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Alumni

Spike Reid

Career Path: International Mountain Leader, Adventurer, Public Speaker & Overseas Tour Leader
Location: London, UK

Following my graduation from Northumbria I was elected into the sabbatical post of President of Northumbria Students' Union and then re-elected to the post where I represented 30,000 students. Since leaving this post I have worked in many varied roles and undertook a number of expeditions including being the Leader of Latitude Expedition in which I circumnavigated the world supported by Royal Geographical Society and Land Rover, researching the social impact of climate change. A few years' ago I was Leader of GangesSUP, the first ever descent of River Ganges source-to-sea by stand-up paddleboard raising awareness for excessive single-use plastic ending up in rivers and oceans.Spike Reid

I am a freelance public speaker, writer, International Tour Leader and qualified International Mountain Leader to take groups of adults and students on tours off the beaten track. I have also held the position of Events Coordinator at Royal Geographical Society looking after venue hire and venue management for wide range of events.

What are you doing now?

A few years ago I undertook a major expedition stand-up paddleboarding down the 'River of Life', the Ganges, from source to sea. I was the first person to ever complete this journey in this method. The expedition goal was to raise awareness for the excessive single-use plastic that ends up in the holy river and then our oceans. Although we got coverage through Discovery Channel India and the BBC Travel Show this campaign is far from over. Although expeditions are on pause for the time being, planning is underway for another major campaigning one.

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

Excellent programme, fantastic industry links, great campus, based in the heart of a superb student city

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

Great variety of contact time with experienced and creative team of academics. There were no two parts of the course any thing alike, meaning it was easy to engage fully in the programme and develop our skillset.

How connected was your course with industry?

The course had second-to-none industry links. This resulted in a range of live projects (working directly with companies) and a large number of placements available each year. We had great visiting lecturers including Sir Jony Ive, Senior Vice President (Design) at Apple and the widow of Charles Fraser-Smith, the man who inspired James Bond's Q.

If you took on a placement during your course how did you feel this helped you in your career/ with your studies?

I undertook placements in the French Alps and in Malaysia. These had some of the benefits of a gap year, whilst ensuring I was learning a great amount of industry-relevant skills.

What was the best thing about your course?

A programme that was relevant to and well-connected with the industry.

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

The placement element of the programme taught me a lot about the real world that we all deal with after graduation. All too often students are not prepared for employment so well - not the case for my coursemates and me.

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

The creative problem solving I learnt on the design programme has prepared me extremely well for both my personal expeditions and my work as an international tour leader.

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

The community that existed both within my programme and at the Students' Union ensured I felt welcomed, built great relationships and learnt a huge amount.

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

Superb courses + welcoming campuses + ace community + fantastic city = amazing student life.

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

Great deal learnt.

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