What a placement year can do for you.

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By Saharla, BSc(Hons) Psychology with Sociology

Saharla tells us about her placement year at a local mental health charity. She shares her experience of what she did while on placement and how it’s helped her to not only become more employable, but more confident too. A sandwich year is usually taken in your third year of your degree to help you gain supervised work experience.

Continue reading “What a placement year can do for you.”

Postgraduate study at UWE Bristol enabled me to reach my potential.

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By Lamare, MSc Human Resources Management alum

UWE Bristol alum, Lamare, tell us about progressing from undergraduate to postgraduate studies at UWE Bristol. He shares the benefits of continuing / staying at uni to study a master’s degree, as well as his experiences of pursuing further study.

Continue reading “Postgraduate study at UWE Bristol enabled me to reach my potential.”

My top tips for completing job applications

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by Chloe Matthews, BA(Hons) Fashion Communication

The process of writing an application can be daunting, but it’s all about seeking opportunities which will develop your skillset and enhance your CV. Thinking about jobs is often scary, but it is important to gain experience which sets you apart from future candidates.  Remember – you don’t need to know what you are going to be doing in ten years’ time, just arm yourself with experience and skills to widen your opportunities later on. 

During my time at UWE Bristol I’ve worked as a Student Ambassador, volunteered for a charity and recently started working as a Student Content Coordinator. For all of these, I’ve had to complete an application to be shortlisted and it got me thinking, what makes a good job application?

I’ve rounded up the top tips which have helped me in the past that I hope will help you with your next application too!

Decide where and what to search for

Since studying at UWE Bristol, I found the UWE Job Shop and Infohub Vacancies valuable tools when trying to find volunteering and work experience opportunities. The site offers a range of vacancies which will enhance your knowledge and employability. I found a volunteering vacancy as a Social Media Coordinator at Sue Ryder, which allowed me to explore an area I had little experience in, but always wanted to try. I discovered that the position held more responsibilities than I had anticipated but led me down more avenues to explore.   

But what if you don’t know what to apply for?

Use Infohub to find vacancies!

Identify your skills to you find the right role for you

If you identify what you enjoy doing and what you are good at, you will discover an umbrella of paths to explore. By researching these key skills, you will find out what job titles surround your interest and abilities – which will create a direction for your job hunt. 

Once you’ve found an opportunity try to understand the role 

Once you find a role which interests you, ensure you understand what the advert is asking of you. Are there particular skills or qualities the job requires? 

Make a list of what the job requires and make a list of examples of when/how you have done this. Source key skills you have exercised on your degree, for example, communication, team work and time management. By doing this you will uncover core transferable skills which are crucial for all jobs. Never under estimate the experience and qualities you have, as everything you do holds significant value. 

Learn about the company you are applying to  

When completing an application, it is important that you show a level of understanding and knowledge of the establishment you are applying to. What do you like about the company? 

Showing that you have an interest and an awareness of the company will demonstrate initiative and engagement, which counts for a lot!

And finally…

Remember, there is no harm in trying and there is nothing to lose when applying to jobs. Even if you don’t get the role, it’s all good experience so keep your eyes peeled for opportunities and keep working towards your end goal. 

Check out the applications section of the Careers Toolkit for useful resources and tips on how to complete a successful application.

How my degree prepared me for the world of work

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by Anastasia, BA (Hons) Architecture and Planning

In July 2019, I graduated from BA (Hons) Architecture and Planning with a First Class degree. Looking back now, I can’t believe that I ever doubted my decision to study in the UK and in particular to study Architecture and Planning at UWE Bristol. I feel super lucky and am glad I chose to follow my inner voice.

Why go to university?

I feel that my degree gave me a kick-off start to my career and also my personal development. It started with a great supportive and diverse bunch of people that I was studying with, and our brilliant lecturers. To be honest, coming from Russia, I did not expect to form such strong bonds with lecturers that made me feel worthy, valued and heard. These four years (it was a four-year programme for me as it is a sandwich course) changed my attitude towards myself. I can tell that I ended up feeling more confident and able to aim high. A lot of that was a result of lecturers being very attentive and open-minded, encouraging students to make their own decisions and take their own paths with a careful guidance from the university environment.

