Student Spotlight: Hannah

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As part of our Business and Law Student Spotlight 2022, we spoke to accounting graduate Hannah Carr about her journey so far at UWE Bristol. Hannah has just completed her third year and will be starting at Mazars as a Trainee Financial Planner in September.

What has been your biggest achievement so far?

“I’ve really enjoyed my time at UWE, especially the different experiences and activities that have been available throughout my degree. For example, I was able to work in the Business Advice Clinic, providing real external clients with advice and gaining valuable career experience that I could then reference in interviews and future roles.

I think my biggest achievement during the course has been to reach the shortlist for ‘Accountancy Graduate of the Year’ in the PQ Magazine Awards this year. I was honoured to be nominated and make the top five nationally, and for me it reflected my hard work but also the significant support and encouragement that the lecturers provided during the degree to push me to succeed and achieve more than I thought possible.”

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?

“I think it would be to try everything and put yourself out there to get involved with as much as possible, even if it doesn’t seem 100% relevant to your degree or future career plans. For example, I was involved with the Peer Assisted Learning scheme and the Student Ambassador programme, and these roles gave me some invaluable experiences that were useful in interviews as well as my personal development.”

What has been the highlight of your UWE experience so far?

“It sounds a bit cliché, but I would say the people. I’ve met some amazing friends and some truly passionate lecturers who want to see you succeed and will push and encourage you to reach new heights. I’m so grateful for those I’ve met during my degree, and I’m definitely sad to be leaving now! But of course, excited for my new graduate role and the next chapter.”

The Women’s Work Lab and UWE Part 2

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For the last month, my team at UWE Bristol, the Stakeholder Engagement team, have had a guest with us on placement. This is part of an initiative set up by an amazing Community Interest Company called Women’s Work Lab.

Becky Ware has joined us and very quickly become a part of the team. I have seen her confidence grow, her enthusiasm spark new ideas and her creativity bring a fresh mind-set to challenges.  Here she shares her story about the power of Women’s Work Lab, and the vital support provided by many organisations, like UWE, in offering work placements.

“Being a single stay-at-home mum, it is easy to fall into a routine, and that routine becomes a comfort that is hard to break out of.

I have been out of work for just over 9 years, in that time I had a second child, and an operation on my kidney which I had to wait a few years for.

I was trying to motivate myself into job hunting, but didn’t know where to start, having had such a large career break.

I was lucky that I had a social prescriber who texted me unexpectedly one day advising about The Women’s Work Lab (WWL), I had a look at their website, and read through all the information, a 12-week programme where they help you to get back into work sounded ideal.

I applied on a Saturday and was offered a place on the course on the following Tuesday, I had a bit of apprehension, would I be any good? Am I really the type of person that they help? Am I deserving of this? But I decided that I had to give it a go, I owed myself the chance to improve my life, and that of my kids.

The Thursday of that week I went for my first day, I arrived and waited in reception with a group of other mums, all in the same position as me, none of us knowing, really, what to expect.

The WWL course was insightful and run by a wonderful lady called Sally, she had the experience to really give us all some good advice. I’m currently only halfway through the course, the experience so far has been amazing, I’ve met some wonderful mums who are in the same position as me, and I hope we keep in touch following the end of the course.

Part of the course is a four-week work placement, I was so nervous to find out where I would be going, as were the other mums, but I was delighted to find out my placement would be at the UWE.

I’m now in my job placement, working in the FBL.

The staff in the FBL have been so incredibly welcoming, and happy to spend time with me, considering I’m not a permanent member of staff, and will only be here for 4 weeks, the amount of time and help they’ve given me has been nothing short of wonderful, their support has really helped my experience and I am so excited about looking for a job and getting back to work, I’m not sure how encouraged I would have been if I didn’t have this support.

I’ve got new experiences that will help me in my job search, even something as simple as using outlook again, and getting back into work friendly habits. The confidence this placement has given me is worth its weight in gold.

I’m so thankful to everyone in both the FBL and the WWL, without them I would probably still be at home trying to figure out the best pathway for me to return to work, and still be around for my children.

I cannot recommend the WWL course highly enough, I’m looking forward to finishing the course with some more classroom work, but I will also be very sad to leave my placement, I really feel like part of the team.”

