Artists Access to Art Colleges Scheme 2014 (AA2A)


The AA2A project (Artists Access to Art Colleges) is offering 90 placements, giving artists and designer makers the opportunity to undertake a period of research or realise a project using art college facilities e.g. workshops, IT facilities, lending library, and lecture programme. AA2A schemes aim to benefit students and institutions through their interaction with practising artists

For full eligibility criteria and details of how to apply visit:

• Access is free, for at least 100 hours, between Oct 2014 and April 2015
• AA2A has a Hardship Fund, primarily for artists on benefits providing support of up to £200
• Closing dates for applications vary but all are in September 2014
• Artists on AA2A schemes run from 2012 to 2013 or before can now reapply
• All applicants must have at least one year’s professional practice
• This year M.A. students with at least one year’s experience as an artist, can apply in the same year they graduate
• Applicants should be able to work with minimal technical support

To see current AA2A artists’ work go to or read previous artists’ stories here.
AA2A particularly welcomes applications from applicants with disabilities, from culturally diverse backgrounds and non-graduates.

Map and list of our 21 schemes with links to their application information:
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for regular, updated information.

7 Questions You Should Ask to Be the Most Impressive Job Candidate

Most interviewers follow a basic model these days called “Behavioral Interviewing.” The purpose is to see how a candidate has acted in the past in certain scenarios, because most of the time, past behavior will predict future behavior. Along with this interview style, there are also seven questions you as the candidate will most likely be asked. My boss in our career center refers to them as the Seven Deadly Questions. This includes: “Tell me about about yourself” and “Where do you see yourself in 2–5 years?” These are loaded questions that if answered wrong can ruin your chances of getting the job.

So if these are some of the questions the interviewer asks, what should you as the candidate ask? After all, aren’t you interviewing them too? Do you know for certain before an interview if this somewhere you want to work for the next year, two years, five years? If this is somewhere you want to work, then how can you be the most impressive job candidate?

Believe it or not, many times, the best way to show an interviewer you have done research on their company and industry is not through the answers you give, but through the questions you ask.

Here are 7 questions you should ask to be the most impressive job candidate.

What are the common attributes of your top performers?

This questions serves many purposes. First, you didn’t ask “what are the common attributes of your worst performers?” The reason being is that you want to show them that you want to identify with and be one of the top performers, and not one of the worst. You will probably have the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the interview, so to show you share common traits with the top performers, you can either reiterate an answer you gave earlier in the interview when you hear their answer about top performers, or mention your matching skills in a follow-up email and written thank you letter. You should be sending both.

What are the one or two things that really drive results for the company?

Based on the research you have already done prior to the interview (you did do research prior to the interview, right?), you should have an idea of what is the answer to this question before you ask. This illustrates to the interviewer that you understand the position you are applying for fits into a bigger company picture. This is not the “you” show. The company has a need and you are trying to convince them your background and skill set fits that need better than anyone else and you will make them more successful than they already are. You are part of the “thing” that drives results.

What do employees do in their spare time?

This question helps you gauge how you will fit in with the people working there. “Fit” has become a big focus for companies these days. You may have the skills to do the job, but if you are socially awkward or your personality does not make the interviewer feel comfortable with you they will probably pass on hiring you. Also, this question will help you understand the job/life balance at the firm. One too many jokes about “what spare time?” from the interviewer and you may want to consider whether you are willing to put in the hours this job may require.

How do you plan to deal with _____?

This question will end with an industry-specific issue. Maybe it is regulatory like the Dodd/Frank Act that hit the financial services industry a few years ago, or maybe in doing your research, you discovered a new player entered the market. My advice to you is be CAREFUL with this question. If the company does not have an answer for the issue yet, you will make the interviewer defensive. Focus on the positives if you want to show you have done your research. Ask something like “how do you plan to spend all the money you are going to make with this new product’s sales?” I’m kidding of course, but on the serious side be careful in choosing to ask about an issue.

How do you measure success of the people currently in this position?

This questions differs from the question about attributes of top performers because you are not asking what they think makes someone in this position successful, but rather how do they measure success. The point you want to make with this question is that you plan on being successful so you want to know what goals you should focus on. Also this question may lead to a conversation about commissions and bonuses, not specific numbers probably—and do not push for that—but it will give you an idea of expectations and how realistic they are.

