HM Civil Service – Joshua Connolly

Joshua Connolly

08 Aug HM Civil Service – Joshua Connolly

Course studied: BA (Hons) History with Professional Development
Year of graduation: 2015


When I left Brunel…
I had desired to work for the Civil Service long before I graduated. My degree provided me with the skills and capabilities to conduct research, manage projects and collaborate within a team. When I graduated, I spent some time volunteering, then started to apply for roles which led to my employment with the Department for Education.

At the moment…
I currently work as an Executive Officer in the Honours Team at the Department for Education. I’m part of a team that administrates and assesses nominations from the public for honours. My favourite part of the role is organising the Lord Glenamara Memorial Prize, where we invite schools in the North East to nominate outstanding pupils to be recognised for their achievements at a prize giving ceremony hosted by the Secretary of State.

How my career goals have changed…
I always saw myself working within the public sector, so entering HM Civil Service was a natural progression for me. I was involved in a lot of volunteering projects whilst at university, and found them to be rewarding experiences. In particular, my volunteer work for the Olympics allowed me to gain skills and experience that was attractive to employers and has allowed me to succeed in my role.

How I have developed professionally since graduating…
University was a great place to develop my skills and to try out new ideas before beginning work. One of my main weaknesses is my confidence when delivering a presentation to a large number of people. I was fortunate to work in two roles where this skill was key, and I was able to seek the support I needed in order to strengthen my ability to communicate to large groups. This has allowed me to take on opportunities I hadn’t considered before.

How I have developed personally…
I have gained a lot of confidence since graduating, but more importantly, I’ve realised how important it is to develop and maintain a good support network and to maintain the right contacts to rely on when I need advice or help with a particular problem I’m working on.

My advice to recent graduates/students graduating soon…
The most valuable lesson I took away from university is the importance of getting involved. You develop quicker when you’re solving problems hands on rather than learning solely through study, and you have the added bonus of making new friendships and contacts that you can return to after you move on. My volunteer work is what allowed me to start in the career I wanted, and my continued involvement in projects around London allows me to learn new perspectives, meet people I wouldn’t have come across before, and gain new skills I can bring back to my main role.