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Case Study: Sandy Wilkie

Personal details
Degree:MA Geographical Studies Profile picture
School(s): School of Geography and Geosciences
Year of Graduation:Jul-1985
National of: United Kingdom
Employment details
Organisation: Bolton NHS Foundation Trust
Job title: Staff Engagement Lead
Occupational Sector: Human Resources
What has been your route to getting your current position?
A varied and interesting career path; civil service, private sector, public sector (higher education) and NHS
What does your job involve ?
I help to make Bolton NHS FT a great place to work. By improving the quality of our 'staff experience', we help strengthen the 'patient experience'. My focus is on workplace culture, organisational values, communication & effective leadership.
What are the best bits of your job ?
Working right across the organisation, from our Directors to frontline staff on the Wards or in our Community Health Centres.
Why were you successful?
Having a degree like Geography helped me to see the world from different perspectives and think broadly. Experience leading the Geog Soc, participating in fieldwork expeditions and moving around different employment sectors, has given me sufficient insights to develop my strategic/creative thinking and people skills.
What skills/ knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?
Using the combination of a scientific and arts-based approach; valuing quantitative and qualitative insights. Learning to think broadly about cause & effect.
What advice would you give to students wishing to follow the same path?
Follow your instincts. Get involved in different types of work, projects & sectors. You won't really know what you want to do until you try it. I didn't settle on becoming an HR professional until I'd had 14 years experience after graduation. Be prepared to look for inspirational workplace cultures; some employers claim to offer that but don't deliver on those promises. Look for evidence of progressive leadership. And enjoy the journey!