The Women’s Work Lab and UWE Part 1

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Camilla Rigby is the Co-Founder and Joint CEO of Women’s Work Lab (WWL), a Community Interest Company with the stated aim to support under-represented women aged 25+ to fulfil their career potential and become work ready. The WWL aims to unlock potential and lay the foundations for a brighter future for the mums they work with. Outcomes for participants include new careers, positive role modelling for their families and communities and the creation of a vital support network. Camilla was virtually reintroduced to UWE when they were looking for a venue to host the Spring 2022 South Gloucestershire programme.  

The mission of WWL is in line with UWE’s core values and as a UWE alumni, we were keen to support Camilla with her endeavours. Camilla studied Business Studies, completing in 2004.  

“I enjoyed my time studying at UWE and today, as a regional hub for business, and an educational provider with enterprise, community and industry partnership at its heart, UWE seemed like the perfect place to inspire our participants.” 

“Completing my Business Studies degree really opened my eyes to what the real world of work could look like. My year-long work placement provided an amazing springboard for my career and I managed to land my first job before I’d even graduated! I am still in touch with many friends from UWE days and it’s great to see how many have followed entrepreneurial pathways. ” 

The WWL programme includes bespoke classroom training, 1-2-1 support, skills training, practical career support and a four-week work placement. During 2022, 90 women will be supported in this way across six programmes taking place in the local city/ region.  

Before Co-Founding the WWL with Rachel Mostyn in 2019, Camilla had a 15 year career in senior communications roles for household brands including Dyson & OVO Energy. As a Mum to two boys aged 9 & 11 (one who is autistic), she understands first-hand the challenges that Mums can face trying to support her family alongside work.  

“My inspiration in co-founding WWL came back in 2016 when I felt unable to juggle the pressures of work and a young family; I felt like a failure to be honest. I recognised at the same time the privilege I had and began to question how much harder it must be for women who don’t have a decent support network, or lots of work experience. I was fortunate enough to meet Rachel during this time of reflection and we began to research what was available for Mums that were unemployed and in receipt of state benefits. Turns out very little and so we set about co-designing the programme with Mums from across the City into what we have now. We’re proud to have worked with over 100 womens on their journeys back towards work, whilst building an amazing team of women who really connect and inspire the Mums we support.” 

UWE has been proud to host this inspiring initiative and work with the local community to improve outcomes for mothers who have been challenged in some way in terms of securing work. This programme really aligns with our Strategy 2030 in boosting our economy and supporting the local and regional community, and has massive societal impact which is so rewarding and essential for continued growth and success. 

“We feel as though this is just the beginning for the Women’s Work Lab. Having started in early 2020, covid has unsurprisingly hampered what we’ve been able to achieve. That said, in 2021 we know that 60% of the women we supported are now working; this is testament to their hard work and determination. It also shows why specialist employability support is so needed and it’s amazing to have the support of employers like UWE in helping these women to fulfil their potential.” 

If you would be interested in finding out more about the work of WWL, you can find additional information via their website here

FinTech guest lecture series

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We recently ran a series of guest lectures from experts in the FinTech and Financial Services industry for our MSc FinTech students. MSc FinTech is a course that equips students to address the pervasive impact of disruptive financial technologies. This programme is jointly run by Bristol Business School and The Department for Computer Science and Creative Technologies.

The aim of the guest lecture series was to give the students real insight into what it takes to start, run and grow a FinTech. From day one we wanted to ensure that understanding around the importance of compliance, risk and legal were understood. If our students go on to start their own ventures in the future, better that they understand these requirements from day one.

The series gave students an insight into the different types of technology and applications, helping them to imagine and innovate. This included Open Banking, AI, Blockchain, NFTs, Metaverse, Payments, Automated Investing and Cyber to name a few. 

We also regularly share news articles from the world of FinTech and discuss the impact they might have on the future of finance. Four lucky students attended FinTech Talents event in London where they heard from headline speakers from across the world of FinTech and Financial Services. 

