Name: Chelsea Jones
Year Started (Graduate Programme): 2021
Graduate Position: Graduate Officer – Learning Disabilities Transformation
Current Position: Coproduction Officer
Studied: BSc in Psychology with Education
What was the highlight of your time as a Graduate Officer?
I can honestly say there have been many highlights during my time as a Graduate Officer. Having the privilege to be able to work with individuals with a lived experience through co-production to transform the future of the Council’s Learning Disability Services, has been an extremely rewarding experience. But the biggest highlight for me is when I was given the opportunity to lead on my first ever project, so early on in my placement. Not only did I learn valuable facilitation skills, such as conflict resolution and time management skills. The confidence I gained from my team entrusting me with facilitating the project was incredible, knowing that my work made up a large part of the Learning Disability Transformation Programme. Without engaging with people with lived experience, I know the usefulness and the quality of the work I do would suffer.
What was the biggest challenge you faced, how did you overcome this?
The biggest challenge I faced as a Graduate Officer was doubting my ability, with being so new to the role and organisation. I found myself surrounded by people from all backgrounds, varying service areas, and different levels of experience, which was overwhelming at first. I was amazed by their depth of knowledge and experience. Knowing this, I made sure that I learned as much from them as possible and asked for their support whenever I needed it. My team really believed in me and supported me every step of the way and this was paramount to overcome any challenges I faced.
What advice would you give anyone considering applying for the Graduate Programme?
Never give up! I applied to the Graduate Programme three times before I was successful as it is such a very competitive programme. It can be tough to get the exact job you want when you leave university or you may even be unsure what you want to do, but the Council’s Graduate Programme will provide you with the perfect experience to build upon. There are fantastic networking opportunities with fellow Graduate Officers and senior staff members from across the service areas. Be open-minded with the Graduate positions available, even if you may have no experience in that service area, if you can demonstrate your attributes for the role specification you will be considered.