Originally, I had no intention of going to university, I was 22 and in a dead-end call centre job. On the advice of a friend, who was studying at Cardiff Met, I checked their clearing page and found there were available places on the BSc in Psychology. As someone who had suffered anxiety and depression since my early teens, I was keen to learn more about the workings of the human mind.
Unfortunatley I ended up leaving the course during my second year, due to ill health, but eventually finished my degree through the Open University as it suited me at the time. Cardiff Met gave me the knowledge and confidence to complete my degree via distance learning and after completing my undergraduate degree, I was accepted onto the MSc in Forensic Psychology at Cardiff Met.
During my undergraduate study, it was always my plan to complete a Masters as this was a necessary requirement to being offered a trainee psychologist post, and my career plan was to become a psychologist. I decided to pursue the Masters in Forensic Psychology at Cardiff Met because it has a good reputation among previous students and high employability after completion.
The skills gained on the Master’s were relevant to the workplace and I learned that prospective employers were impressed by the method of teaching and range of topics included within the course. Particularly the Professional Practice and Offender Management module which consists of report writing skills, crisis negotiation and reflective practice; these are all useful areas of study for people who work within the criminal justice system. Furthemore, the legal psychology module gives a detailed overview of how the criminal justice system works and what a forensic psychologist’s role entails within it.
I was offered a job within Forensic Psychology at a local prison before I had completed the course; this came about because one of the visiting lecturers gave a presentation on the treatment and management of sex offenders and advised that employment opportunities were available and they very much welcome students from the MSc Forensic Psychology course. The psychology department at Cardiff Met have very good links with Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service in Wales.
My new role involves working with groups of offenders to deliver interventions which lead to the reduction of offending, the Forensic Psychology course touches on the competencies and expectations of prospective Forensic Psychologists; for example, the different routes to becoming a forensic psychologist, assessment and intervention skills and theories of criminal behaviour. By covering these topics, I was well prepared for my interview which is one of the reasons why I was successful in gaining my new role.
If I could give future students advice, I would strongly recommend that you really engage with the material and the lecturers and use the resources that are on offer from the University. There are some very helpful workshops which help with Master’s level study and students who attend these tend to gain higher grades. It is also necessary to engage with these workshops as they are key to obtaining employment in your chosen field.