Case studies

Leeds University has inspired thousands of students and graduates just like you - and changed the lives of people who are very different from you. These are real stories.

Degrees on their own aren't enough to get a good job you need to do more to stand out from the crowd. I would also suggest being open minded about your career path and be prepared to try different things

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Kim Shutler

English

Alumni

The main purpose of the graduate scheme at Asda is to recruit our future leaders. So leadership is absolutely essential, we look for leadership potential, teamwork and good communicators

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Lucy Cowham

Asda

Employer

As my time at Leeds continues I see it setting me up perfectly to both go places and do the things in life I want to, but to set me up with excellent job prospects for a career in the future too.

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Andy Jaunzems

Geological Sciences

Student

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David Millard

Japanese, Russian Studies

Alumni

David studied Japanese and Russian Studies at Leeds and is now a senior compensation consultant with Shell. He was inspired by travel while at university and has gone on to take up various human resources roles around the world.

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Hannah Lewis

Geography with Spanish

Alumni

Hannah is a geography with Spanish graduate. Her volunteering experience while at university paved the way for her current role as a student outreach co-ordinator for International Alert.

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Helen Jacob

French and Spanish

Alumni

As an entertainments manager for Sky Bet, Helen still uses the management and interpersonal skills she first developed through her French and Spanish course and membership of the Film and Catholic societies while at university.

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Ella Peck

Politics and Sociology

Alumni

Ella discovered her passion for dance through the Luso Brazilian Society while studying politics and sociology. Inspired by performing and teaching dance, she went on to establish her own dance company, Element Dance Brasil.

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James Chan

International Health and Medicine

Student

James is currently studying medicine and hopes to continue with his clinical training when he graduates. He’s also considering going on to do a master’s.

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Jonathan Clements

Japanese with East Asian Studies

Alumni

Jonathan knew early on that he wanted to see the Far East and write about it. His course, Japanese with East Asian studies and a passion for travel and literature while at university turned this dream into a reality.

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Lee Thompson

Politics and Parliamentary Studies

Student

Lee’s placement year as part of his politics and parliamentary studies course took him to Washington DC, where he was involved in Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. On graduating, he would like to pursue a career in government or public relations.

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Liz Adamson

Economics

Alumni

Liz, an economics graduate, attributes her success as an associate with Price Waterhouse Coopers to a summer internship with the company, between her second and final years at university.

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Mirra Sondhi

Electronic and Communications Engineering

Alumni

Having studied electronics and communication engineering while at university, Mirra is now an IT analyst for KPMG. Mirra’s work placement year was a major influence in helping her decide on her chosen career.

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Sarah Wayman

International Relations

Alumni

Sarah, an international relations graduate, now works as a research and policy officer for the National Union of Students. She considers her involvement and experience with LUU in political campaigns and as women’s officer, of real value in her current role.

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Matthew Roberts

Mathematics and Geography

Alumni

Having completed a first degree in maths and geography, Matthew went on to gain a PhD in fluvial hydrodynamic modelling. He was also the president of the Leeds University Ballroom and Latin Dancing Society. Matthew now works for Capita Symonds Ltd in the flood risk and water management team.

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Seb Elsworth

History and Philosophy

Alumni

After graduating in history and philosophy, Seb spent two years on the LUU Exec. He was involved in leading the Union through major strategy and governance changes and significantly influenced the national debate on how students’ unions should be run. Seb is now head of policy at ACEVO.

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Paul Swainson

Psychology

Alumni

Since leaving university, Paul has gone on to establish his own fitness consultancy. His involvement in the University Boat Club and other sporting activities played a big part in influencing where he is now.

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Jonathan Hui

Chemistry

Student

Alongside his course, Jonathan has used his first year to get involved in many co-curricular activities. As a Chem Soc and staff student committee member and an active member of the University of Leeds swimming team, Jonathan is developing confidence in communication, teamwork and leadership skills.

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Susan Nash

Politics and Parliamentary Studies

Alumni

Part-time work and involvement in co-curricular activities played an important part in Susan’s university experience. Having graduated in politics and parliamentary studies, Susan went on to be education officer in LUU and is spending the next year on the National Executive Committee for the NUS.

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Andy Jaunzems

Geological Sciences

Student

Andy is currently studying geological sciences in the school of earth and environment. His involvement with the LUU Canoeing Club has given him the opportunity to get involved in a sport he loves, as well as the experience and satisfaction of coaching and leading others.

