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Alumni Profiles

Staff profile
Penny Barker

Penny Barker

Case Manager - Centre of Neurosciences for Leeds Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust




I feel that University was a life changing experience for me, I think it completely reformed my outlook on life and made me realise that anything is possible​.

2013 graduate Penny Barker definitely got more than a degree at Leeds Trinity. In this life changing experience she made friends for life and even developed her culinary skills! Penny has also got some great advice for graduates who are applying for jobs.

What are your favourite memories from your time at Leeds Trinity?​

The best memories from University have to be the friends I met along the way. Before I came to University, people would always say to me, you meet your lifelong friends at University, which I was a little sceptical about. Little did I know that this would become exactly the case. You meet the most diverse groups of people, which end up being the friends who make you belly laugh every single day. This is what made University life for me, the crazy student nights out and the days after the nights before (obviously whilst still studying hard!).​

Do you think you got more than a degree from your time studying with us? If so, what else did you take away from your experience? 

Personally, I feel that University was a life changing experience for me, I think it completely reformed my outlook on life and made me realise that anything is possible when I put my mind to it - no goal I set is unrealistic. I realised quickly that when you move away to University, you are very much independent in all aspects of life, this is one thing that I loved. I understood that to do well, I had to motivate myself to study and to use my tutors for help as much as I could, which can be a difficult trait to maintain (when you haven’t got your parents to get you out of bed in the morning!). It was hard work, but so worth staying that extra hour in the library every other day to achieve my degree. I also improved my culinary skills, I can now make a cracking roast dinner!

Can you tell us a little bit more about your current role…… how it came about/how your studies may have helped your career and what a typical day entails?​

Towards the end of University, I started to look for potential career opportunities. I was never sure about what specific job would be the right one for me but I always had a keen interest in the Healthcare sector. It was at this point when I started looking at the NHS job site for any opportunities which I thought sounded interesting and I thought I would enjoy.

I am now working as a Case Manager for the Centre of Neurosciences for Leeds Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust. I manage a team that investigate when incidents occur within the Neurosciences Department. These incidents can vary from minor events such as Consultant Clinics being cancelled, to more serious incidents such as foreign objects being left in a patients’ body following surgery. I believe that my degree in Sport and Exercise Science with Psychology was paramount towards my success in this role as it was essential to have a broad knowledge of psychological disorders and neurology - both of which were covered throughout my degree. 

In my job, every day is different, which is one of the reasons I enjoy it so much. On a daily basis, I am required to travel across sites to different hospitals in Leeds. One of the main responsibilities I have is to liaise between consultants and patients to gather feedback, which essentially gives the basis of my investigations into what went wrong and why. I believe that the confidence which I developed at University has helped immensely when communicating to a diverse group of people on a daily basis.

What advice would you give to current students wanting to embark on a similar career?

One piece of advice that I would give, is to always go that extra mile in every aspect of your career. If you have applied for a job, that’s great, but a question I would ask would be what else are you going to do to show the employer that you are the perfect person for that job? Are you going to call the employer to discuss things further? Are you going to arrange an informal meeting with the employer? It’s about showing your enthusiasm and convincing the employer that they need you on their team. Always have confidence in yourself, and a smile never goes a miss.​