Tag Archives: employability

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



#UoCMedia Industry Day: Why Work Experience is Important and How to Get It


media city 2

There are many ways to gain relevant work experience in the media industry and they don’t all involve traveling to London!

I recently represented the University of Cumbria at a BBC Digital and Creative Careers Day at Media City in Salford. One of the biggest things I took from the day is the need for graduates applying for training schemes, jobs and freelance work to have relevant work experience.


How much experience should I have?

As a current student or recent graduate you are not expected to have years of experience in the sector you want to work in. Instead, you need to demonstrate that you are committed and interested in working in your intended field. You can do this by attending relevant work experience, reflecting on what you have learned and asking for a letter of recommendation from the employers you work for.

Work experience opportunities can range for a day’s shadowing, a week or two, a few months or a longer-term internship. With such a wide variety of opportunities available it is important to focus on the quality and relevance of a work experience placement rather than the amount of placements you do.


How to get relevant work experience:

  • Send a CV and covering letter to companies and ask for shadowing/work experience
  • Make your own content
  • Volunteer for university or community radio and TV
  • Apply for advertised work experience


It’s all about the money…

Some work experience opportunities will be paid, others may not be. If you are planning to take part in unpaid work experience I suggest deciding (before you apply) under what circumstances you will work for free and for how long.

Think about: what benefits you will receive, what skills and experiences you will gain, if you have done the same thing or something similar already, how much it will cost you, when you are available, if you can get funding and how it will benefit your career.

When thinking about if you should take part in an unpaid placement consider:

  • Are you being asked to do work that you would usually be paid for?
  • When you are on placement are you doing the same work as paid staff members and are you being given responsibility for work?
  • Are you being asked to take on an unpaid placement for more than 6 weeks?

If the answer to any of the above is yes the placement offered should be a paid one.

Note – we know it can sometimes be difficult to judge whether a work experience placement should be paid or not. If you are unsure you can e-mail careers@cumbria.ac.uk for advice.


I have included a list of work experience opportunities below and some information on the upcoming Media Industry Day on Wednesday 13 April 2016.


Good Luck!

Kathryn Jones

Careers and Employability Coordinator

University of Cumbria

Careers and Employability Service



#UoCMedia Industry Day

Wednesday 13 April 2016 – 9am to 4.15pm – Brampton Road Campus (registration at main reception)

Find more information here – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/media-industry-day-tickets-23238632375?platform=hootsuite

Registration has now closed but UoC students are welcome to just come along on the day.



Media Careers – Work Experience Opportunities:


BBC Work Experience

There are four application windows every year and each one will last two weeks.

Various Locations



ITV Insight

There are four windows of opportunity to apply each year, with the Insight Programme open in January, April, July and October.

Various locations



Discover Wildlife Magazine

BBC Wildlife welcomes work experience students for a period of one week throughout the year.



C4 Pop Up Events

C4 Pop Up is a day of industry talks, creative workshops and down to earth careers advice and support from Channel 4. Dates for the London, Belfast and Cardiff events are already up with more to follow.



Event Volunteer Quays Festival 2016

Quays Culture – North West England

Deadline – 30 June 2016



Volunteer Venue Assistants and Festival Runners

Bradford Literature Festival – Yorkshire

Deadline – 6 May 2016



Event Steward

Wild Rumpus – Staffordshire

Deadline – 18 April 2016




Lake District Summer Music – Cumbria

Deadline 25 May 2016



Volunteer media opportunities at the Animal Refuge and Carlisle Youth Zone


Contact Max Evans-Kirkman – mekmedia@outlook.com


Mullholland Media


Contact David Mulholland (Company Director) for potential work experience opportunities


07770 676766 / 07879 444443




Cloudscape Studios


Contact Lou Kneath Gibson (Company Director) to find out more


07521 295534




Useful Contacts


Careers and Employability Service

Contact us for CV, application and personal statement feedback, careers appointments, career planning, help finding placements and graduate jobs.




Student Enterprise

If you are thinking about starting your own business, whether it’s for profit or not, we can help and support you all the way.

01228 888734




Have you considered a graduate Internship?

Inspiring Interns


In the clamour to get graduate jobs after university, many graduates are left unable to make the career start they wanted to. Step in, graduate internships.

Rate My Placement define an internship as “a period of paid work experience between one and four months, usually taking place during the summer.” (RateMyPlacement, 2016).

