Our PhD students and Pre and Post-doctoral Launching Fellows were invited to attend a Career Path Workshop at the Mary Ward House in London, December 2021. After almost 2 years of hosting virtual events it was an absolute pleasure to bring together our SPHR training community in the same space during this hybrid workshop. The day offered an opportunity for the SPHR training community to step away for a day and appreciate that career planning is a continuous process of self-assessment, exploring options, developing skills and a professional identity. The workshop was designed to promote networking opportunities, sharing of experiences and deriving inspiration for future career opportunities.
The programme was facilitated by interview and career coaching expert Margaret Doyle-Walsh who has over 19 years of coaching experience particularly in the fields of healthcare, academia and the public sector. The day kicked off with a welcome talk and a Q&A session with Professor Ashley Adamson, SPHR Director, and Professor Rona Campbell, SPHR Academic Career Development Lead. We were joined by Dr Thomas Burgoine, Senior Research Associate, who shared his inspiring career story and gave great tips on creating a professional identity throughout your research career. We were also joined by Rosie Jenkins SPHR PhD alumni student, who shared her recent interview experience which has led to her new role as a Public Health Officer at Birmingham City Council. The day concluded with an inspiring talk from Dr Michael Dalili, Senior Research Associate, who shared his career story and experiences in Local Authority and highlighted the breath of opportunities for Public Health researchers both within academia as well as outside. The key messages of the day were to take every opportunity and use it to get one step closer to where you want to be.
The workshop is only the start of a career-long journey. Career planning is a continuous process of self-assessment, exploring options, developing skills and proactively networking and creating opportunities for yourself. But where it takes you next will require committed action – “what is my career plan, where is my career taking me next and after that, what will I stop, start, and continue doing today so that I reach those goals”.
“The biggest take-away is that the initial career post-PhD can be quite uncertain but it is ok. The major thing is to train yourself to have the skills and experience you need for your long-term goals. Another take-away is that keep the communication with your peers, there are always a lot to learn from each other’s journey” Ke Zhou, UCL, SPHR PhD student