Tag Archives: PLUS Award

Why PGRs should do the Bristol PLUS Award

This year we’ve been running new tailored PGR Introductory talks for the Bristol PLUS Award and suggested work experience and intensive skills activities that are relevant to PGRs thinking about academic and non-academic careers. This has seen up-take of the Award amongst PGRs increase by 667%! Below Miquel and Oli talk about what benefits they got from doing Bristol PLUS.

Miquel Perello-Nieto: Computer Science PhD

The Bristol PLUS Award encourages you to be more proactive during postgraduate study. To complete it you must accomplish a set of requirements, involving different skillsets. By participating in the PLUS Award you increase your chances of getting a job by attending workshops on, for example, job hunting, networking, or interview skills.

The workshops

I attended a workshop about creative job searching that offered a set of useful tools to find jobs, and emphasised the importance of networking in this process. I also learnt about assessment centres and what to expect in the selection process, and attended a very useful workshop about enterprise, innovation, and communication for researchers. These helped develop my skills in giving effective presentations of my research, and a clearer mindset for tackling common problems faced by researchers. I am now more confident when presenting my research, and am also more organised when preparing for meetings, taking notes, and summarising afterwards.

The benefits

The Bristol PLUS Award has improved my skills, and is really useful in encouraging a proactive habit for learning and appreciating a set of skills not acquired during a postgraduate degree. I am now more prepared to find a job and make a good impression – the next step is to find a job!

Oli Bell: Medicine PhD

The Bristol PLUS Award allowed me to gain accreditation for work I was already performing, and helped strengthen my applications. It will demonstrate to potential employers that I take career development seriously, and that I am taking strides towards enhancing my employability skills.

I first read about the Bristol PLUS Award whilst browsing the Bristol Doctoral College’s course system. When I attended the introductory talk I had already completed the vast majority of tasks required to complete the award. The mainstay of tasks I completed were in relation to my intended future career path in teaching and research, so it was easy to fit in around my study.

Work experience and workshops 

Throughout the Bristol PLUS award there were several workshops and opportunities available through the Careers Service, as well as the possibility to use external workshops. To develop my teaching skills, I worked as a tutor with the company MyTutor, who offer online tuition for GCSE and A-level pupils in an interactive online classroom. I attended education workshops and undertook the ‘starting to teach’ course offered by the Bristol Doctoral College, which constituted my intensive skills activity. During this time, I gained insight into the challenges of teaching in university, and began to work on techniques in teaching. I also gained skills in lab demonstration, and this will undoubtedly strengthen any future applications I make in this area.

The benefits

The booking and submission process were easy, and fully-integrated online, allowing you to submit from anywhere, and to complete the Award at your own pace. This was very convenient for me as I needed to fit work toward it around my busy schedule.

In summary, I feel the Bristol PLUS award can only strengthen a CV, as it helps you develop core skills that serve to enhance future job applications.

 

Further information:

For more information and to find out how to sign-up for Bristol PLUS next year, read our Bristol PLUS Award webpages.

Intensive Skills for the Bristol PLUS Award – Make it count!

As the deadline for the Bristol PLUS Award looms on the 9 of June, and the last Intensive Skills day has passed, we thought it might be useful to talk about other ways to fulfil the Intensive Skills Activity section of the Bristol PLUS Award.

Your Intensive Skill Activity needs to fulfill the following criteria:

  • gained employability-related skills.
  • participated in an interactive manner.
  • committed for a minimum of 6 hours.
  • reviewed the skills you have gained from the activity/event.

The below are suggestions to give you some inspiration and are NOT exhaustive, we encourage you to find your own activity that is most relevant and beneficial to you!

  • Media & Creative Industries Week – Monday 20 to Friday 24 March. A unique opportunity to meet professionals from the media and creative industries, including some University of Bristol Alumni! Gain an invaluable insight into what employers are looking for, and how to break into your chosen sector! Did you know that if you attend 6 hours worth of these workshops this will qualify as your Intensive Skill activity?
  • Have you considered tutoring? –  Action tutoring recruit on a rolling basis so at this stage of the year where a lot of things seem to be winding down it is an ideal opportunity to gain some valuable experience and tick off those 4 criteria.
  • Try your hand at sports coaching! –  Any type of coaching certificate of qualification can be used including PADI dive certificates.
  • Become a First Aider! – The Red Cross and St. John’s Ambulance run affordable First Aid courses.
  • Workplace training/shadowing – If you want to learn more about the sector you are interested in this is an ideal opportunity! Check out our resources on speculative applications to plan your approach.
  • How about a charity fundraising event? Comic relief is just around the corner, visit their page for suggestions of fundraisers you could run or be part of!

