Lead Your Union: what happens next

Monday 22-01-2018 - 15:00
4 news pod lyu2018

So you might be thinking about becoming a Student Officer, but then wonder what happens after you've finished your term? 

We spoke to some previous Officers to see what they enjoyed most about their time in office, and what they learnt that helped them get to where they are today.








Ben Atkins

Role whilst at The Union: "Student Activities Officer and President!" 

Where are they now? "I am currently a Student Experience Officer at the University of Birmingham Law School. As part of the senior professional services team I lead on a range of areas including student engagement and enhancement activities and support colleagues in a whole range of activities including careers, welfare and educational development."

Best thing about being an Officer? "Looking back I think the best part of being an officer was the ability to challenge the University, Union and myself with the kind of topics and issues which have a major impact on not only peoples studies, but people’s lives."

What did you learn? "I am pretty sure I owe any success I have in my current career (and probably life!) to being a student officer, the challenges that I faced, the support and training that was given helped me to develop my confidence and my own ideas and values as an actual functioning adult. "


Hannah Templeman

Role whilst at The Union: "I was Education Officer from 2012/13, then President 2013/14."

Where are they now? "I’m working at Nottingham Trent Students' Union as the Opportunities Manager, I am responsible for the department that delivers extra curricular activities like Societies and Volunteering for NTU students"

Best thing about being an Officer? "Best thing about been an officer is the experience you gain from the role and the level of influence you have to change things for the better, you also get to interact with a variety of different people from postgraduate students to scared 1st years on campus and all of them have had or are having a different experience. It really is the best graduate job you can get, as you not only have the power to influence at a meaningful level, but it is so varied day to day that you never get bored! The best moment of been an officer was when I went to NUS national conference with a 9 other MMU students to represent the views of MMU students on a national level. This experience opened up my eyes to the level of impact students have not only on a local level, but nationally and the number of other executive officers across the country who were passionate about making sure their own students got the best experience on their campuses."

What did you learn? "Having experienced what it was like to work in a students’ union and the amount of fun I had, it helped me to realise that I enjoyed working for an organisation whose sole purpose is to represent and enhance the experiences of its membership. I took the decision to stay within SU’s and move onto BCUSU then NTSU. I hope to one day lead a students’ union as a CEO and I think having the opportunity to sit in top level meetings with senior staff within the university and be mentored by senior staff in the students’ union allowed me to gain an insight very early on in my career about what I wanted to do and to some level what I need to do to get into that position.”


Jo Ellis

Role whilst at The Union: "I was General Secretary for 2 years at the SU."

Where are they now? "I have been living in Australia for the past 7 and a half years. Since 2012 I have been working as a Training and Conflict Consulant at a Counselling and Training Organisation. In this position, I am responsible for running the Organisational Services area of the Company. I liaise with HR and Managers to decipher what their workplace needs and issues are and I then coordinate the appropriate work for them. My role also involves developing and delivering training, as well as delivering conflict coaching. I am continuing my studies this summer when I will commence a degree in Social Work."

Best thing about being an Officer? "Particular highlights that stand out in my mind as my time as an officer was organising and taking part in a National demo to lower Sudent fees and visiting the House of Commons to interview MPs. Being involved in the SU also helped me gain an interest in politics. The best part by far though was the friendships made with  other SU officers, every decision is made togethe and you do become very close to the people in your team aswell as officers from other SUs."

What did you learn? "My role as an officer really helped me gain confidence in public speaking, improve my organisation skills as well as develop my skills in decision making and team work. Working at the SU and representing your student body really helps you become involved in the culture of University and helps form some amazing friendships and experiences that will stay with you forever."


Mike Palmer

Role whilst at The Union: "In 2013 I held the role of Student Activities (Manchester) and in 2014 I was elected President."

Where are they now? "I'm now the University Events Manager for Pyramid International, a multi national company who license, manufacture and sell a variety of products across the globe. My role is to manage a large team of staff members across the UK & Ireland who can provide a variety of pop up sales across campuses for University Students around the UK & Ireland, offering the extensive range of products which Pyramid offer. You might know the University Poster Sales around on campus - this is one of Pyramids core activities alongside working with organisations such as HMV, Amazon and B&Q."

Best thing about being an Officer? "My favorite thing about being an officer was the skills I gained from communicating with a variety of stakeholders including being able to present to different types of individuals such as Students, Staff, Governors and Local MPs. I probably didn't realise at the time how important this was and how much I gained from it. The diversity of an officer role allowed me to develop those skills further than I ever would of been able to do from just studying or even part-time work."

What did you learn?  "In interviews I constantly refer to the networking, communication and presentation skills I developed whilst being an officer at The Union MMU. In my role currently I could be negotiating a large contract with a commercial manager or CEO at a huge university, or talking to an 18 year looking for part-time work or even an officer from another Students' Union who wants to provide something new for students on their campus."


Rhi Sears

Role whilst at The Union:  "VP Cheshire."

Where are they now? "​I'm a Rotational Band 6 Physiotherapist working at Salford Royal."

Best thing about being an Officer? "Taking what students wanted to the higher powers and making change happen."

What did you learn? " I increased my confidence when talking to people, learnt how to put a case forward to implement change, how to implement change, time management, prioritisation and management skills.




Fancy being part of the next team? You can offically stand from Monday 5 February.

Know someone you think would be amazing for a role? Recommend them.


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