Alumni Services

Career Journeys: balancing three varied roles

From working in the charity sector to managing sustainable development goals and freelance interpretation and translation, here Simen shares his path since graduation and his current work at EPIC Assist Charity Scotland, UN House Scotland and as a freelance Interpreter and Translator.

Name Simen Jordsmyr Holm
Degree Course

MA (Hons) Arabic and Social Anthropology

MSc Nationalism Studies
Year of Graduation 2015, 2016

What are your current roles and what does your work involve?

I currently have three roles. My first role as Programme Officer and Analyst with EPIC Assist Charity Scotland is a very varied job, where I am responsible for all aspects of the charity’s operations in Scotland. This includes writing funding applications, developing and delivering projects, maintaining the website and social media, networking with different partners and writing reports on projects. Our work focuses on social inclusion of disadvantaged people and it is rewarding to see how projects can change people’s lives. It is also very motivating to work with partners from other European countries on projects which allow me to travel and meet young people from across the continent. 

Simen Jordsmyr Holm
Simen Jordsmyr Holm

My second role is Director of Projects and Intern Programme with UN House Scotland, a UN-affiliated civil society organisation working for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in Scotland and beyond. I am responsible for the recruitment and management of our Interns and oversee different conferences and seminars which we organise. It is an ever-changing organisation with young Interns from across the world, which is very exciting. We are also very close to key policy makers in Scotland and it is motivating to be able to see that our recommendations are taken forward following our awareness-raising.

My final role is my Interpreter and Translator job, which I do on a freelance basis. I am contracted to agencies and public institutions, who contact me when they are in need of help. I mostly interpret from Greek to English for Greek parents who have meetings with the school their children are attending but I also occasionally interpret from Norwegian to English in the Courts. Many of my translation tasks are legal and technical pieces which need to be translated for different companies from Norwegian to English. The most rewarding aspect of interpreting and translation is being able to facilitate communication and help people who would otherwise not be able to communicate with others in a different language themselves. The gratefulness shown by many parents especially when they are able to communicate with teachers through me is definitely worth every job.

What led you to your current roles?

After graduating from my MSc, I spent a few months working as a Journalist for a local newspaper in my native Norway, which I had also worked for during my university summer holidays. I returned to Edinburgh, where I volunteered for UN House Scotland while looking for a job. This is what brought me into the charity sector and arguably the decisive factor for me obtaining my current Programme Officer and Analyst role with EPIC Assist Charity Scotland. I have continued volunteering with UN House Scotland since, and have over the past few months been able to take up a paid role with the organisation as Director of Projects and Intern Programme.

Alongside my charity work, my language skills have given me the opportunity to work as an Interpreter and Translator for a range of agencies with private and public contracts. I was first approached by DA Languages one year after graduating and have since been able to be contracted to other agencies such as Global Voices. After gaining some experience in the field, I was approached by Edinburgh Council, who I now also interpret for.  I also had a small spell at the University of Edinburgh, where I translated Arabic peace agreements into English.

How have you used the skills and knowledge developed during your degree in your career?

I might not have used too many of the skills and knowledge developed during my degree in my career directly but I have been able to transfer the time management skills gained from working independently as a student, as well as the analytical way of approaching tasks.