What have previous students done? What haven’t they done!?

Achieved their Pilots license – Learnt a new language – Mentored A-level students – Completed an online MOOC – Been on the Goldney Ball Committee – Led expeditions to the Peruvian Amazon – Had seats on the European Youth Parliament – Edited an online magazine – Organised plays – Taught children to code – Been trained to be part of Nightline and Drinkaware – Led conservation talks for children – Kept elderly people company as a “Chatter” – Volunteered at festivals, farms, and even Volcanology labs!

So what are you waiting for? The possibilities are endless!

What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

CSR

Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR as it is more commonly known, describes the way a company accounts for the impact of its business activities. This includes:

  • Impacts on the environment – use of resources, impacts on climate change
  • Impacts on social needs – poverty, equality, health, promoting strong communities with the resilience to cope with change, support for youth, education, older people
  • Impacts on cultural heritage – the importance of diversity and the protection of the things we value as our heritage.

The CSR definition used by Business for Social Responsibility (http://www.bsr.org/en/) is: ‘operating a business in a manner that meets or exceeds the ethical, legal, commercial and public expectations that society has of business.’

CSR is a top priority for many organisations today and employers increasingly want evidence that potential employees have clear ethics and a good understanding of the role CSR plays within businesses.

“Having strong CSR platforms enables companies to conduct their business in a way that is ethical, whilst taking account of their social, economic and environmental impact. It is important that as potential employees of a company you fully understand the role CSR plays within the business, it’s main purpose in fulfilling their goals and mission and how it is now seen as an important way to increase competitive advantage, protect and raise brand awareness and build trust with customers and employees”.

Martyn Flynn, Talent Acquisition Manager, Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Every organisation interacts with employees, customers, suppliers and stakeholders. CSR is about managing these relationships to produce an overall positive impact on society, whilst making money.

Companies approach CSR in different ways and it’s likely that organisations will have several CSR activities. Many companies start with small projects such as giving money to charity or creating recycling policies because these activities are quick and easy to decide on and implement. The Green Impact scheme developed at Bristol is a good example of this: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/environment/green_impact.  Ideally, organisations will move towards CSR strategies that focus on truly adding value for the business and society.

Below are a few examples of what real businesses are doing to address CSR:

Having knowledge of CSR is now part of the Bristol PLuS Outstanding Award requirments. Find out more on the Bristol PLuS Award webpages: http://www.bris.ac.uk/careers/plusaward/Index.asp

Jenny Smith, Bristol PLuS Award Coordinator

Intensive Skills Activity – Bristol PLuS Award

ISD

Intensive Skills Activity- Bristol PLuS Award

To achieve the Bristol PLuS Award you must complete 50 hours work experience, 4 workshops, an intensive skills activity and a reflective report.  We get a lot of questions from students about the intensive skills activity part of the award. What does it mean? What do I have to do?

For this reason we thought it would be useful to blog about it, so here we go…

You’ve already shown your potential by doing some work experience and attending some employability related workshops. The Intensive Skills Activity is about going beyond the basics and really showing that you’ve made an effort to develop your skills during your time at university.

During an intensive skills activity you must have: 

  • Gained employability related skills

An intensive skills activity is something that you feel has allowed you to gain and develop skills that will help you in the workplace. For example, you may have been involved with a society committee, completed a Sports Leadership Award or taken on the role of Student Rep. These activities are demanding, ‘intensive’ activities that require commitment from the students undertaking them.  This is what we’re looking for. This type of activity is what will provide you with valuable skills and is exactly what will employers will want to hear about.

  •  Participated in an interactive manner

Unlike the workshops section of the PLuS Award which involves learning about employability skills, an intensive skills activity requires putting these skills into practice. The intensive skills activity is all about ‘doing’. Whatever activity you use must have been interactive.

  •  Been involved for a minimum of 7 hours

The activity that you choose must have lasted at least 7 hours.  This is quite straight forward if using a course or conference, however if you are using a position such as President or Treasurer then things are a little different. For example, you could have completed 7 hours in this role but those 7 hours may not have involved doing very much. You must have been doing the role long enough to have experienced all parts of the job and have gained valuable skills.

  •  Reviewed the skills you have gained from the activity/event

Perhaps the most important part of the intensive skills activity is that you must have learnt from the experience. You may have noticed that the words ‘review’ and ‘reflect’ are used a lot throughout the Bristol PLuS Award. By this we mean looking back on what you have done and learning from it. What would you do differently? How has this experience helped you? What can I now do better? What do I need to get work on? How will these skills help me in the work place? There are many ways to review what you have done including meetings, conversations, reports, diaries or presentations.