Below is a summary of each of the guest speakers that came to campus to present to the students and what they discussed:

Glenn Smith – Founder and CEO of Roqqett

  • Fintech is not new: Financial Technology over the last century
  • Technology in the FX markets
  • When the rules change: the opportunities when disruption occurs from new tech or new regulation

Ali Kazmi – Founder of Ethical Equity

  • Steps to launch and funding
  • Get your MVP. Minimum Viable Product
  • The importance of a business plan
  • Write and Exec Summary
  • Develop a 5 year forecast 
  • Apply to incubators and Angel investors. 

Ali also explained Shariah investing and broke down many preconceived misconceptions on how they work and who they are suitable for. 

Martin Cook – Director of FinTech at Burges Salmon

  • The regulatory environment 
  • Managing regulatory change/implementation 
  • Policy and Lobbying
  • Expanding overseas
  • A perspective on working with FinTechs

Ed Hayes – Partner at TLT Solicitors

  • How data protection law affects FinTechs. 

Karl Sweatman and Chad EdgecombePeaple Talent

  • What FinTech roles and opportunities are there in the region?
  • What are the skills employers are looking for?
  • The difference between applying and working for a start-ups versus a larger corporate 
  • You don’t have to be a coder to work in FinTech! It is much more than that and includes all the supporting functions – marketing, compliance, legal, design, project management etc.

Julian Wells – Director at Whitecap Consulting

Julian is behind FinTech North and FinTech West, which make up part of the National FinTech Network. Julian discussed the UK fintech ecosystem and clusters and reflected on the Kalifa review. A government backed review into FinTech in the UK that identified Bristol and Bath as a fintech cluster. 

Tim Hegarty – Founder of Blockchain Ventures Ltd / Early NFT pioneer

Tim discussed the history of blockchain and the early explorations into the new technology. 

Anna Lisa Wesley – Founder of start-up advisory Sapphire & Steel

Customer research for market leadership.

Daniel GoldFounder of Stratiphy

Introduction to Investment Strategies.

Karin Rudolph – Founder of Collective Intelligence

An introduction into AI and Ethics. 

Josh Stott – CEO and founder of TryPenny 

  • Nuts and bolts of their 2-year fintech journey 
  • Pivoting
  • Building an MVP
  • Raising a pre-seed
  • Getting regulated 
  • Legals and Accounting 
  • Rating a seed

Marty Reid – Director, Engine Shed and SETsquared

What makes a business innovative?

Kathy Griffin – Director of Compliance at Monzo Bank

How to have a successful and rewarding career in Compliance. 

Sandeep Roy – Founder and CEO of Innovate2Grow  

Digital Business Models. 

Richard Norton – Founder of GetNorts

Creativity, design, advertising, marketing and NFTs. 

Reid Derby – Director of Strategy at CyNam and Strategic Advisor on Innovation at Golden Valley Development

Golden Valley Development and the cyber tech ecosystem in Cheltenham and opportunities to develop a career in this sector.

Karin Rudolph – Collective Intelligence UK

“It was a fantastic experience to have delivered a guest lecture to the students of the Masters in Fintech at UWE.

The students were very engaged and interested in the topic of AI ethics, and the session sparked tough provoking and interesting conversations about the ethical considerations of technology and their impact on society”

Karin Rudolph – Collective Intelligence UK

Glenn Smith – Founder Roqqett

“It was a pleasure being able to give a talk to the UWE Fintech Masters students. The audience was super engaged and asked loads of pertinent questions. They were really interested in both previous experiences and my views on how various areas of Fintech were developing. Overall, it was great to have such enthusiastic interest from an audience and to get their perspective as well on emerging trends. “

Glenn Smith – Founder, Roqqett

Empowering refugee entrepreneurs

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Blog from Berrbizne Urzelai, Team coach- Senior Lecturer, UWE Bristol and Scarlett Hagger, Project Support Officer, West of England Combined Authority.

On 16 March UWE Bristol hosted a Social Impact Hackathon – a start-up brainstorming event where UWE students from Team Entrepreneurship, Law, and Business and Management (some of them Enactus members too) worked with refugee and migrant entrepreneurs associated with the West of England Growth Hub and ACH to solve the problems they are facing in their entrepreneurial journey.

The day started with a social breakfast where all participants got to know a bit about each other. The event officially kicked off with an inspirational speech from Fuad Mahamed, the CEO of ACH and an International Ambassador for Bristol. Fuad came to the UK as a refugee from Somalia with no English, and went on to obtain a first-class degree in Engineering from Bath University followed by an MSc in Management from Lancaster Business School.

Setting up ACH in 2008 in order to support the resettlement of refugees like himself, he has built the organisation into one of the leading providers of integration support for excluded and marginalised people. It now spans across 3 cities, employs 65 people and works with 2500 individuals a year.

The Migrant Business Support (MBS) project started in January 2021 and offers enterprise support to third-country nationals through one-to-one sessions, workshops, mentoring and online training. As of April 2022, the project has supported over 200 refugees and migrants in the West Midlands and Southwest.

The MBS project differs from other mainstream business support as it has cross-culturally competent Business Advisers, training and workshops that are translated into different languages for different nationalities and has a ground-up approach from listening to their clients and tailoring the service to their needs, which in turn leads to a constantly evolving service.

The West of England Growth Hub provides tailored support, expert guidance and access to finance and support programmes to small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the West of England. The Growth Hub offers a free and impartial service open to all businesses, from all sectors, helping businesses throughout Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

In the morning the teams worked together in understanding the background of the refugees and what kind of problems they were facing, and then in deciding which issue they wanted to focus on. Having the client inside the team was an interesting experience.

The students supported a variety of projects and ventures, from a carwash business to graphic design or craft art… all at different stages of development.

The teams pitched their solutions to a panel that was formed by:
• Shuai Qin: CRÈME, Aston Business School
• Nigel Stone: TE UWE Mentor in Residence
• Sebastian Crawshaw: TE UWE Mentor in Residence

They were all great and the panellists gave them very valuable feedback to guide them into the next steps of their projects. They really enjoyed the experience:

“So humbled to support such talented refugee in the ACH refugee Hackathon last week! It was an awesome experience, well done everyone! If only we could recognise and embrace immigrants’ skills and embrace them into our culture more. What a difference that would make to all of us.”

Nigel Stone

The event helped the participants develop skills and competencies such as team working, problem-solving, leadership, innovation, networking or building rapport and empathy. It was great to feel that energy in the room and how motivated everyone was on the task.

“It was such an insightful day. It was lovely to meet the refugees and to learn about their businesses and their talents and passions. They were truly inspirational with so much to offer and I learnt a lot from them too. I have kept in touch with M. and S. I am aiming to ask S. for some advice on graphic designs and calligraphy for one of my projects. I would like to go to the craft sale to see more of M’s beautiful work and to get to know M. and S. better and what goes on in their community. I look forward to getting to know everyone who took part and I am excited about the next steps. It was a really amazing day and we should definitely do more of these. Thank you for making it all run so smoothly.”

L.J.

“I thought the event was excellent, was great to speak to people from different backgrounds and hear their experiences. It was also fun working with other students from other subjects. It was massively out of my normal comfort zone but I soon got on with everyone really well and enjoyed the day. I learnt that there are many barriers that refugees can face, the language barrier seemed to be a difficult one at times, but refugees have a lot to offer in a range of skills. I will be emailing M. what I created for her and follow up with further advice for her business. The contacts I made in the team will be useful in the future for further projects and ventures.”

T.A.


Refugee entrepreneurs also found it useful and are taking some steps forward within their businesses:


“I learnt not to waste my time on things that will not develop my future… from here I began to reconsider my situation. I have enjoyed speaking with people with experience, from different fields. This is the first time that I feel that I have taken real advice from someone who does not know me… a good advice. My plan is to contact these suggested people and engage in 1:1 support.”

S.


“It was a great event for me. I learned that I need to make a business plan first and know better my audience. The panel members gave us great advice. I learned a lot from them, it was very helpful as they have experience. I am not sure yet how I will carry on with all that feedback, but I am now working to reopen my Etsy shop.”

M.


The event had a fantastic celebratory feel. It was not a competition but a celebration of what we can do together. Participants also got some certificates and a UWE digital badge thanks to Lynda Williams, Associate Director of Stakeholder Engagement. We are looking forward to continuing this partnership and supporting them during their journey.

