Whether you work behind the scenes, are front of house in Bars or Retail or provide support in services like our Student Advice Centre, you’ll be working towards the same goal - ensuring our student members love their time at Leeds.
We use a lot of words to describe ourselves - words like fun, ambitious, supportive, creative, diverse and flexible. But don't just take our word for it - hear it from the people who count.
Meet Amrita from Help and Support
I’ve been here a year and I can honestly say it has been one of the most entertaining year’s that I have had in employment.I used to work in law but I soon realised I wanted to work with people in a more person-centred way; where we could talk about mental health and look at life’s problems in a holistic and compassionate way. Having been to a few gigs at the Union, I knew it would be a fun environment with a good mix of characters to work with.
I am a student advisor and my job is to empower students to overcome any obstacles that they may be facing. We run a face to face, telephone, email and skype drop in service every day for students to come and chat in a non-judgemental way about their problems. An average week for me involves speaking to students about practical stuff like housing, academic and academic worries, through to serious casework involving crime, volatile relationships and mental health. We also run campaigns on student issues – this year we have tackled student renting rights, building resilience and sexual consent.
I like that no two days are ever the same. I get to have a real impact on the lives of students. It is so rewarding seeing a student open up and empower themselves to overcome life’s difficulties. You can bring your personal and professional experiences to the table and form a human connection with the people you work with. There is always opportunity for career development at LUU; I’ve gone on courses on everything from supporting someone who is suicidal to learning how to develop my IT skills.
I am proud to work somewhere where I can truly be myself. There are staff BAME and LGBTQ+ networks where you can meet other members of staff to ensure LUU maintains its core value of inclusivity. Working here I have realised how significantly a positive working environment can contribute to your wellbeing. You can take part in a whole host of fun activities: staff meditation, yoga, dodgeball, kabaddi, running, rounders, a baking league, staff singalong or even stroking a Labrador on your lunch break.
Meet Jordon from Balcony
I got into my role through becoming a Catering Assistant last September and progressing to a Supervisor position in March and Trainee Manager last month.I am responsible for the day to day running of Balcony Café in all areas, from leading the team of staff to managing stock and the finances of the outlet.I like the responsibility you are given in your role at LUU, with lots of room for progression and the ability to learn new skills in whichever area interests you the most.
Meet Rachel from The People Team
Learning and Development Manager
I started working for LUU in 2003 as a student Bar Assistant at Bretton Hall campus, When I graduated in 2006 I became the Assistant Manager in the Old Bar and then became the Manager a year later. In 2014 I decided to change my career path so I went back to university part time to study for postgrad MA in HR Management and took a HR Advisor role in the People team. I became the Learning and Engagement Manager this year.
In my role, I am responsible for providing Learning and Development Opportunities in LUU and creating a Learning culture across the organisation. Part of this role is developing the skills of our student staff and graduate roles to get them ready for the next step of their chosen pathway. My role is also responsible for measuring the engagement of our staff, effectively communicating to them and listening to staff voice. I have self-titled myself the Queen of fun as my role looks after the social engagement of staff too so I organise the staff parties and social activity. A rewarding area of work for me is the work I do on staff Health and Wellbeing I provide resources, support and knowledge to our staff and managers to help them with their emotional and physical health.
The great thing about my role is that I work with all people across the whole of the organisation and the people at LUU are awesome. They make working here extra special so I am really lucky to be in a role where I can work with them all.I get to see a lot of progression and development of people in my role too, it is really rewarding to hear about the great places our student staff go on to work at when they graduate.
Meet Laura from Common Ground
I started working in LUU May 2015 as a part-time Cafe Assistant after seeing the job offer on LUU's Facebook Group. In September 2015 I applied for the role of Cafe Supervisor, the role I had for the past 2 years. Now that I'm no longer a student, I have taken on the role of Catering Trainee Manager, a role I started last September.
My job as a Trainee Manager in Common Ground is to ensure the team is offering excellent service and products to our customers. That involves managing and training the staff as well as maintaining a safe and fun environment for them in which they can develop their skills such as stock management, cash handling and administrative responsibilities as well as making sure the outlet follows health and safety procedures.
From the start, I loved the social and vibrant aspect of working in the Union with other students and for the students mainly. As my progress here in LUU shows, another great thing about working here is the opportunity to grow within the organisation and learn important professional and personal skills that will help me in the future.
Meet Abdul from the Change and Engage Team
Community Engagement Manager
In my role, I closely work and support the Community Officer here at LUU. I support the officer on his manifesto by generating ideas that ensure support is there to achieve his aims and targets. We work with the University and partners who are keen on supporting students while they are studying here in Leeds. We are currently developing campaigns that will generate awareness and get students to take responsibility for their community by being active citizens.
I manage a team of 6 outreach workers who work in the student community. We engage with students on intervention and prevention work which include the environment, recycling, leaving Leeds tidy, student safety and issues with housing. We work closely with partners and stakeholders in the community who support us with resources and use of community venues.
I also work with Community reps who focus on student representation on Better Leeds Forum. The reps look at how Leeds can be improved for our students and make sure we work with students on issues that affect them directly. They will generate an idea from students which gets debated in Better Leeds Forum and if agreed this then becomes policy for the Union to make it real.