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Carolyn Taylor

Economic, Social History and Management Studies

Alumni

Carolyn is a graduate in economic and social history and management studies and now works as a manager for UK Clinical Research Network. While studying, Carolyn found part-time work a big advantage in preparing her for the ‘real world’.

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Barbara Mansen

Psychology

Student

Barbara is the first one in her family to go to university and has been working towards a degree in psychology. She feels she’s learnt many transferable skills from her course and gained confidence in exploring new co-curricular activities, such as belly dancing.

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Catrin Jones

Business Economics

Alumni

Catrin is a graduate in business economics who has gone on to work with the British Army as a troop commander in the Royal Signals. Her time at university has given her the breadth of experience which she now draws on, whether it’s in camp dealing with everyday issues, or operations in Afghanistan or Iraq.

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Jennifer McNeil

Broadcast Journalism

Student

Jennifer has come to Leeds from the United States to study broadcast journalism. Travelling to Greece with the Classics Society and interviewing members of the public as part of her course have developed her confidence towards achieving her dream of becoming a news presenter for the BBC.

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Kai Man

Accounting and Information Systems

Alumni

Kai is a business analyst who graduated with a degree in accounting and information systems. He’s pursued a career in financial services and hopes to run his own successful company one day. The work experience he gained while at Leeds was a big influence in helping him decide on his career path.

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Katie Russell

English Language & Literature

Alumni

Katie is a voluntary sector manager who graduated in English language and literature. While studying, Katie was the Leeds branch organiser of the international V-Day campaign to end violence against women and girls.

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Kim Shutler

English

Alumni

Kim is a communications professional, who graduated in English. While at university, Kim organised a large-scale charity fashion show and gained valuable work experience during summer holidays, including an internship with Vogue magazine and coverage of London Fashion Week with Reuters news agency.

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Lizzie Fellows

Philosophy and History & Philosophy of Science

Alumni

On graduating with a degree in philosophy and history & philosophy of science,
Lizzie went on to be elected as welfare officer in LUU during 2007/8. Her ability to challenge underlying assumptions, thanks to her course, has been a real help to Lizzie in her Exec role.

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Victoria Hundleby

Maths and Management

Student

Victoria has overcome financial barriers to study maths and management at the University and balances study with part-time bar work. She has also volunteered in a local college through the Access Academy and trained as a peer mentor. She was awarded a Millennium Volunteers Certificate last Christmas.

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Amit Pandy

MBA

Alumni

Amit learnt theories of organisational improvement during his MBA, but lacked the work experience to get his perfect job.
With help from the Business School he secured a project to cut costs at a local company, and this was a springboard to his career as a Senior Business Change Analyst at a global bank.

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Clare Coley

Accounting and Finance

Student

Clare has always wanted to work for a big-four accountancy firm, and was sponsored through University by GE.
Long distance running, coxing for the rowing team and volunteering in homeless shelters have given her the social skills to complement the accounting and finance knowledge of her course – vital if she is to gain a place on a graduate accountancy scheme.

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Edward Kirton-Darling

Law

Alumni

Edward is a trainee solicitor specialising in civil liberties and public law. His degree course gave him a grounding in law, greatly improving his legal research skills, analytical ability and communication skills. Getting involved in pro bono activities also helped prepare him for a master’s and life as a solicitor

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James Farrell

Geography

Student

James knows that geographical skills are essential to a career in geographical research. His course has already provided skills ranging from statistics to lab and fieldwork techniques. Meanwhile, co-curricular activities have improved his teamwork and social skills, which will come in handy on this summer’s fieldwork in the Austrian Alps.

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Jen Wallis

History

Alumni

When Jen joined the Institute of Historical Research in London she already had five years of solid work experience as well as her history qualifications.

She worked part time throughout her time at Leeds and feels that fitting in co-curricular activities alongside study and work is invaluable for getting the widest range of experiences possible.

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Karen Wilton

Biochemistry

Student

Karen hasn’t decided on a PhD or a full-time job yet, but her time at the University of Leeds has taught her to be adaptable. On her course she became efficient at managing time between work and fun, while improving her teamwork and communication skills on caving trips and presenting on the University’s TV station LS:TV.

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Mark Brinded

Computer Science

Student

Mark hopes to become a computer scientist after University, and since coming to Leeds he has boosted his CV with countless opportunities.

