David Quirke-Thornton, Executive Master of Public Administration, mature student

David Quirke-Thornton has had a long and varied career. Initially becoming a Franciscan monk after leaving school, he began to study for the priesthood. When David left the monastery he moved to England to work in the NHS. There, he drew on his experiences as a Franciscan to help resettle adults with learning disabilities from long-stay institutions to the community – an experience he found deeply rewarding. "My career spans roles from frontline care as a care assistant to my current role of deputy director for children and adults at Medway Council." For the last 20 years, David has been working for Local Government in Social Services.

Developing new skills

David realised there was plenty he could gain from the course. "I wanted to consolidate my experience, make time for personal and professional development and be challenged in the approach I was taking at work. The public sector is undergoing unprecedented change and I thought I needed to develop my knowledge, skills and resilience to be able to face these hard times. I was right!"

He wanted to study for a Masters in Public Administration rather than a Master of Business Administration like many of his peers. This was to ensure his studies would be grounded in public sector ethos and practice. "I discovered that very few universities now offer a Master of Public Administration and of those that do, LSBU is the most established and best regarded."

LSBU is part of a network of European Universities that work together to offer MPAs and Executive MPAs at an international summer school where students from across Europe come together. Last year this was held at the national school of government in Italy. Students considered the challenges in the public sector at this difficult economic time and worked together to find solutions to help meet challenges in ways that would serve our citizens well.

For David, it was an inspirational summer school, full of guest lecturers from around Europe. "It was very hard work from early to late but we still managed to get some socialising in too of course. I'm still in touch with several students from across Europe and we share ideas, learn from each other and support each other."

Perfect for the public sector

Although David has already been offered his next job – as director of social services, he is staying with Medway Council for now to complete some important transformation of services there. "When I was offered a director role, the council in question commented that the Executive MPA underscored my commitment to the public sector and that I stood out from other candidates who had studied general management courses such as MBAs."

"If you are a manager in the public sector this is the course for you. We're facing some incredible challenges and our work is not for the faint hearted. The Executive MPA will prepare you for the challenge, and at LSBU there is a real community to help you through your studies whilst having a busy and demanding job."


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