Course studied: BSc (Hons) Biology
Graduating year: 2013
Job: Project Support Officer
Grace graduated from Bath Spa with a degree in Biology. She currently works as a Project Support Officer for Curo (www.curo-group.co.uk).
"Don’t be afraid to seize unexpected opportunities! You may be surprised what you end up doing, but there’s no such thing as bad experience."
What have you done since graduating from Bath Spa?
I initially worked as a General Administrator for Reader’s Digest Children’s Publishing, where I gained useful administrative experience, so that I could stay in the Bath area. I then worked as a Data Analyst for Retailmap, a company based in Leicester that provides price and range analysis in the fashion and home retail sectors. This was originally an internship that turned into a permanent work opportunity. However, I recently decided to move back to the Bath area, which prompted the move to my current role at Curo.
What is your current job/role?
I’m currently a Project Support Officer for Curo, a not-for-profit housing and support organisation based in Bath. My role is to provide support to the Programme Management Office, helping to manage and maintain the portfolio of projects as part of Curo’s Business Improvement activities.
Typical day in the current job...
My working day runs from 8:30-5:00, but what I do varies greatly day-to-day depending on the projects I’m assisting with. Various tasks I’ve been involved with include maintaining spreadsheets, helping to organise meetings and events, and developing project management documents.
Most favourite part of your current job?
The variety – no two days are the same! I also get to learn about many different aspects of the business as the projects I work on span multiple departments.
… least favourite part?
Thinking about work too much when I’m at home; when you’re doing something you find rewarding it’s very hard not to take your work home with you.
How did your course at Bath Spa help to prepare you for employment?
Although I’m not currently working in a biologically related field I learnt a wealth of relevant skills during my degree that helped me to secure my position. Collating and statistically analysing the data from practical sessions, and then presenting the findings in a professional format, gave me experience of using Microsoft Excel for data analysis, which I have frequently used for data analysis since. The variety of the assignment formats, from posters to verbal presentations, gave me the confidence to express myself in a clear, understandable way.
I find being a confident public speaker particularly helpful during interview processes, but also during employment when presenting information to colleagues. Working on group assignments taught me professional trust, delegating tasks amongst one another and trusting the other members of your team will put in a fair amount of effort and get the job done. There were also issues to overcome during some of my assignments (particularly my dissertation!). I learnt that it was important to try and stay calm and be realistic when coming up with solutions to complex problems. Finally, and possibly most relevantly, project management. Being able to schedule my time most efficiently and being confident enough to schedule colleagues’ time is a large part of my current role.
Best experience/memory of your time at Bath Spa?
The final year Marine Biology field trip, there’s nothing quite like surveying algae and limpets on a freezing cold beach in Wales – it was a great bonding experience!
Top tip(s)/advice for current Bath Spa Biologists/Environmental Scientists?
Don’t be afraid to seize unexpected opportunities! You may be surprised what you end up doing, but there’s no such thing as bad experience.