We just planted the sheet and the magic happened! We have now shared the material created during the day and created a communication channel for the participants to continue to work together on these and other projects. We are looking forward to continuing this partnership and supporting them during their journey.

Using creativity to educate

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UWE Bristol has announced the dropping of the BAME acronym. Work like this looks at supporting not only the learning and assessment of students but the re-enforcement of UWE’s commitment to a fairer and more just learning environment, where everybody is recognised as an individual with different support needs.

Alongside this agenda, several Level 2 Bristol Business School students have been working to create engaging online campaigns to raise awareness of racism in football. English football has been at the forefront of the fight against racism in sport, with recent and ongoing events that have tainted the sport from the World Cup, right down to grassroots football.

Every day, news stories are serving to remind us all that this isn’t something that happens occasionally, but is in fact endemic in the systems of sport that we are all part of. Our Level 2 students were tasked with educating themselves, having open discussions with peers, and using their creative marketing skills to develop a social media campaign that could affect behaviour change.

The focus for the students working on this assignment was to firstly educate themselves by researching the experiences of Black footballers, understanding what the key issues were and then moving on to establish how they could connect with the footballing audience in order to educate and affect behaviour.

This led to some really challenging and open discussions in the classroom between both White and Black students. I recall a student asking his peer ‘well, what is it actually like being Black and being here, in this room and you’re the only one’. It became evident that not only was this learning space developing our Marketing students’ knowledge of digital marketing, but it was also engaging them in discussions they possibly would not have had.

Our hope is that by creating more challenging assessments, based on real and very palpable issues that are usually avoided, educators can start to get students to see other perspectives, learn about the lived experiences of others and ultimately, educate themselves.

UWE Bristol houses UK’s first on-campus aeroponic grow system for student business

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A vertical farming system, set up on Frenchay campus using aeroponic technology to grow and supply micro herbs and baby leaf plants, is the first of its kind to be located at a UK university. The system is being used by student venture Greener Greens Co, which Jamie Taylor founded as part of his Team Entrepreneurship degree.

The 40ft container farm, supplied by LettusGrow, provides 24m2 of growing area and houses a four-tiered vertical grow-bed. The growing process uses a software that automates LED lighting, temperature and water vapour. Nutrients are delivered to the plants via atomisers that spray an organic, nutrient-dense fog onto exposed roots (a technique called ‘aeroponics’).

Greener Greens’ plants are to include petit arugula, pea shoots, coriander, basil, pak choy and other small sprouting plants like micro broccoli, which take 11-30 days to reach full height. During this time, cycle pH levels, humidity and organic nutrient levels are automatically regulated.

Jamie Taylor said: “Nature is seasonal, but in this container farm we create our own climate to produce seasonal produce all year round. This is a really innovative system that uses no soil, no pesticides, with crop yields using 95 per cent less water and 99% less space compared to conventional land-based farming.”

The entrepreneur said Greener Greens’ ethos is to have a lower carbon footprint compared to other suppliers and, by providing a growth area close to the point of need, reduce food transportation miles. It is also reducing a reliance on single unit plastic by using re-usable containers to transport the plants.

Team Entrepreneurship is a degree that helps students set up a business as a team. Jamie said: “All this has only been achievable thanks to the University. Key support from UWE Bristol’s enterprise, estates, environmental and sustainability, and catering teams has been crucial in working out how to run the business and how to introduce Greener Greens produce into the university’s supply chain.”

The system is set to produce some 200kg of pea shoots per month, as this plant variety has a short grow cycle of just 12 days. Initially the vegetables will supply the University and other local customers. The enterprise then plans to set up further containers, supplying the super yacht business. “Head chefs on board need high quality produce fast so we have an opportunity to reduce carbon footprint in this industry by setting up a container in the South of France.

“Many existing suppliers to that industry use pesticides and the produce is sometimes flown over 5000 miles to Nice, which leaves a large carbon footprint.”

Greener Greens is also building a geo-temporal inventory app that will allow its customers to see what is growing in which container, so they can place orders and receive fresher produce faster. The app will also allow chefs, for the first time ever, to specify the size and shape of their salads and garnishes in-app and create bespoke garnishes.

