Athena Swan in SHW

Professional services staff career journeys

Long-time staff member in Health Economics and Health Technology Assessment and Public Health, Rachel Allan, describes a 13 year journey from UofG temp to a recent return to full time education, and the variety of roles and experiences along the way that have helped to shape her future.

Photo of Rachel Allan in the highlands

In 2009, I began temping at the University of Glasgow in Postgraduate Admissions and continued in a variety of other temporary posts. I started looking for full-time, permanent positions and in 2014 I successfully applied for a grade 4 full-time permanent position as an administrative assistant in Public Health and Health Economics and Health Technology Assessment.

This role helped me consolidate the skills and the experience I had already cultivated and the permanence of the post meant I could make a difference within a team and learn from the people and processes around me on a deeper level. I quickly gained insight into the workings of two busy teaching departments and I supported a variety of administrative activities such as purchasing, building maintenance, travel booking, event assistance and coordinating meetings as well as being a friendly first point of contact for visitors.

In 2016 I took on the responsibility of postgraduate student administration, which changed my role as care of the students took precedence. I was trained in the MyCampus system and became familiar with other departments within IHW, the students themselves, as well as Admissions and the MVLS Graduate School. I learned many new skills during this time and I felt real progression in my understanding of the student experience and how various departments liaise with each other. I found supporting the journey from candidate to graduation really rewarding.

In 2017, I was fortunate enough to be awarded external training funds from IHW for personal development. This resulted in me having the opportunity to guide colleagues in various "wellbeing at work" sessions, for example at away days.

Following on from this I made the decision to apply for condensed working hours to allow for a better work/life balance, and IHW accommodated an arrangement to work 5 days over 4. This was conducive to an improved balance for myself, and I felt additionally productive on my work days. Due to my experience in postgraduate administration, I successfully applied for a secondment as a grade 6 graduate school administrator (financial aid) in October 2019, which IHW fully supported.

This part time position was beneficial as it allowed me to pursue external interests while continuing to progress within the university. In contrast to the varied nature of my earlier roles, the secondment specifically focused on a single area – financial aid – and this provided further development and learning opportunities from the Graduate School’s perspective. I was offered the opportunity to extend the secondment, however I decided to return to IHW in January 2021. By this time, my former post had been successfully regraded from G4 to G5. The learning during my secondment was extremely beneficial to bring back to my previous role, and I believe I provided more holistic support to our students.

Presently, as I prepare to leave the university to concentrate on becoming a student myself, I feel grateful to have been part of a supportive, forward-thinking institute and I feel better equipped with the skills and experience which I am certain have prepared me well for my next move.

Rachel Allan 
Former Administrative Assistant, Health Economics and Health Technology Assessment/Public Health