When helping young people with their CVs and interview techniques, he was trained in talking with different groups of people. This is a perfect addition to his course’s very technical and theoretical content.

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Steph Burn

Aviation Technology with Pilot Studies

Student

Despite gaining a private pilot’s licence and learning about aircraft and the air industry, Steph feels her course was just part of the Leeds experience. She found that working with children in the access academy was just as rewarding, and an extra step towards a future as a commercial pilot.

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Susan Turrell

Viral Gene Therapy

Student

Susan was a postgraduate representative for her institute which strengthened her communication and management skills. But it’s on a placement in a local school that she gained leadership skills and found an easy rapport with students. This will be extremely useful in her future with a job raising public awareness of science.

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Alex Saunders

Geography

Alumni

Alex is a recent geography graduate who now works as an Account Manager for Giant Systems, the company where she did her work placement.
This opportunity, offered through the Careers Centre work placement scheme, helped Alex develop commercial awareness, as well as recognise the value of her transferable skills.

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Caroline Mason

Management Studies and Spanish

Alumni

Caroline owns and runs a new type of sandwich bar which is a roaring success thanks to her leadership and management skills.
A year abroad in Madrid helped clarify her idea of bringing montadito, or tapas sandwiches, to Headingley.

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Harry Hunter

History

Alumni

Harry met his business partner at Leeds and started a company, Think Pacific, with help from Spark’s business advisers. He now works to provide ethical gap years in the South Pacific and sustainable development in the poorest communities of the Fiji islands.

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Amy Greir

History

Student

Amy is in her third year as a history student and president of the union’s band society. She is planning postgraduate study to develop her research skills, which will complement her experience of coordinating social events and concerts around the University.

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Naomi Thorne

History

Student

Naomi hopes to work in the financial services industry. As an intern in the school of history she has learnt the importance of good organisation and time-keeping, and improved her communication skills - essential for explaining the complicated world of financial products and services.

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Rachael Passmore

History

Student

Rachael has studied history at the University of Leeds but has chosen to pursue a career in law. Her degree has given her a range of transferable skills directly related to a legal career, and focussed her mind on her future direction.

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Richard Foulds & Lindsay Hewitt

Sagar Wright

Employer

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Lucy Matthews

Deloitte

Employer

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Jacinta Kent

NSPCC

Employer

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Kevin Jones

BSc in Information Systems.

Alumni

Kevin is a recent Information Systems graduate, working as part of the BT Global Services Graduate Scheme. His degree enabled him to hit the ground running with BT Global Services and the electives he took in Informatics helped give him a real insight into the uses of technology.

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Steve Box

BSc Computing for Health and Medical Sciences

Alumni

Following an opportunity provided through the School of Medicine Steve spent a summer working in Washington State, in the USA. This helped him develop a range of skills and knowledge which helped when he produced a poster for a conference, which was spotted by a firm of consultants who got in touch to arrange an interview.

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Faiz Sheikh

Arabic and International Relations

Student

Faiz has developed a diverse range of skills thanks to his involvement in a variety of co-curricular activities alongside his course. He feels the business experience he gained through his Leeds for Life internship will be particularly valuable when it comes to pursuing applications for public service roles.

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Tom Gwynne

History

Alumni

Tom advocates gaining experience alongside your degree to be successful in the graduate market. Being involved in the school of History’s internship scheme gave Tom an invaluable insight into working for clients and taking responsibility for a project; experience that made him stand out to Deloitte.

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Mike Knowles

History

Alumni

Mike’s advice to Arts students is to think outside the box when it comes to exploring careers options. Having studied history at Leeds, Mike has been able to use his inter-personal and organisational skills gained through hi course to become a Corporate Tax Associate with Deloitte.

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James Bullock

Law and French

Student

James recognises the importance of getting involved in co-curricular activities in preparing him for the demands of a corporate law environment. The business skills he developed in his role as Treasurer of the Law Soc – commercial awareness, negotiation and the ability to work under pressure - should help James in his ambition to secure a commercial training contract.

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Natasha Arciniega

Cinematography and Television Studies

Alumni

Thanks to networking within the film industry and gaining valuable work experience while at university, Natasha landed her dream job as a film producer on graduating. Studying at Leeds taught Natasha to push the boundaries and believe in herself; qualities which are just as relevant in her current role.