What does a career path look like at this company?

When you ask this question you want to make sure you get the point across that you are looking long term. Do not ask, “how long does it take to move up?” or anything like that. You are there to fill the job at hand and add value immediately. The point of asking this is to show you are in it for the foreseeable future and that you are again coming to this job with an attitude that you are a good fit and will be successful.

I am really excited about this opportunity; what are the next steps?

If you don’t tell them you are really excited about the job, how will they know you are? They are excited about filling it; you should be excited about the possibility of being hired.

If you are in the process of interviewing for a few jobs, and you should be, then this is when they can tell you it may take a few weeks before you hear anything or that there are more interviews coming. If you get an offer from another company a few days after this interview, you know you may have to ask that company to give you more time to decide, because this company told you it may take a few weeks to get back to you. Any question you ask should show either that you did your research on the company and industry, or that you are there to fill the need they have and be successful. That is what will make you the most impressive job candidate.

This post is reblogged from:

Don’t let social media ruin your job prospects


As the physical world continues to slip into a digital slumber, social media offers a very personal and public insight into our lives. While its methods of communication have been lauded, our personal profiles are providing a much more astute depiction of ourselves than a CV ever could, and this has resulted in employers becoming much more tech savvy when searching for future staff.

While your CV may list your academic and professional achievements, employers are just as interested in who you are as a person and increasingly, Twitter and Facebook is becoming the information source of choice. In the lead up to an interview, candidates rarely think about how social media can affect their employability, although with just a little attention, they could prevent their online identities from sabotaging their real life self.

Profile picture

First impressions count and a beer helmet, neon paint and flaming skull t-shirt hardly scream consummate professional. When businesses search for you, your profile picture is the first thing they’ll see, and how you appear here implies what you are like in reality. This doesn’t mean you need a professional headshot as your photo, but maybe choose something a little more respectable and a little less Crimewatch.

Check your bio

Your Twitter bio is supposed to sum up who you are in just a limited number of characters. Firstly, it’s important to have one. Not having a bio robs you of personality and also suggests that you don’t know how to use social networks effectively. On a basic level, your bio should tell people who you are and what you do, although don’t be afraid to be creative. What you can’t afford to do is put people off and wasting characters with favourite band names and love hearts shows a shallowness and immaturity.

Consider multiple accounts

If you’re accustomed to using social media for strictly social purposes, don’t be afraid to set up a professional account. Many of us just can’t be trusted to hold back when we’re online and profanity and strong opinions aren’t the most desirable of traits from a business perspective. Setting up a new career focused account, unlinked to the original, will allow you to present yourself in a professional manner and network with those in the sector.

Don’t forget LinkedIn

For many, LinkedIn is the forgotten cousin of the social network, with its corporate driven ideology resulting in users spending less time on it than it’s more ‘social’ competitors. Many employers will search for you on LinkedIn to view your professional credentials, but failing to update your profile could do you a disservice. LinkedIn should show you at your best and staying on top of it will present you as an organised and polish candidate.

Control your privacy settings

Regardless of the open and closed nature of different networks, adjusting the privacy settings allows you dictate who can see what, if anything at all. You can use these settings to make you more difficult to find or just to hide certain statuses and photos from all but friends. This can be a great way of concealing your online self and stopping employers from seeing that dreaded ‘Magaluf 09′ album.

While your social media presence shouldn’t be the main deciding factor for an employer, it all goes someway to painting a picture of who you are. While the above methods are by no means foolproof, they should save you the unenviable task of having to delete the most offending articles from your respective accounts, while at the same time making you that little bit more employable.

This post is reblogged from:

9 Tricks to Write a Blog Post in Less Than 30 Minutes

For all you bloggers out there, our regular student contributor Sam has written this helpful post with some tips for getting a blog post out fast!


Writing a blog post can be notoriously time-consuming. In the present era, with ever tightening deadlines and increasing expectations, time is a precious commodity. So to help in your writing, here is a handy list of 9 ways of how to write a blog post in less than 30 minutes.

