After I left Stirling, I studied at post-graduate level and then I joined the Immigration Service. My first role in this organisation involved interviewing asylum applicants and making a decision on their applications. The skills I acquired whilst studying for a history degree at Stirling were invaluable in this role. At the decision making stage I was required to read through large quantities of information from a variety of sources, determine the key factors and make a balanced, proportionate decision based on the evidence. It never occurred to me when I started my history degree at Stirling that I would pick up these skills as part of my studies or that I would go on to use these in my future career. My studies in history also helped me develop a very meticulous approach in my work and taught me to investigate matters thoroughly before reaching a conclusion.
After ten years in a variety of roles, I left the Immigration Service and took up post as the Head of Immigration and Compliance at the University of Cambridge. The role is varied and highly challenging. I have full responsibility for ensuring that the University and its departments, institutions and staff adhere to immigration legislation, specifically relating to the University's sponsor licence and the recruitment of staff and visiting academics. Separately to this role, I have gained accreditation as an immigration legal advisor and I now operate an advice service to all staff and prospective staff on visa and settlement applications.
It is wonderful to back in a higher education setting doing something I really enjoy. My time at Stirling prepared me for my career in ways I never imagined. Thinking back to those days when I used to dread giving presentations in tutorials - I now regularly conduct presentations on immigration law to audiences of up to 100 staff. I would never have the confidence to do this as part of my role if it were not for the invaluable support I received from my tutors at Stirling.