Lakshman Ganatra - alumnus profile
Less than three years after he graduated from UWE Bristol with a degree in Psychology, Lakshman Ganatra is working in exactly the field he wanted and is well on his way to fully qualify as a clinical psychologist. It hasn't all been plain sailing though with many challenges he has faced, knowing that his biggest is yet to come!
Lakshman decided to come to UWE Bristol as he preferred the course layout to other universities. “When I came to visit, the lecturers seemed really nice, the facilities were top notch and I really liked Bristol as a city,” Lakshman says “the main reason I chose UWE Bristol was that the course gave me the opportunity to do optional modules at the end, unlike so many other universities, who make their students take them at the beginning. This meant I knew what area of Psychology I was interested in before I chose the modules.”
“I had loads of support when I was studying at UWE Bristol, from student support and representation at the UWE Students’ Union (UWESU), to helpful tutors who were instrumental through stressful exams and coursework." Lakshman reflected, "I got really involved in university life and became a student ambassador outside of studies as well as an outreach worker. This gave me other core skills I needed when I started working after graduation. UWESU had so many societies and I really enjoyed being part of the Hindu society as we often teamed up with University of Bristol when undertaking activities.”
Breaking through the career barrier
After he graduated in 2010, Lakshman was able to get on the career ladder quickly due largely to the publication of his undergraduate dissertation. The dissertation was so impressive that his work was shown in the European Conference of Visual Perception in 2010.
Not everything went to plan though as Lakshman found it very difficult at first to find experience which was paid. “I wish I had the opportunity to do a placement when I was studying. I think that doing a placement is essential as you can network, gain valuable experience and can even get experience abroad. I have heard that UWE Bristol now offers placements as part of the Psychology course and some people even get the chance to work abroad. I hope that other students snap up this opportunity and that they are able to get a paid job straight away.”
Falling into place
To ensure he had more sector experience Lakshman completed a MSC Foundations of Clinical Psychology and starting working as a Clinical Research Assistant in 2011. Since then he has now landed three jobs working for Hospital NHS foundation trusts, one of which is working as an Honorary Assistant Clinical Psychologist in Poole. “My dream for the future is to complete a Doctorate and qualify as a clinical psychologist. After that I would love to move to sunny Australia as there are more opportunities there for people working in the psychology field.”Lakshman’s advice for those considering a career in psychology is to “take a placement to bolster your application and gain a better understanding of the field, as well as getting involved in extracurricular activities”.