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Case Study: George

Personal details
Degree:BSc Hons Geography Profile picture
School(s): School of Geography and Geosciences
Year of Graduation:Jun-1999
National of: United Kingdom
Employment details
Organisation: Convention of Scottish Local Authorities
Job title: Team Leader – Environment and Regeneration
Occupational Sector: Environmental Work
What has been your route to getting your current position?

Postgraduate degrees, working in Local Government in England and Scotland, short stints in consultancy and working for a Government Agency.

What does your job involve ?

I provide policy and political advice to 32 councils across Scotland through the political structures of the Convention and lead a small team of policy experts in matters relating to a broad policy remit of the Regeneration and Sustainable Development Executive Group and provide direct support to political spokesperson. The subjects covered include economic development, land-use planning, flooding, waste, climate change, regeneration, renewables, tourism, transport and consumer protection.

What are the best bits of your job ?

The variety of the work, the timescales involved: long-term strategic planning and short notice deadlines, alongside the discussions and negotiations around policy and the chance to be involved in the complexities of political relationships in Scotland, UK and Europe.

Why were you successful?

I am dyslexic, not an immediate plus point you may think, however I’ve always been acutely aware of my limits in terms of my written/reading skills but it has reinforced over the years my drive to achieve and continuously improve all my skills. This determination has helped me with career development, but I don’t think I’ve been successful yet.

What skills/ knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?
The wide variety of subjects covered has been a great help given the breadth of the portfolio but just the general exposure to different theories and ways of thinking was beneficial.
What advice would you give to students wishing to follow the same path?

I would say that a great majority of my colleagues have a wide variety of career and academic backgrounds so I can’t give specific advice on subjects to follow. I have found my general reading around psychology and political biographies of great use. However, I’ve never had a set career path mapped out in my head, just that I wish to be challenged in a public sector environment.

The hours are flexible, but it does require a fair deal of out-of-hours work and the social life is good, you get to know a good spectrum of people across Local Government in Scotland.

I loved St.Andrews not only for the education, but the golf and most importantly the chance to meet Mrs Eckton 17 years ago in John Burnet Hall. Our first son is named after the old town (and the picture attached is last year enjoying a trip back to the beautiful beach, much better than me at my desk).