#10YearsOfPLUS: Celebrating our Student Leaders

Student leader roles consistently make up around 30% of the intensive skills submissions on the Bristol PLUS Award, and the impact this leadership experience has on students can be extremely far-reaching, both personally and professionally. In 2017-18 we had a record number of student leaders apply for the Outstanding Award, with 50% of applicants articulating the significant contribution they’d made within their Student Union roles.

One of these students was Hari, the 2016-17 Chair of Bristol RAG. We caught up with him after graduation to see how the Outstanding Award experience had helped him get to where he is now.

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Calling all Bristol PLUS and Outstanding Award graduated alumni!

Did you complete the Bristol PLUS or Outstanding Award as part of your university experience? 

If so, we want to invite you to help us celebrate the ten year anniversary of the Awards!

The Bristol PLUS Award started in 2009 as a way to reward students for developing extracurricular skills and experiences alongside their degrees, and help them articulate the value of that experience to employers. In ten years, the premise of the Award has not changed, though it has evolved in response to student feedback, university projects and labour market developments, to ensure that the Award remains credible and beneficial to every student who dedicates themselves to achieve it.

Here are just a few highlights:

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How might the Bristol PLUS and Outstanding Awards support your career journey?

The Bristol PLUS Award deadline is approaching on June 14. If you are close to completing the Award or are one of the hundreds who have completed in the past few years, you may want to reflect on how you could progress to the Outstanding Award. Adam Jellett, a Biochemistry (PhD) student explains how completing both awards supported his career planning. 

How did you come to achieve the Outstanding Award? 

PhD students can get tunnel vision of only considering an academic career, and there is even some stigma around considering other options. This is ridiculous – what will suit one person will not necessarily suit others! Part of the problem is that the main mentors available for PhD students are academics, who may not have experiences outside of a University setting. I have genuinely enjoyed my Biochemistry PhD and have no regrets but have come to realise that I personally would be better off pursuing a different path. Even if you do think academia is for you, there is no harm (and likely a lot of good) in considering and preparing for wider options.   (more…)

Be Outstanding! Beyond the PLUS Award

Last academic year, a record 50 students applied for the Outstanding Award. Christy Howarth Nunns received a distinction, and below tells us about his project and the benefits of doing the Outstanding Award.

What activity did you do for your Outstanding Award?

For two years I was the president of the University of Bristol Physics Society, ‘Chaos’. As my chosen award theme was ’Innovation and Enterprise‘, the main focus of my submission was the way I transformed Chaos by shifting our business model away from simply breaking even on all our events. My initiatives to increase cashflow, included sourcing sponsorship, allowed the society to thrive, and run more activities than ever before. The following year Chaos won ‘Best Academic and Careers Society’ among other awards!

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How are PLUS students engaging with the Bristol Futures open online courses?

Bristol Futures open online courses are now an essential element of the Bristol PLUS Award. With their broad range of topics and interactive learning style, it’s hardly surprising that they are receiving great reviews – but who is doing what, and which might you do?

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Who is the Bristol PLUS Award for?

It’s a common misconception that the Careers Service is only for those students who already know exactly what they want to do. Similarly, when it comes to the Bristol PLUS Award you might guess that it’s only for very high-achieving students, or those who are applying for grad schemes and internships.

If you’ve completed the PLUS Award, you’ll know that this isn’t true of the Careers Service, and certainly isn’t true of the Award itself.

Student priorities when registering for the Bristol PLUS Award

 

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Help! I don’t have any relevant work experience for my PLUS Award

We often get asked if the 50 hours work experience for the Bristol PLUS Award has to be relevant to your subject, or future career plans. The answer is no!

Student volunteers helping out at the University’s open day

One of the great things about the PLUS Award is that it helps you identify the value of the transferable skills you have gained from jobs or volunteer roles that you might have been dismissive of, because you can’t see how they directly relate to your future. When you complete your reflective report and final review – the final parts of the PLUS Award – you will gain a good understanding of how these skills are valuable to employers, even if the context in which you gained them seems irrelevant. (more…)

Find an internship for the summer with the UoB Internship Scheme

Are you looking for a summer internship? The UoB Internship Scheme may be just what you are looking for!

For those who haven’t heard of the scheme before, it supports students wanting to gain quality, paid work experience with Small and Medium size Enterprises (SMEs) in the UK. An SME is an organisation that employs up to 250 people and has a turnover of less than £40 million. This includes start-ups, charities and social enterprises, so there is a real variety of opportunities available.

Pay will be at least the National Living Wage. Our internships are 4 weeks full-time, or the equivalent 140 hours can be worked on a part-time basis. This is typically flexible and internships can be undertaken during term time or vacations.

Further benefits can include:

  • Providing a competitive edge to your CV; standing out in the job market is increasingly crucial.
  • Gaining transferable and desirable skills.
  • Networking opportunities.
  • Potential for extended employment.
  • Providing work experience hours for the Bristol PLUS Award.

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The PLUS showcases your efforts! Bristol Graduate Alex Yeates on how the award prepares you for interview

Alex secured a role with Selfridges as a Front End Developer after graduating in 2015 with a BSc Politics and the Bristol PLUS Award under his belt.

“The Bristol PLUS Award encouraged me to pursue hours of paid work which helped populate my CV and gave me experience of what to expect in an office. It also helped prepare me with examples that I could talk about in my interview, to help showcase various efforts I made in trying to gain employment.

 

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