Let's Meet... Jemma Stanford!

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Today we meet a pretty inspirational student that will leave anyone feeling motivated & exciting for their future. Jemma Stanford is a great example of a BCU student who knows exactly what she wants, & how she’s going to get it! Let’s go & meet Jemma…

Hi Jemma, it’s great getting to speak with you today! Tell us about the course you study & a little about what you get up to?

“I study Law with Criminology and am currently completing a placement year with West Midlands Police. I am going into my final year of study in September where I will continue hosting and engaging in extracurricular activities in hopes to enhance my journey on becoming a criminal barrister.” 

How many of our award levels have you completed and when did you achieve these?

“I completed my Bronze Grad + award in my first year of uni, followed by my silver in 2nd year and now have used my placement year and time during lockdown to complete my Gold and Platinum awards.”

You tell us you’re currently undertaking a placement with West Midlands Police, tell us more about the different experiences you’ve had during your time there?

“I work within the Citizens in Policing team and therefore look after 3 portfolios including the Cadets scheme, Special Constabulary and Police Support Volunteers. It has been an invaluable experience to get to know a diverse range of people, responses to societal issues, insight into policing and its priorities especially in relation to major incidents such as COVID 19 and also in response to future events such as the Commonwealth Games 2022, Pride and Coventry City of Culture. 

I have been grateful to have the personal opportunity to experience front line response policing and well as so much exposure to other departments across the force and the West Midlands including the Dogs Unit, Regional Organised Crime Unit, Local Sex Offender Management Unit and so many more.” 

We hear you’re a member of the Mooting Society within the School of Law and have even taken part in national contents, this sounds exciting! Tell us more…

"I started Mooting in my first year at BCU which was completely new to me. I gained the confidence to compete internally against all degree levels and was successful in securing a place on the external team. In this team I worked alongside other students to represent BCU at the National Oxford University Press Mooting Competition where my junior counsel and I were awarded quarter finalists which I was very proud to have achieved being so new to Mooting. 

From this experience I have presented at student conferences and was awarded a very valuable mini-pupillage at St Ives Chambers. I have also become a committee member of the now merged Mooting and Debate society and am looking forward to the society’s relaunch in September.”

 You told us you’ve previously been a mentor for The Prince’s Trust, what an incredible thing to do! What was your overall experience like?

“Being a Mosaic Mentor for the Princes Trust was a really rewarding experience as I was able to gain an insight into what it is like growing up and attending school in a city in comparison to the small town I grew up in. I learnt so much about some of the benefits and challenges of this and how anyone including myself can act as an inspirational role model to young people.

In this role I hosted various workshops to encourage these young people to gain confidence in skills such as public speaking, being activists in their society and setting targets to aspire to a career. Even though the young people were at an early age it was so positive to see that regardless of their background and diversity they could open their horizons and aspire to be whatever they wanted to be and have options in the direction they wanted to take their lives. This was something really positive, powerful and rewarding to be involved in.” 

We know you spoke at a student led conference & even won an award for your achievements! What was the experience like & what was the biggest thing you gained from it?

“The experience was to begin with quite daunting however, when I began presenting I was grateful I had done the preparation and knew I was surrounded by students and staff who were also on their journey to succeed. For this reason I was confident and proud in talking about my experiences and how they have developed my skillset and encouraging others within the School of Law to try Mooting out also whether they wanted to be a Solicitor/Barrister or not. 

The biggest thing I gained from this was confirmation that engaging in these extracurricular activities enhance my personal portfolio, make me employable and are allowing me to get one step closer to my end goal of becoming a Barrister. I also gained so many contacts both as students who were working on other projects which I could get involved in and staff and external guests who I could gain experience and knowledge from.” 

If you had to give one piece of advice to a new 1st year student who wanted to start their Grad+ award, what would you say?

“I would say think outside the box – it’s easy to try and focus on your academic life and being early on in that can make you feel as though you haven’t achieved a lot to fill up the Grad + awards but I would say consider everything else you do in your life. This includes any charity work, part time jobs, projects, movements you are passionate about and what skills they have given you. It’s unusual to analyse something you do regularly but Grad+ gives you that opportunity. 

For example if you have been involved in the recent BLM movement, use that to show your passion for developing your global awareness and demonstrating your understanding of the importance of a societal issue.”

Finally, what does the future hold for you Jemma, what are your plans now going forward?

“I will be returning to BCU in September for my final year and plan to continue working alongside that part time. I also will be continuing to take on any opportunity and new projects that arise whilst also managing two societies (Debate & Mooting Society and the Professional Policing Society).  

I will be applying for more work experience and scholarship opportunities to hopefully secure a place at the Bar after graduation and working alongside our staff in the School of Law to take advice from them.”

Now that is what we call a student who has truly gone above & beyond both in & out of BCU. If you’d like to share your story with us we’d love to hear from you, email us at graduate+@bcu.ac.uk & we can arrange a chat!