Skip to main navigation Skip to main content
The University of Southampton
Archaeology Part of Humanities

Matthew Tucker BA Archaeology and History (2007), 2007

Independent Conciliator (The Property Ombudsman Scheme), Councillor for Bargate Ward (Southampton City Council)

Matthew Tucker's Photo

I enjoyed the immense variation that studying a combined honours degree offered, with subjects such as European prehistory, all the way up to modern Twentieth Century conflict.

What did you enjoy about the course?

I enjoyed the immense variation that studying a combined honours degree offered, with subjects such as European prehistory, all the way up to modern Twentieth Century conflict. I found this quite useful in terms of being able to broaden my knowledge, understanding and expertise across several different subjects (European Prehistory, the Emergence of Civilisation, Appeasement and Germany from 1918-68). However, when it came to specialising, I was given a lot of freedom of choice and enjoyed studying Bronze Age Europe, the Third Reich and undertaking a dissertation on the interaction of Classical Maya city-states.

What is Southampton like as a place to study?

I found Southampton to be an extremely condusive environment for focusing and progressing through my three year degree via self-directed study. The facilities were excellent, as was the expertise of staff across most of the departments I came into contact with during my time. On a personal level, I found all of my lecturers and teachers to be very approachable and, where necessary, provided academic support to resolve any difficulties that I may have encountered. It was also the case that the majority of my tutors often challenged my initial perceptions of themes and that helped me progress further.

When you graduated what was your ambition and do you feel you’ve achieved it?

I personally had no specific ambitions when I graduated, so I cannot say that I have been disappointed by my post-university working life. Because of personal circumstances, I was not in a position to continue with further study immediately after my undergraduate course; I moved back home and sought full time employment. That has, as you can imagine, involved undertaking jobs that you might otherwise not see as your long-term future, but working in areas such as pensions and telecoms has prepared me for working for an Ombudsman (regulation and redress), which is inherently consumer-orientated and based around standards.

Tell us about your current job

Between April 2009 and February 2014, I worked for The Property Ombudsman Scheme as an Adjudicator, assessing the conduct of estate, letting and residential leasehold management agents and search providers associated with residential sales based on written evidence submitted by both parties. I have just recently been employed to set up and run a new conciliation service for another trade body, which comes with a new set of challenges. Since May 2012, I have also been working as a Southampton councillor, representing the city centre, which involves representing, and resolving issues for, residents and supporting other quasi-judicial functions of the Council.

How did your course help you in your current role?

It was because I had undertaken a history degree that I was employed for the adjudication role in the first place, as I had developed the skills to understand people’s agendas, analyse evidence to come to a reasoned judgement and communicate that in a coherent way to multiple audiences. Studying for a degree has also provided me with other valuable work-place transferable skills such as self-directed study and team working (particularly in respect to group projects and presentations at degree level). I also found that I started to develop certain strengths (such as communication) at university, then built on them during my employment.

What is your ambition?

My current ambition is to continue working in a full time job in and around the sector of regulation, redress, standards and dispute resolution and to continue serving my community as a local ward councillor. I would, however, like to explore the possibility of undertaking an MA and possibly PhD study in the not too distant future, although probably on a part-time basis.

What advice would you give to a student starting their degree at Southampton?

Take some time to decide and choose the units (within reason) that look creative and will challenge you, rather than the ones you may feel obliged to pick because your peers may be doing them. Every degree is a completely individual experience and ultimately you often only get one chance to undertake such a course. I would also encourage any student to develop good relations with their lecturers as that provides a further basis for being able to challenge your own assumptions as well as others. Finally, enjoy the experience of learning for what it is; a great opportunity.

Share Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings