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Helen Donlon

Regional Programme Adviser

BA (Hons) Human Geography

Job satisfaction is clearly important to geographer Helen Donlon, and as a Graduate Trainee in the Programme Office at Wigan Council, she loves knowing each day will be completely different.

“It’s a great feeling, being part of innovative projects and investments effective in the transformation of quality of life in the local community – being challenged, using skills developed at Edge Hill,” said Helen.

“Studying allowed me to develop transferable skills, becoming knowledgeable in global affairs, helping me become well-rounded, acting upon any situation I’m faced with – socially or professionally.”

Helen supports officers and managers at Wigan Town Hall on various transformation projects, helping monitor and disseminate programmes, keeping documents updated and ensuring deadlines are reached, while developing teamwork and organisational skills.

Topics covered at degree level are now practised daily, in various disciplines, through interviewing, data collection and analysis, and observation, adapting study skills to her current role. Furthermore, she feels her Edge Hill studies motivated her ability to thrive in that environment.

“I was fortunate to find an opportunity at Wigan Council, but without Edge Hill’s coaching, constant referrals and advice throughout my three years, I wouldn’t have had the confidence and motivation to attend my assessment centre and interview.

“When I received a job offer, a reference from one of my professors was a big help. I was also invited back to a careers week and gave a presentation to undergraduates – a fantastic opportunity to share my experiences. It was an honour to be invited back, and it’s important to keep those strong connections.”

Regarding advice to current students, Helen stressed:

“Utilise the transferable skills you’ve gained. Your subject area and knowledge base allows you to become passionate in something so unique. Be proud and confident in what you’re interested in, and show how and why you want to get involved.

“I’ve used an array of skills developed and practised at university. Part-time jobs, commitments, hobbies, volunteering and interning alongside studies, create a strong, distinctive CV that employers will be drawn towards.

“In interviews, assessments, volunteering or networking, being yourself is the best advice. And being interested and open-minded is key in developing contacts. Get on LinkedIn, Target Jobs, Prospects, etc – make yourself known. Only you can make this first step. The more experience and practice you have enforcing post-graduate development, the more exciting things become.”