Graduate in Focus: Daniel Neat

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Daniel Neat

Name: Daniel Neat

Degree: Double MA Governance and International Politics

Year of graduation: 2016

Employer: The University for the Creative Arts

Job title: Study Abroad Co-ordinator

What does a typical day in your job look like?

As Study Abroad Co-ordinator for The University for the Creative Arts, I lead an extremely varied day. I am supporting all outgoing student mobility at the university, incoming student mobility, the Erasmus+ project (study exchange and traineeship placements), staff mobility, creating new international partnerships for student exchange and supporting the UCA International Summer School. This further includes representing the university at national and international conferences. A typical day therefore is extremely varied. There is never a dull moment, particularly with my passion for transnational education and the Erasmus+ programme.

What has been the highlight of your job so far?

The opportunity to inspire students with Erasmus+ Study Abroad/Traineeship opportunities and to see how this programme can support students (as it did myself) to gain international experience. Furthermore, the opportunity to represent the university nationally and internationally.

What skills have you developed in your role?

This varied role has enabled me to develop leadership skills, communication skills and further my understanding of how a higher education institution functions. Furthermore, I can link my PhD research with my role.

How has your current role shaped your career plans?

I am passionate about transnational education and would like to progress into a management role focusing within this area.

How did you secure your role? Did you receive any support from Careers+Placements?

Following the completion of my Double MA in Governance and International Politics, I was able to undertake an Erasmus+ Traineeship in Brussels. Through this I developed my skills in regional affairs, particularly those of HEIs across Southern England. With a combined passion and knowledge of Erasmus+ and Transnational Networking, I was able to secure this role.

Did you secure your role when you were still a student? If so, when and where did you start looking for a role?

Yes. However, this was/is a part-time PhD Student, which I am undertaking alongside my full-time role.

Did you do a placement or gain any other work experience (e.g. part-time job or volunteering) before securing your graduate role?

Yes. Through Aston University, I was able to take part in the HEFCE-funded PSS project, in which I focused on the impact of the PSS scholarship funding and experience of EU students at Aston University. Furthermore, throughout my academic and professional career, I have taken part in 3 Erasmus+ exchanges, allowing me to live, work and study in Austria, Belgium, Germany and Spain for 1-year periods. The skills you gain, personally and professionally whilst living abroad are invaluable to employers in our globalised world.

What advice would you offer to final year students or other recent graduates looking for a role?

International experience in our globalised world is key. An opportunity, such as an Erasmus+ Traineeship or a MA option, such as mine at Aston University, where I could spend the second part of my double MA in Germany is an incredible and rewarding experience. Sometimes you will need that experience first before you can secure your desired role.

Any other comments?

It is important to look outside the box, try new opportunities and work hard to get the role you want. I personally feel part-time work alongside studies shows greater commitment and experience to an employer.