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Alumni

Robert Steer

Career Path: Administrator, Key Enterprises
Location: Whitley Bay, UK

I went on to study a Master's Degree after completing my Undergraduate Course in Geography & Environmental Management several years earlier. As well as many financial incentives to continuing my studies with Northumbria, I've always enjoyed the style of teaching, especially in the Social Sciences and Human Geographies. I always wanted to study geography and social science as I feel like the human application to Geography is fundamental to all sectors of research and learning. My undergraduate dissertation explored the themes of place, space and Emotional Geographies at a heavy metal music festival. My Master's dissertation focssed on Grime and Hip Hop music and how it can act as a voice for vulnerable people in gentrifying and low-income areas. It isn't easy to apply these skills and knowledge sets to a career however I was very lucky to find employment with a fantastic Mental Health charity in North Tyneside that provides practical skill education for vulnerable adults with brain injuries and learning disabilities. Sustainable Development can only happen when the most vulnerable in society are accounted for and this job allows me to play my part in that process.

What are you doing now?Robert Steer

I'm working for a small mental health charity in North Tyneside called Key Enterprises. Key Enterprises provide practical skill training and education for vulnerable adults with brain injuries and learning disabilities. It's a social enterprise and takes pride in supporting international projects as well as other local charities. I work behind the scenes in the office but I also take on a very hands-on role in supporting many of the service users in day to day tasks such as helping them use computers to fill out forms or just rock out to some music on YouTube. It's a great job and I absolutely love working in the charity sector.

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

I have family roots in the North East so I've always wanted to reconnect with Newcastle and Northumberland. Northumbria is a welcoming University and takes pride in the high teaching standards on offer.

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

I had a mix of lectures, seminars and team projects. However, due to the nature of the subject, a lot of the learning is done on an individual level. This is perfect for how I learn and if I ever need help or support it was always there to hand. The lecturers and professors are all approachable and friendly and there's always feedback and support sessions where needed. I enjoyed working in the relaxed atmosphere of The Hub in Ellison Building, it is a creative and fun space to get work done with staff offices surrounding if you ever need a quick bit of help or a question answered. I often would just sit down and enjoy a cup of tea with a member of staff, it's that sort of environment that really helps me learn and engage with projects.

How connected was your course with industry?

I didn't have a placement personally however that is something that was on offer to people on my course! Straight away in the first few weeks of my Master's we were invited down to Durham for a Disaster and Resilience conference. There were plenty of events like this that really helped students to network with those that work in the industry.

What was the best thing about your course?

Meeting my fellow students and forming some amazing friendships along the way. Even just talking to new people who have come to Newcastle from all over the world can open so many doors to you.

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

It certainly helped me become more confident in who I am and really make that transition into a young professional. I am not a money oriented person and my career goals are more based on working somewhere that will make me happy and support my mental health, Northumbria didn't pressure me into seeking a high paying or corporate job and I appreciate them for that. I am so happy and content with myself and my work, the real value is much higher.

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

Presenting and public speaking with a good amount of critical thinking thrown in!

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

Making some brilliant friendships and proving to myself that I can achieve whatever I want!

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

Go for it, it's a great university in a beautiful city! Make friends and don't be afraid to explore.

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

Engaging, stimulating and rewarding

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