Ask the Graduate: Working in University Outreach

RO Central Team - Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Posted 2 months ago


March 2021

A typical day working in a University Outreach team

This month we've heard from 3 graduates who studied at RO Partner universities and are now working at their institutions as outreach coordinators. Below Harriet, Chenaiyi and Paige share details of what a typical day looks like for them. Have you ever thought about what it might be like to work at a university and specifically in Outreach? Read on to hear from Harriet, Chenaiyi and Paige. If you'd like to hear more after reading about the graduates' typical days then you can post a question at the bottom of the article (questions can be posted anonymously). The RO Central Team will collect all questions on 12 March and Harriet's, Chenaiyi's and Paige's answers will be posted via the next monthly update at the end of March. 


Hello, my name is Harriet! I graduated from The University of Sheffield in 2020 with an integrated master’s degree in Environmental Science. I now work as an Outreach Graduate Intern at The University of Sheffield.

My current role focuses on creating and delivering sessions to school and college students about university and higher education. Due to COVID19, I work from home creating digital resources. I really enjoy the range of projects I can get involved with. For example, designing presentations, creating newsletters, developing marketing materials for projects, and writing reports on the events and programmes we carry out!

Morning: I start work at 8am. Before logging on and starting my day I make sure I have a hot drink and some breakfast. The first task of my day is to create my daily to do list. It is important that I have good organisation skills so that I can stay on top of my work and my to do list helps me with this. I enjoy this task as it’s a nice and productive way to ease myself into the working day.
Usually, I will have more than one meeting in the morning. I really enjoy these as it’s nice to interact with my colleagues at the start of my day, especially whilst working from home. In these I usually discover new things to add to my to do list which I will then aim to tick off throughout the day.

1-hour lunch break: I have my lunch break at 12pm. The first thing I do is make sure I get outside and go for a walk. Sometimes I will go on a long one and treat myself to something to eat whilst I’m out, usually a doughnut from my favourite cafe.

Afternoon: Often in the afternoon I will have less meetings, so this is when I have the most time to create online resources and content. Sometimes there might be a conference that I need to attend. These are a great way to find out more about developments and projects going on within higher education! A big focus of my role is professional and personal development. It is great to have the opportunity to be able to use my time to learn more and develop new skills through conferences and training sessions.
In the last hour of my day, I will go through my to do list again and complete any tasks I haven’t done, such as sending emails or editing any resources. I love finishing my day like this and it’s a great way to make sure I’ve done everything I needed to!


Hello everyone! My name is Chenaiyi (“Chen” - “eye”) and I’ve been a graduate coordinator with the Access and Outreach team at the University of York for almost 4 months now.
Before working for the university, I was a student there for 4 years. My first degree was in English and History, between 2016-2019. I stayed on for postgraduate study, and I remained with the English Literature department to study a master’s degree in Global Literature and Culture (2019-2020). Whilst I was a student, I worked as a student ambassador. I supported university open days, residentials, and the English department – feel free to ask how this experience linked to my current job!

Why did I decide to work for the university?

I’ve been interested in education for a long time, and, since coming to study at university, this developed into an interest in the Higher Education sector. I wanted to explore this to see if it was a workplace I wanted to be in for the long term. I was also excited about continuing the outreach work I’d been involved with working as a student ambassador.

What does my day look like?

Working from home means that the job has changed a lot to adapt to virtual working. It depends on which tasks are planned and scheduled for the day. My days involve tasks for project work (which will be either on my own, or with others), meetings (with work colleagues) and events (with colleagues or other higher education providers). I usually start at 9am and finish around 5 or 6pm, and I like to use my lunchtimes to take a walk to stretch my legs. This is just an outline, so please ask me more about the details – e.g. what I most enjoy or find hard about my job...?

What should you expect from working in a role like this?

You can expect to be kept busy! You’ll work with young people (from ages 11-18), experience lots of variety with the different projects you’ll be involved in, and travel to different schools / colleges. You also have the chance to develop a deeper understanding of how the university works. As part of Access and Outreach, I’m involved in a team who work to make sure that university is truly for everyone, regardless of where you come from or whatever barriers you’ve encountered in life.


Hello, my name is Paige! I studied BA Geography at The University of Sheffield and graduated in July 2020, before starting my role as an Outreach Graduate Intern in August 2020.

I worked as a Student Ambassador whilst I studied, supporting Open Days and Outreach Events on campus, creating and delivering workshops on learning at university, student life and much more! My current role enables me to work directly with the team that organises, creates and delivers these events for school pupils across the year.

As an Intern I have the opportunity to work across a range of projects, developing skills and gaining experience in a range of areas, as well as general time management and organisation, which means there is probably no typical day! Hopefully, this outline gives you a sense of what the role involves but feel free to ask and find out more!


Morning: Firstly, and most importantly, I grab a nice hot drink to start my workday! I’ll go through any new emails and write a to-do list for the day - it’s so satisfying ticking things off! I’ll usually check the social media for any notifications to respond to, and that content for the day is ready.

We might have a team meeting, which gives us a chance to catch up before discussing what events we have coming up, whether everything is ready and if there’s anything to be finalised. I enjoy working with others as we can develop professional relationships and share ideas. If we have received registers from previous events, I would upload and record these, so our evaluation team can assess the impact of our outreach events.

1-hour break for lunch: I make sure to get outside for a walk at lunch to stretch my legs and get some fresh air. I’ll just have a screen break and of course, eat lunch!


Afternoon: In the afternoon, I could have an online event that I am delivering, with a school that has requested a session on student life. I would take some time to run over the presentation I have created, using PowerPoint and communication skills I developed throughout my degree. I might practise it with another member of staff, before delivering the session with a school later that day.

As a Graduate Intern, I have only just graduated and can give my insight into student life and what someone could expect if they were to apply and go to university. I enjoy being able to share my personal experience and inspire others to explore and consider their future options!



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