Alison KayAK

Location: Ediburgh

Qualifications: LLB (Hons), MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice, PDGE, PhD (Physics Education)

I joined SQW as a Consultant in the Edinburgh office two years ago, after having completed my PhD in Physics Education Research at the University of Edinburgh. Prior to joining SQW I'd gained experience in several sectors including the legal sector, the NHS, and the education sector. I was attracted to SQW as it offered an opportunity to use and develop both my quantitative and qualitative research skills, and there were opportunities to work across a range of sectors for a variety of clients. I have since been promoted to Managing Consultant and work primarily in our Children and Young People and Health and Social Care areas of expertise.

The variety of projects has been one of the most enjoyable aspects of working at SQW – I have been able to draw upon my past experiences to add insight to my projects. I have recently been working on projects for a range of clients as diverse as: Into Film – evaluating their activity in engaging young people with film; Macmillan Cancer Support – developing an evaluation of an initiative designed better support people affected by cancer within the community; Scottish Government – providing research into student views on funding for Further Education; and the Education and Training Foundation – evaluating a programme of research training for further education professionals.

The most interesting and rewarding part of my job is meeting and working with so many different people, both within and outside the company. Our Edinburgh office is smaller than our other offices but is a really great place to work. Although we all have different areas of expertise, we take an interest in each other's projects and are open in sharing ideas and opinions. As so many of our projects are cross-office, there are also plenty of opportunities to make connections with people in other offices and it is great to have a chance to catch up in person at events such as our annual away day or business development meetings. Outside of the company, meeting clients and undertaking fieldwork with beneficiaries and stakeholders has given me deeper insight into the workings of different sectors and I really enjoy getting to meet so many different people who are willing to share their knowledge and experiences.