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Dec 2023

12 People of Waterstons – Julie Swinbank

On the first day of Christmas Waterstons gave to me, Higher Ed expert Julie.


Sector Principal - Education

From astronomy to physicist in the Oil and Gas industry, to lean manufacturing consultant, 18 years working in Higher Education managing research projects involving complex partnerships, then Head of Partnerships at Durham Uni - Julie’s career has given her a huge wealth and breadth of experience across technology.

In 2022, she came back to consultancy as an executive consultant for education at Waterstons and is now Sector Principal for Higher Education.

We asked Julie to tell us more about her job, her time at Waterstons and herself…

“In a nutshell, I help universities to work more efficiently and effectively, making changes and improvements using technology.

“I love spending time with my clients; learning about them and the way they work. Getting immersed in the people and processes to find opportunities that make things work better and their jobs easier, then seeing the end results, gives me a buzz every single time.

“In 2024, I’m looking forward to helping the HE sector adopt more new technologies, but more than that looking at the core functions in universities, understanding and simplifying the processes, getting the data in order, then looking to improve integration of systems and automation. This could free up so much time for staff, that could be used to improve recruitment and student experience and other value-adding activities. Getting the strategy and basics right first and then looking at bold, exciting tech in AI is going to make for a brilliant 2024!”

Julie has been passionate about supporting women in tech throughout her career, and a highlight while here at Waterstons was being able to host the North East Women in Tech for a networking event at our Durham office. She, along with all who attended, found it inspirational and empowering. But what else has Julie done that she’s proud of?

“I’m really proud of the work I did at the start of the Covid pandemic delivering visors to the NHS. I received a phone call from my GP on a Wednesday, they were going to be seeing Covid patients on the following Monday and had little to no PPE, and wanted to know if we could help to make some visors. I made a lot of calls, reopened the engineering department, got hold of the materials and delivered prototypes by the following Monday. Over the next few weeks, we delivered hundreds to local hospitals, midwives, and GP surgeries.”

Julie loves to chat about technology and her passions, so if you’d like to know more about her and how she can help your HE organisation, get in touch at