Category Archives: employability

The value of transferable skills by UoC English and Creative Writing student Holly Morrow


Whether you’re building up your cv or trying your best to sell yourself at a job interview, it’s important to keep in mind what your future employer wants to hear from you. You might not necessarily have experience in the specific job your applying for, but that does not necessarily mean that you’re not capable for the role. Transferable skills are a great way of showcasing your strengths and abilities in a number of ways regardless of experience, and are most definitly something important to remember when it comes to applying for jobs.

So what are transferable skills? says: “Transferable skills are a core set of skills and abilities, which can be applied to a wide range of different jobs and industries” These can come from a range of experiences, from volunteering you may have done in the past or hobbies which require a certain level of ability.

How do these skills relate to my time at university? From participating in lectures to taking part in societies, university can play a vital role in building up your skill set and getting you some good talking points at an interview. Working as part of a team is something many employers are looking for, and is something you can definitely tie in to your time at university. Group work, though it can be something students dread at the time, is a great example you can give to employers about your ability to work together with others. Perhaps certain members couldn’t make certain meetings or didn’t pull their weight? You can reflect on how you worked around these difficulties and adapted to working with a group. You can also highlight your communication skills: maybe you decided to delegate various roles within your group, you can talk about how you were able to discuss the roles and decide on who was best for each position. The end result of some group work can be presentations, and in this case you can impress your future employers by reflecting on your verbal communication, or how you used your organisational skills to put together slides in a specific order to make sure you communicated your points clearly. You can also mention how you balanced your argument with counter points, showing your employer that you have research skills and the ability to express yourself clearly.

Another example could be participating in a university society. Maybe you were delegated a health and safety role. You can show responsibility by reflecting on how you had to do prior checks on venues for events, making sure they are accessible and a safe meeting place for students. You can show teamwork in meetings when discussing events you may planned to create. Here we can see a number of elements coming into play: creativity, events management, organisation, teamwork. All these are transferable skills which can put to work in various job roles. By reflecting on these skills in an interview you are able to show a number of attributes contributing to your working identity. Just talking about these skills will in turn showcase your ability to communicate points clearly and it will become evident that you are a good candidate for the job.

If you’re a bit stuck on finding what transferable skills you may have, you can also research online based on your previous work experiences, or even specific to your particular degree. There is also the Careers and Employability department which are there to help you and get you started in your working life. Make use of the services the university can provide, from mock interviews to personalised appointments, the careers department is a great stepping stone in your career development.


Change 100 – Open for applications now!


Change100 brings together the UK’s top employers and talented students and graduates to offer three months of paid work experience.

Change100 is for talented students and graduates with disabilities or long-term health conditions — including physical, visual or hearing impairments, mental health conditions and learning disabilities and difficulties like dyslexia and dyspraxia.

Since its launch in 2014, Change100 has partnered with over 90 employers across the UK to host interns including Barclays, the BBC, Skanska, Lloyds and Taylor Wimpey.

Website –

Online information sessions:

There are some online information and support sessions being held on Tuesday 12 December and Wednesday 17 January. Find out more here –

How to apply:

The deadline for applications to the scheme is 24 January 2018 at midday. More information for applicants can be found here –

Career interview with the Head of Online and Digital at The Entertainer

This week we have been talking to Rob Wood, Head of Online and Digital at The Entertainer to find out about his career journey and what tips he would give to students who are keen to develop careers in ecommerce.Rob Wood

What did you study at university and what impact did it have on your career path?

English. I started my ecommerce career focussing on online content so it gave me a good grounding in how audiences respond to language.

What work experience did you undertake per landing a permanent position?

I did lots of odd jobs – silver service waiting, accounts payable, reporting on non-league football matches. I didn’t have a master plan for what I wanted to do but it gave me a good flavour of different workplaces and cured me of any interest in working in accountancy.

Did you take part in any societies while at university, and if so, did you learn any valuable skills from your time?

I played a lot of sport which develops great skills for most career paths – teamwork, communication, competitiveness.

What advice do you have for those who are just starting university right now?

