Tag Archives: advice

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 careers@cumbria.ac.uk 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 careers@cumbria.ac.uk




Giving Yourself the Best Chance of Securing a Graduate Job in a Rural Area – Part II

stem grads home page

Put yourself in the best position to avoid transport problems

In a perfect world public transport would be adequate in getting people to and from work in any location but even in built-up areas this isn’t always the case. This problem is augmented in the countryside, where jobs are scattered across counties and often based in remote locations. This problem underlines how important having a full driving license is.

It’s an expensive business to run a car but even so, just by passing your driving test you will open up doors to graduate opportunities that would be unfeasible otherwise. Some companies will even offer a company car as part of a set salary package. Even if you don’t buy a car, learning to drive before you leave university is near enough essential to graduates living in rural locations.

Build up your soft employability skills and work experience during university

Despite there being an abundance of graduate employers in Cumbria it remains crucial to remember just how competitive it can be to secure a place on a graduate scheme or an entry-level job with a smaller organisation based within a more sparsely populated location.

You may have to be patient whilst you’re looking for your ideal graduate job. To give yourself the best chance of finding a job relating to your degree subject you’ll have to avoid any large gaps in your employment history and probably be in a position to run a car. This means you may have to find work temporarily in an alternative field.

This can prove to be especially difficult for graduates however. One common problem is that employers will tell graduate job applicants that they’re ‘over-qualified’ for a position and the opportunity might instead go to candidates from a less academic background.

Subsequently, it’s integral that you’re able to prove your competence and willingness to perform a lower-skilled job. The best way to do this is to polish up your soft employability skills (and earn some nice money) by taking up part-time or vacation-time jobs during university.

The retail and leisure sectors are great platforms to do this but don’t neglect your careers department in this sense, they’re vastly experienced in helping students to secure a range of different positions, voluntary or paid, during their time at university.

Is there any other aspect of finding graduate work in a rural location you’re worried about or need help with? Please feel free to put any questions you might have to us in the reply section of this article.

Mark Bradford

STEM Graduates


stem graduates logo

Giving Yourself the Best Chance of Securing a Graduate Job in a Rural Area – Part I

stem grads home page

For students living or studying in more rural locations, the thought of securing a graduate job relating to your degree subject can be daunting.

Of course, there’s always going to be a higher proportion of entry-level schemes and vacancies in and around urban areas but don’t spend your time fretting about the prospect of having to relocate, there are plenty of ways to help give yourself the best chance of securing a graduate job in a less densely populated location.

Turn your location into an advantage

Take Cumbria itself, for example. The county is home to a vast array of high-profile graduate employers, such as BAE Systems, Tata, Nestle, GSK, Heinz and Sellafield to name just a few.

One of the major hurdles these companies will face when they come to recruiting graduates is to convince relocators to move to a quieter location. This can be tricky when many graduates have their hearts set on working in glamourous and cosmopolitan urban settings.

Here’s where your experience of living or studying in a less urban area can help you stand out amongst the vast amount of applicants that will be fighting for a place on a graduate scheme. This is because you’ll either already live in a more rural area not too far from a given organisation’s location, or you’ll be able to demonstrate how you’re happy to live in a perceivably ‘quieter’ area due to your choice of university.

If you can put this across well in an application you’ll gain a big advantage over many other applicants. Companies offering graduate schemes will be worried about losing out on the investment they put into training entry-level employees and straight away you’re better equipped to convince an employer that you’re not likely to jump ship at the first opportunity for an alternative job in a city setting.

In part II of this blog we’ll look at the importance of building up your employability skills whilst at university and how to overcome any transport problems presented by living and studying in rural areas. But in the meantime is there any other aspect of finding graduate work in a rural location you’re worried about or need help with? Please feel free to put any questions you might have to us in the reply section of this article.

Mark Bradford

STEM Graduates


stem graduates logo

Advice from the professionals – how to become a solicitor

Simon Wilson, Senior Solicitor at Neil Hudgell Solicitors, talks about how  hopeful candidates can start their professional careers in the field of law.

20th May 2014 Staff at Neil Hudgell Solicitors, Hull

How can applicants stand out from the crowd?

Do something different.  Interests such as reading or going to the cinema are ten a penny. Do some community work, get some sports coaching badges, and something that makes you interesting to someone who sees 20 CVs a week. Work experience helps. It shows you are committed.There are many applicants for every job so you need to show commitment and enthusiasm for the law. When interviewing though the main thing is personality. Yes I need to know people have the knowledge but I need to know they will fit in with my team. Work on interviewing skills and techniques is never wasted.

Do you think there’s a type of person suited to becoming a solicitor? What key skills do they need?

You need common sense as well as intelligence – they are really not the same thing. In my field of clinical negligence you need analytical skills and a dogged determination to get the best outcome for your client. Litigation lawyers are usually argumentative by nature.

What is the most important piece of advice you can give a law student/graduate?

Be certain it’s what you want to do then be determined to get to where you want. It is hard work and you need drive to succeed. Do work experience. Offer to do holiday work at no cost. It shows commitment. But the main thing is never give up. You will get knockbacks and it is how you recover from those that matters.

