The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Andy Parkinson

Andy Parkinson, BA Geography (Hons), 1997

Andy graduated in 1997 with a BA (Hons) in Geography. He is now Associate Director, ERS, Economic Development and Regeneration Consultancy.

Studying at Newcastle

My degree allowed me to fully understand the wide range of careers linked to the broad subject of geography. In addition, the social science research method/research skills aspects of the course provided a solid foundation for research technique that can be applied to a range of jobs.

I enjoyed the variety of modules covering both physical and human geography and the complementary nature of the courses. I felt that this helped me to identify linkages across the whole discipline and understand the interconnectivity of different systems.

The course also provided a solid foundation from which to consider a diverse range of career pathways and there was no pressure to 'specialise' too early in the three year course.

Although I didn't end up pursuing a career linked to physical geography, as an outdoor person I particular enjoyed the fluvial geomorphology module and learning about river systems more generally. I also enjoyed the regional development and economic geography modules, a field within which I ultimately ended working.

Career profile

Following my graduation I continued my studies at Newcastle University, completing an MPhil in Geography. I have also completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Urban Policy and Regeneration at the Northumbria University as well as other management based qualifications.

My first period of employment following graduation was as a Researcher within Northumbria Police's Crime Management Department. This was followed by my appointed as a Performance Manager within Gateshead and South Tyneside Health Authority (latterly Primary Care Trust) as part of the national Health Action Zone initiative across Tyne and Wear.

I am currently employed as an Associate Director at Economic Development and Regeneration Consultancy ERS. The company has four regional offices and I am attached to the Newcastle office but work across the UK.

As an Associate Director, I contribute to all elements of the business including HR, financial management, quality control, recruitment, marketing, communication, sales and strategic planning.

I have responsibility for securing and delivering consultancy assignments for a diverse range of clients. Recent clients have included the Home Office, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Communities and Local Government (CLG), London Development Agency and Scottish Arts Council.

My management role also involves direct supervision of staff across four regional offices and specific coaching and mentoring of junior staff.

Remembering Newcastle

My tutor was Professor Nina Laurie and she did an excellent job in supporting me throughout the duration of the course. She opened my eyes to a bigger world outside of the big Western economies, namely the rich tapestry of Latin America.

I also particular enjoyed the lectures and debates with Professor John Tomaney and Professor Andy Pike. Their sessions on local and regional development were participatory, stimulating and helped me to interpret and understand the complexity of labour markets and economic systems.