The School of Politics and International Relations is delighted to invite a number of experienced Alumni guests, all at varying stages in their careers, to come and speak to current students about their journeys so far after graduation and to provide advice about identifying how their career paths may take shape.
Delivered in collaboration with the University's Careers and Employability Service and the Campaign and Alumni Relations Office (CARO), speakers will have the opportunity to discuss the motivations for choosing their degree at Nottingham, what skills and experiences have been most useful for their career prospects, the ups and downs of a typical day-in-the-life of their role, all while offering top tips for students looking to take a similar path after graduating.
The conference will be split into three speaker panels, all focusing on different sectors which are known to be popular among Politics graduates and which offer varied routes into employment. Speakers will each deliver a short presentation outlining their career path before taking questions from the audience in a Q&A.
The conference will take place in Room A03 of the Monica Partridge Building and will be followed by a catered networking session in the Atrium of the Law and Social Sciences building between 6 and 7PM (separate registration required).
A breakdown of the event and speaker profiles can be found below.
Government Panel (4 - 4.40PM)
Lydia Edmonds - BA Politics and International Relations, 2012
Deputy Head of Prime Minister's Business Team, 10 Downing Street
Lydia is Deputy Head of the Prime Minister’s Business Team – a unit which connects the boardrooms of businesses across the world with the heart of government. Prior to joining the Downing Street team, Lydia held a number of roles within the Civil Service including Deputy Principal Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for International Trade and a period at the British Consulate in New York. Before joining the Civil Service Lydia worked in Corporate Communications.
James Cole - BA Politics & MA International Security & Terrorism, 2012/2013
Head of UN System and Issues, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)
James is an experienced Civil Servant with a range of experience across local and national government. He has demonstrated effectiveness at working across HMG, with multilateral organisations (including the World Bank and OECD) and international partners. He now works in a permanent position at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) leading on bringing coherence to HMG’s engagement and objectives across the UN System. Previous roles in DFID leading on the UK's 'Finance for Development’, 'ODA Modernisation' and responsible for designing and delivering the UK's largest (£35m) 'Tax for Development' Programme.
Hannah Caithness - LLM International Human Rights Law, 2014
Office Manager, Office of Nadia Whittome MP
Since graduating in 2014 I have worked in a number of industries including the third sector and most recently in politics. I started my career proper working for Nottingham and Notts Refugee Forum as a Resettlement Caseworker and then progressed onto Advice Services Team Leader and finally to Service Manager. Prior to this I had undertaken volunteer roles within NNRF and other local organisations. I then went on from March 2020 to work as Senior Caseworker for Nadia Whittome the MP for Nottingham East and since June 2022 I have been Office Manager for Nadia.
Media & Corporate Panel (4.40 - 5.20PM)
Lauren McGaun - BA Politics and American Studies, 2022
Assistant News Editor, ITV News
I’m an Assistant News Editor at ITV News, working across the Home and Foreign Newsdesks. I organise logistics and camera crews for stories, bid for guests and occasionally interview contributors, as well as doing some field producing. Prior to this, I was a freelance journalist at BBC Radio Nottingham and BBC Radio Lincolnshire. I graduated in the summer of 2022, with a first class Politics and American Studies BA.
Matt Turner - BA Politics, 2017
Media Relations Manager, Chiltern Railways Media
I'm a Birmingham based communications strategist with experience across a broad range of industries. While I was at university in Nottingham, I edited new media outlet Evolve Politics. Upon graduation, I joined the parliamentary lobby as the first reporter to join the press pack from the so-called 'new left media', and made appearances on/in BBC Newsnight, Radio 4, The Times and The Independent. I then moved into communications and PR roles, assisting Members of Parliament as their primary spokesperson and communications officer. After the 2019 General Election, I moved to the third sector in a similar role with The Vegan Society, and ran their busy press office during the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and through various lockdowns. We gained national coverage on veganism in the workplace and the reduction in meat consumption in response to Covid-19. To my knowledge, I still hold their record for the most broadcast interviews completed in one day - standing at 19. During the pandemic, I opted to join the University of Roehampton as a Communications Adviser, working closely with marketing agencies and academic faculties to highlight their strong offering in Arts and Social Sciences to prospective students. I led on the creation of Roehampton's Welcome Week app and the 2023-2024 undergraduate prospectus. Earlier this year, I was approached by Chiltern Railways and the Arriva Group to formulate and implement a media and public relations strategy at a critical time for the rail industry. In the eight months I've been in post, there have been numerous immediate communications challenges around industrial action, the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, unprecedented hot weather and Operation London Bridge - the plan in the event of the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Lizzie Elkin - BA History and Politics, 2018
Client Manager, Milk and Honey PR
Lizzie is a Client Manager at Milk & Honey PR which is a multi-award-winning PR agency based in London. She is skilled in media relations, campaign development, trade shows and events, social media strategy, and content writing. She has experience working on both consumer and corporate clients with a core focus on purpose and sustainability.
Charity & Third Sector Panel (5.20 - 6PM)
Sebastian Bench - BA Politics, 2015
Regional Media Officer, British Red Cross
Having studied politics at Nottingham, I perhaps predictably started working in party politics after graduation. Albeit following six months of applying for jobs whilst living back with my parents. That job was with the Welsh Liberal Democrats and I've worked in Welsh politics and public affairs since. That includes a subsequent job with the Welsh Liberal Democrats, although pesky election results always limited those career opportunities. I also worked in organising political events, news monitoring and even attended a different university (Cardiff) to do a Broadcast Journalism Masters during the pandemic. That rather winding road has taken me to the third sector and specifically the British Red Cross, where I started in October 2022.
Beth May Gosschalk - BA Politics and International Relations & MA Politics and Contemporary History, 2021/2022
Project Coordinator, The Switch
I am a Project Coordinator at The Switch on the CharityWorks graduate scheme, having previously graduated from the University of Nottingham with a Distinction in MA Politics and Contemporary History and a First in BA Politics and International Relations.
Kianna Leader - BA Philosophy, Politics and Economics, 2019
Youth Voice Officer, The National Lottery Community Fund
Kianna Leader is a social change maker. She has worked in the public, private and third sectors. Currently, Kianna is working in philanthropy and aims to put communities and lived experience at the forefront of grant making . She also continues to inspire others through her public speaking engagements. Kianna is the Youth Voice Officer at The National Lottery Community Fund. She is responsible for managing youth voice teams in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and works to improve policy and practice throughout the grant making sector.