31 July 2023

Over the five-day programme, 54 participants engaged in 16 speaker sessions, meeting 24 Westminster alumni and partners, and other students, asking questions and joining interactive workshops designed to connect, upskill and inspire. Through engaging with WWC UK guest speakers and activities, participants received important workplace guidance in areas such as how to be authentic, dealing with burnout, managing their mental health, working in project management and how to find their passions.

Andrea Betteridge, an Architecture BA Honours student, said about her experience with WWC UK: “The programme provided me with a great deal of valuable information, and I am so grateful to have participated in this programme. There were many speakers who inspired me to be a better human being both at work and in my personal life. My motivation to make a difference and achieve excellence in all aspects of my life has never been greater. The newfound knowledge I have gained makes me eager to see where it will lead me. I am prepared to take on any challenge and use what I have learned in order to succeed. My goal is to make the most of this opportunity and use it to grow and become a better version of myself.”

With visits from esteemed alumni, a trip to the Howard de Walden Estate, and an overnight excursion to Belfast to explore the unique working culture, students were able to find strength outside of their comfort zones and meet role models that reflected their challenges and life experiences.

Alumni who spoke to the students included Rituja Rao, Senior Enterprise Project Manager at Deliveroo; Anastasia Vinnikova, Head of Workplace Wellbeing at City Mental Health Alliance; Carol Murphy, artist, writer, filmmaker and performer; and Don Leeson, Chief Executive at The Labour Relations Agency. Speakers showcased the working cultures of, and routes into, organisations like Santander, JP Morgan, Ipsos and BBC News. Participants also heard from speakers who have started their own business, learning about what it takes to thrive as an entrepreneur.

Orla Kee, who graduated from the Personnel and Development MA course in 2005 and now is the Head of People at Todd Architects in Belfast said about her experience of volunteering with WWC UK: “I was thrilled to be asked to speak on the WWC UK programme when they visited Belfast in June 2023. It’s been 20 years since I completed my Master’s at the University of Westminster, and it seemed like a good time to give back!  I am not someone who normally speaks at events but felt I could share my own experience with students at the start of their careers and so, with some trepidation, I met with the 56 WWC participants.”

She continued: “As I waited in the foyer, I had the chance to observe the students as they completed their tour of the campus, and their enthusiasm and excitement was palpable. This positive energy was contagious, and they engaged really well with me, asking inciteful and sometimes challenging questions.  I thoroughly enjoyed this experience and engaging with the students afterwards and hope to continue to provide some further work experience opportunities for some of students.  If I will have the opportunity to support this programme further, I will not hesitate to do so and encourage others to volunteer their time for this excellent programme!”

This programme was made possible by the generous funding support from Santander Universities UK, the Quintin Hogg Trust and was organised by the Westminster Working Cultures team within the Alumni Relations Office.

WWC UK is part of a wider programme of activity, including WWC International and WWC Professional, and is designed to support the employability skills development and global outlook of Westminster students. The WWC UK programme has hosted 12 programmes and numerous events since its launch in 2020, which have all featured a range of successful alumni and partner organisations with over 500 Westminster students and recent graduates participating. Upcoming WWC activities will take place in September 2023.

Learn more about Westminster Working Cultures UK or email the Working Cultures Team.