Category Archives: Science careers

Now is the time! Hassan Nasir talks about the advantages of achieving the Bristol PLUS Award

There is just so much to gain”

Hassan secured a role with Dyson as an Electrical Engineer after graduating in 2016 with first class honours in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and, of course, achieving the Bristol PLUS Award.

— How did the Bristol PLUS Award help prepare you for your career after University? Are you glad you took part?

The Bristol PLUS Award is a catalyst for focusing upon and gaining crucial employability skills. To meet the Award requirements I was motivated to take on more important roles in societies. This helped make me more receptive to taking on responsibilities and becoming a better team player. These are the same set of skills that help set you apart in industry. Most importantly, however, it made me realise how much fun all of it was anyway!

— How useful was the Bristol PLUS Award in preparing you for the recruitment and selection process with your employer?

For the Award, I attended talks at the Career Service and I quickly realised how valuable the guidance I was gaining from these was.

The interview skills workshop was one of my favourites. I received constructive feedback on a mock interview and it paid off immensely when I attended an assessment centre.  Having practised with professionals previously meant calmer nerves during the real thing.

The Award also gave me a good point of discussion during my interview. There are a lot of skills and qualities you can quantify from completing this Award – all of which are relevant to the jobs out there!

—  Is there anything in particular you gained from the Bristol PLUS Award that you feel you would not have gained if you had not taken part?

If it had not been for the Award, there is a good chance that I would have only focused on academic study and missed out on the opportunity to develop the crucial employability skills which are so important for industry.

— Any words of advice or encouragement to current students thinking of taking the Bristol PLUS Award?

If you are interested in making yourself as employable as possible upon graduation then sign up to the Award as quickly as you can! You will realise that it’s not so hard to manage your time between studies and the award activities. There is just so much to gain; all it costs you is determination!

Registration for the Bristol PLUS Award is open until 9 February 2018, making now the perfect time to register and discover more! Visit the website to book on to a compulsory introductory talk now!

Where will you be in 10 years? Speak to Alumni to find out where you could go!

Earlier this month over two-dozen alumni from the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences came back to Bristol for the annual Biomedical Sciences Alumni Careers Evening, an event designed to help current students find out more about the wide range of careers that are open to them.

The event has grown continually, with this year’s being the largest ever. Over 180 students came along to meet management consultants, university professors, company directors, medical students, wildlife film makers and science communication professionals among many others.

Alumni delivering presentation

The evening gave students the opportunity to hear a number of short talks from the alumni to find out about their career paths since leaving Bristol. Students then had the opportunity to ask their own questions about topics such as how their degree has helped them in the workplace, what different careers are really like and what type of work experience is required for certain careers.

Students from all years of study across the Faculty were welcome to attend, from those who were in the early stages of career planning to those targeting specific positions. Those who hadn’t really given life after university much thought and had no idea what they wanted to do found it very useful to speak to people who had been in their position.

When asked what the most useful part of the evening was they said:

‘Seeing and hearing from people on different career paths highlighted areas that I might consider working in once graduated’

‘I enjoyed that the speakers were so varied in career path, it gave me confidence that I can use my degree for many roles’

‘Listening to speakers who went down different career paths and how they got there and why was very encouraging’

If you want to benefit from speaking to alumni it’s worth keeping an eye out for events that may be taking place in your school or society, in particular for the Faculty of Science Alumni Careers Evening taking place in February 2018.

Don’t forget that you can contact alumni all year round through LinkedIn and the Bristol Careers Network. For more information on contacting alumni and professionals take a look at the Careers Service website.

A Science Laboratory Internship- building on what I’d learnt on my course

During summer this year, I worked in a Biochemistry lab. My work involved looking at biological enzyme reactions which could be useful in biotechnology applications. Though this was a bit more left field than what I was used to in my regular Biochemistry degree, it was not as hard as it seemed. Thankfully, it turned out to be equal parts fun and work.