How to make the most of your university experience.

I have been heavily involved with out-of-curriculum activities that university has to offer. Some of the things I have enjoyed most were:

  • Taking part in a range of societies, mainly as a part of the committee (ESN Exchange society and Built Environment Society). I particularly enjoyed being on the other side of the events held, by getting involved and helping to organise them.
  • Being a PAL (peer assistant learning) leader, which means helping first year students with modules that I had already been through. (This is a paid role that really boosted my confidence and ability to speak in front of an audience)
  • Language exchange buddy – my Italian friend and I agreed to have weekly hourly sessions, during which she was teaching me Italian and I was teaching her Russian. (This was really useful when I was preparing for my Erasmus exchange experience that I talk about later on)
  • Green Team events and forestry volunteering – This environmentally-oriented team hosts a wide variety of events, including fortnightly meetings, that involve activities such as going to Stokes Park to clean up the forest. This is with a mix of other students from a range of different courses and years.
  • Being part of the UWE Bristol Jazz band as a singer allowed me to develop in that field as well. I was surrounded by talented musicians with whom I performed weekly in the Students’ Union bar and at a range of other events, such as at the Bristol Hotel and at the ‘We The Curious’ museum.

CV Boosting opportunities

In terms of more educational experiences, again, my course offered plenty.

  • Every Thursday during term-time, a guest speaker from industry came in to give a lecture. This was open to all and conveniently hosted in R block where all architecture and product design students are based.
  • My course had RIBA and RTPI accreditation which means that my peers and I have a free RIBA and RTPI membership. This allows us to go to a multitude of events in Bristol hosted by those bodies and take part in RIBA Mentoring scheme in the final year.

A quick showing off moment – my dissertation has been nominated for the RIBA Presidents’ Medal in 2018. This has been one of the highlights of my professional path and would not have been possible if my course had not been accredited.

Anastasia
  • Erasmus exchange – An  opportunity that I have been delighted to be part of that allowed me to study in the University of Bologna for one year as a part of my course. This made my university experience even more full and rounded, allowing me to learn Italian language, culture and be introduced to Italian way of thinking about architecture and urban planning.
  • Hong Kong study trip with the Built Environment Society – a university-funded summer school which has brought twenty UWE Bristol students to a partner university in Hong Kong, allowing us to explore engineering methods used on the other side of the planet.
Beautiful Bologna!

And imagine, these are only the highlights. In between these have been multiple competitions, site visits, ceremonies, nominations and, most importantly, full days of hard work. Yes, it was tough at times but totally worth it. All thanks to people and an environment that let me shine and feel happy throughout. Yes, it is all about feeling satisfied and accomplished with what you do, at least for me it is so. And UWE Bristol allowed me to have this worth-while experience that started me off well on my professional path as well as in other aspects of my life.

Find out how a degree from UWE Bristol can prepare you for the world of work.

What a degree can do for you

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by Sophia, BA(Hons) Marketing Communications, MSc Marketing 

More than a degree

Going to university is a big decision and will shape the next three to four years of your life, so it is important to make sure that it is something you want to do. Continuing your education can be very rewarding not only in your professional development but also in your personal one. Many people who have gone to university will tell you that it was the best few years they have experienced and would recommend it to anyone.

Getting a degree is so much more than a piece of paper.

The most common reason why that time is so cherished is because, as well as attaining a degree, it was also the first step into adulthood for them. Moving away from home and living with strangers can sound scary but so many people have matured and have made lifelong friendships that way. This really is a time where you get to learn to become independent and build a future for yourself.

Getting a degree is so much more than a piece of paper, it’s having multiple opportunities to meet new interesting people, to become a part of a society, to learn how to cook, how to manage money and so much more. Whilst you’re working towards your degree, your university can also offer you to do some of that work abroad on an Erasmus programme, which is an amazing opportunity to learn a new language and experience a different culture. There is so much that you can benefit from getting a degree, you just need to take advantage of all the opportunities.

How can a degree help your employment prospects?

