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Elouise Leonard-Cross

I’ve completed a number of qualifications at the University, starting with my undergraduate degree in Psychology. Following graduation I worked in a range of roles, including a training role in retail. I joined the NHS in an operational role but then moved to HR and when taking on my first management role (Training & Recruitment Manager) decided I would benefit from going back to study part time. I enjoyed my undergraduate degree and could see the value of psychologically informed practice in organisations so chose the MSc in Occupational Psychology as I felt it would enhance my practice and offer a good basis to progress my career. After completing my Masters I undertook my chartership with the British Psychological Society to become a fully qualified Occupational Psychologist. I worked in a range of senior People and Communications roles and decided to add to my more formal qualifications with a research led Professional Doctorate in Occupational Psychology, exploring how organisations can better map and use people and performance data.

What are you doing now?

I’m Head of People Strategy & Experience for Northumbrian Water Group, responsible for Centres of Expertise across Reward, Recruitment, Health, Engagement and Data. 

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

The diversity of teaching staff who have both academic and industry experience, so I knew I’d get a great quality learning experience which was underpinned by applied practice.

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

My Masters had a mix of lectures and workshops. I liked the fact there was self-led learning and collaborative projects as this reflected working within an organisation. The range of subjects covered meant the qualification gave me a great grounding to work in a range of areas and the confidence to take on broader projects. The programme was delivered to a much smaller group than my undergraduate degree which allowed for time to discuss and share ideas, adding to the richness of the learning experience. The Doctorate was a really rich and personalised learning experience, working with a small team of experts to challenge my thinking.

What impressed you most about our academic staff?

Experience in industry and ability to use work experience to create engaging and insightful learning sessions. Staff were generous with their professional network and offered introductions which was particularly valuable.

How connected was your course with industry?

For the Masters we had guest lectures and there was a session specifically on applied skills - to hear from past graduates on the range of areas they had gone on to work in. I was working whilst studying part time, so I was able to directly apply much of my learning to my role to benefit the organisation, for example by introducing a talent programme.

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/give your career an edge?

I gained a breadth of knowledge and applied skills that allowed me to work in a range of areas. The Doctorate built my confidence in research and academic challenge and this has added value in my work with Executive Teams.

What was the best thing about your course?

Application of knowledge - the entire Masters programme was designed to be used in professional practice. The Doctorate gave me freedom to explore and build an original research base.

Which skills/knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now throughout your career?

Influencing - selling an idea or concept but putting over a balanced and considered view, via a written report, presentation, or conversation.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

The breadth and depth of learning and the strong regional networks and connections.

What advice would you give somebody who is thinking of studying at Northumbria?

Carefully consider the programme - does both the content and delivery model fit what you need? It can be tough when studying (particularly assignments or dissertation) so making sure your choice is the best fit for you will help you stick with it to graduation and get the most from the experience.

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in 3 words?

 Insightful, enriching, varied.

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