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Claire Barratt

Claire standing next to a treeWhat is your current role and what does a typical week look like?

I work in the School Support team based at Wellesbourne. Apart from many everyday administrative tasks that are involved in supporting the School work place from facilities and people infrastructure to external/ internal communications and event administration, the role is often reacting to very varying issues that arise in those areas. There are many occasions where I seem to be involved in very randomly entirely unconnected issues which comes from being the only administrative support/first point of contact at Wellesbourne. No two weeks are ever the same which is great.

Which part of your role do you enjoy the most, and what are the biggest challenges?
I am very interested and enjoy being involved in computer systems that support and improve our processes. One of the biggest challenges in having a role that includes many totally unrelated tasks is an absence of memory triggers.

Which skills help you most in being able to perform your role?
Interpersonal in working with a wide variety of people both within the School and across the University as well as resourcefulness in finding the people to help solve issues. In a ‘public serving’ role an ability to drop everything to support the latest crisis is important it’s just remembering what you were doing before you dropped everything.

How has your education or roles previous to joining Life Sciences, informed your interests, and why did you choose this career direction?
I started higher education studying for a dietetics degree but somehow veered from the science path with a different course, a dissertation on manufacturing processes and working for Black & Decker for many years across the supply chain with a first year initiation expediting parts for the shop floor (a staple diet of paracetamol). The initiation at Terrys of York prior to that was assembling chocolate oranges. I found working at a University quite a culture change from private industry but very inspirational. I’m not sure I’ve worked out my career direction though.

What is your favourite place on campus and why?
Definitely Wellesbourne Campus as a beautiful and peaceful place to work, especially when the sun is out.

Can you give an example of something that has made you feel part of the community while in Life Sciences, and what could be improved to enable this?
Being part of the SLS Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee (formerly but still includes Athena SWAN) provides a good insight into School community and operations. I find any activity where there is sight and involvement in the whole picture rather than of one element helps hugely in being able to feel connected to a community which is achieving its objectives.

What are your main interests or passions, outside of work?
Music, art, literature & films and a tennis player. I worked as a piano teacher prior to starting at the University and currently on a mission to make something worthy of handmade Christmas presents this year. I had a go at spoon carving last year but that definitely wasn’t the answer.

Interview date February 2021