After three years of hard work, graduating and receiving that degree can be one of the most rewarding feelings. You feel accomplished and ready to step into the big world. Naturally, the next step is employment, and this is where you’ll realise that staying up late finishing all those assignments and the long hours of revising for exams haven’t gone to waste.

You’ll notice that one of the requirements of many employees is having a degree in a field of study related to the job. By having that you’re already at an advantage. Some would like to see some experience also, and many of you might think that it seems unfair to have experience and a young age if you’ve been in education the entire time, however choosing a sandwich course that entails being on placement for a year can give you that advantage as well as a lot of confidence and valuable experience.

Getting a well-paying job after attaining a degree is a great achievement, however it’s the journey that took you there that you’ll always remember and cherish.

Another way to start off a career is by doing a graduate scheme or programme, which is incredibly common amongst companies. These schemes are specifically designed for students that have graduated from university, they are a great way to start a career as it offers training, high earning potential and even global opportunities. In general, it is known that about 90% of graduates either get employed or go into further education, so there is a high likelihood of job security. Getting a well-paying job after attaining a degree is a great achievement, however it’s the journey that took you there that you’ll always remember and cherish. It’s a life experience that will shape the future you.

Find out more about getting career ready

How a degree can enhance your career prospects.

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by Prisilla, MEng(Hons) Aerospace Engineering and Pilot Studies

The countdown begins. For some of you that might be when you start A-Levels or when you hear the ominous word ‘university’ or when you press submit on your UCAS application. Whatever it may be, going to university is a tough but rewarding decision to make. As someone who is on her fourth year of study (placement year) and has one final of year of Masters left to do, I have seen quite a bit of university life and the degree – the good and the bad times. So even though I am getting eager to leave university, I thought it might be good to tell you about what a degree can do for you through this blog.

A glimpse into your future career

To begin with, your chosen degree is your first glimpse into your future career. Through the lectures, the practicals and workshops, you will begin to know whether you want to continue in the chosen field/industry or if there is something else you enjoy. Most of the lecturers on campus are ex-industry employees, which means they have experienced the industry. So, you can quiz your lecturers about the good and the bad of the industry and maybe even open a chance to network with your future employer (if they have come from a company you are interested in). As you attend lectures and grow on your theoretical knowledge, your degree is helping you to understand the basics and core information. The practicals and workshops really get you stuck-in to the course, showing how theory works in reality. Depending on the module, the course and the coursework, the hands-on experience can vary with projects.

However, a degree is not just all work and no play. Most of the degrees have a dedicated society affiliated to it, which means you can take part in social activities and projects. It does not matter if you are a 1st year or in your final year; all societies love to have the extra help with their projects which means you get to have fun while learning a new skill. As a Student Ambassador, you can represent UWE Bristol at various events, gain extra interpersonal skills and showcase your knowledge – the great thing is you are paid to do it!

Get those career enhancing opportunities

Because you study at UWE Bristol, your entrance to the annual Employers’ fair is guaranteed. This fair, which takes place around October, brings you in direct contact with about 180 employers from all different industries. They bring with them opportunities of placements, graduate schemes and free goody-bags. If you are successful in applying and securing a placement, I would consider that as a great achievement. Going out on placement is a rewarding experience as not only do you put into practice what you have learnt in your lectures, but you get to see how a company interacts with political, social and economic changes. But it is fine if you don’t get a placement, as you can still get a job with what you’ve learnt in your degree, as 96% of UWE Bristol graduates are in work or further study six months after graduating.

If you are willing to take hold of everything UWE Bristol has to offer, you will not notice the time fly by!

The University listens to its students through student rep forums and makes sure their facilities are up to standard. Over the past years, I have seen the Frenchay Campus grow in size due to new buildings for the faculties, which means more spaces to work in, more computers and more classrooms. With the added benefit of being able to download subject specific software and Microsoft Windows onto your personal computers, there really is no worry about not getting your work done on time.

Making connections with industry

Finally, in my personal opinion, it is through your degree that you make some great connections which last a lifetime. You not only meet students from all around the world and from all walks of life but you meet with industry professionals who will give you an insight into the working world and help you make the starting step into the field.

