Did Monday’s Career Ahead post interest you? Want to find out what the course is like? We interviewed Sam Curran, a final year teaching student here at the University of Cumbria – he tells us all about the award and how it has helped improve his career prospects.
Hello Sam! Why not tell us a bit about yourself, your course and your ambitions – let us get to know you!
My name is Sam Curran and I am a final year secondary maths teaching student at the University of Cumbria. I am 20 years old and from Darlington in the North East of England. I have quite a cosmopolitan mixture of ancestries: Italian, English, Irish, French, Scottish and Austrian. I enjoy playing football and sports in general and I am an ardent follower of Manchester United. In addition, I also enjoy cycling and reading. My main ambition in life is just to be happy and fulfilled and have a career of some constitution in education.
What made you decide to undertake the Career Ahead award?
With over half of school leavers now going to University and obtaining a degree, I knew that I had to do something to differentiate myself from the crowd. A degree is a valuable platform for any vocation but the supplementary and extra-curricular activities you do can really show employers a lot about you as a person. This is the main reason that I opted to do Career Ahead, as I knew it would give me that little something extra to improve my employability. However, the multi-faceted nature of the award also appealed to me- it is very personalised and you can gain and develop a plethora of skills when completing the award.
How has the award improved your employability?
The award had a strong vocational focus: it helped me tailor and adapt my skills to suit a job application. I felt more proactive when doing the portfolio- it motivated me with my work and also inspired me to undertake a thorough self-audit of my skills and explore further avenues of professional development such as taking a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) course. It has given me a multitude of transferable skills such as self-initiative, organisation and interpersonal qualities.
How did the mock interview prepare you for future jobs?
The mock interview aspect of the award was a fantastic simulation of applying for a real job, and it felt very realistic. The assessors gave me some very constructive and helpful feedback on both my portfolio and interview manner and presentation. This will prove invaluable in my search for a job in education as I now have a good idea of the attributes that employers are looking for. Without Career Ahead, I would never have got that opportunity.
What have you learned about yourself?
All throughout my life, I have never had much confidence in myself. I never thought that I was a leader in any respect. However, by documenting all the examples of leadership I had shown in the Career Ahead e-portfolio, it made me realise that I actually was a natural leader; I just never thought that I was. This was quite emotional for me and gave me a big boost of confidence. Putting down all the things I had done made me realise that, whilst I have done a few things, I still need to keep striving to get the best possible life for myself. Furthermore, I realised my ability in English through composing and completing the award. I had always though of myself as being good at maths and nothing else, but I learnt I had some literacy acumen, I had just taken it for granted in the past. This could open some doors for me in life.
I credit Career Ahead for giving me the motivation to carry on through some tough and testing times at University.
Sam is currently offering his proofreading skills to University of Cumbria students. He has proofread professionally for the last 2 years and has edited dissertations, undergraduate essays, masters level work and non-native English speakers’ work.
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