You’ll never have so much spare time again so make the most of it. And enjoy yourself.

How important is a brand’s culture when choosing positions to apply for?

Really important and it’s definitely worth asking lots of questions about it when you interview. There are advantages and disadvantages of working everywhere – understanding what they are and adapting to them is the key to succeeding. So ask the person interviewing to talk you through the culture as it will help you decide whether it’s a place you will do well.

What is the most challenging part of your current role?

Deciding where the priorities are. There are 1000s of possible ways to grow our online sales and my job is to decide which ones are the most time and cost-effective. Because technology is changing so quickly it’s impossible to predict how customers will shop in a couple of years’ time, so our strategy is to find low risk projects that keep us up to date with the latest trends in online shopping and communication but allow us to react quickly if things change.

Has your role changed, or have your responsibilities evolved, as you’ve worked for The Entertainer?

My role has changed a lot. When I joined The Entertainer I was running a small online content team. Over the last five years I’ve gradually taken on responsibility for user experience, commercial performance and online marketing and I now lead a team of 15.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be posting career interviews with some of Rob’s colleagues: a  Copywriters, an Online Merchandiser, and a Content and Social Media Assistant. The interviews are all about what they learned at university, the impact it had on their careers and their advice for current students. Watch this space!


Extracurricular activities and why you should do them

extra curricular activities

In the Career Ahead award it asks you to participate in and reflect on extracurricular activities. They are important. Not just as part of student life but going forward. So… this is my huge list of why you should partake in them.

  • Getting out and trying new things is good for you, even if you decide that a particular activity isn’t for you!
  • Meet people and networking. You never know what sort of interesting people you might meet: a new friend, someone who you may end up working with, a date for your house mate
  • Self-development, you are showing people that you spend time on yourself – you’re independent, you’re willing to learn and you’re open minded
  • Developing employable attributes and strengths like leadership, self-motivation and perseverance
  • Evidence for your attributes and strengths that can be used on a CV or interview situations that will be different and more interesting to those who don’t do extracurricular activities
  • They can generate great anecdotes for social occasions or can be used in presentations and interviews
  • Gain more knowledge, you never know when it might come in useful – even if it is in a pub quiz
  • Keep fit/active with sports and learn key-skills like team work
  • A change from day to day life
  • See the world, travel
  • Getting creative, help your mind develop new ways of thinking
  • Improve yourself, if you can already do something do it better – like a different style of cuisine or become more proficient at a language
  • An outlet for stress
  • Keep your brain sharp – metal agility keeps you young
  • Campaign and have your say with political and action groups
  • Get the feel-good-factor by raising money for a charity/charities you feel passionate about
  • Getting to know people in your community and local neighbourhood
  • Volunteer – it’ll make you feel great about yourself and the things that can be achieved
  • Extracurricular activitiesRight, here is my favourite reason to do Extracurricular Activities… This is a reasonably old picture of Sergey Brine and Larry Page, who are two guys that meet at university because one of them was a Student Ambassador. They went on to found Google.



Written by Sarah Burrough, available for all your guest blogging needs!

To teach or not to teach…


I’ve been advising quite a few Primary Education students recently who are coming to the end of their initial teacher training and are now uncertain about whether to continue on a teaching career path.  Teaching is a hugely rewarding profession, but it can be tough and is not for everyone.  It’s also perfectly normal to have a change of heart and want to change direction.

The good news is that there are lots of alternatives career paths to consider and some very useful information online.  If you are reading this, and have doubts too about whether teaching is right for you, the following articles and guides may well give you some inspiration. Don’t forget too that you can come and talk to us in UoC Careers.  Email us on to make an appointment.

In the meantime, here are some useful resources that we refer students to and which may give you some inspiration!

Education Alternatives. This AGCAS publication (the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services) is probably the most comprehensive resource for students who are still interested in education generally, but don’t want to work in a school as a classroom teacher.  The guide has been written by a team of experienced university careers advisers and covers two main pathways:  roles which involve teaching, but not in mainstream education; and roles within the broader education sector.

