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PhD Cybernetics alumna shares her career experience

Genevieve Hibbs

I was already very multidisciplinary and studying at Brunel enabled me to enjoy that to a far greater degree.

Genevieve, Alumni

ExE (Expert by Experience) and Innovator, CQC (Care Quality Commission) via Remploy

Cybernetics PhD - 1990

From UK

Tell us about your career journey since you graduated:

Consistently volunteer with several organisations. Various contracts from 1990-1993; Active Independent Herbalife Distributor 1993-2000; Admin with Tear Fund, NGO 2000-2002; Local elected Councillor, London Borough of Hounslow 2002-2010: on executive board 2007-2008: service improvement, performance management (central government facing role), third sector grants, disablement forum; Mayor 2008-2009; developing innovative English dictionary to university entrance level; Bible translation into and biblical materials into Easy English; from 2018 ExE with CQC; currently on PPIE committee of Hillingdon CCG and 4 Hillingdon Hospital committees.

I have been a member of BORG (Brunel Older People's Reference Group), and they tell me that I am the most proactive member.  I have participated in over 10 research projects through BORG since 2010 when I signed up.

What does a typical day look like for you:

A CQC care home inspection day: Leave home at 7.30am for a 9.30am rendezvous with Inspector at Care Home 30 miles +/- away. Make notes of observations and especially quotations throughout the visit. Have a briefing with the Inspector, meet Care Home management and have a short orientation tour asking questions and observing. Observe and speak primarily to users (residents), their relatives and visitors. I may also be asked to interview the activities coordinator or specifically speak to other staff to answer questions on: safe; caring; responsive; effective and well led. Lunch time can be especially interesting as I must report on nutrition as well as the quality of care and interactions between staff and residents.

It is part of my role to assess how residents get fresh air - preferably by going outside, and as far as possible can engage with their family and friends and the local community and go on interesting outings.  Exercise, music, singing, social engagement and how residents entertain themselves and are entertained are all part of the mix to be explored. I often leave the Care home around 3.30pm and may start writing up my findings, usually a 4-hour task, that evening.

The CQC has also asked to me help present their annual report to Parliament and to take part in co-production events.

What's been the highlight of your career so far:

When I welcomed Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on behalf of the people of The London Borough of Hounslow at the opening of the Thames Valley University Brentford campus that we Councillors had worked on through the planning stages. There were several significant issues, such as the M4 elevated section passing the site directly, bringing noise, vibration and air quality issues. Also, there is a primary school directly to the north of the site.  We wanted to ensure that sunshine would continue to reach the playground for a sufficient time each day, even in winter.

How would you say Brunel has helped you to get where you are today?

I was already very multidisciplinary and studying Cybernetics at Brunel enabled me to enjoy that to a far greater degree.

Why did you choose to study at Brunel and why would you recommend Brunel to others?

Brunel was the ONLY University offering theoretic Cybernetics in the UK and in a part time capacity. I also lived in Isleworth, only 8.5 miles away.

What is your best memory of studying here?

The seminars with other students on the course.

If you could give one piece of advice to new students, what would that be?

Get to know many students, staff, local people and how they live.

What would be your top tip or advice for new graduates as they begin their career journey?

Whatever your immediate job and opportunities, you can learn incredibly valuable things about human behaviour at this stage in your experience that may well be hidden from you in the future.

#IamBrunel