Current Employment

Download CV (162KB, PDF)

March 2015 - ongoing Advice & Representation Manager University Campus Suffolk Students' Union

I line manage the following teams: Advice Centre; Student Voice (Representation & Democracy); Student Opportunities (Volunteering)

Managing the budget for the Advice Centre, Student Voice, Volunteering, and Elections

I am responsible for the strategic development of the individual departments, and the relevant staff members, as well as the long-term direction of each.

My role involves the creation of ties and projects with the University and local community. I sit on several University committees, and local partnerships include working with the Terrence Higgins Trust, Suffulk Refugee Action, and the Ipswich Domestic Abuse Forum.

Nov 2011 – March 2015 Senior Caseworker University of Essex Students' Union Advice Centre

I lead the most difficult, complex, or unusual cases, providing quality advice in several areas.

Working to external regulations and legislation and a variety of internal regulations; ensuring their comprehension and clear communication; advising senior management and acting as a point of technical reference in regards to the above.

Working with in-country Tier 4 student visa renewals and dependant renewals, administration of the Batch scheme, and visa workshops. I also provide initial guidance on tiers 1, 2 and 5.

Responsible for recruitment, training, evaluation, appraisal, supervising, support and general pastoral development of a successful team of Senior Advisers, caseworkers and all volunteers.

I compile and develop resources and procedures for training and to improve advice service provision

I manage the day-to-day practicalities of office life, including administrative duties and go-to support

Nov 2011 – ongoing Assistant Manager Essex Law Clinic

I manage the administrative side of the Essex Law Clinic, organising sessions, students and clients for each of the sessions that we run. The Clinic is run as a joint project with the University of Essex School of Law, and relies on the availability and helpfulness of several local solicitors.

I perform client triage to evaluate which individuals we can assist and which require referral

I liaise with solicitors to broaden our reach and I assist in the development of the Essex Law Clinic and its development into an academic module and broader service, including a Southend-on-Sea Business and Law Clinic branch.

I provide general administrative and organisational support, including minute taking.

Members of the public, our students and University staff can use the Essex Law Clinic to get free initial advice about a legal problem they are facing.

We offer an initial consultation to our clients to find out their legal position and advise them on what steps they can take to remedy the issues.

We operate by appointment only and an initial assessment will be made by the Clinic in order to find out whether the Clinic may be able to help. The client will then be asked to attend an appointment and bring with them all relevant documentation relating to their legal issue.

Our students benefit from taking part in the Essex Law Clinic as they have the chance to develop their legal skills in a practice context. This will give them important legal experience which they can draw on when applying for jobs in the future. They also receive thorough training before taking part in our work. There is a qualified solicitor present during the appointment and involved in all subsequent steps.

  • Training:
  • Nov 2014 - Essex Police Hate Incident Reporting Centre / Hate Crime Ambassador
  • Aug 2014 - University of Essex Equality and Diversity Essentials / Recruitment and Selection Essentials
  • May 2013 - Shelter - Housing Charity Student Housing Advice Training
  • 2014 - ACAS Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) Disciplinary Training
  • 2014 - Shelter UK Student Housing Training
  • 2013/14 - Basic advisory skills; Making a Tier 4 Application; Tier 4 Appeals; Students’ Dependants; Work options after study (Tier 1, 2, 5); UKCISA Conference 2013; UKCISA Conference 2014
  • 2012 - LexisNexis Advanced LexisLibrary Online Research Certification

Jun 2007 – ongoing Freelance Designer

I am occasionally commissioned for flyers, posters, illustrations and other custom work done using the Adobe Creative Suite. Selected examples available under portfolio and on my flickr website.

Previous Employment

Apr 2011 – Apr 2014 Visiting Fellow University of Essex

I have been accorded the position of Visiting Fellow to allow me to make use of the University's research facilities for my own work and to serve as a liaisng contact. University of Essex pag (dead link as of mid-2014)

Aug 2011 – Nov 2011 Welfare Adviser University College London Union Rights & Advice Centre

Providing support during the busiest period of the year; managing an individual case-load, focusing primarily on complex academic procedures, offences, and appeals; and Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 4 visa renewals and initial applications, on a full-time basis.

In-depth support and advice, requiring a thorough and detailed approach and reliable research skills to guide students through their options and help them decide on a course of action.

May 2011 – Aug 2011 Policy & Communications Intern (Essex County Council)

Policy: Policy, Community Regeneration & Planning

I worked on the Corporate Vision Review planned for 2011/2012, comparing Essex in 2001 to today, and working with forecasts of what 2021 might look like in order to help bring policies in line with new government plans. I set up the intranet site to engage employees, set up workshops in which I led scenario discussions, and researched key areas of the project. I performed other minor research tasks, wrote reports and addressed external requests.


I worked on the EssexWorks publication as it moved to a more modern format. I researched aspects of the the strategic side of this change for different areas of the department. I planned and created content for the new format.

Nov 2010 – May 2011 Casework Assistant (with Sir Bob Russell MP, Colchester)

My job was primarily about research into constituents' issues in order for them to be followed up at parliamentary level.

