"In my job at the Safety Region, I advise on how to make risk awareness campaigns more effective and how to stimulate safe behaviour."
"During my Bachelor's in Social Work at a university of applied sciences (hbo in Dutch), I realised I wanted to know more about research and human behaviour, particularly criminal behaviour and behaviour in high-risk and conflict situations. My interest in this field grew when I did an internship in a detention centre/prison. I became highly interested in what motivates people to commit crimes. And evenly more important: how we could use behavioural insights to increase the effectiveness of interventions in order to reduce recidivism.
I chose to do the specialisation in Conflict, Risk & Safety at the University of Twente because UT has a good balance between theory, practical application and an emphasis on new technologies. When you walk on campus, you can really feel the 'high tech, human touch'-character of the University of Twente.
The course 'psychology and crime' made me realise that this specialisation was really the right decision for me. In this course, I learned a lot about human intelligence, police interviewing and victim-offender mediation. The lectures fascinated me so much that I wrote my master's thesis about how to effectively gather human intelligence with a specific interrogation technique; the Scharff technique (Google it, this technique is really fascinating!). Writing my master's thesis was hard work, but I deeply enjoyed the fact that I could choose my own topic and emphasis.
The course 'risk and leadership in societal technological contexts' helped me to put the theory in a broader, societal perspective. During the lectures, we discussed recent crises in the Netherlands and abroad and the important role of risk- and crisis communication. In this course, I learned more about risk perception and how to increase the effectiveness of risk communication.
After graduation, I started working at the Safety Region Noord- and Oost-Gelderland (Veiligheidsregio Noord- en Oost-Gelderland) as Advisor Risk Awareness and Behavioral Change (Citizens and Living environment). I advise on how to make risk awareness campaigns more effective in increasing risk awareness and stimulating safe behaviour, regarding fire-safe living, for example. I also develop new campaigns myself, in which I can apply what I’ve learned throughout my Master’s. Increasing awareness and changing behaviour is difficult, but that makes my job challenging. The research skills I obtained during my Master's, help me to examine the effectiveness of campaigns, but my experience and knowledge of research is also valuable for other disciplines in the organisation.
Altogether, I can highly recommend this unique specialisation in psychology. It is a perfect start for a career in the risk and safety field, but also in the broader field of social psychology."