Passion for Public Service. How a Degree in Politics and International Relations Can Guide Your Career Path

by | Apr 14, 2023 | Alumni/careers, Politics, Philosophy and Economics | 0 comments

Catherine Fleetwood Walker – Bachelor of Social Sciences (BSocSc) in Politics and International Relations

Catherine is a Senior Project Manager for the NHS, she graduated from Manchester with a Bachelor of Social Sciences in Politics and International Relations in 2009. Catherine tells us about her career now and her experience studying at Manchester.

My current role and how I got there

I have worked in a variety of roles since graduating in 2009, primarily in the public sector. I am currently in my 7th year in the NHS and working in education commissioning for the mental health workforce.

My career has taken many twists and turns since graduation, but I’ve repeatedly come back to the public sector. My degree helped me to identify and explore my own values and beliefs, which has led me to return to the public sector after twice working in the private sector. I passionately believe in public service.

My degree instilled in me a passion for public services, for protecting the most vulnerable, and for ensuring our NHS remains free at the point of service. I don’t believe I would have spent so long in public service without the personal learning journey I embarked on during my undergraduate study.

My experience at Manchester

I have always loved the city of Manchester and its unique blend of history, tradition, and modernity. I was attracted by the reputation of the university and particularly the School of Social Sciences, with its prestigious degree in Politics and International Relations.

My learning experience at Manchester helped to refine my personal values and beliefs. It instilled in me both a passion for society and public service, but also the ability to temper and moderate my attitudes and beliefs when necessary to accomplish aims and goals within my professional world.

Manchester opened my eyes to a world beyond my own experience of growing up in a working-class northern town. Meeting a variety of people from different backgrounds, countries, and all with varying life experiences, helped me to grow and expand my own horizons.

My advice for future students

Explore everything that Manchester as a university and city has to offer because it has so much! Manchester is unique and it became my second home. I think of my time there fondly and it helped me become who I am today. I hope to return one day to live, work, and/or study there again.

I’d also advise prospective students to think about whatever degree they want to study and explore it to its fullest. Don’t be pigeonholed – I didn’t study politics to become a politician. I studied politics to understand the world around me, which has helped me to have a successful career in many different roles, from supporting tropical medicine education in London to helping commission clinical psychology degrees in Exeter, and coordinating outreach programmes for business in Bangladesh!