Sara Manchipp became Miss Wales 2011 three weeks ago – a great thrill for a 21-year-old from Baglan.
Yesterday we began a five-part interview with her. She talked about her university aspirations.
Today the accent falls on the course she’s chosen and the career she may pursue.
Q: Psychology and counselling aren’t traditional secondary school or sixth form territory. What prompted you to take them at uni?
A: Whilst growing up my grandparents have had a huge influence on me; they’ve always fostered children – up to five at any one time – so I’ve seen on a regular basis how helping someone can change lives for the better. That’s drawn me to counselling – there’s such a positive force that comes from talking problems through, from help and guidance. How does that apply to me? Well, I like chatting, I’m friendly, try to be warm with everyone and I’ve always been interested in the underlying reasons for behaviour – good and bad. On a selfish level, of course, it’s been great to have lots of young people around them as I’ve been growing up and staying there at weekends; it’s been lovely to get to know them and to see them develop from a state of anger or upset to state of great happiness and positivity.
Q: So what’s the perfect job for you?
A: I’d love to work with youth offenders. It’s a role that has the capacity to transform lives for the better and to deliver job satisfaction. It’d certainly put my career to good use; why should three years of university study – not to mention the time spent on GCSEs and A levels – go to waste? My own opinion on young people who offend is that they shouldn’t be locked up as too many are. The accent should be on help not punishment. Not only would the individuals benefit but also, I think, their families and wider society. Who knows how things would improve for us all if there were more people out there well qualified and tasked with understanding and helping others? My view is that the world would be a much better place. There aren’t enough foster carers, for instance. If only there were more people like my grandparents!
Tomorrow “Port Talbot? It’s the ultimate pick’n’mix of talent, beauty, industry and potential.”