some of my business experience with undergraduates in CCI. I very quickly developed a real passion for teaching and also for working with students to help them make the most of their university experience.
Reflecting upon this journey brings two things to mind immediately. Firstly, how lucky I am that my career has been so interesting and varied so far. Secondly, how vastly different the University of Portsmouth is today compared to when I was studying here as an undergraduate. Back in 1993 the University had only recently transitioned from being a polytechnic and, although it had great ambitions, it had plenty of room for improvement. One area that stands out in my memory was the lack of support available to students to help them move into the world of work or further study after graduation. At the time I remember feeling extremely anxious and fearful of “the real world” beyond the walls of the institution. I didn’t have a plan, and it wasn’t obvious to me where I could get the support I needed to help me formulate one. On reflection, it seems the early stages of my career journey had a lot to do with luck and little to do with any careful consideration of the options available to me at the time. I’m sure some of you will share similar stories.
Today, the situation could not be more different. Putting aside our incredible facilities, our internationally recognised portfolio of research, our excellent teaching staff, and our growing reputation as one of the best universities in the world, the support now provided to Portsmouth students to help them transition successfully into careers is incredibly strong. All of our most recent graduates will have benefited from the opportunity to undertake a placement year in industry (or to run their own business), to gain relevant work experience as part of the curriculum, to undertake voluntary work supported by dedicated staff and to secure part-time employment and graduate positions with the support and guidance of trained careers advisors in a modern, fully-resourced careers and recruitment centre. Thankfully, as a result, today’s Portsmouth graduates are equipped with the skills, knowledge and abilities to proceed with confidence into the world beyond the University, and also have the opportunity to remain part of a strong alumni support network.
Simon Brookes – Associate Dean (Students) – CCI