Jacques Burrowes in graduation gown and hat smiling at camera, Brighton beach in the background

I chose Geography mainly because of its employability

Jacques Burrowes recently graduated from our Geography BA(Hons) and is doing a job he loves all thanks to his degree. We caught up with Jacques to find out more.

I chose Geography mainly because of its employability – it’s one of the best degrees out there for job prospects. I was an Auto-Electrician before I came to University and I wasn’t really being developed by my employer, so I came to university to develop myself and have a shot somewhere where I could progress

Geography BA is a diverse course that gets you experienced in a multitude of geographical disciplines. It’s great that the course gets you experienced in a variety of geographic studies from digital geographies, feminist geographies and social and cultural geographies. It opened my eyes up to what was considered geography. It’s literally everything by the way!

Careers and developing skills

We had a career talk in the Professional Practice module and I went along to hear it. I was half interested in planning before I went but listening to Kieran (a planner for the Department for Levelling Up who studied at Brighton University) made me decide to give planning a shot. I got lucky when there was an opening at Horsham District Council straight after my degree and that was a perfect chance to see what it was about.

I’m now a Graduate Planning Officer at Horsham District Council. I’ve only been there three months so I’m not doing anything on a grand scale but I’ve been determining household applications for extensions, loft conversions and listed building alterations. I get to be in an office learning all the intricacies involved in planning with senior planners who are super knowledgeable, and I get to be out and about Horsham District looking at applications. I’m really enjoying being able to be in the office and out and about. I’m still able to live in Brighton too which is a bonus!

It’s a great career and the progression is easy to see. It’s also a profession that is screaming out for people! There is a demand for people who have Geography degrees, especially a Bachelor of Arts and are concerned about what people need and do.

My geography degree has definitely helped me in my job from getting it to doing it. My essay writing skills are used everyday, especially in my report writing for work. Writing succinctly, clearly and descriptively is taught at University when you write essays and it’s the most important skill I use whilst at work. Going to university also aided my confidence just from being with new people from different places. It’s not just about the piece of paper at the end!

Highlights of studying Geography at Brighton

It’s a great course. The lecturers and staff really make it better. They’re always keen to help and make sure you’re doing the best you can. They genuinely want you to succeed. They’re also great people too. All those staff (especially my dissertation supervisor) helped me during my time at university and they helped immensely in making my time at university successful and worthwhile.

The highlights of the course were definitely the human modules. I picked BA Geography because I’ve always liked human geography at school and sixth form; they were definitely the most interesting. Human Geography is also involved in loads of different subjects and fields like philosophy and sociology. You’ll see how geography percolates everything!

There’s scope to move up and down the course and across schools. In my second year, I did a media module and learned that geography is multifaceted and percolates many different subjects. It was super interesting and definitely one of my favourite modules (even though I didn’t do brilliantly in my assessments!). In my third year, I also did a second-year module of Critical Digital Geographies. This was pivotal for my dissertation and again really interesting to see how even though we might think we’re ‘just using phones and computers’ were always enmeshed in geography.

Go for it

I was worried that after being an auto electrician for two years before I came to University that I would be left behind and struggling compared to everyone. The University can help you bring you up to speed if you need it and they were very supportive. The University of Brighton is a great place and Brighton is an amazing city.

I might be back at the university for a Masters in Town Planning. That is if Horsham District Council like me enough to put me through it!

I actually chose the University of Brighton based on a recommendation from my cousin who studied here a few years ago and said that he loved it so I would too. He was right! I also picked it because of its nightlife and the beach of course!

My time in Brighton has been amazing. I’m so glad I decided to do my degree.

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