Leaving University and entering the world of work can be a pretty daunting experience for many graduates. All of a sudden, you’re thrust from worrying about grades, assignments and making your 9am lectures to worrying about what you will be doing for the rest of your life.
Last summer I graduated from university with a degree in Psychology and in addition to feeling incredibly excited I also felt incredibly nervous about what the future may hold. Yet fast forward 6 months to today and I have found myself in my new role as a Junior Researcher at ECC and I’ve been loving every minute of it.
Why a career in research?
Much of my degree revolved around research and its importance in informing evidence-based decision making. Whilst at university I also had the opportunity to conduct my own research projects which involved compiling questionnaires, conducting interviews and then analysing the data in order to report my findings.
I loved studying my degree, yet funnily enough pursuing a career in research never seemed an obvious choice. Whilst employers from financial services, technology firms and marketing agencies seemed to fill every corner of our career’s fairs, there appeared to be few social research positions on show. So as a result, I assumed that if I wanted to continue conducting research then I would have to remain in academia.
However, upon returning home to Essex and seeing my current role advertised at ECC, I realised that a career in research was exactly what I wanted to do. Luckily after an online application, video interview and face-to-face task, I was delighted to be offered the role and embark on my new career.
This role gives me the opportunity to build upon the experiences and skills I had gained throughout my degree and to do work which I really enjoy. However more importantly, a career in research at ECC allows me to make a difference to my local community. The insights we discover help to inform decisions and target strategies, which hopefully will improve the lives of Essex residents. It’s really rewarding at the end of each day to know that I’m contributing to such important goals.
My experience so far…
I have really enjoyed my first few months working as part of the Research and Citizen Insight team. I have been welcomed by lovely colleagues and have already had the opportunity to work on numerous projects across a wide range of topics including work on the resident’s survey, equalities and domestic abuse.
Having such a varied role means that no two days at work are ever the same and you are continually being challenged and learning new things - from creating online surveys to working with focus groups.
Working on multiple projects has also meant I’ve been able to work with lots of members of the team already. Everybody has always been happy to help explain new things, teach me how to use applications and answer any questions (even the ones I was worried it might be silly to ask!). Thanks to all of them, I have felt really supported in my role since joining.
Not only am I part of a great team, but ECC has plenty of opportunities to connect with other employees across the organisation. I have joined both the Women’s Network and Young Person’s Network and through them I have had the chance to attend presentations, Q&As and social events!
To finish off I can’t wait to continue my journey at ECC. I am hoping to continue developing my confidence and skills as a researcher and look forward to progressing further in my career.
I really hope in the future, more and more people will become aware of the opportunities available to work in research and what a fulfilling career this can be.
So, if you’re currently at school or university and wondering what your next steps might be - why not consider a role in research that could make a real difference to people’s lives.