Northampton Law graduate influences Canadian government policy
07 January 2022
Canadian student, Ajithaa Thillainathan, graduated from the University of Northampton Law LLB programme in 2017. Since then, her career has seen her work for several local government departments in Ontario, Canada, from the criminal justice system to Ontario’s Anti-Racism Directorate, and recently with Ministry of Transportation.
Ajithaa credits the University of Northampton with giving her excellent experiences, and confidence, which she believes has helped shape her career. She said: “The Law LLB intensive programme at Northampton was a really attractive option as an international student. In terms of the academic modules, it’s well rounded and covers topics, such as property law and practice, civil litigation, business law, and criminal litigation. As a student, I felt I had a good grounding in the variety of legal career paths. Throughout the programme you hone your writing, research, and communications skills, which are extremely important for a career in Law, and especially in the policy roles I’ve had in my career so far.
“The intensive nature of the course meant that I could progress through the academic studies at a faster pace, and start my career, which I was keen to do. The skills you develop studying in this intensive way are attractive to employers too.”
As an international student, Ajithaa embraced life in the UK, exploring all that Northampton had to offer. She said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Northampton. My fellow students were very friendly, which made it easy to settle in. I think it also helped that I had a University mentor in my first year, who helped me to get my bearings and explore the area. In my second year, I worked part-time, which helped me fund some trips to Europe to explore too.
“The academic elements of the course were interesting and varied, alongside my studies, I was able to take part in two research projects focused on students' perceptions, which was a great experience, which I have drawn on in my career when working on public engagement programmes for government departments. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the EU Law and Psychology conference, thanks to the Chancellor’s Fund from the University, which was a great learning experience.”
After studying in Northampton, Ajithaa returned to Canada and began her career in Issues Management and Policy using the academic and transferable skills she developed at Northampton. One of these roles was with the Ontario Anti-Racism Directorate, which leads the government’s anti-racism initiatives to build a more inclusive society, and works to identify, address and prevent systemic racism in government policy, legislation, programs and services.
Ajithaa said: “The Law team at Northampton are passionate about inspiring students about social justice, and this stuck with me into my career. The role with the Ontario Anti-Racism Directorate was a fantastic experience. Canada is a wonderful multicultural country that welcomes people from all parts of the world, but the reality is that no country is perfect, Canada has problems with racial equity. In Ontario, we want to build a more inclusive and equitable province for everyone. It’s important work, that has been happening for a while, but with a much-needed intensity over the last few years. I’m proud to have been part of these important policy developments in my country.”
Although Ajithaa has now transitioned into a role within the Ministry for Transport, she remains committed to putting people at the heart of her policy work, and is currently focused on public engagement and issues management, in support of building transit-orientated communities, a new sustainable transit system.
Ajithaa has always grasped opportunities with both hands, which is advice she offers to students thinking of studying in the UK, she said: “You’ll never have this chance again, so take the leap, study in the UK, and embrace the opportunities that you’ll have. Meet people from all over the world, learn from them, embrace the experience and let it enrich your thinking.”