I found out about the opportunity by speaking to my tutor who suggested that I email labs whose work interested me. I was lucky enough to get a spot in the Anderson lab group after a short informal interview. From there, everything was pretty much settled besides funding, which required a written application and took a month to get a decision on.

As science students, we rarely get to practice our skills outside the lab and this was a great way of getting practical experience with things we usually only see on handout diagrams. It not only gives you lab skills but also general employability skills.

Working as part of a team of 8, I learnt the need for good communication and collaboration. I also got a sense of responsibility and confidence in my work ethic since I needed to be sure of myself and the work I was doing whilst knowing that support was available if needed. I also improved my critical thinking skills because I was always looking to improve my data.

Not only do you get a better understanding of your course since you are practising what you’ve learnt all the time, but you also get valuable work experience!

These skills I have developed will definitely help me in the future. I haven’t yet decided if I will carry on with academia or get a job after my degree, but I know the skills that I gained and developed will be useful to me regardless of where I decide to go.

Greg Pollard – third year Biochemistry student

 

 

Getting into the field of wildlife conservation

Wildlife conservation is a rewarding but competitive sector and gaining work experience and thus developing your skills is really important. Developing your skills and knowledge when you first start your studies makes things more manageable but, if this is not possible, there’s no time like the present! A good source of general information is the agriculture and working with animals sector guide on our website. This will help with your initial research of the sector.

Explore the conservation sector within Bristol and see if there are any charities or organisations you’d be interested in volunteering with – you may find our employer directory useful when searching for local, regional and even national organisations. You can then contact them asking if there are any opportunities available but remember to check on their website first to see if there are any positions already advertised. It is also handy to sign up to any newsletters they may offer in order to keep up to date with potential opportunities and news regarding that organisation.

You may want to look for a regular volunteering role, enabling you to build a relationship with the organisation during your time at university. It’s invaluable to have someone you can ask when you have questions about the sector, and it’s a really good opportunity for networking and showing your enthusiasm. One-off or sporadic volunteering is also still really valuable, so if something sounds interesting, go for it!

In addition, there is a group called Bristol Nature Network who advertise volunteering opportunities and also events such as identification walks. Any type of volunteering or work experience is going to build your skill set and increase the chances of you getting where you want to go so make the most of the opportunities available. It might be worth noting down the volunteering you’re doing as you go, detailing what activities you did and what skills they gave you, so when it comes to writing your CV and filling in application forms, you’re ready!

You might want to attend some events e.g. lectures, work days held by the organisations you’re interested in. These will be attended by like-minded people and professionals within the sector, enabling you to form even more connections. They may also be helpful to you in deciding if you’re interested in a specific area within wildlife conservation, whether that be particular taxa or certain aspects of wildlife conservation e.g. public engagement or research.

The vast majority of conservation volunteering is unpaid so be prepared for this. However, a way of earning money whilst you are gaining experience is applying to the University of Bristol Internship Scheme. A number of organisations advertise posts on the vacancies section of mycareer or a student can approach an SME, including charities, social enterprises and NGOs, asking if they would like to participate in the scheme.

You can also approach lecturers regarding advice and possible work experience. They are a particularly useful resource regarding work experience over the summer, so if you’ve found their area of research interesting, get in touch! The Careers Service is another valuable source of help regarding locating work experience and internships. You may find the information discussed and presented at the Snapshot: Wildlife Conservation helpful.

So, what are your next steps?

Start looking for organisations you’d like to contact regarding possible volunteering or work experience. If you’re unsure, attend some events or workdays, perhaps chatting to people to get an idea of what is involved.

  • Be prepared! Remember that long-term volunteering or work experience is often unpaid. However, don’t forget to check for positions via the University of Bristol Internship Scheme.
  • Use the resources available to you! This may be from numerous avenues e.g. lecturers, the Careers Service.
  • And finally, good luck!

                                                                                        Alice Lawrence, final year Zoology student