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    The People Developing Kit

    Perfect if you're studying: Teaching, Social Work, Counseling, HR

    We’ve put together the perfect starter kit for all the students studying a degree in the area of people development. We also sit down with our Chief People Officer, Vic, as she talks us through her best tips and tricks to schooling your degree.

    What to look out for...


    Speed and efficiency are things you will need while studying a degree in people development. Chromebooks are ideal, because not only are they easy to use because they already have all the basics, but they are also virus-free!

    Laptop bag

    Make a great first impression at any school placement with a laptop bag. A sleek design will give you that professional look, and it’ll be really handy for carrying your laptop to your lectures.


    If you want to watch a webinar in a busy library or listen to music without annoying your flatmates, you’ll need a decent pair of headphones. They’ll also come in really handy for doing work on-the-go if you have a bit of a commute. Look out for wireless ones if you’re the sporty kind or noise-cancelling if you’re in shared accommodation.

    Smart Speaker

    Whether you need a quick fact check, want to double-check a spelling, or just fancy some relaxing background music while you work, a smart speaker is voice controlled making it super-easy to use. (Top tip: send voice notes to your flatmates on your way back from the library to make sure they’ve got the kettle on.)


    A printer is a necessity when studying degrees in this area – especially for teachers who will need handouts and worksheets. Make sure you’re not panic printing in the library minutes before your deadline by having one ready to go at home. And if you don’t have enough textbooks to go around the class, the copy and scan functions will come in handy – look out for these.

    Microsoft 365 Home and Student

    The Microsoft 365 Home and Student bundle is an absolute must for anyone starting university, regardless of the degree. It includes all the classics - Word, Excel, and PowerPoint – so you can complete all kinds of assignments, take lecture notes and so much more!

    Meet Vic, Chief People Officer for AO

    My first degree was in English Language Studies at the University of Central Lancashire. I chose English as I hadn’t got a clue about careers or what the world of work really looked like beyond working on a farm, in a supermarket or school. I figured that English was foundational to most roles and therefore left my options open. I didn’t choose the university, it chose me as I didn’t work very hard at school and therefore hadn’t achieved the grades I needed to study at the University of York.

    At Uni I realised I was lucky to be there, it was costing a lot of money so I had better start studying and for the first time I found that I actually enjoyed learning. I worked in a supermarket again during the holidays, so although uni had meant I had moved out of the family home, I lived in a different part of the UK, I still hadn’t got a clue about careers.

    I followed my degree with a Post Graduate Certificate in Education in English at the University of Reading and went on to teach English at secondary school for a few years. This was foundational in terms of time management, selling, planning, writing new programmes, reflective practice, unleashing potential, understanding motivations and how very interesting and different people are.

    In my spare time, I volunteered at the local hospital radio, youth theatre and film club. Work experience meant I could alter my career path, as I went from teaching to a career in the media. I worked as a research assistant for the BBC for a while before going to market research and working for brands like Nike and BMW on testing new advertising campaigns through chatrooms (which was a new thing back then.)

    It was from there that I moved to a large global business who owned a number of fashion, sports, and outdoor clothing businesses from Speedo the swimwear company to Ted Baker Footwear. I was supporting the Human Resources Director and a number of businesses. At that point, I went back to university in the evenings and weekends for two years and studied to become chartered qualified in Human Resource Management. That’s really where my human resources journey began, from Fashion to Film, Computer Games, Retail and E-commerce, each chapter of experience and exposure building on the last.

    Vic's Tips...

    Make friends – learning is social don’t just live in your English bubble. Uni is an amazing place to access people with very different views and areas of interest. These diverse views and interests will give greater depth to your understanding of the books you are reading and the future life you may want to live.

    Be present – hiding under the duvet is not what you signed up for. Attend the lectures, listen and question.

    Look beyond the words on the page – storytelling is a human art which tells us a lot about people, what drives us and how we think. Tune into that, it will serve you well, wherever life may take you.


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