Rosie Leonard studied a BA Geography, graduating in 2020, before starting her MSc Sustainability degree and graduated in 2021.

What inspired you to study your course? 

I really enjoyed geography at school and college and I was pretty good at it. I thought I should play to my strengths and study a subject I enjoy but also good at.

What attracted you to the University of Salford?  

I didn’t consider this university until one of the lecturers visited my college and explained all about the geography course. Later that day, I added University of Salford onto my application and made it my first choice.

I also went and looked online at what modules the course offered, what trips I could go on, placement opportunities and it ticked all the boxes.

Can you tell us which parts of the course you enjoyed the most (lectures, trips, modules, projects, topics, any opportunities etc)? 

I’d be lying if I said the trips weren’t a highlight for me – international trips especially! The course content was also really interesting, the scope of the course was really broad, so it covered subjects such as housing and sustainable cities, and I just loved getting to learn about it all.

Which topic/area of focus did you choose for your final dissertation project? 

The title of my undergraduate dissertation was The Social Cost of Gentrification. This study compared MediaCity in Salford and the Superblock districts (Barcelona) and the development they went through with costs to local residents. There is no denying that redevelopment can act as a catalyst for gentrification and local residents face the costs of that.

My masters dissertation focused on the importance of greenspace in relation to the health and wellbeing of Greater Manchester residents during Covid19, the title being Vitamin Green. This study looked at the role greenspace plays in relation to social health, and if all greenspace has the same impact.

Where do you currently work and how did you find out about the role? 

I currently work for Inspiring Communities Together, a wellbeing charity that works within local communities to empower, guide and educate.

I found out about the role via twitter! Really random place actually but ICT was already on my radar and I was on the look out for a new job, so I followed them on most platforms and just kept my eye out.

Tell us a little bit about your current role and your day-to-day responsibilities.  

At present, I am a Development worker for Live Well at ICT. This involves looking after local green and blue spaces while delivering weekly sessions to engage the community within these spaces. My day-to-day responsibilities honestly differ all the time, some days I’m looking for grants and writing bids, some days I’m planning my community sessions and other days I’m out delivering the sessions! These sessions include community clean ups, growing activities, afterschool clubs so its broad and exciting.

Rosie and colleagues litter picking

Can you tell us about any of the projects you’re working on? What is the most exciting project you’ve worked on so far? / What do you enjoy most about your role?

I’ve just finished helping to organise the launch of the Friends of Chimney Pot Park event in Chimney Pot Park, Langworthy. The Event was planned to “launch” the Friends Group within the community and hopefully help them recruit more volunteers by enabling them to speak with families coming into the park to get involved in the free activities.

How do you feel your course prepared you for your future employment? 

In terms of my job now, the content prepared me for this role. I can apply my knowledge which helps with my success of job requirements. The course links several job roles to content, guest speakers are brought in, and modules such as Consultancy Project provides an insight to working life.

However, I don’t think anything can really prepare you for future employment as being immersed in working setting is very different than being told about it. Placements are extremely helpful though, as it provides the experience which may help you decide whether you like a job role or not.

Rosie and colleagues cutting grass

What advice would you give to prospective students or those seeking a career in your field?

Honestly, just enjoy what you’re learning about but get those volunteering hours/placement experiences under your belt so you know what you do and don’t like. That way you know exactly what you’re looking for in the job market and won’t waste time in a role you don’t like.

Have you thought about the next steps in your career and where you would like to progress to?  

I’m still fairly new in post as I’ve only been here 7 months, but I do have quite a bit of responsibility already at present. Our Live Well team is currently only me and my manager so I am responsible for several sessions, events, and collaborations that take place. However, in the next couple of years I would like to see our team grow, and I would like to hold a more senior role within this team.