However, not all graduate internships are like this. In fact internships after graduation not only give you the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in an industry you’re interested in, but will often lead to much longer term employment.

So what are the advantages of an internship after university?

A Graduate Job Afterwards

Recent High Fliers research suggests that amongst the UK’s top 100 graduate employers, almost a third expect to fill their graduate positions with people who have already interned specifically for that company. So while internships might appear to be a short term prospect, or simply an opportunity to gain experience, it could well secure you a full-time graduate job.

Get Experience

Of course, one of the main motivations to apply for internships is the opportunity to gain some work experience in a certain sector. As they are employing fresh graduates, many companies looking to hire an intern will provide a lot of training. As a result you’ll have the opportunity to gain experience in certain procedures and technical areas, as well as the type of soft skills you generally gain from being in a professional environment.

Build your Network

Doing an internship at a top company can also be a great way to build your business network. Even if you don’t secure a job afterwards, you can use it to establish relationships with certain people in the business as well as outside of it. They might not have a role available for you, but they may know someone who does. At the very least you’ll have a contact book who you can call on for advice or mentoring.

Not Sure What to do?

While internships are often seen as an opportunity for employers to assess candidates before they decide to hire them full time, this works both ways. If you’re unsure about exactly what area you want to go into, you can take a plunge into an internship in a sector you might be interested in working in and assess whether it’s right for you. As much as they have the option to not offer you a full-time job at the end, you’re not obligated to take an offer if it’s given.

Matt Arnerich is the content writer over at graduate recruitment agency Inspiring Interns, writing about all things graduate recruitment and graduate careers advice.


You are probably a lot more employable than you realise

As well as gaining lots of academic knowledge during your time at university, you will also be developing  highly relevant employability skills that can be transferred to the workplace. Do you know how to unpick the ones that matter most to employers, and demonstrate the necessary proof?

This blog highlights two employability skills that employers consider are  particularly important, and shows some of the occasions during your time at university where you will have demonstrated and developed transferable skills. You can use these examples in your CV, supporting statement or a job interview, to show your employability skill.

Verbal communications skills: speaking clearly and fluently; being persuasive and empathetic.


  • Delivering formal and informal presentations in classes and seminars
  • Acting as a student ambassador or peer mentor
  • Part-time or voluntary jobs that involve dealing with the public
  • Campaigning or organising events
  • Debating
  • Teaching or training someone to do something
  • Leading a team eg a sports team
  • Working with others on a project
  • Committee member
  • Charity work or events

Team working skills: being able to work effectively with other people to achieve an agreed outcome.


These days there are very few job roles that don’t involve working with others, so a prospective employer will want the reassurance that you have what it takes to work effectively with other people and achieve results, meet deadlines!  Good examples might be:

  • Academic group work eg projects, joint presentations
  • Part-time jobs
  • Volunteering
  • Being a member of a committee
  • Representing your department/faculty at meetings
  • Being actively involved in sports, drama, music clubs and societies
  • Running and organising an event
  • Assisting with the running or organising of an event










Communication and team working skills are essential to most jobs, but there are many others too which I will discuss in future blogs. In the meantime, have a look at the  UoC Career Ahead programme. Career Ahead will help you recognise and develop your talents, and help you make your job applications stand out.


CV Advice: 7 Honest Tips!


Stem Graduates give their most honest tips for writing a successful CV!

1. Put your contact details on your CV

It sounds obvious but people often miss them off. There is nothing more soul destroying than reading the perfect candidates CV and having no way to get in touch with them!

2. Don’t title your CV ‘CV’

We receive a lot of ‘CV’s’. Adding your name makes it easier for us to find you. It also helps you to stand out from the other 15 ‘CV’s’ who applied for the same job.

3. Put your qualification grades on your CV

It saves us having to chase you up, and you having to tell us. Missing them off because you think they’re too low won’t actually help in the long run. Be upfront an honest to avoid confusion. Including them also shows you are thorough and pay attention to detail.

4. Send a Word and a PDF copy of your CV

Stylish formatting and having a sleek PDF is great and it can give you an edge, but as a recruitment agency we will probably need to edit parts of it initially to send to our clients. Having a Word copy makes this far easier for us and saves us from tampering with your hard work. (Some jobs require really high standard PDFs, so we understand this might not always be possible!)

5. Read the job description before applying

So many people fall short of reading a job description the whole way through and as a result end up applying for a job that says, for example, ‘must have a driving license’ when they don’t have one at all. We then waste your time and ours shortlisting you and calling you to discuss a role you aren’t qualified for.

