John Smith

BSc (Hons) International Relations, 2018

Immediately after graduating from International Relations, John went on to do a Masters in International Law and International Relations at Kent. Passionate about research, he wanted to continue on to a PhD, but wasn’t able to secure a studentship whilst juggling work and finishing his LLM.  He found himself applying for jobs towards the very end of his course.  “I think I was in a bit of denial about my student life coming to an end”, he jokes.  

Nevertheless, John was soon successful in securing a post as a Commissioning Graduate Trainee with Kent County Council.  “They really emphasised staff learning and development”, says John.  He found himself with a senior-level mentor, a buddy and undergoing a lot of training. Working closely with Corporate Directors and other senior officials on a Kent-wide approach to commissioning children services between the Local Authority and the NHS, John certainly needed to get up to speed fast.

John enjoyed policy development, so when in 2020 a friend sent him details of a job vacancy in the Civil Service, he decided to apply. Although not immediately successful for the post, John was put on a reserve list and, just a couple of weeks later, received a call asking if he would like to interview for a new team working on the Government response to Covid.  John joined the Social Distancing Strategy Directorate in January of 2021, work which involves engaging with Departments across Government on developing policies for non-pharmaceutical interventions for the general public. 

Due to the rapidly changing situation, the work is fast paced with some long hours, but John loves what he is doing.  He was always clear that he wanted to work in the public sector.  “I want to do something for people, and give back”, he says. 

Through his connection with Christ Church, John has also become a School Governor, after he responded to a call to apply to Governors for Schools, put out by the Alumni Relations Team.  He is now the Lead Safeguarding Governor at the school where he volunteers. “It’s helped me develop a lot of skills”, says John, “particularly working in a school during Covid.  Working as a Governor really does help you think strategically because your role is to have an overview of what is going on, not to be operational.”