Ways to develop your skills and employability from home – the student experience

At the end of March, we posted a blog about the ways that you can continue to develop your skills and employability from home. As the lockdown has continued, we’ve seen more and more students taking up these remote activities and finding ways to adapt their plans or practices in response to COVID-19.

Read about the experiences of some of these students below.

Carlos Shanka Boissy Diaz – volunteering for the Green Impact Scheme from the Canary IslandsHeadshot of Carlos

I am really passionate about sustainability so I applied to be an auditor with Green Impact in March. However, the lockdown came, and departments had to close their doors, which meant that I would not be able to audit in-person.

Luckily, The Green Impact staff team managed to transfer all our work online and it was extremely successful. I was able to interview the staff in the departments and review the work that they had done throughout the year virtually. It was really fun to have a chat with all of them.

I believe that now more than ever, other students should get involved in these sorts of opportunities. We are in a self-isolation bubble, where our minds are in more need of social interaction and our brains need different stimuli. Also, I feel it’ll be great for my employability, so, if possible, I advise others to stay active with volunteering from home!

Rosie Neville – completed a Linklaters online internshipHeadshot of Rosie

The work experience section of my Bristol PLUS Award threw up challenges due to multiple opportunities being cancelled. It was disheartening as I was unable to do things I had worked hard to obtain and was excited to attend.

However, through Inside Sherpa, I completed an online internship with the legal firm Linklaters’s. This internship allowed me to undertake a series of tasks and modules which replicates the type of work they would do on a vacation scheme or training contract with Linklaters.

This refined an array of skills, such as commercial awareness, written communication, time management, analytical and logical reasoning, research and planning. Although I was a little apprehensive about what would be entailed in an online internship, it was an enlightening and enjoyable experience and I would definitely recommend it.

Darya Klymenko – volunteering as an online tutorHeadshot of Darya

I joined the Coronavirus Tutoring Initiative (CTI) as a volunteer A-level Psychology tutor. When I first learned about CTI, I found what they did really admirable. I am passionate about education, and especially the aspect of equality in it.

Also, as an international student currently unable to go home, I found the opportunity to do something I enjoy, while knowing someone else is benefitting from it, a great distraction from my feelings of homesickness and anxiety over the current situation. It also allowed me to improve my presentation and communication skills and going over the topics also resulted in some valuable revision for my degree!

My advice to other students is to search with an open mind. The opportunities available now might not be the same as they were before the pandemic, but they are still there. Adapting to a new way of working is challenging, but you might end up surprised by the new skills you gain and the unexpected opportunities you discover!

Maria Lawrence – supporting the Fight Covid UK initiativeHeadshot of Maria

As lectures migrated online and I headed back home, I was eager to work with a pandemic-related organisation remotely. I saw an advertisement for a position with Fight Covid UK and it seemed like the perfect opportunity. Fight Covid UK is an online platform whereby UK initiatives or organisations working to fight COVID-19 can find skilled volunteers to help them.

I have been working with a team of University of Bristol students to increase outreach and work on the social media strategy. I have learnt innovative ways to contact corporates, students and associations and worked with the team to come up with effective content for social media. This experience has allowed me to adapt to working remotely. Crucially, it has meant that alongside helping myself, I can also help others to discover ways they can utilise their skills to help ideas come to life.

Bristol Paws Project – planning socially distanced fundraising

As a society that aims to unite the student and wider Bristol community, interaction with these groups is key and we’ve had to think outside of the box especially because of COVID-19.

We will be launching the first of two fundraising initiatives on 1 June. As many individuals as possible – students, their families, and friends – will exercise with their pet, log their mileage, post pictures, and donate.

We aim to collectively cover 1000 miles over 2 months, hopefully raising £1 a mile. The money raised will be used to launch a regular veterinary service for homeless individuals and their pets when we return to university, something that will be in even greater demand than before!

While this is something that would not have been considered pre-COVID-19, we see this as perhaps an even more effective and exciting way of communicating and engaging with our student community.

Photo of the Bristol Paws Project Committee

We know that many of you may have had your plans cancelled or changed and we want to reassure you that there are still opportunities available to you. If you’ve been inspired by these students read our blog post about top tips for getting work experience this summer or sign up via blackboard to take part in the summer run of the Open Online Courses.