6. Don’t carelessly mass apply

We know you are probably going to apply for more than one job. However, chances are, roles in the same field are being managed by the same consultant/s. If we see you applying for 8 roles at once it makes us think you haven’t read our job descriptions properly and you aren’t particularly interested or serious. Check to see if a consultant name is attached to the jobs you’re applying for, and make sure you’ve read the description.

7. Don’t go buzzword crazy

A lot of people use the same cliché phrases found on Google in their CV. We read the same buzzwords over and over again. Being a ‘team player’ is a good skill but try and find an original way to tell us about it, using your own brief examples wherever possible. Conversely, however, don’t go too crazy on originality by describing yourself as a ‘CV Legend!’ Genuine example.

For more graduate job advice visit: http://www.stemgraduates.co.uk 

stem graduates logo
Content written by: Sophie Chadwick, Outreach Coordinator (Stem Graduates)

GUEST BLOG: Increasing Your Employability: Tips from a Recent Graduate

York student - STEM


Sophie Chadwick (University Outreach Coordinator at STEM Graduates) chats to Zoe Craig, University of York, 2014 BSc (Hons) Biology Graduate, about how she improved her employability.

STEM Graduates are a recruitment agency who recruit specifically for full time, permanent graduate job roles in the STEM sector. They also provide graduate careers advice.

What are you doing now?

“I have been working as a Data and Laboratory Clinical Research Intern at a Clinical Research Facility for a year and have just gained a new job as a Data Manager for clinical trials.”

Did you do anything to improve your employability whilst studying?

“I had a part time job at a university cafe and took part in the dance society, this gave me transferable skills such as team work and time management.”

Our top tips: You don’t have to do things purely related to your degree to improve your employability. Involvement in societies, volunteer organisations and your student union will all provide you with skills useful in employment. These skills will also show employers that you have used your time at university productively. For University of York students, all of these things can contribute to the York Award; an award designed to develop your skills for the working world and one that is highly valued by employers.

Did you do any professional placements? 

“Yes, I took up an internship at the University of Exeter Medical School undertaking clinical research duties relating to diabetes. My internship this year has boosted my employability by giving me experience in the area I want to work in and as a result helped me secure my new job.”

Our top tips: Get yourself out there! Apply to internships and placement programs as these really do bridge the gap between studying and working in a sector. Signing up to a recruitment agency will provide you with guidance and support throughout the employment process and some agencies, such as ourselves, will be able to offer advice that is tailored to your specific sector needs.

What did you use the Careers Service for?

“I kept up to date with the University of York careers blog as it had some really good tips and opportunities on it. I also attended Careers fairs held by the Careers Service to meet with potential employers and work on my networking skills.”

Our top tips: Take full advantage of your Careers Service during your time at University, and even after. They are able to help you to make important plans and decisions and provide knowledgeable advice. Practically, they can improve your CV and offer one-to-one careers appointments to help you perfect your interview skills – including practice interviews. It’s important to make the most of this resource as knowing how to prepare for an interview sufficiently and present yourself well is crucial.

Do you have any advice for current students on how to improve their employability?

“Get involved as much as possible in productive activities so you are able to provide evidence for the skills you say you have. Try to get some experience, even if just for a day, in the job area you are looking to enter.”

To register on our website or browse our advice and graduate jobs visit www.stemgraduates.co.uk

stem graduates logo

(Content written by Sophie Chadwick of Stem Graduates)

Upcoming on FutureLearn: How to Succeed at Interviews

interview shake

About the course

This course will help you to succeed at interviews, whether you are applying for jobs or planning to study. Because being offered an interview can be quite daunting, we’ve put together a set of materials to help you prepare and be successful on the day.

We’ll help you to research the organisation so you can answer that frequently asked question ‘why do you want to work for us?’ with style. We’ll provide advice on what to wear (and what not to wear) and go through some common interview questions. We’ll have tips from employers and admissions tutors on what they look for in candidates and cover the types of questions you should be asking them.

Finally, we’ll help you to prepare for different types of interview including how to make an impression via telephone or video or within a group setting. We’ll also help you prepare for tests and practical work that may be included as part of the interview process.

The course is highly participative and includes articles for you to read, videos to watch and interactive material with tips to help you better understand how to prepare for your interview. There will also be discussions where you can learn from and support each other, self-reflective exercises and quizzes. Throughout the course you’ll be encouraged to collect a portfolio of your work which will help you with future interviews.