Jamie and his Greener Greens system set up on Frenchay campus was featured in yesterday evening’s edition of the BBC’s Countryfile, available to view on iPlayer (from 29:51).

Ten perks of being a UWE Bristol alumni

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So, you’ve graduated, hurrah! This isn’t goodbye, though. You are now part of our active network of more than 310,000 professional alumni. We have dedicated alumni and careers teams who are on hand to help you make the most of your degree and continue to grow in the working world. We’ve put together ten perks of being a member of the UWE Bristol alumni community.

1. Trailblazer Programme

Offered exclusively to UWE Bristol alumni, our Trailblazer Programme gives you a chance to build on your leadership, innovation and business skills whilst networking with other UWE alum. The programme aims to maximise personal impact, boost effectiveness and develop leadership styles.

Taking part in Trailblazer enables you to take advantage of your lifelong connection to our expertise and community. You will also gain access to a growing and vibrant community of Trailblazers with future networking events.

2. Discounted access to Postgraduate study and Professional Development Programmes

As a UWE Bristol alum, you can access our Postgraduate education courses at a 25% discount. In addition, you can browse our range of Professional Development programmes and enjoy a 15% discount on the full price of our programmes. Give yourself the edge in a competitive jobs market by upskilling yourself and take the opportunity to learn something new.

3. Alumni Connect

You may have already made use of this online mentoring and connection tool (exclusive to UWE Bristol) as a student, but if not – it’s not too late to start! Alumni Connect is our free site linking students, new graduates and alumni around the world. You can use it to find UWE Bristol alumni in different industries and reach out to them for advice and tips.

4. Access to free Careers support up to 3 years after Graduation

That’s right! You can speak to a member of UWE Bristol’s Careers Coaching team for free and get personalised, impartial advice and guidance to help you start planning your future. You’re also able to attend our employer events (these are all run virtually in 2021-2022, so it’s even easier to join in). You have free access for life to our cloud-based Career Resources via the Career Toolkit to help you find vacancies, write a CV, practice aptitude tests as well as get interview tips. No one expects you to have your future all wrapped up once you graduate – together we can help you make that first step.

5. Access to desk space and business support from our University Enterprise Zone

If you have a business idea you would like to put into action, Launch Space, part of our University Enterprise Zone, can help you do just that. We’ll give you free business support and expert advice for up to 12 months so you can focus on achieving great things. We also have a small number of bursaries available for eligible entrepreneurs.

Launch Space is open to graduate-led, or early stage, businesses with high-growth potential. We’re looking for those that are working on products and services across key themes:

  • Health and life science
  • Advanced engineering
  • Digital futures
  • Sustainability and climate change

6. Alumni Membership to Centre for Music

UWE Bristol Centre for Music offers alumni a hugely discounted membership (£40 for a year – yes, you read that right!), which enables you to participate in any of our professionally directed groups, plus free access our annual programme of Masterclasses and other special events. Unfortunately, we have to reserve the booking of our spaces and studios for current students only to make sure everyone still studying can use our facilities!

7. UWE Bristol Sport

As a UWE Bristol alum, you’ll get great prices at UWE Bristol Sport when you join as a member. Choose from the all-inclusive Active Card for £17.92 per month which includes full gym access, unlimited exercise classes, access to the MOVE programme and use of the squash courts. Or opt for Gym Only at just £180 per year/£15 per month. With no contract or joining fee, fantastic facilities, high-quality equipment and fully trained instructors, make UWE Bristol Sport your go-to fitness destination.

8. Free access to LinkedIn Learning

For up to a year after you complete your course, you’ll have access to LinkedIn Learning (previously lynda.com). For those who haven’t used it before, it’s an incredible resource of training videos and resources to learn anything from leadership and management skills to Google Analytics and Photoshop. It usually costs £25 a month, so take advantage of it while it’s free!

9. Free access to BlackBullion

As a UWE Bristol graduate, you will continue to have access to the great financial education platform BlackBullion. BlackBullion offers modules and articles on all areas relating to money so you can be confident you have all the up to date info you need as you transition from student to graduate. Topics include repaying student loans, postgraduate funding, tax, investment, mortgages and much, much more! Don’t forget to make the most of this fantastic resource. Access lasts while you still have your UWE Bristol email address (about a year after your course finishes).