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Lewis Croft

Law

Student

Recognition for his ability to construct convincing, legal arguments and winning his department’s mooting competition, mark the highlight of Lewis’ University of Leeds experience to date. Lewis also attributes his involvement in the mooting society to his growth in confidence, adaptability and responsiveness to other people’s views.

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Kate Stevens

English Language and Literature

Student

Kate attributes her success with Cancer Research UK’s graduate scheme to the skills she learnt on her course and getting involved in co-curricular activities while at university; team building, effective communication, creativity and time management were all valuable skills she learnt through participating in societies alongside her course.

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Dan Cornford

BA Joint Honours French and Management

Student

Dan’s experience of working with students as part of the International Welcome Team and as a voluntary classroom assistant has provided him with a number of transferable skills, which he hopes will benefit him in a future teaching career. A joint honours degree has also taught Dan to manage his time effectively between his academic and social life.

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Catherine Quinn

English

Alumni

Catherine is a freelance journalist who graduated in BA and MA English before becoming a full time writer. She now supplies travel, health and employment features to a large variety of national publications and is a published author on the subject of freelance writing.

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Helen Alkin

Marks & Spencer

Employer

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Lucy Cowham

Asda

Employer

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Richard Freeborn

Santander

Employer

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James Johnstone

ACCA

Employer

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Richard Ellis & Laura Coleman

HSBC

Employer

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Lynne Mounsey

Enterprise Rent a Car

Employer

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Lisa Hyman

Accenture

Employer

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Jaki

Faculty of Arts

CareerPlanning

In January 2011 Jaki was employed full-time as an Office Temp, by June 2011, she had secured a role as a Graduate Trainee in marketing with an organisation in London.

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Carol

Faculty of Arts

CareerPlanning

Carol was employed full time as an Administrator at a country house hotel in January 2011. By June 2011, she had secured a role with a charity.

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Hazel

Faculty of Arts

CareerPlanning

Hazel was working for a recruitment organisation as an Office Temp. By June 2011, Hazel had secured a role on a graduate advertising scheme.

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Matthew

Faculty of Arts

CareerPlanning

Matthew is a Media Advertising Assistant for a satellite TV company. He didn't plan much for his career whilst at university and later realised that he wanted to get into advertising.

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Colin

Faculty of Biological Sciences

CareerPlanning

Colin was a full-time Bar Person after graduating in 2010, By June 2011 he had secured a place on a PGCE starting in the September of 2011.

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Florence

Faculty of Biological Sciences

CareerPlanning

Florence graduated in 2010 and in January 2011 was employed in a Customer Adviser role. By June she had secured a graduate role working with a clinical trials organisation as a Data Entry Assistant.

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Dhivant

Faculty of Biological Sciences

CareerPlanning

In January 2011, Dhivant was unemployed. When Dhivant left university he didn't really have a career in mind but was fortunate enough to secure a graduate role as a Lab Technician.

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John

Faculty of Business

CareerPlanning

John was working full-time for an energy company as a Customer Service Adviser in January 2011. By June 2011 he had made the transition to a graduate Account Assistants role with one of the big four accountancy firms.

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Chris

Faculty of Engineering

CareerPlanning

Chris was employed in a nightclub as a Bar Hand in January 2011 and still doesn't know what he wants in the longer term. He was focusing on increasing his academic knowledge and his plan was to embark upon an MA.

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Robert

Faculty of Engineering

CareerPlanning

Robert was unemployed in January 2011. When re-surveyed he had secured a graduate role with a telecommunications company, a role which he enjoys and finds intellectually stimulating.

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Ryan

Faculty of Engineering

CareerPlanning

Ryan left applying for jobs until after he had finished his degree and found himself unemployed for a while. By June 2011 he had secured a graduate role with a national energy company.

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Elizabeth

Faculty of Environment

CareerPlanning

Elizabeth was unemployed in January 2011, but had no real approach to career planning during her time at university. She knew she wanted a job related to environmental work to put to use the skills she had acquired during her degree.

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Laura

Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences

CareerPlanning

Laura was working full-time as a Receptionist. By June 2011, she had secured a graduate role with an organisation which provides Maths and English tuition to 5 to 14 year olds.

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Harminder

Faculty of Performance, Visual Arts & Communication

CareerPlanning

Harminder was employed part time with a major high street retailer. After actively applying for roles and using her initiative she is now employed full time.

