Emma Bayford: BSc (Hons) Psychology 2014-2017; Trainee Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner at Solent NHS

22 Dec 20

Emma Bayford has gone from studying Psychology to working at Solent NHS. Since graduating with a BSc (Hons) Psychology degree in 2017, Emma has worked her way up through a range of psychology roles to become a Trainee Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner.

“I am currently studying a postgrad at the University of Southampton. Whilst at university, I took part in volunteering, helping vulnerable adults to find work. I also took part in psychology research with lecturers.”

“I graduated and travelled for a while then moved back home to work as a support worker at a homeless hostel for a year. I then got a support worker role in a psychosis team in Southampton for 9 months. After this I became an assistant psychologist for over a year before moving into my current role as a trainee Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner.

Emma says specific degree modules have helped her throughout her career in various roles she has worked in. She also mentions how important the British Psychological Society (BPS) accreditation is alongside the degree.

“I still use the diagnostic criteria that is used to diagnose people. We covered this in the degree and what that diagnosis could mean for a patient. With evolutionary psychology, you can see the way that works in everyday life but the basics are what you need to get into this sort of career.“

“The degree itself is a qualification but the BPS accreditation is equally important because I needed it for the career I wanted.“

Emma is glad she studied her Psychology undergraduate degree at Winchester and says she received great help from the Careers Service.

“I consulted a Careers Adviser at Winchester and she advised me about volunteering which is how I got my volunteering role helping vulnerable adults to find work. Having a smaller cohort was really good. Winchester is excellent for careers advice and it is great that the course gives you a choice in your final year modules.”

Emma joined both the Ultimate Frisbee Society and Netball Society whilst at university and says it was a great way to relax and meet friends while studying at Winchester.

“I took part in netball and ultimate Frisbee. They were good in terms of getting to know people and unwind. I continue to play Frisbee for leisure with my family. It is all part of being a team and socialising. I had friends go into netball with me and I made new friends in Frisbee.“

Emma has many happy memories from studying at Winchester but for her, graduation summed up all of her hard work.

“Graduation is my best memory. Knowing that all that hard work was worth it, having university friends with my family all there at the celebrations and having achieved a degree was a good feeling. “

Emma is happy with what she is doing now and looks forward to qualifying as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP) so she can move on to the next stage in her career. She hopes to study a doctorate in clinical psychology.

“Once qualifying as a PWP I have two options; either get on a clinical psychology doctorate or if I can’t do this I aim to be working in high intensity CBT therapy. Both are similar jobs but the doctorate is the one I am aiming for.“

Now that Emma is experienced in a variety of psychology roles, she has some great advice for those studying Psychology who are looking to follow a similar career path to her.

“It is important to get experience with people in different backgrounds and various roles that involve people. I was a waitress when I was sixteen and you deal with difficult customers and situations. Applying this experience can make psychology support work easier to get into.”

“Get straight into an assistant role if you can but it’s not always easy. I applied for up to fifty but you are getting experience. That’s why a support worker role within a mental health team is a good stepping stone because then you are known to the team and set up for it. “

“Get your foot in the door if you want to go into the same jobs as me, ideally with the NHS. NHS vacancies are something you should be checking out often because some roles such as assistant psychologist roles are only up there for 24 hours.“

“Don’t look down on support worker roles and get involved with psychological interventions.”

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