Joshua Sendall, an Ambitious Futures Graduate Trainee at Lancaster University

Joshua's career story

  1. What made you decide to go into HE?

The experiences I gained as a student while working in various roles for the Students’ Union and the Library convinced me that HE is an attractive environment for an enterprising career.

Universities are hives of activity, dynamic and internationally vibrant institutions. Like many large businesses, universities are extremely complex organisations with sophisticated organisational structures, cultures and strategic goals. However, universities do not focus on the proliferation of profit. They are places where researchers seek advancement in their field, where meaningful innovations influence a variety of stakeholders from individuals, to businesses, to entire communities and beyond. Universities are themselves communities. Communities that support people to be the best that they can be, not just academically but often holistically.


The HE sector offers the means to create a better world and I am passionate about supporting that endeavour.

  1. What do you expect to get out of your AUA membership?

I expect to grow as a HE professional by participating in a range of professional development opportunities. I hope these opportunities will promote the nine professional behaviours embedded within the AUA’s CPD Framework. I’ll use the framework to purposefully reflect on and analyse my behaviours throughout my day-today work, and to identify areas for growth and improvement.

I expect to access a range of networks within and beyond my institution. Just this week I attended an informal lunchtime event organised by the Lancaster AUA branch. We heard other colleague’s positive AUA experiences, how their membership has helped them to develop as HE professionals. After the talks, refreshments were served and we were able to connect with colleagues from different divisions and at different stages in their career.

I’m really looking forward to engaging with colleagues across the sector at conferences and other events. I hope the AUA will be a forum for wider contextual issues such as the impact of Brexit or the significance of the emerging Knowledge Exchange Framework. A chance to explore how we can navigate and thrive in these unprecedented times of change.

  1. What is your biggest accomplishment?

I came to Lancaster University aged 24 following an Access to HE course at the University of Liverpool. My Access course prepared me well but I was still somewhat unsure of my academic ability.

I worked extremely hard to earn my undergraduate Law degree. I’ll never forget the sense of pride I felt as I graduated with first class honours. Building on my first degree I went on to complete a Master of Laws (Research) degree. While just this month, I was awarded a distinction for my Postgraduate Certificate in Leadership and Management.

Balancing my studies with employment has been a challenge. What’s more, there was a time when it seemed very unlikely that I would attend university, so my academic success to date remains my biggest accomplishment.

  1. What other industry would you like to work in – what’s your fall-back career?

I chose to work in HE because it is a sector that aligns with my values and sense of purpose. I’m confident that I’ll continue to grow as a HE professional. As I progress, I’ll seek out opportunities that allow me to fulfil my potential and benefit my organisation and its stakeholders. However, if I ever felt unable to utilise my talents effectively, I would most likely fall-back on the law and pursue legal practice.

  1. What is your personal philosophy?

What a question! I could write a thesis on this and then some but to your relief, I’ll keep it brief.

My response stems from the etymology of the word philosophy. From the Greek ‘phylos’ (to love) and ‘sophie’ (wisdom). We have a consolidated body of knowledge at our fingertips that spans millennia. That is our great privilege. I believe we have a responsibility to temper wisdom with compassion and to apply it in our daily lives.



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