If you want to find out more, you can visit Simon’s career page and read his profile here

Guest Post: Supply Work with Hexa Education

This week we have a guest blog post from Hexa Education, one of the supply agencies who attended our agency fair in March. There are a number of supply agencies across the country covering different regions and types of roles, so make sure you do your research and  if you want some more advice on which ones to sign up for contact the Careers Service on careers@cumbria.ac.uk

 Are you training to become a Teacher or Teaching Assistant? If so, have you ever thought about working for a Supply Agency, like Hexa Education, to assist you in gaining vital experience within the classroom before you secure a permanent position?

Here at Hexa Education we have relationships with Primary, Secondary, Further Education and Special Educational Need schools within the North of England. We can help you to gain experience in the classroom that could enhance your skills and attributes in your future career within education.

How do Recruitment Agencies work?

As a Recruitment Agency, we provide you with our dedicated time and attention to fully understand your preferences when it comes to your career and your future job opportunities. We then seek work to suit you!

We can provide you with work that is day to day supply cover. This nature of work allows you to experience a variety of different educational settings that you may have not had the opportunity to experience during your course. It is also a great opportunity for you to interact with other members of staff within the education sector and make connections that could potentially lead you into your career.  Working on Supply opens up multiple doors!

Day to day supply generally arises when a member of staff is off sick, or perhaps they are working outside of school grounds that day, possibly on a course or field trip.

We can also provide you with long term and permanent positions. This nature of work often results from day to day supply bookings, as you become aware of vacancies within schools and, as you have built relationships whilst in schools from day to day, you stand a strong chance of securing an interview if there was a vacancy become available that you were interested in.

Long term cover can result from absences such as a Maternity leave, long term sickness and a general permanent vacancy position that has become available.

During your time with Hexa Education we aim to present you with experiences you will enjoy and that meet your expectations, which could then lead to a successful career in your chosen field.

 Not completed your Teaching Course yet?

This is not a problem as well. Working as a Teaching Assistant whilst you are completing your Teaching course is always an option. This will allow you to observe other teachers and reflect on your own practice, and again, provide you with vital classroom experience.

If you would like to speak to us about registering with Hexa Education then please call Ben or Sarah on 0161 882 1050. Alternatively you can e-mail us on either ben.melling@hexaeducation.co.uk or sarah.ingram@hexaeducation.co.uk.  You can also find out more about us at http://hexaeducation.co.uk/.

10 Ways to be a superhero at work

I found this pretty awesome infographic last week and thought our followers would enjoy it too – loads of great advice on here for people just starting out in their careers as well as those who have been working for a while.

Be your own superhero!!



Found here: http://ow.ly/E9MmP via Twitter – follow us for more like this!

Top five interview tips to help you land that job!

Interviews can be scary, especially if you have never had one before. The most important thing to do before any interview is to make sure that you are well prepared. Take some time before your interview to research the company, prepare answers to common interview questions, and make sure that you have everything you will need on the day to hand.


Tip 1: Research the Company

Ideally you will already have done some research before applying for the role, but if not, now is the time to do it! You don’t have to memorise all of their annual reports or become an expert on their products, but if you haven’t done any research at all, it will reflect poorly on you during the interview. You should aim to know something about the products and services they provide as well as a brief overview of their history – you can also search for news articles about them, for added points.

Tip 2: Plan Ahead

You will normally be told in advance the location of the interview, so make the most of this advance knowledge and plan your route to get there. Being late for the interview means getting off on the wrong foot at best, and will have a strong negative impact on your chances of getting the job. Aim to arrive around 10 minutes before the time stated on your invite to interview. Build in time in your route for traffic jams, roadworks, public transport issues and so on. Take a spare copy of your CV with you, as well as the job description, your application, and some information on the company. Then when you arrive early, you can read through your pack while you are waiting.

Tip 3: First Impressions

When you arrive for your interview, make sure you switch off your mobile phone (or at the very least make sure it is on silent with the vibrate turned OFF). Take some mints or chewing gum to freshen your breath, but make sure you finish/dispose of it before going into the interview – you don’t want to be crunching mints or chewing gum in your interview!

Tip 4: Be Confident and Enthusiastic

Confidence is one the most important traits to creating a positive impression. Smile, be courteous and address the interviewers by name whenever possible. Keep in mind that you have already impressed the employer enough with your application/CV for them to want to see you. This is no small thing considering the volume of applications most employers receive. Therefore, you have already made a positive impression on them. Your task at the interview is to allow the employer to learn more about you and to see if they like your personality. This is hard to do if you clam up with nerves so take some deep breaths and try to relax.

Tip 5: Follow-Up To Your Interview

After your interview, write to the employer and thank them for their time in seeing you – do this if you are offered the job or not. This will make sure that you stick in their minds as a polite and proactive candidate, and will also confirm to the employer that you are still interested in the position. Sometimes you might need to check a fact or clarify a point raised during the interview. You can use the follow-up email or letter to relay this information to them.

Post adapted from http://www.jobcentreguide.co.uk/job-interview-tips/23/job-interview-tips