Case Study

Russell Hounslow

Dr Russell Hounslow found volunteering work during University was instrumental in helping him to become an education psychologist at Nottingham City Council. He praises the emphasis the University has on future career paths.

During my degree course and my Masters I met a lot of really interesting people from different parts of the country and the world at Sunderland – a real mix. Psychology is all about people and as a young man it helped to meet, talk and debate with a broad range of fellow students.

It was a great course and there were lots of opportunities to learn a wide range of topics in psychology, ranging from biology to topics such as how we process information and interact with others.

What was really fantastic about the University was the emphasis on future career paths. I was encouraged to start thinking about the future during my studies and made the effort to secure voluntary work and get work experience in schools.

The relationship with lecturers was brilliant too. I found they all offered just the right amount of support while leaving you free to develop your own interests. The facilities were also first class. The campus at St Peter’s is absolutely amazing – a great place to study.

During my undergraduate degree I had decided to pursue a career in educational psychology. I knew I needed more experience and knowledge to go forward and stayed on to do a Masters degree. After the Masters I spent a year working as a mentor in a secondary school where I worked and supported children with a range of problems.

I began work as an Assistant Educational Psychologist for Sunderland City Council Children’s Services which involved working with children, their families and the schools to understand their issues.

I now work in the Community Educational Psychology Service in Nottingham City Council, working with children and young people, their families and teachers through mainstream schools and a special school for children with severe learning difficulties.

While at university I did a fair bit of volunteering, which included a mentoring scheme in a local secondary school, a teaching assistant’s role at a primary school and as an advocacy worker at a mental health hospital. In the end it was really helpful, as training to become an educational psychologist meant I had to spend a couple of years working in schools after graduation – so the school experience I’d built up at University was definitely a big help. It meant that when I went for interviews, I had real examples that I could talk about and it wasn’t all hypothetical. It also meant that I had professional references that were directly relevant to the job I was applying for.”

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