Your success is at the heart of what we do here at Durham University. Our alumni go on to help shape the world and contribute to the society in which we live, whether that be through entrepreneurial business activity, charity, sport, sciences or arts and media. Durham graduates are successful.
Name: Saffron Shaw
Degree: BA English literature
Job: Brand Manager
Employer: Pepsico UK
Since graduating from Durham in 2003, my career so far has been a fun and vivid journey with many achievements. After graduating I joined Mars on the management development programme where I was promoted consistently and thereby ‘fast-tracked' to the role of European brand manager with responsibility for a major part of the Whiskas business after two-and-a-half years. During this time I demonstrated a natural affinity with strategic thinking, seen in a strong desire to dig for new insights, anticipate the future, highlight untapped opportunities and develop big ideas to drive growth. Beyond this, I also realised my ability to inspire and lead others along the way.
After four years with Mars, having delivered strong results as well as developing extensively on a personal level, I decided to take up an opportunity with Pepsico to lead the development and launch of an exciting product innovation on the Quaker brand. Harnessing this opportunity over the past ten months has been a rich, formative experience where, in a dramatically new and different culture, I have been able to apply and develop my skills and experience further to deliver and even over-deliver against my objectives. As well as managing innovation, other major highlights have been leading development of the new Quaker TV advertising campaign and media strategy. Looking forward, I am excited about the future, continuing to build my capability and achievements as a marketer and, most importantly, continuing to keep the buzz of genuinely loving what I get up in the morning to go and do.
Name: Susan Warnock
Degree: BA Ancient History with Latin
Job: Principal Learning Officer
Employer: Tyne & Wear Museums
I had a great time at Durham, although my degree did not dictate an obvious career path! After considering a variety of options, I did an MA in museum studies at University College London.
I then began the search for my first job. It might not seem like the sort of sector that would be really competitive, but there are often hundreds of applicants for museum posts. Six months later I began working for the Sussex Archaeological Society as an education officer. This involved teaching thousands of visiting schoolchildren, often dressed in Tudor or Victorian costume, and handling some amazing objects, including one of the first dinosaur fossils ever discovered!
After three years in Sussex, I began working for Tyne & Wear Museums, where I could continue my love for all things Roman at Arbeia Roman Fort in South Shields. More recently, I have taken on a management role, running one of the largest museum education services in the country. Museums may still have an image as being dull and dusty places, but I work in an organisation with many different career paths from customer care and finance to marketing and design, as well as the traditional curatorial roles. It may be occasionally dusty, but it's never dull!
Name: Aiveen Fox
Degree: BSc Psychology
Job: Trainee Forensic Psychologist
Employer: Westgate Unit HMP Frankland, County Durham
My current role is aimed at the assessment and treatment needs analysis of prisoners who are considered at risk of re-offending as a result of a severe personality disorder or a high level of psychopathy.
After graduation I obtained a post as a psychological assistant in the same department which gave me valuable experience in a forensic setting. As a student I did not have any direct forensic experience but I held several support and care work posts, for example with children with special needs. I believe this enabled me to develop and demonstrate communication, teamwork and listening skills, which are essential in my current job.
I have applied to begin a part-time masters course in applied forensic psychology in September, which is funded through my employer. This represents the first part of a two-stage route to becoming a chartered forensic psychologist. There is often considerable competition for assistant and trainee posts so any experience you can get as an undergraduate will be to your advantage. Some prisons offer the opportunity for voluntary work, for example in the visitors’ centre. Alternatively, jobs in support and care work settings can be a good way to demonstrate transferable skills.