I researched constituent issues for them to be followed up at parliamentary level. I wrote letters to individuals, local and national companies, and worked with electoral data and campaigns; I wrote parliamentary questions, drafted early day motions, and helped organise the MP’s invitations and diary. I also maintained and managed content on (with CSS, HTML, Foci2). Please feel free to see my recommendations on LinkedIn.

Nov 2010 – Apr 2011 Academic Advocacy Officer (University Campus Suffolk Students' Union)

I represented several students in serious academic cases of appeals, professional unsuitability, and professional misconduct. I worked through highly complex processes and different stages of appeal right up to OIA level, ensuring that University policy was adhered to, and setting-up a system of structure and continuation, through the creation of a database and case-sheets, for future advisors to work from.

Oct 2009 – Oct 2010 Senior Adviser (University of Essex Students' Union Advice Centre)

Working in a busy environment I managed volunteers, schedules and my own workload and case-notes. I kept up-to-date on relevant immigration forms and constantly changing regulations, becoming very familiar with the UKCISA manual, policy guidance, and all relevant forms and support material.

I led housing and immigration workshops, compiled support resources and worked independently when required to resolve queries and provide the best quality of service.

Nov 2009 – Sept 2010 Student Ambassador (University of Essex)

I coordinated the arrival of new students and the delivery of orientation programmes, guiding students round the campus and answering questions. I sat on international student panels and worked within External Relations.

Jun 2008 – Jun 2009 Editor-in-Chief – the|Rabbit Newspaper (University of Essex Students' Union)

This involved the running and editing of a fortnightly paper in parallel with my degree, managing a team of 50+ people and 28 pages of content. The experience helped me develop excellent intrapersonal skills. It helped me develop an ability to work to schedule and under pressure, alone or with teams of varying sizes. It gave me a greater sense of responsibility and conflict resolution/avoidance skills.

Training: I completed an Introduction to Sub-Editing course at the London College of Media and Journalism (December 2008) sponsored by my employer.

Jun 2007 – Jun 2008 Station Manager – RED Radio 1404 AM (University of Essex Students' Union)

I was directly in charge of a 13-person committee, although the station membership was approximately 50 people. I developed greater communication skills, and the knowledge necessary to run the station, increase listenership, and create and maintain the website over the course of the year.

Training: I completed a 12-week British Sign Language Course on campus (November 2007 – January 2008) sponsored by my employer. This opportunity was optional for all employees.

Jun 2007 – May 2011 Marketing Assistant & Graphic Designer – Marketing Department (University of Essex Students' Union)

Main responsibilities:

  • Producing quality designs to brief, within strict deadlines and for a variety of clients
  • Managing a team of new designers, including delegating the workload and teaching
  • Sending materials to print, liaising with external companies, sponsors, and designers
  • Working towards an overall accessible, interactive, and engaging marketing approach

Clients Included: Overall Union corporate brand; Commercial: two clubs, two bar/restaurants, and two food outlets, and a post office; Personnel/Human Resources; Student clubs and societies; Volunteer Team; and a series of one-off events.

Main Audiences: 10,000 students, “freshers”, external clients, potential sponsors, local community.

Materials Included: Posters, flyers, menus, banners, leaflets, signage, business and loyalty cards, images for web, t-shirts.

Voluntary Experience

2013 Maths Teacher; (Fresh Beginnings: Migrant and Refugee Support Centre)

I have taught mathematics to migrant and refugee children under-13 who have struggled heavily with their education, and as a result have also had difficult family situations, learning difficulties, and behavioural problems. Whilst it may not be immediately obvious how this experience is relevant, I can say that trying to effectively coordinate and teach groups of difficult children is in itself a trialling experience which helped me develop flexible strategies when dealing with the needs of individuals within groups.

2012 - 2013 Volunteer Essex StreetLaw

Essex StreetLaw is run by the University of Essex Students' Union Law Society, and has law student and non-law student members. The aims are to engage local secondary school children through presentations and mock trials in order to develop their understanding of how the law impacts their daily lives. It motivates pupils to think critically, ask questions, and discuss in a creative and enjoyable way.

2009 – 2010 Features Editor – the|Rabbit Newspaper (University of Essex)

Remaining with the newspaper after my job as Editor-in-Chief allowed me to have more control over content, while keeping fresh all the skills I learnt during my year in the job.

2008 – 2009 Student Mentor - Economics Department (University of Essex)
2007 – 2008 President - Debating Society (University of Essex)

I created and ran a Debating Society, held weekly meetings and led debating skills workshops. I was an active member of the Model United Nations society, and I have participated in many debating teams, including three annual English-Speaking Union national debating championships in Portugal.

I attended The Hague International Model United Nations (2003) simulation forum in The Netherlands where I represented the DR Congo in the Disarmament Committee, debating illicit small arms trading and the establishment of nuclear-free zones. I was also the representative of Panama (2001), Costa Rica (2002), and Nigeria (2003) at the Iberian Model United Nations in Lisbon, Portugal.

e-mail | home | blog | This page is created and maintained by © Margarida Santos Silva