David Williams

David graduated from Aber in 1978 with a BA in Geography.

What do you remember most about your time at Aber?

I have to admit that it is the social side that first leaps to mind! Making the great friends who I am still in touch with; late night coffee drinking in Padarn Hall whilst putting the world to rights; Banks' pub crawls; water fights; walking along the prom and kicking the bar; hall dinners and socials; balls in the Great Hall; Rag Week; and the Mountaineering Club weekends in Snowdonia. Academically, I remember with fondness some brilliant lecturers and tutors. People like Professor Harold Carter, and Doctors Roy Lewis and Bob Dodgshon who taught Human Geography. Not only were they great teachers but they were really nice people too.

What are you doing now career-wise and how has your Aberystwyth Degree helped?

After teaching for several years I moved into local government, reaching the position of Director of Education in Bath and North East Somerset and then, later, as Director of Children's Services for Durham County Council. In the latter role I was responsible for 290 schools; the youth service; youth offending services; and children's social services such as child protection and the fostering and adoption services.  It was a massive job.  My annual budget was well over £400 million and my service had over 10,000 staff when those working in schools are included. I recently took early retirement made possible because of spending cutbacks, but now spend several days each month doing consultancy for local councils and for the Welsh and English governments, working to support local authorities that are in difficulties with their education or children's services. The Aber degree made this all possible.

What advice would you have for a student doing your course now? 

Make the most of every minute of your time in Aber. It's a terrible cliche but work hard and play hard. You usually need a good degree to get on these days but you will almost certainly never again have the levels of freedom and spare time that you now enjoy. Use it!