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Carrie

Faculty of Performance, Visual Arts & Communication

CareerPlanning

Carrie was employed part-time as a Sales Assistant for a high street shoe shop. By June 2011 she had secured a role in production with a major broadcasting organisation.

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Rachel Wylie

BSc Geography

Volunteering

Rachel is a 3rd year BSc Geography student who had never volunteered until she came to University here in Leeds. Rachel has been volunteering with WISE -Women in Sustainable Engagement - for the past two years and is now the Project Leader. Rachel originally wanted to become a weather forecaster after graduating, however she has now gained employment working in the third sector.

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Shannon Cross

BA History of Art with Museum Studies

Volunteering

Shannon Cross is a mature student who is currently in her 2nd year studying History of Art with Museum Studies. Shannon has always loved to volunteer and did so at Harewood House prior to starting University. It was this experience that inspired Shannon’s degree choice here at Leeds. Shannon has now gained employment with the team as a Visitor’s Assistant and continues her passion for volunteering on the days she isn’t working.

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Katie Mullin

LLB Law

Volunteering

Katie is a 1st year LLB Law student, originally from the North East of England. Katie has always loved to volunteer and did so with the Citizens Advice Bureau before coming to Leeds. Katie applied to a few organisations at the start of the academic year before committing to volunteer with the Together Women Project. TWP work with women experiencing disadvantage and exclusion, and aims to move them in to positive futures. Katie's role as a volunteer is to get involved in the varied work  that TWP do to support these women.

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Catherine Burgess

Psychology

Volunteering

Catherine Burgess a Psychology Graduate from Leeds who is now studying for an MSc in Health Psychology. During this time she has taken on two roles; a Health Awareness Volunteer for Cancer Research UK and a Hospital Support volunteer for CLIC Sargent on the children's oncology ward at Leeds General Infirmary. Catherine initially started to volunteer in order to gain experience in psychology and believes that these experiences really helped with getting a place on her MSc.

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Peter Dakin

Foundation Year

Volunteering

Peter Dakin is a part-time mature student here at the University of Leeds, currently undertaking his foundation year and is hoping to study child nursing. Peter has been involved with volunteering for many years and since coming to Leeds University he regularly checks the Volunteering Hub for new opportunities. Peter has joined the Leeds University Union society Teddy Bear Hospital and hopes to work with them in the near future

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Liddy Swales

History of Art and Philosophy

Volunteering

Liddy Swales is in her 4th year of a joint honours degree in History of Art and Philosophy. Last year she enjoyed a study abroad year in Canada and as her graduation approaches she reflects on the volunteering she has done since coming to Leeds.

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Dami Adebayo

BA International Relations

Volunteering

As Dami approaches the end of his degree in International Relations he tells us a bit more about the skills and experience he has gained from volunteering.

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Lucy McIndoe

French

Volunteering

Lucy has always enjoyed volunteering, previously with youth groups at home and also at a Kids Club on her year in France. Lucy spotted the opportunity to be a volunteer Social Media Intern for Oxfam's Festival Shop at the start of the fourth year of her French degree, and she didn't hesitate in applying.

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Georgina Binnie

PhD James Joyce & Photography

Volunteering

Georgina Binnie is about to start her 4th year as a PhD student in the School of English. She has enjoyed many volunteering roles whilst studying at university but it was her role as a befriender at a residential home in Leeds which sparked an idea for an exciting new volunteer project.

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Stephen Jessop

BA French & Spanish

Volunteering

Stephen Jessop is a languages student who took part in the Students into Schools programme as both a module student in his 2nd year and a volunteer in his 4th year. His experience helped him to successfully gain a place on a PGCE. Here he talks about his experience…

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Natalie Jane Eastment

BA Cinema & Photography

Alumni

Natalie had always wanted to work in film or TV and she chose her course and co-curricular activites to develop the necessary knowledge and skills she needed to get her start in the TV industry, working for Motus TV as a Studio Assistant.

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Katrina Pugh

BSc Mathematics

Foundation

I have been involved in a wide range of co-curricular activities since I started my course at Leeds.  Through the Action volunteering society and with the help of a grant from the Leeds for Life Foundation I have developed skills and experiences that have really helped me with my job applications.

I’m now going to be a secondary school mathematics teacher, as part of the Schools Direct scheme, and I have no doubts in my mind that Leeds for Life has helped me to achieve this fantastic role.

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