Want to see what a day at my placement looks like? Watch my Instagram takeover below!

Find out how to get those career enhancing opportunities at UWE Bristol.

Stephanie’s international placement was a life-changing experience

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Physiotherapy student, Stephanie Joy Evans, talks about her once-in-a-lifetime experience of her clinical placements in Rovaniemi, Finland.

The land of Santa Claus

UWE Bristol’s Study Abroad made the unimaginable my living reality!

Moving to Finland, the land of Santa Claus, to complete two physiotherapy placements was beyond my wildest childhood dreams.

Waking to wild reindeer outside my window and sleeping with the glow of the northern lights peeking through my curtains, was certainly a unique opportunity.

Horse riding through Lapland’s famous woodlands, camping in its wilderness and swimming in its vast lakes; I’ve never felt so close to nature. All this, alongside my degree. I assure you, I can now spell phenomenal!

New opportunities and challenges

Sometimes it’s easy to think that your normal is the only way of life, but this experience exposed me to completely new opportunities and challenges that I never thought I would face.

It’s reinforced the idea to me that diversity needs to be embraced, not just with people, but also in workplace practices.

We can learn so much more if large groups of people collaborate together, sharing ideas and professional opinions, with enthusiasm and respect.

Using this approach, we can make positive changes to healthcare, driving an ambition forward with the goal being to provide the highest quality of care possible to those who need it.

Teamwork drives change, but a team celebrating diversity, strives towards positive change for all – I know which team I would rather be a part of.

Embrace the unknown

This opportunity has urged me to embrace the unknown, welcome change and challenge and to remain optimistic in all situations. In healthcare, these skills are assets to overcome the daily complications that so commonly arise.

My confidence in my ambition to strive forward, to achieve my career aims – to create the greatest possible impact upon those in need – has strengthened.

This experience has given me the courage to believe in myself and my ability to make my goals a reality.

The development of my non-verbal communication skills has progressed to beyond what I originally thought possible. Leading exercise classes independently and motivating individuals through their rehabilitation, without any common language, has advanced my use of facial expressions and body language in physiotherapy practice.

A priceless learning opportunity

This learning opportunity has been priceless and upon returning to my next clinical placement, I plan on progressing my ability of reading and responding to a patient’s body language. I will achieve this by associating a patient’s spoken words with their use of body language, which I can then apply if an absence of language becomes present in my future career.

This opportunity took me far outside of my comfort zone. As an individual with limited international travelling experience, the idea of moving abroad for any length of time was a daunting thought. However, this trip has taught me the wonders of diversity and encouraged me to embrace differing cultural traditions and ways of life.

My appreciation towards planet Earth has grown enormously. My aim upon returning to the UK is to reduce the negative impact that I make upon the planet and to encourage others to do the same, in aid of the whole ecosystem.

Advice to other students: Just go for it!

What are you waiting for?!

Just apply and think about the practicalities and logistics later – filling in that application form will be the best decision that you ever make!

Don’t think you’re not good enough, because you are! Just go for it!

I applied thinking – I would never be chosen – and here I am now, in my third year of university, having travelled for the past three months – funded and everything!

I wish I had known

Unfurnished means no curtains! Turns out the midnight sun literally means the sun never sets, meaning that I lay in broad daylight waiting for the possibility that it might just set – even for a minute! It didn’t, so I lay and watched the birds outside of my window wondering if they ever slept and how they maintained their energy levels!

Once in a lifetime opportunity

My lasting impression from this once in a lifetime opportunity, has been to actively encourage both myself and those around me to take a leap of faith into the unknown.

As long as the experience is approached with optimism, an open mind and a hard-working nature, your personal and professional development will progress far beyond what you could ever imagine.

A truly phenomenal experience that will stay in my heart forever.

How the experience has changed me

This experience made me realise that life is made to be lived and enjoyed, so I’m going to face challenges head on, with a drive to reach my career ambitions.

There are so many people in this world, all with different stories to tell, and I want to work in the most multicultural environment as possible to expose myself to new learning opportunities. I feel like the hospital is the best place to start!

Find out more