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Derek Hooper (BA Psychology, 1968)

Tell us briefly about yourself and career

Gained a Diploma in Clinical Psychology but switched to social work, gaining a Masters degree. Lived and worked in East Anglia, then moved, with wife, to North East of England, working in social work both as practitioner and manager for local authority and voluntary sector. Now more or less retired but still doing some sessional work for Action for Children. Living on the north east coast in Whitley Bay with wife of 38 years, a son in Paris and daughter near to us with two grandchildren. Still playing tennis regularly and trying to master French and German!

Why did you choose to study at the University of Reading?

At the time, opportunity to do a joint degree, combining 2 favourite subjects (Economics and Psychology)

What was the best bit about living and studying in Reading?

Growing up, making many new friends, enjoying the 60s at its height, new hall of residence (Childs)

What top tips would you give to students who are beginning their studies?

Probably not relevant 50 years later but important to be well organised, to keep a good life balance, and share worries

What are you up to now? How did you get there?

I am retired, more or less - journey summed up earlier

What would be your top tips for students interested in working in this sector?

Working in social work - go on Masters course but research carefully what job really entails - many social work students get a rude and often traumatising shock

How has the University of Reading and the Careers Centre helped in your chosen career path?

Can't remember Careers Centre, was it there in 1968? I did realise early on that I was better off doing one subject, not joint degree - and the caring professions was what I wanted really

What are your top tips for students graduating this year? What should they be doing to secure the job they want?

Again, how relevant 50 years on, apart from my own son's experience? I do suggest starting the job direction and search early in the final year

What does the University mean to you and what is your favourite memory?

It did help in my transition from boarding school to adult independent life, not always easy. Favourite memory? Nearly holding up a mail train as a rag week stunt in 1966! - and the Vice Chancellors Ball at the end of my stay with so many top groups from 1968!

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