STP2013 to GTP2024

Graduate tracking project 2024: 

what do graduates of the post-2012 tuition fee regime do?

May 2024

It has been 10 years since I first talked to a group of first year undergraduate students about their hopes and dreams for their future, and their student-everydays. The night-life of West Street, the study spaces of the new Diamond building, the cold winters when housemates spare money on heating, the applications for grad schemes - I heard so many different stories... They were a lot of fun to interview, we built a good rapport over the yearly discussions. Their views and experiences helped inform institutional policies, featured at international conferences, policy workshops, on national higher education blogs, and resulted in a total of eight academic papers

Ten years on from participants' first academic year and our first interview is a good milestone: I now have some funds and time to ask previous participant to partake in this Graduate Tracking Project (GTP2024). My hope is that this follow-up study will contribute novel insights to a number of key strands of the research literature, given the lack of longitudinal research looking at graduate outcomes in the context of the 2012+ tuition fee regime. Similarly, there is little research on how graduates from “research-intensive” learning contexts conceptualise research in general, and research skills more specifically within their working lives. 

Ever since I concluded the Student Tracking Project at the University of Sheffield in 2018, I hoped that I would one day have the chance to meet the graduates again who kindly spent hours talking to me between 2014 and 2018. The post-doc role I got in 2013 at TUoS was my first academic position after my PhD, initially for 3 years, then extended by another 1.5 years. It defined my subsequent path in several different ways. I now have a strong grounding in researching educational inequalities in higher education, in terms of access, experience and progression. I published academic papers and institutional reports, as well as spoken at conferences and seminars on indebtedness, part-time work, budgeting, and career planning of non-traditional students, My Nottingham Research Fellowship followed on one of the papers we wrote with Tom Clark*, looking at the research-teaching nexus from an internationally comparative angle. As such, the STP2013 defined a strong career direction and lay the groundwork to the networks I draw on now.

* Tom pretty much taught me how to formulate and structure academic papers in English. 

Don Valley Walk; Nursery Street Footbridge (spring 2014)
Peace Gardens (spring 2014)
Peace Gardens (spring 2014)
Bessemer converter (spring 2014)

A lot happened throughout those 4.5 years in my personal life too. I found a home, a wide friendship group and met my partner during this time. I was involved with a great little community, co-organising bike polo tournaments and going to other fun polo weekends in Bristol, Birmingham and Glasgow. I learned a lot about the UK / England / Yorkshire, and became more politically vocal in the context of the Brexit referendum. Since the project finished, I worked for a year in Manchester, and have started in Nottingham in 2019. I am still in touch with a lot of former colleagues and friends from Sheffield, whether they stayed in Sheffield, or landed in Glasgow, Inverness or Nottingham themselves. I continue to build on the STP2013 in my current research as well as teaching, and my contribution to the research community too

I am very excited to try and pick up threads from 2018 again with the STP2013 participants in this new / old study on graduate experiences! Watch this space!

Phlegm street art (2014)
Phlegm street art (2014)
Phlegm street art (2014)