Lizzie: My Bristol PLUS Award experience

Wondering how to reach your 70 hours of experience for your Bristol PLUS Award? Whilst it can be tricky, there is a huge range of activities you could get involved in to develop your skills and build those hours! 

A photo of Lizzie playing netball, poised to throw the ballWe caught up with Lizzie McGechie (Applied Anatomy BSc) who achieved her Bristol PLUS Award in December 2021. Lizzie also took part in the Outstanding PLUS Awards, receiving an Honourable Mention last year for her nomination in the Everyday Hero category. 

For her PLUS experience, Lizzie used her role as a netball coach for UoB squads. Sports leadership roles can be a great way to achieve your 70 hours PLUS experience, and there are many roles that can count, including coaching, refereeing, kit management, or organising intramural teams. 

‘I participated in the Gamechangers programme offered by the University of Bristol which has given me the opportunity to complete my England netball level 1 coaching qualification. Photo of Lizzie and her netball team on the court, holding a meeting

I felt elated being told I had passed comfortably and that all of my hours of work and developing my skills were well spent. This was also highly significant in securing my current job (a paid coaching role at a school with a high sporting reputation), which I thoroughly enjoy and would not have been able to secure without achieving my qualification as a part of my 70 hours experience.’ 

For her second PLUS experience activity, Lizzie worked alongside her studies in hospitality: 

I worked for a hospitality agency in Bristol, completing mainly bar tender roles. This has allowed me to develop my adaptability as I am always in new environments and communicating with new people and teams so I have built a strong ability to learn quickly.’ 

Gaining experience alongside your studies allows you to develop new skills that make you stand out – and the PLUS Award helped Lizzie feel confident in articulating this to employers: 

Lizzie playing netball, jumping with the ball to shoot‘Registering for the Bristol PLUS Award sets you apart from other candidates when applying to internships and jobs.  I have found the Award to be a great conversation starter during interviews: it facilitates detailed discussions into personal skill sets and it evidences work as not only experience, but an achievement.  

The PLUS award has also allowed me to have a greater insight into my personal potential and allowed me to recognise what I am good at.’ 

The Bristol PLUS Award is open for new registrations from Welcome Week, so sign up and maximise your year!  

If you’re looking for new activities to get involved in alongside your studies this year, check out mycareer for loads of opportunities. You could also work towards a coaching qualification like Lizzie, with the Gamechangers programme.