I met with two of our Campus Safety team, Paul Rowlen and Clive Edwards, to find out more about them, their work, and life at our Colchester Campus, including their top tips for our students.

What do you do on campus?

Paul: Hi. I’m Paul Rowlen and I work in Security and Campus Safety. You can find us on Square 3. I’m a lead patrol officer for a team of eight, and my job is to make sure we give the students, staff and visitors the best experience possible whilst on campus. That means making sure that everything runs smoothly during our shift and addressing any incidents that might occur.

Clive: My name is Clive Edwards. I work alongside a team of friendly people to help protect, care, assist and look after our students, as well as the buildings and facilities at our Colchester Campus. Outside of work I teach people about bushcraft and survival. This includes team building, wild food foraging, survival principles and activities such as mountaineering, archery and blacksmithing.

How long have you been working at Essex?

Paul: I’ve been working at the University for three years. One of the reasons I wanted to work here is because I’d heard what a good employer they are. This has certainly proven to be the case.

Clive: I’m pretty new. I’ve been working here for seven months.

Paul Rowlen

What’s your job like? What do you do day to day?

Paul: There are five teams in the security section and we work in shifts. Two early turns, two late turns and two night turns followed by four days off. We work 24 hours a day 365 days a year, yes even Christmas Day, so there’s always somebody here if you need any help or support. We have a dedicated information desk and CCTV room and we monitor over 150 cameras which are there to make sure our community is safe.

We do a lot of different things; making sure buildings are secure, delivering first aid, sorting out fire alarms, dealing with any anti-social behaviour, helping lost students, dealing with welfare issues, overseeing lost keys and lost property, delivering events, supporting other departments and, of course, supporting students or signposting them to the best support network. The list goes on. You name it and security has normally had an input.

Clive: My job is mostly about helping people to resolve problems and issues that may crop up during their time at Essex. Like Paul said, we offer a 24hr service so you will see myself and other team members around throughout the day. As the campus is really large, you will often see us on foot or out in a patrol vehicle. We are always approachable and love to chat. It’s great to be able to support and get to know our students.

What’s the best thing about working with our students?

Paul: Each student brings new life to campus. During lockdown the campus was exceptionally quiet but as students returned it came back to life and the place began to buzz again with fun and laughter. Making sure students get the best out of their time at Essex is important. I really enjoy engaging with students as each one has a different story to tell and a different background.

Clive: There are two things that stand out for me about working with, and talking to, students. Firstly, listening to them talk about their journey to becoming a student at the university and secondly seeing their passion for the subjects they are studying.

Clive Edwards

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Clive: There is a lot I enjoy about the job. I work with great people. Deliver a service for an interesting and diverse community and every day is different. There is a lot of satisfaction in helping people, especially in a time of need.

Paul: Clive is right - no two days are the same. For me being trusted to look after the safety and welfare of others is very important. With a multi-cultural population from across the world, it’s always satisfying to be able to put somebody’s mind at ease over a situation or support someone when they need it. Being at the forefront of customer service and problem solving is very satisfying.

Before you go, can you tell us your top tip for our students?

Clive: My top tip for the students is never feel you are alone - ask for help whenever you need it.

Paul: Have fun at University but don’t let the fun times overshadow your studies. Time will fly by and suddenly your exams will be here. Don’t waste this opportunity to achieve something great. Also, remember that if you ever have an issue security is only a phone call away.