Below are some examples of other activities that student have used towards as their intensive skills activity.

  •  Senior Resident
  •  Burst Radio DJ
  •  Volunteering project
  • Insight into Media course – Careers Service
  • Engineering Leadership Award
  • Duke of Edinburgh Award
  • Carbon & Waste Audit Training – Sustainability Dept
  • Club Captain
  • Innocence Project Training
  • SPARK Course – Research and Enterprise Development Dept
  • Military Leadership Development Training
  • Strategies for Success Course – Physics

A full list of activities can be found online:  http://www.bris.ac.uk/careers/images/plusaward/ISAdropdownlist.pdf

If you have done something that is not listed please email us at  careers-plusaward@bristol.ac.uk to tell us about it.

If you haven’t done anything that you can use as intensive skills activity then you may be interesting in attending an Intensive Skills Day at the Careers Service.

What are they?

Full day sessions combining theory, practical interaction, professional case studies and tutor and peer feedback. They are specifically designed to meet the criteria for the Intensive Skills part of the PLuS Award so that attendance for the whole day means that you will have completed your intensive skills activity. The Intensive Skills Days are delivered over a 6 hour period during which you will be expected to participate in an interactive manner. You will be expected to complete an additional hour of reflection in your own time which will then satisfy the 7 hours requirement for the PLuS Award.

How can I make the most of the Intensive Skills Day?

Turn up with bags of enthusiasm and energy and see it as a unique opportunity to work with a variety of different people and get some feedback on your performance. It is a safe environment to try out new ways of doing things, so think about how you want to communicate and present yourself. The majority of sessions are run by or in conjunction with employers, so it’s a good way of getting some feedback about your most ‘professional’ you.

Which employers have been involved?

To date, PwC, Ernst & Young, GE Aviation, College of Law, Airbus, Unilever, Thales, Dyson have all been involved. They have run skills sessions and assessment centre style case studies providing students with the employer perspective on a wide range of employability skills such as communication skills, negotiation, commercial awareness, team dynamics and leadership. The photo at the top of this blog post is taken from a recent intensive skills day delivered by Dyson.

What do participants think?

“The final part of the PLuS Award was taking part in the intensive skills course ‘Understanding Team Dynamics’. Though initially a means to complete the Award, I actually found this the most beneficial part.”

“The intensive skills day tested my ability to successfully interact under unfamiliar circumstances. Some of the exercises also enabled me to reflect on my strengths within a team and what more I could contribute in future situations.”

“I spent a particularly memorable day at the Careers Service, taking part in an Intensive Skills Day concerning negotiation and team communication. The bulk of the afternoon was spent in a mock assessment centre exercise. Again, I was pleased at how the skills learnt at various other events improved my performance. I discovered that I seemed to most naturally take the role of leader in the group work, enjoying taking opportunities to guide and motivate quieter team members and make sure that we kept to a strict time schedule”

Jenny Smith, Bristol PLuS Award Coordinator & Sara Whittam, Careers Adviser

University of Bristol Internship Scheme: finding the right track for your career

The Internship Scheme is now open again, enabling students and recent graduates to gain high-quality, paid work experience, and organisations find the right talent for their businesses.

Last year’s pilot was a wonderful success, and we’re looking to build upon it this year by increasing the number of opportunities available.

The scheme is open to all current students and recent graduates, and aims to present students with internship opportunities in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) nationwide, as well as charities, non-government organisations, social enterprises and start-ups.

Benefits

The benefits of undertaking an internship can be manifold. They include:

  • Looking great on your CV, potentially giving you a competitive edge in the job market.
  • Helping you with your career choices, possibly leading to a permanent position with a company.
  • Expediting the growth of your professional network as you meet people working in your chosen industry.
  • Giving you the opportunity to demonstrate and develop transferable skills, such as teamwork and commercial awareness.
  • Contributing to the Bristol PLuS Award.

Get involved

Internship opportunities will be posted online on our JobShop over the course of the year. For application tips and advice, see our ‘Internship Advice’ blog post and the Careers Service website.

Students are also encouraged to contact organisations speculatively if they have an idea about a particular sector or business they are interested in pursuing and then to get in touch with our Internship Manager.

