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Jeannine Cresswell

MSc, Architectural Conservation

What made you choose to study your course? Decided to make a major career change.

What did you do after graduation? Began two days per week with Blackpool Council whilst continuing to work two days per week with NHS (former employer).

Job title & brief description: Conservation Officer (officially Heritage Assets Officer to reflect department. Built Heritage and Conservation Team sit within the Council's Property and Asset Management Department).

Advice to development management team for listed buildings, buildings in conservation areas and, recently, locally listed buildings.

Review existing conservation areas and undertake appraisals for new conservation areas, including updating article 4 provisions where necessary.

Local designation review - major piece of work over last couple of years has been establishing a list of buildings of local architectural and/or historic interest - doing research, setting up a process etc.

Please tell us about the journey that brought you to this position: Originally worked as a PA in the NHS which was far from satisfying. Although I had a degree (in English and History) I had never really used it and I decided, at a 'certain age' to set myself the challenge of training for a new career. I'd long been fascinated with historic buildings, and had toyed with the idea of doing a similar course in industrial archaeology straight after my degree, but needed to earn a living instead. Circumstances changed years later and I decided to bite the bullet and see if I could make the change successfully. I've been very lucky in finding a position locally where I could learn and develop my conservation skills, due in no small part to having a champion/mentor in my manager.

What are your lasting memories of your time at UCLan? As a very friendly place - I'm still in touch with fellow students who are now scattered further afield.

What is your greatest achievement since graduation? Being taken on as a permanent member of staff - a tribute to all I've learned and the hard work it took to get there! My post was temporary until two years ago.

Is there any advice you would give to graduates wanting to do something similar, or a message you would like to give to those thinking of taking up study? It's a challenge, but well worth it. Conservation work is a real vocation.

Has your degree, or your experiences at UCLan had any particular impact on your current employment or your life in general? This is the first job I've ever had that I've really enjoyed - I look forward to coming to work each day, and that wouldn't have happened without the MSc.