My Experience as a Postgraduate Community Assistant (CA)

Community Assistant and International Student Clem Tahiru

Community Assistant and International Student Clem Tahiru shares his experience of being a CA in the Graduate School and how this has benefited him

Did you know you can gain work experience on campus and be recognised whilst studying?

Well, as a postgraduate and international student, originally from Ghana, I can say that most international students look out for part-time jobs to complement their studies. I am also a student ambassador and can vouch for the same, from my interactions with other international students.

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Clem is a Master’s of Law student at Queen’s

I was keen on gaining additional experience by taking on a part-time job to further my skills and enhance my CV. I therefore completed my profile on the ‘My Future’ app with details of my job preferences.

My goal was to work on campus and in the Graduate School. My reasons were varied; proximity from my accommodation, proximity to the School of Law (my school), the sheer beauty of the Graduate School building (the enviable silent study area attests to this).

My passion for assisting people and event planning made me wish to become a CA at the Graduate School. My goal was realised and I was delighted to have been invited for an interview and offered the post of a CA.

The Graduate School

Whilst the Graduate School offers a range of activities and events for postgraduates like myself to develop personally and academically as well as enhance our employability and career prospects, there are still many postgraduate students who don’t avail of these opportunities which is a shame. My advice is to take advantage of these workshops and trainings. There are many to choose from:

  • Master your Leadership
  • Peer Proofreading Forum
  • How to start your LinkedIn Profile
  • How to write a Successful CV
  • Master your Future Success
  • How to Complete a Competency Based Application form using the STAR Technique
  • Wellbeing Wednesday: Coffee Chats

These are but a few programmes I personally attended, both as a student and a CA.


There is the temptation of assuming that we already know enough. We hide from extracurricular or career building events under the guise of overburdened coursework but there is so much to gain from being an active part of the postgraduate community at the Graduate School. Below are some benefits of I have discovered since becoming a CA:

  1. Degree Plus Certificate – Students are awarded additional certificate for partaking in some programmes organised by the Graduate School. You do not necessarily have to become a CA to acquire this. Being a CA is advantageous because you know which programmes to focus on and apportion your time to it.

2. Socialisation / Networking – ‘Coffee Chats’ and other academic and social events held in the Graduate School enabled me to meet people from diverse cultures. I got insight into university life, help with accommodation issues, wellbeing assistance offered by the university, places to visit in Belfast etc.

3. Tour Guide – I had the opportunity to speak about the graduate school to prospective students and their parents when they visited the graduate school. This improved my interaction and people skills.

4. Panel Member – I had another opportunity to speak with prospective students about life in Queen’s in general. It was an honour to me, to share my experience with others on MS Teams.

5. Appreciation – CA’s are recognised for their commitment to assisting students and keeping the graduate school/ reception in a good condition. I received a customised ‘VALUED’ voucher for my contribution. What a way to feel loved!

6. Additional Learning Skills – I acquired additional learning and ethical skills (telephone conversations, email responses, the use of Ms Teams, tolerance) These are skills we may already have but mine is augmented thus far.

7. Renumeration – Guess what? CA’s are given a stipend as well.

8. Free Coffee / Tea – I am happy to be on shift and to set up the tea port. I am not bored because I have access to drink free tea/ coffee offered by the kindness of the graduate school.

9. Expertise – Getting to meet consultants and other reputable people at the Graduate School leaves a fond memory. Interactions with some of them is enough motivation in my career advancement.

10. CV upgrade – Need I say more? I am updating my CV with all the experience acquired as a CA and in the Graduate School.

Clement Tahiru
Human Rights Law (LLM)