What I like about my role is I get to meet a lot of people on a daily basis here at LUU and the community of Leeds. This role allows me to engage with a wide variety of people and organisations that are here to make Leeds a vibrant, cohesive city by supporting the needs of the people it represents. The role is at the forefront of students enjoying their time here in Leeds.
Where do I go from here?
We recognise there's life beyond us, and we're very proud of our former staff's achievements. We hope we helped them reach where they are today.
Catch up with Lily
I joined LUU as part of the internship programme working between the Fundraising, Enterprise and Employability teams. As part of the role I produced a series of events, workshops and opportunities helping students to gain career skills, fundraise for their society and develop their business or enterprise.
LUU is a lively and exciting place to work. There are always opportunities to learn, try new ideas and to collaborate with a wide variety people – both internally and across the city. It’s a great place to gain experience and build skills while working with a fun, positive and enthusiastic group of people. The organisation provided me with a supportive and developmental environment that allowed me to lead on my own projects and set new challenges for myself.
I am now the Donor Development and Marketing Assistant at Leeds Community Foundation, an independently funded charity and grant maker in the city. Attracting and engaging corporate and individual donors, I manage the charity’s digital communication channels, support our events and marketing campaigns, and assist with donor cultivation.
LUU’s internship programme was invaluable in giving me the tools and confidence to progress in my career – as well as giving me the opportunity to meet some great people along the way!
Catch up with Sarah
Head of Content & Digital, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Previously Head of Content & Digital Development (1.5 years) and Marketing Manager (4 years) at Leeds University Union
I joined LUU as Marketing Manager in 2011, with a remit of leading and modernizing the marketing function of the organisation. I, along with my talented team oversaw the marketing, communications, sponsorship and advertising for the Union. I created a team structure containing the skillset to competently and creatively manage this activity and introduced new ways of working. Some highlights from my time as Marketing Manager include; leading the Union's segmentation piece to inform the 2014-2018 Strategic Plan, creating youth trend analysis and introducing an in-house digital and new media function to grow our capability in content.
In January 2016 I took on the challenge of leading the Union's brand development project and digital communications strategy. This saw me, through consultation with colleagues, create the Union's first ever digital vision and enabled me to manage the early phases of LUU's first ever website built using open source technology and user-centered design methodology. The Union's new brand was rolled out across the new website, the £20m building upgrade and all communications.
I loved working with students and young people at LUU and getting to know them as individuals but also as a generation with many unique qualities. The Student Exec often brought new ideas and perspectives as did the students and interns we hired. I supported four Union Affairs Officers during my time at LUU, it was a thrill to play a part in their development and experience.
I took great pride in leading my team. Throughout my six years at LUU, I was lucky enough to have some outstanding people in the team and I took and still take joy from their development as I watch them flourish and progress as a result of their time at the Union. I also very much enjoyed creating change and collaborating with my fellow managers to problem-solve in a creative and encouraging environment. Plus, the random nature of life in and student union was an experience filled with lots of laughter and one that I doubt can be replicated elsewhere.
Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) works to inspire social change, with a particular focus on solving poverty in the UK. As Head of Content & Digital at JRF, I head up the team responsible for the organisation's output and digital development. I also oversee the same remit for JRF's sister organisation, Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust. I'll be leading on some major aspects of the organisations’ transformation plans alongside creating new content, digital and brand strategies. I'll also be working on an exciting and innovative new project designed to shift the national narrative surrounding people in poverty.
My role at JRF is very similar to the digital and content role I held at the Union. I will be using very current methodologies to take forward the organisation's digital offer and developing more flexible, agile ways of working and collaborating, a lot of which I learned during my time at the Union.
I am continuing to lead and influence on organiation-wide strategy and empower a team of people. As with any leadership role, you sometimes have to deal with new or out of the ordinary situations that may push you out of your comfort zone, LUU was a great place for me to hone my leadership skills. The organisation invested in developing its leaders and I got a lot out of listening to and learning from my peers and friends in the leadership team.
I had a lot of fun working at LUU, and made many great memories and friends. It's a challenging environment and people work incredibly hard for every result, but there is a shared vision and a great team spirit that often makes you feel like anything is possible!
Catch up with Thierry
Data Journalist at Epiphany
I started my journey with Leeds University Union in 2011 as a Venues Assistant, working flexible hours around my studies. As time went on and my education requirements changed, I quickly moved to supervising the Union bars, working in the retail and commercial outlets as well as working for the Helpdesk, loading bay, activities, finance and culminating with marketing.
This is the beauty of LUU, its ability to spot people who have a keen interest in the Union and developing themselves and allowing them to flow within the services and departments to suit them. Working across so many departments and sectors helped me get the career I'm in now and still helps in my daily tasks. As a Data Journalist I interact with over 100 people on a daily basis as well as over 20 clients on multiple projects. I need to have outstanding teamwork, people and management skills, which could not have been possible without LUU opening every door in the building and providing direct hands on experience at every level. All the skills I have right now are the skills I've carried over from LUU and will continue to develop and grow throughout my chosen career path.
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