Aaron Lee: BA (Hons) History 2016 - 2020; Projects Officer at Winchester Student Hub
“Winchester is a small city and with that it brings closer relationships, connections and communication; as a result of that it has been very important to how I work.”
Aaron Lee is a Projects Officer at Winchester Hub and a graduate of 2020. Having studied a BA (Hons) History degree, Aaron has learned how to understand arguments from different perspectives. He now works with students, managing several student volunteering programmes.
“I work as a Projects Officer for Winchester Hub, managing student volunteering programmes. I’m the first point of contact for students and members of the community.”
“Volunteering with Winchester Hub at university gave me a keen interest in charity and social action, so it was natural for me to apply to this role. I made sure to show the experiences I had volunteering at university through my application and in my interview.”
“Taking part in forums about areas relevant to the student experience and being on the Student Academic Council gave me an insight into how institutions operate, which was really helpful. Throughout university I was also speaking to programme leaders as a Student Academic Representative which involved using skills in negation as there were different priorities for people when studying and I needed to communicate that. It also involved working with people in an organisation, giving feedback and learning how to make that constructive.”
Aaron says his degree equipped him with the tools to work alongside a range of people and built his confidence.
“My degree helped develop my analytical skills, understanding different perspectives, knowing the experience of others and knowing how they make impact in the present day. It also built my level of confidence through doing presentations and essay assignments.”
“It does give you valuable skills and there’s a massive difference between what I was like before university to after, in terms of how I engage with other people and their different viewpoints.”
“In my final year I studied a module about Post-War teenagers. This was a good module because it was seminar-based, and we were all in a room during the course – chatting and debating – and our lecturer was really engaging regarding the subject matter. This guided me into my dissertation which focused on Post-War working-class communities – I interviewed people about their memories of the time; this involved five hours of transcribing.”
“I had a lot of support and training from my supervisor and this gave me quite transferrable skills. I put these skills on my CV – this included communicating with older people I hadn’t met before, interviewing them for my case studies. A lot of graduates will say how their dissertation has helped them. I also made sure to mention this in my interview for the job.”
Aaron commends the supportive community at Winchester for influencing how he engages with fellow staff and students, along with how he approaches his work.
“Winchester is a small city and with that it brings closer relationships, connections and communication; as a result of that it has been very important to how I work. I’m still here and working with similar people to when I was a student – members of the community, students and staff – but you can build new relationships within and outside Winchester. The University is a very supportive place that can help you with many key development points such as support from Careers or from tutors, lecturers and course mates. Anyone can support you and it’s so much easier to have that conversation with people in a close-knit community.”
Outside of his degree, Aaron took part in many extracurricular activities which he gained additional career skills from. These later helped him when applying for his current role.
“Working with Winchester Hub as a student I built a network. Through extracurricular activities you build relationships you can continue to benefit from. Societies are usually the first way students are inducted into a leadership role. It is a learning curve many students arise to. I was president of first aid for two years – a lot of problem-solving that I felt I was facing head on with my team. It helped in that sense – innovation and team management – that is one of the first times I led a team without any experience before. Societies give you experience and a taste of the working world going forward. It all depends on the team and how the society works but problem-solving is a big part of that.”
Taking part in extracurricular activities has also given Aaron some of his best memories at Winchester.
“Being with other like-minded people has given me a good source of memories. First aid society was fun, learning how to use equipment and going through different first aid scenarios, triage and treating as appropriate. This included a lot of acting and fake blood – that was quite fun to do in the University buildings, having fun in spaces that are more academic and having a good time with friends.”
“I also really enjoyed Freshers Fayre. I spent time between three different committees struggling to split my time between the tables, getting everyone to sign up and chatting to people.”
Aaron is happy in his current role which he started in January of this year. However, he adds that in the future he would like to work with local communities within a government or charity sector.
“I’m always looking for the next opportunity, communicating and working to make an impact which is what I’m doing currently. I like working with different people; learning, building and networking, so any opportunities that come along and allow that would be great. I would also like to get into line management and management areas that I haven’t developed skills in yet such as budgeting and finance. However, I would like to stay with Student Hubs before thinking of moving to another company – developing new skills is where I see myself going next.”
“In the future I’m interested in working in local government and the charity sector. I have a keen interest in local politics so the democratic process and anywhere I can use my skills of communication and public speaking is quite interesting to me down the line.”
As a recent graduate working alongside students, Aaron has some insightful advice about gaining volunteering opportunities.
“Value extracurricular experiences and use those to develop yourself as much as you would use them socially – do enjoy them socially too! However, see how they can benefit you. I would have joined the Hub earlier if I had known about it. Reach out to Student Services and do some research in to what you can do.”
It’s also a great idea to volunteer; volunteering is a way to discover what you’d like to do as a job and also what you wouldn’t want to do.”
“Reach out to the Careers Team as soon as possible – it’s a great resource to have so take advantage of it as soon as you can. It helps to whittle your options down to what you are passionate about. If you’re looking for work, go to future jobs fayres.”
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