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What do you actually do!? - a podcast from Careers and Placements

What do you actually do is a podcast released every other week during term time.

Have you ever wondered what a particular job actually involves? Our podcast series What do you actually do!? aims to answer that question.

What do you do all day? What skills do you need? How did you get the job? What advice do you have for students?

Get the answers to these questions along with career inspiration, top tips and insider knowledge every other week when Kate Morris asks our guest, ‘What do you actually do?’

Each podcast is accompanied by useful links to help you do more research and a blog post with a full transcript of the episode.

Listen to our latest episode

Graduating in a global pandemic, with Tom Banham

Recorded during the lockdown, Kate and Tom, Director of Employability and Careers at the University of York, talk about what it's going to be like for graduates going into the job market in the middle of a global pandemic. They look at how the job market was hit in previous recessions and what might be different this time.

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Browse our previous episodes

Summer 2019/20

Managing a University, with Charlie Jeffery

Charlie Jeffery is Vice Chancellor and President of the University of York. He is a political scientist whose main work in the last years has been constitutional politics in the UK. He joined York from the University of Edinburgh where he had been Senior Vice-Principal since 2014. Prior to that, he was Vice-Principal (Public Policy) having been Professor of Politics at Edinburgh since 2004.

Starting a Startup, with Phil Daneshyar

Phil Daneshyar is an entrepreneur and co-founder of Kanda (formerly TradeSmart), which is a payment system for tradespeople.  He appeared on Dragons' Den in 2017, with his idea 'Thirsti.' Phil studied PPE at the University of York.

Flirting with Algorithms, with Harpal Sahota

Harpal Sahota is a data scientist at MagicLab, who operate a number of dating apps, including Bumble & Lumen. He studied an MA in Computational Biology at the University of York, and went on to take a PhD in Computational Biology at University of London, before entering the job market, working for the likes of YouGov before settling at MagicLab, where he has worked since January 2020.

Making Medicine, with Tom Ronson

Tom works as a process development chemist at the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. He is part of the Chemical Development department, which is responsible for developing efficient and robust manufacturing processes for active pharmaceutical ingredients. He holds a PhD in chemistry from the University of York.

Graduating in a global pandemic, with Tom Banham

Recorded during the lockdown, Kate and Tom, Director of Employability and Careers at the University of York, talk about what it's going to be like for graduates going into the job market in the middle of a global pandemic. They look at how the job market was hit in previous recessions and what might be different this time.

Spring 2019/20

Placement year in a political think tank, with Andrew Gloag

Andrew is a final year Politics student at York. He has just returned from a placement year with London based think tank Demos. As a research assistant, Andrew was involved in conducting qualitative and quantitative research, including gathering, preparing and analysing data, organising and conducting focus groups and interviews and designing research materials.

On the beat, with Ross Gehnich

Ross has worked for Thames Valley Police since graduating in 2010, undertaking a variety of different and challenging roles. Currently, he works as a Neighbourhood Policing Sergeant, leading a team of 6 Police Officers and 12 Police Community Support Officers covering a diverse community. Additionally, he is accredited as a Public Order Officer and oversees a Volunteer Police Cadet Unit which supports 30 young people including many from vulnerable backgrounds.

A day in the life of a BBC journalist, with Lucy Vladev

Lucy is a TV reporter, producer and presenter for the BBC. In this episode, we talked about the skills that are required to go into journalism and how Lucy got to where she is today, from studying Bioarchaeology at York. Lucy provides students with advice on what to do at university in order to develop their career in media.

Pollution is in the air, with Aiden Heeley-Hill

Aiden is a PhD candidate in atmospheric chemistry at the University of York, currently researching indoor air pollutants and, more widely, characterising indoor environments. He holds a BSc and MSc in environmental science and is a keen science communicator, covering a range of interdisciplinary topics pertinent to his research area.

Writing for a living, with Lewis Lansford

After getting a BA in English Lit at the University of Colorado, Lewis initially worked at a proofreader at the University of Arizona Press in Tucson, then spent about six months teaching English in Barcelona. After that, he earned an MA in teaching English to speakers of other languages, then taught at a US university and then a manufacturing company in Japan. In 1995, Lewis took an editorial job with an international publisher in Hong Kong, and in 1997 became a freelance editor, project manager and writer in the UK. He now writes full time. Lewis has worked on books, videos, tests, audio materials, worksheets, apps and online materials for learners of all ages across the world.

Autumn 2019/20

Get into book publishing, with Helen Barton

Helen is a Commissioning Editor at Cambridge University Press, responsible for hundreds of upcoming books at any one time. In this episode, Helen and Kate talk about how to get work experience, the key skill you need and what the job is actually like.

Managing the economic growth of York, with Alex Dochery

Alex currently manages the Economic Growth team at City of York Council, which focuses on making sure that the city continues to be a fantastic place to live and to do business. Alex also works for the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership supporting work on their Local Industrial Strategy.

Marketing in the museum, with Tasha McNaught

Tasha has worked in marketing for five years, having started while studying at the University of York. For the past two years she has lead the development of digital and relationship marketing at the National Railway Museum, working on national and regional campaigns including the tour of Tim Peake's Spacecraft. Working with mental health conditions and lived experience of poverty.

Making people's lives healthier, with Sam Thomas

Sam Thomas leads funding programmes for the Health Foundation, an independent charity committed to bringing about better health and healthcare for people across the UK. He previously led policy influencing work for a coalition of national charities focused on social issues including homelessness, substance misuse and mental ill health. He is a graduate of the University of York.

