Keep Informed Where are you now? > 2020-2029 > Kathy Anderson

Where Are You Now?

Kathy Anderson

Kathy Anderson

BSc (Hons) Psycholog2019

PGCE PCET 2020

Kathy has spent her time during the pandemic teaching in a prison. She is a prison tutor and currently teaches Community Innovation, Mentoring and Cleaning.   

She explained: “Community Innovation is all about giving something back to the community, thus learners will propose a project, factoring in impact, timeframe and budgets to do something of benefit to their community. Mentoring can include mentors from DART (Drug, Alcohol, Recovery, Team), education and wellbeing and support their peers within these roles. It is my job to facilitate this so the learner can gain a qualification from this. I also teach cleaning, which is a level 2 course and is required before learners apply for a cleaning job in the prison. 

Kathy applied for two jobs with Novus, part of LTE Group, and she got both after graduating. This then allowed her entry onto an Educational Doctorate at Teesside University, of which she has almost completed her first year. 

Kathy’s motivation and dedication were evident throughout her time studying at the University, as she balanced her work inside the classroom with her family life. She also has dyslexia which was a real struggle to deal with. 

She said: “This was an issue, but the University of Sunderland offered me support and made this more manageable. With the support and encouragement I received, I specialised in English for my PGCE PCET and I am now qualified to teach this. Something I never thought I could teach, but I am living proof dyslexic students CAN teach English. 

Kathy, who was initially attracted to the University of Sunderland because of its support network, can’t praise highly enough all the support she received during her studies.  

“I heard about the support from reading reviews online prior to applying. I knew if I ever needed support, it was there, and I would never be judged for asking for help,” she said. “I felt accepted as a valued member of the University of Sunderland. That acceptance is something that I had been looking for a long time. This gave me confidence and I felt that despite my negative teachers at school, I could complete my degree and to a high standard.” 

She continued: “I met some fantastic lecturers during my time at university, but one lecturer in particular influenced me. Dr Vanessa Parson influenced me the most and inspired me to be the best I could be. She made me believe in myself like no one had before. This was a really important developmental area for myself and what I needed to succeed. 

Kathy’s advice to recent graduates entering the job market is to gain volunteer experience to make your CV stand out. 

She advised: “Don’t feel disheartened if a company says no, keep applying to them for other roles. I would also gain some volunteer experience as this is what stuck out the most on my CV. I completed many years of volunteer work and it allowed me to ‘try on’ careers before committing. 

I would make an appointment with the Careers and Employability team. They are experts when it comes to employment and really helped me prepare for competence interviews. They have the SuPa award, which is worth applying for should you wish to stand out. 

Asked about her future plans, she concluded: “I hope to complete my Educational Doctorate and influence prison education. I will also apply for education management roles within the prison system. 

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