For a lighter read, Target Jobs has a useful article called ‘Alternative careers in education’. Their options include training and development, careers and education guidance, family support and advocacy, and adult and community education.

You may of course need to boost your career chances with a further qualification at diploma or post graduate level. Some options for further training or postgraduate qualifications which you can add to your initial teacher training are covered on Target Jobs.

For general research, Prospects has a list of Job profiles which you can browse by sector or job title. Each job role is profiled and gives some useful factual information about the qualifications, skills and experience needed. The National Careers Service’s Job Profiles is a good resource too, and has interesting job market information.

Finally, remember you will have developed a whole range of useful transferable skills all of which will be relevant to other careers. If you need some help identifying these, don’t forget you can contact Careers at



Free Event: Social Enterprise Workshop

social enterprise event - networking



Want to have a positive social impact? Ever had an idea but not known where to start?

If the answer is yes, perhaps you should be thinking about starting your own social enterprise venture…

Unlike a business or corporation, social enterprise ventures are not profit driven; profits are usually reinvested into the organisation or community. The main goal of a social enterprise is to drive positive change; however this does not mean social enterprises are not financially successful. Social enterprises are businesses where society profits! There are many successful social enterprises in the UK and there’s more being brought to market every year.

If you have an interesting idea for a social enterprise and want to be an agent of change, we have the event for you!

On Tuesday 10th May at 2.00pm, we have a member of Manchester Metropolitan University’s Business School coming to the University of Cumbria to deliver a workshop about social entrepreneurship. The workshop will introduce students to social enterprise, motivate and inspire students to start their own ventures and will also act as a great networking platform (remember it’s all about who you know!). The event is two hours long, free to attend and will be held at the Fusehill Street campus in Carlisle.

Don’t worry if you don’t currently have any enterprising ideas, if you are interested in social enterprise you should still pop along to the Social Enterprise workshop. You never know, you may leave the event with an idea that could change your life; or more importantly – the lives of others.

We hope you can make it! Let’s help make the world a better place and drive positive change!

If you are interested in attending this event please book tickets through the following link;

For more information please contact Ben Parker via email at

TEDx is coming to the University of Cumbria!


TEDx, an independently organised TED event, is coming to Carlisle for one night only!

Tickets available on the UoC TEDx website here.


The Theme

For the first ever University of Cumbria TEDx event the theme ‘Progression’ has been chosen, this ties in nicely with university life and can have a broad interpretation. Expect talks on career progression, the progression of ideas and much more. The event speakers really have had some great ideas on what progression means to them and the world.


The Speakers:

  • Andy Beeforth – Chief Executive Cumbria Community foundation
  • Jacqui Filkins – Honoury Fellow, advisor to EU on health matters – Sustainability Strategies.
  • Brenda Crossley – Graduate – Aging & Adapting With Technology.
  • Nathan Roberts – Zoo Keeper – Conservation and Effective Communication.
  • Phillip Wilson – Musician. Making Music Accessible For All.
  • Annie Weir – Self-published creative writing graduate – Age Is Not A Barrier.

Developing a great line-up for this event has been tough, there are just so many talented people with great ideas! There will be something for everyone with six super talented speakers all with unique ideas to share from varied backgrounds. Be sure to check out the event blog here for updates on speakers with details about them and their talks.



Thursday 5th May 2016 at 18.30 until 21.30



The event will be held in the University of Cumbria’s Fusehill Street campus close to the centre of Carlisle in the Learning Gateway Lecture Theatre.

University of Cumbria, Fusehill Street, Carlisle, CA1 2HH



A ticket must be purchased to ensure attendance. Just to make it even harder to resist temptation you will get a free beer and a burger with each ticket. Now that’s food for thought…

Tickets are £8.49 per person (including booking fees)

Tickets available on the UoC TEDx website here.



About TEDx, x = independently organized event
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

Find out more on the TED website.

New to TED? Here’s 11 must see TED talks.


This event is being organised by Ben Parker (University of Cumbria Events Management Student)