Sophie Daniels, Educational Assistant in a charity funded specialist school for children on the Autistic spectrum. 

Graduated from Childhood Studies and then went on to the Post-Graduate Certificate in Counselling Skills at Manchester Met.

What attracted you to the course?

I have always been interested in psychology and this course provided a deeper look into that and the support in gaining the skills to becoming a counsellor. This was the kind of course I was looking for as wanted to complete a postgraduate but not a full Masters which this was. But I also had the option to carry on with the course and go on to complete the full Masters if I wanted to.

Best bits of the course?

It was good that the group was made up of students on different courses as not all were taking the PgCert, some were on the MSC or MSC for psychology and these units were a part of their course. One of the best bits was the role play in which we practised the skills we were taught in sessions and we went on to film these to watch ourselves back and see what we did well, the skills we used and did not use, and what we needed to improve on. Another was the support from the tutors was great for completing the units of this course.

Hardest bits of the course?

To begin with it was difficult being the only person from an early years back ground in the group as most were from a psychology background or counsellors coming back to complete a Masters. However, this also made it interesting as I learned new things from the other students and they were interested in the degree I completed and how I chose to do this course. It was hard adjusting from just completing an undergraduate degree to a postgraduate level 7 course. Also during the course I found it difficult to differentiate between the types of counselling and how we used these in the role plays, sometimes they would overlap but when watched or listened back I could see where I was going wrong.

How did your degree prepare you for this course in terms of knowledge, skills or experience gained?

In terms of knowledge gained my undergraduate degree prepared me with the knowledge of certain theories such as Freud and Bowlby and how these theories link to counselling. Also through completing a dissertation on my degree it has helped me to manage the work-load of this course.

How do you see your career progressing?

I have always wanted to work with families and based a lot of my work on families and family therapy in this course and I hope to become a school counsellor to support children and their families through their education. Before getting there I want to gain more experience in schools but I have always had placements in mainstream so I have recently gained a job as an Educational Assistant in a charity funded specialist school for children on the Autistic spectrum.

Top tips for future Early Years graduates

It can be scary completing your degree and not knowing what to do next. For myself I wasn’t ready to leave education yet and searched for a course linked to what I wanted to do in the future and this course fitted perfectly. For some they may be glad the stress is over and want a job straight away, I suggest think hard about where you would want to work whether that be in a nursery, a school or another route in early years. As for me I wasn’t sure where I wanted to work and how I should apply, but now I’m making these decisions. The university is there to help you find that job you want or that course you want, for me I went to a postgraduate course fair where one of the tutors there gave me more in depth information about the course than what I found on the website or in the course books, this helped me to make the decision to apply for it. So my one top tip is don’t be afraid to ask for help. Even after graduating, the university are there to help and want you to succeed in your career.

Want to find out more about the courses on offer at Manchester Met? Visit our Faculty of Education page here!