Tag Archives: graduates

Greetings from the new Careers Intern.

Hello Everyone, I’m writing this to introduce…. Well ME!

I am the New Careers and Employability Graduate Intern. I recently graduated from the UoC Working with Children and Families course (July 2018).

I wanted to write this to introduce myself and describe some of the experiences I had as a student in relations to careers, future planning, time management and general student activities. Hopefully so you can see ways you can make the most of your time at Uni.

Future Planning – It’s never too early to start exploring what you want to do. I came to university not knowing what career path I was on or what pathways and avenues were open to me. However through exploring using the careers service, work experience and speaking to my course (both staff and students) I was able to focus on what was important to me and to get to somewhere I want to be.

Time Management – Obviously your course should be a priority to you, but if you plan and prepare efficiently then you can find the time to do other things. For those who have dependants or other responsibilities you have even more to balance before you can look to do other things (and, if you manage it, you deserve it). Whereas if you have free time there is so much you can do to boost your employability and improve yourself whilst at university:

Being a member of a society (especially if holding a leadership position or helping to start a society); work experience, voluntary or paid work; being a Student Ambassador, course representative, or serving on the student council/panel. All of these provide and demonstrate key life and job skills.

General Student activities – I’ll be honest I didn’t always turn up to lectures on time and if something wasn’t timetabled 50% of the time I wouldn’t be there (and if I was I might not have been fully invested). Looking back I would shout at myself and force myself to go to the extra events, to listen and make note. It was through one of these events I made contact with someone from an agency that provided me with work through my second and third years. They are there to help the students so use them to your own advantages.

My Career Enriched – There is now a Careers Hub called My Career Enriched where you can ask queries, book appointments, see advertised jobs (that you can also filter for relevance), and submit applications and CV’s for feedback.

You can find this in the student hub from the university login, or at https://my.cumbria.ac.uk/Student-Life/careers/My-Career-Enriched/

Career Ahead – Career Ahead is an employability award offered by the careers team. It is an award that is designed to make you ready for your career. There are different levels of the award and none of them are overly taxing to complete: Bronze, Silver and Gold. It is that extra thing to help you stand out and show that you have put in extra time and effort. This is available to every UoC student and is worth completing. I only did bronze myself but wish I had completed the full award even with all the experience I got with agency work and events through UCSU.

For more information visit here: https://my.cumbria.ac.uk/Student-Life/careers/Career-Ahead/

Graduate Success Guide – As a Graduate the university doesn’t just stop offering support, it is through ‘us’, you and whoever is in the next class of graduates that they can show their success. My Career Enriched is still accessible and the careers team even produce a guide on planning the next steps, for both further study and career support. The guide is a useful tool and worth looking at even whilst studying. As I said before it is never too early to start planning and it can be really daunting to transition from one thing to another, especially when your course has been your life for the last few years. This is here to help you light that dark time.

It is available here: Graduate Success Guide [PDF]

But it is also worth looking at: https://my.cumbria.ac.uk/Student-Life/careers/Graduates/

I hope this helps some of you, and remember, the student services are always here to support you with issues. I know they helped me a lot especially when I was unsure or felt lost. Hopefully we can help you too.

Ones to Watch: Emma Kirby

Welcome to part one of our new ‘Ones to Watch’ series, in conjunction with the University of Cumbria’s Alumni team. We think all University of Cumbria graduates are amazing, and are proud of each and every one of you. Occasionally we get to hear about certain individuals who are already making a huge impact, despite only graduating recently. Those who have really applied themselves whilst still a student; taken advantage of every opportunity and worked exceptionally hard to get where they want to be. 


Emma Kirby

BA (Hons) Primary Education with QTS

“I had the pleasure of working with Emma in her role as student ambassador in the alumni office. She was always keen and enthusiastic (even on the mundane data entry tasks!), it is great to meet a student with such ambition and determination. She was such a hard worker, always in the library and going the extra mile for her assignments. Emma squeezed every opportunity she could out of her time as a student, earning extra money, skills and gaining experiences whilst supporting the university through her  work as a student ambassador.

“I had absolutely no doubt that Emma would do well in her degree (she got a first!) and would have no trouble securing a teaching job. Emma would make a fantastic asset to any school and she is destined to go very far!” 

– Joanne Lusher, Alumni Office

Course: BA (Hons) Primary Education with QTS

Campus: Fusehill Street, Carlisle

Graduation year: 2014

Hometown: Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Current job: I have just started my NQT year in a Year 5 class at a school in Harrogate.

What made you choose the University of Cumbria?