Student view

The response from students who undertook an internship as part of the scheme last year has been very positive. Rachel Hosie, an undergraduate in the School of Modern Languages, enjoyed a successful internship at a local SME that matched her interests in social media and also presented an opportunity for extended employment:

Back in March of this year, I was looking for a paid internship for the summer to earn some money, but also to gain some valuable work experience. I searched on the Careers Service website and stumbled across an opportunity for an internship with a new social media start-up company based in Bristol. It sounded right up my street, so immediately sent in my CV and covering letter. Soon after, I had a fascinating interview with the Managing Director, Creative Director and Technical Director, which resulted in me getting the Social Media Intern position!

They explained to me just how much they appreciated the support of the scheme as it allowed them to employ someone else (me!) which they wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise as they were a new company. I’d originally thought the internship would be full time for four weeks in the summer, but instead, I started my work as a part-time job, to be spread out over four months with the money from the University. This worked brilliantly for both me and the company, and since the four months has come to an end, the organisation has carried on my employment with them as a part-time job now that they have the money to pay me themselves. I’ve learnt a lot as a result of my work experience, and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the internship scheme to other students.’

Want to find out more? Take a look at our UoB Internship Scheme webpage.

Dr Hannah Mossman, Internship Manager

How was your summer?

Image

A common question heard over the last few weeks as campus starts to liven up. “Busy!” is the answer you normally hear as the  days of university staff relaxing with their feet up over July and August when the lecture theatres and labs are empty are long gone. So busy doing what exactly?

Business as usual

Since we moved to Tyndall Avenue last year, we have a 66.8% increase in people visiting the Careers Service with over 24,000 visits, and this summer has been no exception with it being busier than ever.

Lots of queries about CVs and applications from students and graduates starting early – and even some interview practice for people already getting through the selection process for September 2013 starts. We have also been chatting with students and grads over the phone and via e-mail when they haven’t been in Bristol.

Employer updates

We also have time to catch up with employers to make sure that the advice and information we give you is the most up to date. By the end of September we will have met with:

  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • BT
  • Unilever
  • E-ON
  • Jaguar Landrover
  • Dyson
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Hogan Lovells
  • Ernst & Young
  • KPMG
  • HW Fisher
  • Freshfields
  • Accenture
  • Fidelity
  • ACCA
  • PwC
  • RM
  • Nationwide
  • Amadeus
  • Decathlon
  • Alacrity
  • Barclays
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Hitachi
  • Capital
  • Nair & Co
  • Bloomberg
  • Addleshaw Goddard.

We make sure that all this information is updated on our Careers Catalogue and employer files in the Careers Service for potential applicants.

What’s more, the Internship team has been in touch with local smaller companies to increase the amount of internships that we can offer next year after some great feedback from companies and students involved in our pilot last year:

 “An invaluable foot in the door” / “It’s a scheme that works; a great avenue to get paid for relevant work experience” / “One of the best things I’ve done at University” / “Excellent interns” / “The calibre of the student we took on was extremely high”

It’s going to be a busy Autumn Term….

Whatever the media is saying about graduate jobs, employers definitely want to recruit at Bristol. They were still holding events on campus in June and they have been booking to be on campus in the Autumn earlier than ever. The Careers Fairs are mostly full now and there is even a waiting list for the 2 day Engineering and IT Fair which has been fully booked since the end of July. Over 100 employers have booked individual presentations too and they’re planning to do even more unusual things this year to grab your attention – watch this space…

We also have a full programme of employers involved in our workshops this year – including new employers like Waitrose, Bain Consulting, Coca Cola, ATOS and Thales. Keep an eye on the events programme to book your places on events such as ‘Know your strengths’,’ Introduction to corporate social responsibility’, ‘How to stand out from the crowd’, ‘Presenting with confidence’.

Bristol PLuS Awards

Jenny, the coordinator of all things PLuS , has been looking at the feedback from last year and putting together even more support for PLuSers in 2012. “New developments include induction session, and our fantastic new video which explains all about the Award. Also, for students going for the Outstanding Award there will be even more advice and tips though workshops”. Employers are keener than ever to be involved with the Award and there are 5 intensive skills days planned for the Autumn Term. You can keep updated through the Facebook page.

Information overload

When you get a delivery for 80 boxes of publications weighing 1 tonne (the delivery guy’s estimate not mine!) you know it’s the Autumn Term. The Times Top 100, TARGETjobs GET directory and the Guardian Top 300 guides have all landed and waiting to be scooped up. Alongside these, the Information Team have been making sure that all the resources are up to date from print folders and books to the website, including the latest information about what Bristol graduates have gone on to do

Call in or check out the website to find out what else is new for 2012-2013

Sara Whittam, Careers Adviser