From education to employment

No better time to consider postgraduate study?

Many industries have been hit hard by COVID-19, inevitably making the job market a more competitive environment. While this can be seen as a challenge for those looking to start a career or change career direction, it also means there is no better time to bolster skills with postgraduate study – whether a master’s degree, PhD or other.

Postgraduate students at the University of Kent have shared their views on how returning to education has had a positive impact for them.

Versatile career path opportunities

Pedro Garcia Pintos is a MSc Computer Science graduate and is now working as a Solutions Architect for Retail Reply. With technology changing dramatically and shaping every sector, Pedro found his degree opened up endless possibilities for his career path.

Pedro said: ‘The course gave me the opportunity to learn across many programming languages, technological tools and practices applied from different angles, at the engineering, architectural and data analysis levels. As a result, I did not only learn the technical aspects of the tools and languages being used, but also how important they are and how they fit into the bigger picture in today’s business and societal world. It gave me the technical and business foundations to kick start my career in consultancy. At postgraduate level you get to study alongside peers that are very serious about what they want to do, focusing a lot on their studies and career aspirations; inspiring you to give your best and facilitating the achievement of excellent grades and results.’

Research development and flexibility

Alex Davis (45), studies on the Ancient History MA at Kent’s School of European Culture and Languages (SECL), after graduating with a First in Classical and Archaeological Studies from the University. She had taken an Access to HE Diploma at Canterbury College before studying at Kent. Alex found that postgraduate study enabled her to apply skills developed during her Undergraduate degree by pursuing her research interests in more detail. She said: ‘I have taken modules in new topics, widening my knowledge and understanding of the ancient world and ancient languages. Studying part-time makes it easier for me to fit in Outreach work and volunteering too. I feel a strong sense of belonging at Kent, thanks to the amazing support and encouragement of both the Classics department and the wider community during my time here. I am so glad that I took the MA and I am seriously considering applying for a PhD.’

Applied thinking and advocacy skills

Loveness Williams (38), who studies MA Social Work at Kent’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research (SSPSSR), has found that the skills she has gained through postgraduate study have equipped her to excel in her future career. She said: ‘As a postgraduate student balancing my studies with children, being a student rep and having a job, it has not always been easy. Yet, with support from the University here I am about to graduate and enter a new profession equipped with the critical thinking and advocacy skills to really make a difference.’

Focused study for career direction

Postgraduate study can also help students focus their attention more closely on their chosen subject area if they have a precise career direction in mind.

Madeleine Hughes studied a SeNSS (ESRC) funded PhD at Kent’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, researching the needs and problems presented by older prisoners in the prison service. Prior to her PhD she had completed both a BSc and MSc at the University. As a mature student Madeleine found herself to have excellent grounding in study skills from studying an Access to HE Diploma before studying at Kent. She found her PhD enabled her study focus to be ‘determined’ and catered towards her career direction.

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