1. Let it come naturally


Although it’s useful to have a plan of some sort prior to writing a blog, it is good to be flexible and not stick to rigidly to it. The key to doing this is letting things come naturally and just writing what you feel without thinking about it too hard.
This way you are not overthinking what you write and you can always correct any errors in flow or consistency later on. Writing naturally is often more fun than sticking to a pre-defined plan and normally results in a more genuine response than something which is artificially constructed. Just let it come…..

2. Write a bullet pointed plan before you start


Following on from the previous bullet point, it is useful to have some sort of plan before you start. A simple bullet-pointed plan can be much more effective than copious amounts of planning. All you need are a few key words to get your writing juices flowing and you’re away……..

3. Give yourself a time limit


It’s well-renowned that humans work better under a deadline. From personal experience, this is true! All those all-nighters I pulled writing my essays at University worked well. Well, they certainly boosted my productivity, knowing the essay had to be in the next morning!
On a serious note, having some sort of deadline to work towards (say 30 minutes……) can really focus your mind and get you bashing out the words at an accelerated speed. It gives you a target, an end-point, but most importantly a finishing line, which necessitates that you say everything you want to before time runs out. Hurry, the clock is ticking!

4. Have a list post


These types of posts normally have the title of ’10 weird food combinations’ or maybe ‘9 tricks to write a blog post in It may be as simple as summarising the fundamental points of a topic or something like ‘Everything you need to know about Banking in 60 seconds’. A blog post like this can also be of a high quality as it is concise and gets to the point straight away. Furthermore, you might be more motivated if you are crossing of each bullet quickly, thus accentuating your efficiency.

5. Have a definite beginning, middle and end


Linking with tip 2, it is useful to have some sort of structure if you are writing a blog post. It is only a rough idea of a beginning, middle and end. This can help focus your writing, whilst making sure you don’t waffle on too much. It can also improve the flow of your writing.

6. Eliminate all distractions


Procrastination is almost a sport these days, it is that popular! It is unsurprising with the amount of distractions around, Facebook, games consoles, mobiles, TVs… the list goes on.
However, if you want to write a blog post in less than 30 minutes, you are going to have to make a conscious effort to get rid of these distractions.
Your blog post should be the only tab you have open on your computer. Furthermore, if the place you are working in is tidy that can also help as your mind goes into efficiency mode and there is no excuse to tidy things if they are already tidy…..

7. Check all your typos and errors at the end


Everyone makes typos, it’s just a fact of life. Even the most experienced writers will make plenty of errors in writing a blog post.
However, correcting all your errors at the end of a text is a lot less time-consuming than editing your blog constantly all the way through, which becomes a bit laborious. So if you make an error, just keep typing and correct it at the end.

8. Chunk the paragraphs up


Just as having a definite beginning, middle and end of a blog can help the speed of your piece, having that for each paragraph is useful to. You know the structure you are following, which makes compiling a blog post a lot easier.
If you keep to the same structure all the way through, it can increase the lucidity and coherence of your post and ultimately make it more readable.

9. Write from the heart


Bloggers often write about the things they are passionate about, whether it be politics, food or sport, everyone has got a passion. If you are writing about something you care deeply about, the words tend to flow faster and more naturally, with a more heartfelt response.
Often if you write from the heart about something you have more to say which reduces time planning and allows you to be more spontaneous and subsequently faster in writing a blog.

Hopefully all these tips will boost your productivity and allow you to write a blog post in 30 minutes. If you combine all this advice with hard work and desire, there’s no telling how far you could go.

Remember, everything seems impossible until it actually happens…… you can do anything you want if you put your mind to it, including writing a blog post in less than 30 minutes!

By Sam Curran

Sam has his own proofreading business. He charges from £3.00 per 1,000 words. He can help with style and content as well as grammatical and formatting issues. Sam has proofread for 6 years and has proofread pieces of work from Undergraduate to PHD level as well as editing CVs, job applications and personal statements. The business has its own Facebook page ‘Efficient Editing’ which you can contact Sam through. You can also get in touch with Sam by emailing him at

Friday’s Featured Vacancies – 01/08/2014


The Sands Centre in Carlisle are looking for an…

With A Passion For Lighting!

Circa £20k – £22k per annum – Av. 37 hours

The Sands Centre is the region’s leading venue for arts & events. We’re looking to recruit a full time Assistant Technical and Stage Manager with a flair for lighting. The successful candidate will assist the Technical and Stage Manager in the running of the venue’s technical provision. A full training programme will be offered with this post, your professional development is a commitment that we believe is very important.

