Where Are You Now?

Gabrielle Hall

Gabrielle Hall

BA Criminology 2016

Gabrielle Hall works as an Advocate/Welfare Rights Officer at the Northern Regional Association for Sensory Support. She is also a mentor at the British Deaf Association (Deaf Roots and Pride Project).

“I provide free service to d/Deaf, deaf blind and hard of hearing clients by dealing with any issues they come with by sign posting, service telephone support, translating information from English to British Sign Language and liaise with professionals in the North East,” the 25-year-old explained.

“In my role as a mentor, I provide one-to-one support to a young person to achieve their goals by encouraging them to step out of their comfort zone and do activities to improve their social and transferable skills,” she added.

Gabrielle, from Sunderland, loved her time at her local university and was most impressed by the course and its lecturers.

“The University of Sunderland needs more recognition and to move up more in terms of university rankings in the UK,” she said. “I very much enjoyed the course because of the fantastic lecturers with wealth of knowledge and willingness to help, especially Criminology Lecturer Donna Peacock.”

At her final year Gabrielle was one of 7000 young people chosen from across the continent to attend a European Youth Event at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Thanks to funding from the Futures Fund, Gabrielle was given the opportunity to take part in sessions on democracy, disability and Brexit.

She said: “The trip to the European Youth Event at my last year of university influenced me to grow more as a student, as a person and as a professional now.”

Gabrielle, who suffers from deafness, was volunteering for various deaf charities during her time at the University and it was this volunteering experience that landed her into her first paid job.

She explained: “I landed my first paid part-time job as an Advocate because I was already volunteering for the Northern Regional Association for Sensory Support as a Promoter and Researcher for one year and seven months.

“A colleague was going on maternity leave and they offered me the job because they knew how much of a hard worker I am and I have proven them right every time in the past six months. This is not my dream job, but I deeply appreciate the important skills and experience this role has given to me. It showed I am resilient, always calm and able to go with the flow as it is the nature of the job.”

She added: “One of my biggest challenges has been dealing with a client who was suicidal and dealt with a client who was angry on the same day after they were late for an appointment and had to wait until I dealt with the suicidal client because it was an emergency.”

However this is also a very rewarding job, she said.

“My greatest achievement has been helping a client to achieve a high Personal Independence Payment (PIP) scores which he deserved.”

Her advice to any current student is simple – volunteer as much as possible and at the start of your career be willing to work  in jobs that you might not particularly enjoy to get the skills and experience that will get you to your dream job.

She said: “Always show you are committed and willing to expand on your skills and experience. Look for internships while you are studying or perhaps on your summer breaks. I have volunteered for six years in different roles. I never received paid work during those six years, but I gathered important transferable skills and experience that helped me to get where I am.

“Also, use LinkedIn! I advise you to set up a profile with what you have done so far, it doesn’t matter if the experience you have done is so irrelevant to the dream job you want. It shows potential employers you have done a wide variety of things and gives them an impression you are willing to do so much more.”

Gabrielle's future plans include moving to New Zealand within two or three years, but in the meantime she has set her sights on getting as much experience as possible while in England and is also considering doing a masters.

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