Calling the Midwife, with Jessica Allason

Jess Allason has been a midwife for six years and recently trained as a private hypnobirth teacher. She is passionate about informing and empowering women in their choices around childbirth, because a woman will never forget how she felt on the day of her birth and may impact her for the rest of her life! Jess has worked in all settings of midwifery, including a busy delivery suite, postnatal ward and in a community setting, offering continuity of carer and home birth services.

Summer 2018/19

Summer Internship: It's not easy being green, with Oscar Bentley

Oscar is a third year BSc Film and Television Production student. Over the summer,  he did a sustainability programme internship in the Department of Estates and Campus Services at the University of York.

Historical consulting for video games, with Nicholas Gliserman

Dr. Nicholas Gliserman is the Chief Academic Officer at Game Learning, where he oversees development of educational video games that get kids excited about history. He holds a Ph.D. in history as well as an M.S. in Geographical Information Science and Technology, both from the University of Southern California.

Summer Internship: Make it yours! with Julia Hebron

Julia is a third-year BA English Language and Linguistics student. In the summer she did a SIB internship with Make It York where she conducted market research into the creative and digital businesses in the city. Her responsibilities included research, analysing the findings, writing reports, maintaining social media and compiling newsletters for Science City York, a branch of the organisation. 

Getting on a top grad scheme, with Lewis McDowell

Lewis graduated from the University of York in 2018 with a Management degree. His journey into marketing and L’Oreal begun upon winning the Male Undergraduate of the Year award, on the back of which he secured a year-long placement year at L’Oreal. After returning for his final year, Lewis secured his L’Oreal Graduate scheme, composed of three six month long rotations.

How to train your teacher, with Sarah Dagnell

Sarah is a Primary STEM Subject Expert, running training courses, predominantly in Science but also in Technology, Computing, and Maths, for primary school teachers. She also mentors on school improvement initiatives and helps to develop resources such as online training programmes accessed world-wide.

Spring 2018/19

From lecture theatres to film sets, with Hannah Greig

Dr Hannah Greig is a Senior Lecturer in the History Department and member of the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies. Her research interests lie in the social, political and material history of Britain in the long eighteenth century (c.1688-1830). She is also an experienced consultant for film, television and theatre productions.

Bringing social media into The Economist, with Adam Smith

Adam Smith is a writer, journalist, podcaster and social media editor. In his day job he's the audience engagement editor for The Economist, a global news magazine, where he focuses on stimulating online conversation around articles. He also reports on LGBT+ issues as a journalist and makes the podcast Karl's Kaschemme, about queer desire. 

Within and without the laboratory, with Stefan Sipika

Stefan holds a BSc (Hons) in Biology from the University of York. He currently works for Aptamer Group as their Process and Production Manager, leading the laboratory team in delivering results to customers. Prior to joining Aptamer Group, he worked for a leading multinational CRO, specialising in GMP Protein Chemistry for 7 years. He has worked on a variety of products, covering pre-clinical to market release testing for multiple high profile clients around the world.

Getting involved with theatre, with John Tomlinson

John is a producer at York Theatre Royal and company director at Stand and Be Counted.

I ❤ Compliance, with Kate Pyle

Kate is the Compliance and Corporate Services Manager at St Leonard's Hospice.

Lecturing is the tip of the iceberg, with J.T. Welsch

JT Welsch is a Lecturer in English and Creative Industries at the University of York's Department of English and Related Literature.

Pursuing your passions in the charity sector, with Cat Schroeter

Cat graduated from Newcastle University with a Psychology and Linguistics degree in 2015. Whilst at university, she was on the committee for the Raising and Giving Society, where she gained a passion for fundraising and supporting causes in her local community. In the lead up to graduating from university, Cat was unsure about the career path she wanted to take, but she knew that fundraising was something she really enjoyed and cared about. Cat was quite lucky in that Action for Children had a vacancy in their Fundraising Team at the time she was graduating. She started with Action for Children in June 2015, in the position of Community Fundraiser for Yorkshire, and in September this year she has progressed to the role of Senior Community Fundraiser, covering North East & Yorkshire.

All roads lead to film-making, with Richard Knight

For many years Richard Knight worked in the film industry as a freelance location manager, sourcing and organising the locations for films such as the BAFTA award-winning "This is England" and "FourLions", television dramas including "This is England 86, 88 and 90" "Prisoners Wives" and "Utopia", commercials for the likes of Vogue, Gucci, New Balance, Selfridges and Santander, and music videos for the Arctic Monkeys, Jake Bugg and Louis Tomlinson. In recent years he has worked at Screen Yorkshire providing practical and logistical support to Screen Yorkshire-backed projects, and devising and running a range of training and crew development initiatives.

Being a project manager, with Laura Hallett

Laura has worked as a professional manager in Higher Education for 10 years, focusing on strategic project management across a range of institutions. She currently leads the Strategic Projects and Change function at York St John University with responsibility for the delivery of major projects aligned to the University strategy.

Related pages

  • Explore your ideas - start here if you're struggling to work out what you want to do after you graduate.
  • Job sector pages - overview of how to get into some of the most popular career areas.
  • York Profiles and Mentors - find out what York graduates are doing, ask them questions and send mentoring requests.
  • Talk to usoverview of our appointments if you need to talk to someone face-to-face.