I visited the university on an open day before I made my choice, and I loved the fact that the campuses are so small and compact. The tutors were nothing but welcoming and I really got a sense of community there. The small class sizes also attracted my attention, as you really get the opportunity to achieve your maximum potential and make some really close friends. Carlisle has a lot to offer as a city, and I loved the fact that it is located right near the Lake District. Not only that, it has great travel links to Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Why did you choose your particular course?

From a young age I have been interested in teaching. The Primary Education course at the University of Cumbria offered some great opportunities, such as a variety of placements across Key Stages 1 & 2. The course also gives you the opportunity to undertake an alternative placement in education, which I completed in Finland.

What did you like most about your course?

Something I enjoyed the most was the small class sizes of about 20-30. We had several lectures altogether as a cohort, but the majority of our seminars were as the small group. We gave each other support in the times we needed it and I have made some lifelong friends from the class.

What was your favourite experience at university?

My best memory of university was our leavers ‘assembly’. We had the chance to celebrate everything we had achieved and look towards the future.

How did coming to university change your life?

In my first year I moved into halls of residence, which proved to be challenging. Coming straight from sixth form, at first I found it difficult to adapt to living away from home. I learned how to cook and how to manage my money to make sure I had enough for my shopping. University really is the time you grow up and become more independent. Moving away from home has provided me with invaluable life skills and I am already missing it now I am back home!

Did you make any lifelong friendships at university?

Over the three years, I have made some lifelong friendships. Despite the fact that we are dotted around the country, I know we will stay in touch and visit each other as much as possible!

What were your career ambitions when you started studying and do you think that you have achieved them?

When I finished university my ambition was to get a teaching job straight away and after plenty of job interviews, I have done just that.

Would you be where you are today, without your degree?

I have always wanted to go into teaching and my degree has allowed me to take the first step on to the career ladder.

What are your current career ambitions now and in the long-term?

My current career ambition is to carry on teaching and progress up the career ladder, hopefully taking on a subject leader

An Introduction to Career Ahead

graduation - career ahead

What is Career Ahead?
It’s an employability award run by the University of Cumbria which enables you to develop your employability skills to get a good job when you graduate. You complete the award in your own time online through PebblePad, and it is a way to evidence your extra-curricular activity while at University.

Why should I complete the Career Ahead award?
Employers want graduates with good employability skills. They don’t just look at your degree; they want to find the candidate with the best skills for the job. According to High Flyers (2011): “new graduates who’ve not had any work experience during their time at university have little or no chance of landing a well-paid job”. Career Ahead allows you to evidence the skills you already have, develop those skills that you want to develop, crate effective employability tools such as cv and cover letter writing skills, interview skills and allows access to free workshops, both face-to-face and online. In short, Career Ahead enables you to be job ready when you graduate.

So what do I have to do?
The award is broken down into three elements: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Bronze relates to personal development – completing a skills audit and a reflective diary to identify your career goals and skills gaps. Silver relates to skills development – you develop four employability skills, and undertake 100 hours of extra-curricular activity, as well as two online employability workshops. You also create a reflective diary of your progress in your web folio. Gold relates to career management and enables you to search for the job you want, create a targeted CV and cover letter or application form, and develop your web folio to evidence all your activity. Once you have completed and passed all 3 elements you will also have the chance to take part in a mock interview with an employer.

What workshops are available?
Some of the options include leadership, teambuilding, applications and CVs, interview skills, personal branding and mentoring.

What do I get at the end of the course?
Upon completion you will receive a University of Cumbria certificate, as well as having your web-folio evidencing your progress, skills and experience. Most importantly though you will have gained the skills you need to get the job you want!

What next?
Once you have completed the bronze silver and gold elements you can undertake the platinum award – you will complete and extra 50 hours of extra-curricular activity, mentor a bronze or silver student, as well as submitting a reflective diary of your progress. You will also get the chance to organise an event, share a skill, complete a placement or start up your own student enterprise!

If you would like to find out more you can:
Come along to the Introduction to Career Ahead presentation today at the Fusehill Street campus (room LG101) at 4.15 pm.
Take a look at the Career Ahead areas on the University’s website or on BlackBoard (at the top of the page when you log in).
Email mailto: careerahead@cumbria.ac.uk to ask advice, find out more or register onto the award.

FAQ: Where can I get practice with numeracy, aptitude and personality tests?

We recently researched some Frequently Asked Questions for a forthcoming guideline to help our students and graduates.  Unfortunately there were so many, we couldn’t include them all! So this is the first in a mini-series to cover at least some of the ones that got missed out.

The trouble with tests is that no employer will be able to show you exactly what test they will use because it would render the test invalid.  Obviously previous knowledge of the exact test will skew candidates’ results.

So where can I get practice with numeracy, aptitude and personality tests?

Fortunately, the increase of careers materials on the internet has meant that a large number of sample tests have become freely available.