10. Free access to Kooth online services

UWE Bristol alumni can continue to access Kooth student for up to a year after they complete their course. You’ll have access to free online counselling, articles, forums and discussions on the site.

Student Spotlight: Carmen

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As part of our Business and Law Student Spotlight 2021, we spoke to Business and HR Management student, Elena Carmen Ceesay, about her journey so far at UWE Bristol. Carmen is a mature student and has recently returned to education to help her get her dream job.

What has been your biggest achievement over the past year?

“My greatest achievement is successfully passing all my exams despite all the challenges! My confidence has definitely improved and I have learnt new things that I can now apply to every aspect of my life.”

What has been your biggest challenge over the past year?

“The last year has been really challenging, not only due to the pandemic but also due to personal circumstances. I am a mature student and a working mum. It has been a struggle with childcare for my two-year-old undiagnosed autistic daughter, and I have particularly struggled with time management. It was inspiring to me to receive such good results in my first year at university and this has given me the confidence to go into my second year.

I also had doubts about fitting in with my classmates due to an age gap, however, in our team working assignments my experience benefited the whole team and we worked really well together to complete various projects.”

What advice would you give to new students or those looking into Higher Education?

“Never be scared to always improve yourself, no matter what age you are! Returning as a mature student I was worried I wouldn’t fit in, I wouldn’t have time to do what is needed and that it wouldn’t benefit me – but all those thoughts are now gone.

I would also advise new students to plan their time well and ensure that they work on assignments from the beginning of the module and not last minute. Engaging with the reading list is also important, it is there to help you, so take advantage of that list already put together for you.”

Five ways to up your exam game

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Exam season is just around the corner and we know that this can be a stressful time, so we have gathered our top tips from some of our Business and Law academics to give you a head start in acing your upcoming exams.

Read the question, answer the question

Lucy Rees (Associate Head of Department, Law)

It might sound obvious, but it’s really important that you carefully read the whole question thoroughly and actually answer the question. Take time to identify the key words – if it asks you to define, you get marks for defining, if you are asked to provide examples that means you will get marks for your examples. Only write what is relevant and required in the question.

Remaster the art of pen to paper

Hilary Drew (Associate Head of Department for Partnerships and Senior Lecturer in Human Resource Management)

How much time do we actually spend writing these days? Writing with a pen on paper, for two and a half hours, even the thought of it is enough to make your wrists ache! When doing your revision, actually write up your notes by hand instead of typing them. Buy a fancy notebook, some highlighters, and a new pen or two! By writing your revision notes longhand, not only will you be training your arm for the exam marathon, but also engaging with your learning at a deeper level. It helps you to absorb the information you need to learn, making it easier to recall it in the exam room.

Make it easy for the person marking it

Osman Yukselturk (Associate Head of Department, Accounting and Finance)

Sometimes presentation can be as important as calculation and arriving at the result. Remember that somebody will be marking your paper, so present your work in a clear and understandable way that makes it easy for them to see how you got to the answer. Having a look at the mark allocation might give you a hint about how detailed your answer should be and how much time you should spend on it.

Prepare for the exam, not just the content

Marcus Keppel-Palmer (Senior Lecturer, Law)

Answering an exam is a skill, the same as any other skill or assessment. You get better at sport or piano by practising, and it’s the same with essays and exams. The more you practice writing out answers in full – adhering to time limits, word limits and structures – the easier it is under the extra pressure of the exam setting. If the first time you write an answer out is actually in the exam, you are trying to master a new skill under stressful circumstances. Write out your answers in full and within the time limit, then read them back. It’s amazing how you will see an improvement.

Read the entire exam paper

Yvette Morey (Associate Head of Programmes, Marketing, Events and Tourism)

Don’t dive straight in, take some time to read the entire exam paper first. Take in the scope of the paper and questions, and start thinking about what is being asked of you. By doing this, your brain will start doing some of the processing for you. Use some paper to do a rough plan of each answer – it’ll help you remember, save you time when you come to later questions, and break the paper down into smaller, more manageable chunks.

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