Why did you decide to study for a postgraduate qualification?
I originally qualified as a Community and Youth Worker from Reading University but have worked with homeless people for over 20 years both in England and Scotland. During this time I also completed a distance learning postgraduate diploma in Sociology of Sport from Leicester, with a focus on the Homeless World Cup.
In 2008 I joined Midlothian Council as Team Leader of the Homelessness Department. Valuing the importance of further education and professional development, the Council had supported several staff members through the University of Stirling’s Postgraduate Diploma in Housing Studies programme and whilst this was presented as an option for me, I wasn’t immediately certain I wanted to study again or fully commit my future to housing. Admittedly, I also had reservations about committing to part time study whilst continuing with a demanding full time job.
Do you think the degree has advanced your key skills and made you more desirable to employers?
The postgraduate diploma provided me with the opportunity to use my work based knowledge and experiences and apply them to different aspects of the housing world. It also allowed me to gain an all-round perspective of the housing sector and firmly decide where my career and future goals lie.
What are your ambitions after graduation?
I am currently writing the dissertation module to upgrade my postgraduate diploma to an Msc in Housing Studies, which is expected to conclude in September 2016. I would like to continue to work with homeless people but with a focus on the provision of temporary accommodation to meet the changing needs of the client group within the political environment.
I am hoping that my qualifications will allow me to progress professionally and will enhance my ability to make a difference to the experience of homeless people.