For an overview of the types of tests most commonly used in graduate recruitment, plus some further samples, start with  http://www.prospects.ac.uk/psychometric_tests.htm  Also useful for a broader overview of psychometric and personality tests used in a variety of different occupations is http://www.careergym.com/psychometric_glossary/psychometric_test_types

Even if you end up facing a test you’ve never heard of, don’t press the panic button before you start.  There will invariably be one or two trial items at the very beginning of the test to make sure you understand what’s required.

Employers’ Use of Testing Alienates Graduates

Another recent article from “Graduate Recruiter” (view earlier post) quotes research by Talent Q UK to suggest that candidates for graduate posts are becoming alienated by employers’ use of psychomentric and ability tests.

It all seems to come down an issue of poor communication.  According to the research, employers frequently make basic mistakes like:

  •  not explaining why applicants are being asked to take a test and how the results relate to the job
  •  not offering feedback on candidates’ performance, which breaches requirements of the British Psychological Society
  • not telling people why their application failed, which may or may not be down to a poor test result

An additional problem is poor record keeping, resulting in duplication and frustration for applicants.

I am sure many Careers Advisers can report meetings with students and graduates who have been fed up with the sometimes apparently random nature of the tests they were asked to take and the opaque, remote nature of the whole process. Online tests seem to be particularly loathed.  But is there much consistent evidence that candidates with superior test scores really do perform better in the workplace?

Yorkshire Graduate Recruitment Fair

Also on the Careers Fair trail, The Yorkshire Graduate Recruitment Fair takes place on Thursday 31st May between 11.00 a.m. and 3.30 p.m. at The Edge, University of Leeds and is open to graduates of all UK universities.

There will be over 90 employers, CV checks and a series of 10 minute workshops.

Find out more at http://careerfairs.leeds.ac.uk/ygrf/

Manchester Graduate Recruitment Fair

We have received the following reminder notice about the above event from Manchester University:

  • Hundreds of graduate jobs (local and national) starting June onwards (mostly permanent and paid, but a handful of voluntary positions too) plus some postgrad course opportunities, all on offer at:  The Graduate Recruitment Fair, Manchester.
  • Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 June 2012, 10.30am – 4.00pm, The Armitage Centre, Fallowfield, Manchester.  DIFFERENT EXHIBITORS EACH DAY .
  • 160 companies and institutions – with graduate vacancies for this year. Attend on both days if you want to see all the exhibitors.  BRING COPIES OF YOUR CV.
  • FREE bus from Piccadilly Railway Station to the Armitage Centre and back.
  • For details and to register to attend, see http://www.manchester.ac.uk/graduatefair


The Manchester event is probably the biggest Graduate Fair within easy travelling of Cumbria, so it’s well worth booking a place.

It’s Not All Doom and Gloom…

Further to the earlier post “What Do Graduates Do?“, the AGCAS Quarterly Survey of Vacancies and Employer Activity suggests a positive trend during the summer of 2011.

Vacancies in IT, retail, marketing, advertising and PR all rose during that period, while the survey also reported increased vacancies from smaller companies, some of whom may have been recruiting graduates for the first time.

At the other end of the scale larger companies, who might have ceased recruitment altogether in earlier recessions, have continued taking on graduates – perhaps to avoid future shortages – although many have reduced numbers and are making more use of internships and temporary posts.

AGCAS reports that the overall picture is mixed as there are still plenty of graduates from previous years competing for posts, but there are some clear signs for optimism.

This will be the last post this year, so here’s to wish all reading this a Merry Christmas and an Employable New Year!

Registered Teacher Programme in Cumbria

Careers information can change incredibly fast!

The Registered Teacher Programme (RTP) enables Teaching and Learning Assistants to be come qualified teachers through on-the-job based learning.

When I recently told some students that they could apply for RTP via the Lancashire GRTP Consortium I was upset to find that I was giving duff information. The consortium now only deals with the Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP) – the job-based route for graduates. I can now find no trace of an RTP provider for Cumbria.

Incidentally the closing date for GTP applications is 16th January for entry in September 2012.

Getting Into Publishing

Applications to attend ‘Penguin’s Annual Graduate Open Day: Getting into Publishing 2011’ are now open.

The event will take place this year on 3rd November 2010 from 9:30am – 2:30pm at 80 Strand, London, WC2R 0RL. It is a chance for students and recent graduates, particularly those from ethnic minority and other diverse backgrounds to find out more about career options at Penguin and in publishing.

To apply, students and graduates should send a CV and a short covering letter no longer than 200 words on why they would like to attend to: gettingintopublishing @penguin.co.uk by 14th October 2011.

We will email to inform applicants if they are successful. Any queries should be directed by email to dele.fatunla@pearson.com