Assistant Clinical Psychologist
Why did you choose UWIC?
I originally studied speech and language therapy at UWIC and then transferred through the University to Psychology. I therefore chose UWIC as there were a limited number of courses to choose from (SLT courses). I wanted to live a fair distance from home and after having to attend for an interview I liked the set up. Sport was an important factor as well as I swam competitively at the time and wanted to carry this on. UWIC has a good reputation for sports and the facilities were ok - at least there was a pool and sports facilties on site. I also was impressed with the halls (Llandaff), they were newish, clean and you were given your own room including toilet and shower. I didn't fancy sharing a room with anybody and my own bathroom was a bonus. Cardiff as a city was appealing and I liked the idea of a city with character, with countryside nearby.
Why did you choose the particular course?
I enjoyed the psychology aspects of the Speech and Language therapy course and not much else, I therefore decided a basic transfer through the university would be easier. I'd done a year of Speech and Language therapy, made friends, had a home set up, had settled in - I didn't really want to start all that again. Therefore, I chose psychology at UWIC by default really.
How beneficial you find the course?
The course gave me a good grounding in Psychology, with the opportunity to study a wide range of modules. I found the research aspects of the course really useful and have excelled in research since leaving university - appearing to have more advanced research knowledge than graduates from other universities.
What have you gone on to do since graduation?
Having graduated in 2003, I am still working very much within Psychology and loving it. I have found something I can be passionate about and have enjoyed all my jobs since 2003. At the moment I am working as an assistant psychologist for a private company, working with adults with learning disabilities, assisting with the occupational health service and court assessments primarily in capacity and child protection cases. Previous to this I have held two NHS research assistant/associate posts, one within a forensic mental health service and the other working with children, investigating Auditory Processing Disorder. I have also held a voluntary assistant psychologist's post within the NHS, working on a group therapy programme for individuals with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. In addition I have worked as an ABA (Applied Behavioural Analysis) tutor for children on the Autistic Spectrum and a teaching assistant with an 11 year old with Aspeger's Syndrome. I'm working towards a career within Clinical Psychology and have applied to the Doctorate course for my third time this year (and hoping to be successful!).
How easily did you find employment upon graduation – how long did it take? is it relevant to what you studied?
I started working as an ABA tutor before I graduated and continued this. However, I applied for hundreds of assistant psychologist posts and research posts before I was offered one - this happened about a year after I graduated and I nearly gave up to follow careers within teaching and sports development. It was hard then and it is still hard - despite my wealth of experiences I still struggle to get to the interview stage for assistant psychologist posts. It's a competitive career path and can feel really demoralising at times - just have to remember I'm good at what I do and I love my job! I could not have followed this path without my Psychology degree.
Would you recommend UWIC and the course?
I've applied to MSc courses at other Universities and been accepted, I even started an MSc in Forensic Psychology but it was not for me, even though I knew what to expect having worked within a Forensic mental health setting. As regards courses completed - I've done a Foundation Certificate in Counselling at a local college which has helped me a great deal at work. My aim is to complete the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and I'm hoping to be accepted within the next 2 years - UWIC doesn't offer this course.