Rhys Owen: Graduate Case Study

Originally from Melbourne, Australia, I grew up In Wrexham in the North East of Wales. I moved down to Cardiff in September 2016 to undertake my undergraduate degree in Politics at Cardiff University. Following graduation, I knew I had more to give in academia and decided to enrol onto the Welsh Government and Politics postgraduate degree at Cardiff University which provides a holistic view of devolution and public policy making Wales. As part of my degree, I wrote a dissertation on the information deficit in Wales, focusing of the lack of focus to devolution in media circles and how that changed following the coronavirus pandemic. Outside of work I enjoy a bit of socialising (not too much) and I am an avid football fan. I grew up supporting Liverpool, although following its recent acquisition I am keen to see Wrexham AFCs rise to the Premier League. Beyond this, you can find me chatting about politics or very superficially about music.

I was made aware of the Graduate Associate role at CCR through LinkedIn. Following a year away from Cardiff I knew the opportunity on behalf of the largest region in Wales was an opportunity that I had to grab. I am working on a range of different projects which aims to foster innovative solutions to the issues caused by, and to alleviate climate change. I am honoured to be part of these projects that aim to bridge the gap to net-zero as part of central and local government prerogative. Hopefully, during my time working for CCR I can prove my worth within the Energy and Transport team as I look to pursue a career in sustainable development policy making.

Name: Rhys Owen
Hometown: Wrexham
University Attended: Cardiff University
Graduation Date: 2021
Graduate Title: Graduate Associate 
Start Date: 1st November 2021
Employer: Cardiff Capital Region
Supervisor Name: Nicola Somerville

Did you apply for many graduate roles or schemes? (if so, how many)

“Following my undergraduate graduation, I decided to use some online graduate websites such as GradFuel. This did result in a job offer as cybersecurity recruiter, however, upon reflection I decided to continue in higher education and pursue a master in Welsh Government and Politics.”

What were your thoughts/feelings around applying for roles/schemes during a pandemic?

“I found it easier to apply for various roles during the pandemic as I had more time on my hands where I would normally be spending time on hobbies etc. From that perspective I found the task less stressful than I usually would. “

What attracted you to the Venture Graduate Scheme?

“To be part of an organization that has the ethos of promoting economic well-being to a Region which I have called my home for the past 6 years. Additionally, from the outside looking and through podcast channels I could see that it was very inclusive environment full of opportunity to improve my capabilities and increase my networking circles.”

How was your experience applying for the Venture Graduate Scheme during the pandemic?

“Fantastic. The communication was great, and I really appreciated the opportunity to meet Nicola and Geraldine face to face when the final stage interview could have been easily done online.”

What are you hoping to achieve during your time on the scheme?

“To prove my worth and make a lasting difference to my team. As I work a lot with decarbonisation, I feel like every project is of upmost importance so I wish to be able to put as much as effort as I can into their success.”

Is there anything you would say to others thinking of applying for the scheme?

“Don’t look at this opportunity as a standard graduate role. I hardly ever feel like I am below any of my managers and have the freedom to express my views and take responsibility when it comes to certain projects.”

One sentence to sum up your Venture Graduate Scheme experience…

“It is a great mixture of enjoyment, coupled with making a real difference.”

One word that sums up your Venture Graduate Scheme experience…

“Emphatic.”

How are you finding your new role? And, has it exceeded expectations?

“The role is fantastic as no day is rarely ever the same. Certainly, I did not expect to be given so much responsibility so early on my career.”

How are you finding the modules?

“The ILM modules give me an added opportunity to improve the state of my emotional intelligence, an aspect which is key in this line of work.”

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