For full details and to apply visit

Closing Date: 08/08/2014


Eden District Council is looking for a…

Town Centre Assistant (Temporary Cover)

This is a rare opportunity for someone to gain valuable local government experience working at the community level delivering services which support the vitality and viability of market towns in Eden – principally Penrith and Appleby. You will be in daily contact with local businesses listening to their interests and resolving any concerns. The post is varied and so you will have a chance to make a real difference on many levels.

To apply, please complete an Eden District Council Application form.

Closing date: 11 August 2014. Interview date: 18 August 2014.

Six reasons graduates should gun for startups – James Pursey

Today we have a guest post from James Pursey with his top six reasons to join a startup!

I graduated from university in 2011 and had my whole life planned out. I was going work for a young startup company for a couple of years to gain experience, then start my own business. Plans are all well and good, but when a job offer for a recruitment company came up with big cash figures floating in the air, I changed my mind.

To this day it was one of the worst mistakes I’ve made. I chose money over what I really wanted to do because it felt like a ‘career path’ I was meant to take. I quit after six months of what I can only politely describe as un-enjoyable work and went to work for the startup I should’ve gone to originally. Eventually I left and ran my own company for a couple of years and now I’m back at another startup.

I think a lot of people get drawn into careers they don’t want, and a lot of them stay there because it’s the ‘sensible’ thing to do. Joining a startup isn’t irresponsible, it’s not reckless and there’s a lot of advantages over more established companies. Here are my top six reasons to join a startup.

1) You’ll build a broad skillset

In most jobs, you do the role you’re hired for and nothing more. If you’re employed to run social media you’ll spend your time tweeting, pinning and updating statuses – that’s great but too much of anything can become a chore. Startups operate on an all-hands-on-deck basis, which is a clunky way of saying that (if you want to) you can get experience across all aspects of the business, even areas you’d never even thought of. More exposure means more skills, which means you’ll be even more employable after a year in a startup than after your first-class honours degree!

2) You’ll be working with like-minded people

By like-minded I mean people like you! Startups require a lot of brainpower to get off the ground, a lot of hard work and a heck of a lot of working under pressure. Without stereotyping people too much, startups are typically powered by young people.

You’ll be working alongside people of a similar age, with similar interests and a similar attitude. Startups are all about culture and they’ll hire people that fit their own sense of humour and work ethic – in other words, if you join a startup the chances are you’ll get on like a house on fire with the other staff members and work won’t just be work, it’ll be a damn good laugh.

3) You’re not a tiny cog in a huge machine

Every single member of an early-stage company has a vital role to play. Regardless of your specific job you can rest assured you were hired for a reason and that reason will help the business succeed. That means you’ll have a lot of responsibility early on, but remember that accountability comes with that. If you want to have ownership and work autonomously, don’t join a corporate.

4) Startups are cool

Some startups require you to work long hours, some can’t match those corporate salaries, and I’m sure you could send me a list of reasons to work for a big company, but one thing startups nail every time is culture.

From pool tables to nap time and daily cooked breakfasts, startups are quirky and like to treat their staff to keep them motivated and make work less of a chore! carwow has a very well-used table tennis table and every Friday the fridge is full of beer.

5) You can develop fast… really fast  

I joined carwow in Februrary as a sales exec. I didn’t want to work in sales though – I wanted to work in marketing. So I audited the site and presented my findings to the founder a couple of weeks after starting. Fast-forward six months and I’m the Head of Inbound Marketing. Put simply, if you have a passion that can serve the business, and you prove your value, you may just get that job you’ve always wanted – without changing companies.

6) It’s one heck of a ride

carwow is a comparison site for new car sales. Believe it or not, nobody in the country does what we do. Within 12 months of launching, the company has grown from nothing to selling £10m+ worth of cars per month, and last month around 5% of all Volkswagen Golfs sold in the UK were via carwow. We also raised a seven-figure investment sum to grow even faster. Now, read that again and tell me it doesn’t sound like an awesome place to work.

So there it is, six top reasons to aim for startups. Any questions at all? Tweet me: @JamesPursey