Proud achievements for psychologists

Three honoured in new year list: Ella Rhodes reports.

Academic and practitioner psychologists working in military recruitment, tackling the climate crisis and supporting children and young people have all been named in the 2022 New Year Honours list. 

Among them was BPS member Margaret Bailey, an occupational psychologist with RAF Recruitment and Selection (R&S) based at RAF Cranwell, who received an MBE for her services to aircrew assessment and aptitude testing. Bailey began working with the RAF in 1992, leading the R&S Occupational Psychology Department which provides support with recruitment strategies, assessment methods and selection policy, carries out analyses to identify operational and training requirements across military specialisations, and undertakes research to develop evaluate and validate aptitude tests, assessment centre procedures and interviews. 

Bailey said she felt honoured and delighted to receive the MBE. ‘I really do need to thank my colleagues for their support and assistance over the years, without whom all that we have achieved for RAF selection just would not have been possible. I am grateful that our work and effort is appreciated.’ Bailey said she was proud to see the degree to which selection methods had evolved over the years, and how they had become internationally renowned for their effectiveness. ‘Looking back over the years, I am so pleased that as Occupational Psychologists we have been able to build up a strong rapport with our RAF colleagues. It is the trust and respect from them that really has enabled us to explore, develop and implement different psychological measures and build an effective selection system.’

Another Society member, Consultant Clinical Psychologist Dr Beth Mosley (Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust), was awarded an MBE for her innovative work in mental health services for young people. She said she was baffled to receive a letter from the Cabinet Office. ‘It was such an amazing surprise and I felt humbled by it – all I could think about was all the amazing people I have worked with who made it possible.’

After working as the first full-time clinical psychologist at Thurston College in Suffolk between 2017 and 2019, supporting the wellbeing and mental health of students and the school community, Mosley led a pilot project to place clinical psychologists in four Suffolk schools. Although she and her team were redeployed due to Covid, they continued their work supporting school staff, parents and young people with online workshops and training. 

‘This support was, and is, incredibly well-received by all, with parents sharing their gratitude for having access to support and advice and not feeling so alone. Last year 7000 people accessed our parent workshops on supporting young people with common issues and 12,000 people in total have accessed our online training.’

Mosley said that walking into Thurston College as a lone clinician, and leaving with a community backing her work, was one of her proudest achievements. She is now working on an early intervention outreach model for all young people in Suffolk. ‘This work is happening with the invaluable contribution of the Psychology in Schools Team, who I would say I consider as another of my proudest achievements… they are an inspirational team who have turned an idea into a reality and allowed for the expansion of the approach. I feel honoured to work with them and all the other people who are passionate about supporting young people to thrive despite the challenges they face.’

Professor of Environmental Psychology Lorraine Whitmarsh (University of Bath) received an MBE for services to social research in climate change, energy and transport. Director of the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations (CAST), Whitmarsh’s research largely focuses on perceptions and behaviour related to climate change. As well as studying energy efficiency behaviours, waste reduction, and carrier bag reuse, Whitmarsh is also the lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Working Group II and advises government and other organisations on low-carbon behaviour change and climate change communication. She said when she received an email about the MBE she was convinced it was a scam. ‘I couldn’t really believe it! I was delighted and it’s barely started to sink in, but it’s such a nice surprise.’  

As well as working with the IPCC, Whitmarsh has also advised the UK government’s Department of Transport on its decarbonisation strategy, and the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy on its public engagement work on reaching net zero. Whitmarsh said some of the proudest achievements of her career so far included being an expert lead for the UK’s first Climate Assembly and working with the Climate Crisis Advisory Group chaired by former government Chief Scientific Advisor Sir David King. ‘He was actually the person who influenced me to get involved with climate change in the first place, he came to my university when I was doing my PhD and gave a talk saying climate change was the biggest threat facing humanity. Now that doesn’t sound unusual to hear, but that was the first time I’d heard anybody saying anything like that… I realised that we needed to focus psychology on this issue.’  

Find more information on Dr Beth Mosley and the Psychology in Schools Teams’ free online workshops.

Read our December 2020 interview with Professor Lorraine Whitmarsh.

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