By the end of the three weeks we hope you will have the confidence to perform at your very best at interview.

  • FREE online course
  • Duration: 3 weeks
  • 3 hours pw
  • Certificates available


This course is designed for anyone applying for jobs or courses. It will be of particular interest to those in the early stages of their career, or those who are out of practice and need to update their skills. No prior knowledge or expertise are needed.

Join now: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/interviews

Course Start Date: 16th November

Future learn 2

Thinking about starting a business…


As you start the new academic year at University you may be considering what the future holds on graduation or how you are going to earn an income whilst you undertake your studies. If you are considering starting a business, either part time or full time following graduation, did you know that help and support is on hand?

Support can be provided to help you to develop the skills to take your idea to the next level, this could be by attending one of the planned workshops which will be running during November – more details to follow in this regard, or by receiving support on a one to one basis.

As student enterprise coordinator I can help you and provide you with a range of templates and access to tools which can be valuable as you consider self-employment, so if you have an idea that you would like to explore further please get in touch, there is of course no pressure to start a business just the support to help you to consider this option.

Freshers will also see the launch of the student enterprise society where you can get involved and develop transferrable skills, it will be run by students for students and I will provide help and support as required.

So if you want to get involved or would just like to hear more, please drop me an e-mail, I look forward to hearing from you.

Sylvia Grainger

Student Enterprise Co-ordinator


Volunteer @ Abandon Normal Devices Festival


The Abandon Normal Devices Festival is searching for enthusiastic volunteers to support the upcoming event that will run from 18th-20th September.

The event will feature an exciting festival of new cinema, digital culture & art in Grizedale Forest and is keen to recruit volunteers for this unique project!

The festival features a groundbreaking programme of new commissions & will reimagine the forest through a series of trails, artworks & film happenings. It will provide volunteers with a great opportunity to work alongside international artists as well as the Forestry Commission & several other organisations.

If you’d like to find out more about the festival visit: http://www.andfestival.org.uk or to apply to be a volunteer go to: http://www.andfestival.org.uk/blog/volunteers-for-and-festival/

Don’t miss out!

Volunteer with Lancashire County Council!


How to apply to be a volunteer

Some people just really need a friend. Can you be that person for an hour or two a week? To help or find out more, see our Befriending roles.

Perhaps you would like to be a Countryside Ranger or help young people in a youth centre?

Search our list of volunteer opportunities available.

Once you find an opportunity that suits you, select it and then click the “sign up” button.

You will now start creating your own volunteer profile, once you have completed and submitted it, a member of staff will contact to discuss your application.

If you don’t hear from us within 5 working days, please email lccvolunteering@lancashire.gov.uk and quote the opportunity you have expressed an interest in and the date you completed your application. We will chase it up for you.

If you have looked through our opportunities but are unsure about the option and want some help please email lccvolunteering@lancashire.gov.uk.

Apply for a volunteering opportunity

What’s in it for you?

Whatever your reason for becoming a volunteer there are huge benefits for you and your community. We will help you to achieve your personal goals.

Volunteering provides the experience and qualifications employers look for, it shows them that you are committed and have employability skills.

You will receive training to prepare you for volunteering and to enhance your activities. We work in partnership with other training providers and will signpost you to appropriate training for example – confidence building, employability skills, drug awareness and mental health awareness.

You should not be out of pocket financially, where possible we will reimburse pre-agreed expenses such as mileage and car parking.

What you can expect from us

  • A full induction to your role within the service
  • Regular support and feedback from a supervising officer
  • A written description of your volunteer activities
  • Application of Health and Safety policies to volunteers’ activities.
  • Clear policies for reimbursing volunteers’ expenses
  • Recognition of the different roles and responsibilities of volunteers and paid employees
  • Ongoing opportunities for training

What we expect from you

When carrying out your volunteering activities you are expected to be ambassadors for Lancashire County Council and/or Lancashire Constabulary. Your volunteering activities will add great value to the services we offer to the people of Lancashire.

In relation to your volunteering activities you must:

  • Be reliable, committed and professional.
  • Act in confidence and with discretion
  • Embrace equality and diversity values
  • Have a duty of care to safeguard and promote the welfare of all people you deal with
  • Abide by all relevant health and safety and data protection legislation

Please email lccvolunteering@lancashire.gov.uk for more details around volunteering.