UCLan alumna Olivia Barker-Williams shares her experience
MSc Psychology Conversion graduate, Olivia Barker-Williams, was fascinated by the subject of psychology during her time at sixth form college and was inspired to complete a BSc Combined Philosophy and Psychology degree.
After graduation, she started to explore ways to specialise in her career and decided that the clinical psychology route was perfect. This was directly aligned with her love of all things people.
One of the barriers that Olivia faced on her journey towards her dream career was gaining a Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) of the British Psychological Society (BPS). Unfortunately, her undergraduate degree did not cover sufficient psychology content to gain a Graduate Basis Membership. She was triggered to explore ways to achieve this status by studying at a higher level.
After some research, Olivia discovered that the MSc Psychology Conversion course at the University of Central Lancashire would allow her to overcome this obstacle, something that she would recommend to any graduate who is in a similar situation. Additionally, Olivia was impressed with the course accreditations, the excellent student feedback and its ability to prepare her for Chartered Membership following further postgraduate training.
"The fact that the British Psychological Society accredits the course ensured me that I was being taught on a high-quality programme that could open doors and further my career progression within psychology"— Olivia Barker-Williams, MSc Psychology Conversion graduate
Olivia knew that any master's level course would be challenging but she said that she never felt ‘left in the dark’. She commented: “All my tutors were helpful and genuinely motivated to make students the best they could be”. In particular, during the dissertation element of the course, Olivia worked with our expert psychology academic, Andy Morley, to perfect her research. She is now set to be published in CLOK, UCLan's academic journal, in partnership with Andy. She described this as one of her ‘proudest moments.
As part of her studies, Olivia won the UCLan School of Psychology and Computer Science awards for the best research project. Olivia also won the academic excellence award for best overall performance in her cohort.
Since graduating, Olivia's career has grown from strength to strength. She initially gained a temporary job as an Assistant Psychologist with Priory Healthcare but since has successfully acquired a permanent position as an Assistant Psychologist at the Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust, working within the Specialist Perinatal Community Mental Health Team. Olivia believes that her successful appointment was heavily influenced by the skills and experiences gained at UCLan and she is now firmly on her career path to becoming a Clinical Psychologist.
Commenting on her time at UCLan, Olivia said:
"Without my MSc I would not be in the job I am today. It has broadened my opportunities and has been great for my personal development."— Olivia Barker-Williams, MSc Psychology Conversion graduate