From Northumbria Sociology to Changing Lives

picture of volunteers sorting out clothing

Charlotte Nisbet, who graduated with a first class degree in Sociology in summer 2017, reflects on how her studies have helped her excel in her first job post-graduation.

In summer 2017 I graduated from studying Sociology at Northumbria University. Over the course of my three years at Northumbria I changed from a person who would just accept the world around me, to a person who now critically challenges/questions it. Sociology taught me how to view the world with a critical eye and how to put that into practice.

It is with this critical lens that I started volunteering at a charity in my first year of University. I worked with Changing Lives one day per week to help out and to gain experience with a range of different departments including contracts and procurement, business development and communications. The charity specialises in working with vulnerable people and offers a vast range of services to people in need, from homelessness hostels/outreach, addictions recovery schemes and accommodation to women in danger of domestic violence, just to name a few. The charity showed me the amazing life-changing work it does on an everyday basis and how my sociological imagination could help the charity to grow.

Sociology taught me how to view the world with a critical eye and how to put that into practice.

After two years of volunteering with Changing Lives, I was offered a paid position at Changing Lives as a Bid Writer. This job opportunity allowed me to examine social problems and come up with practical solutions to try and tackle them. One of my first challenges was to try and help the charity develop its Veterans’ services in Northumberland. I used the knowledge from my Sociology course, previous research and the help from front line staff to build a model for an outreach service in Northumberland. The funding bid was successful and we have just won £140,000 to implement the service.

I feel very proud of this achievement as I have seen how my knowledge and critical eye have helped to create something that will have lasting impact in Northumberland. I plan to keep expanding my knowledge and experience by pursing a Masters course in International Development at Northumbria. I could not have done it without the support and encouragement from the Sociology staff at Northumbria.