My name is Maisie, I’m an ecology graduate. After months of writing up my thesis and being entirely screen-based during lockdown, I was feeling square-eyed, fatigued and longing to get out of the house. I especially wanted to be more involved in community and people-based projects happening around the city in response to COVID-19, so I happily took a COVID-19 SME Internship working for Bristol Food Union (BFU).
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 Islands
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!
Are you a Student Leader, volunteer or coach in one of Bristol SU’s Sporting groups and societies?
According to Public Health England, students “with better health and wellbeing are likely to achieve better academically” So not only does being part of a sporting group or society increase those endorphins, connect you with people and develop valuable skills, it can help you succeed! This topic is brilliantly explored in the recent Wonkhe blog: “Demonstrating the link between sports and student success”
In recent weeks the situation in the UK has been changing almost daily with the most recent advice being that we stay at home. Many of you would have been due to start internships and work experience opportunities over the Easter and summer breaks, which now might have been cancelled as a result of COVID-19. While this is really disappointing for you, the good news is, there are loads of online opportunities to get involved with and develop your skills!
The Engagement Opportunities Team have pulled together some remote and online-based opportunities that you can still get involved with. (more…)
Student Volunteering Week is a national event, with Higher and Further Education Institutions across the country using the week to celebrate existing student volunteers and to encourage more students to start volunteering.
This is the 19th year that Student Volunteering Week is taking place, but student volunteering has a long and rich history dating back to university missions in the 19th century and support for the unemployed in the interwar period. If you’re interested in finding out more about the history of student volunteering, check out this video
There are so many reasons for volunteering and when you pair it with the Bristol PLUS Award the value gained can really pack a punch!
To help us prepare for Student Volunteering Week we caught up with Bristol PLUS Award completer, Joshua Ang, to hear more about how he paired his volunteering and the Bristol PLUS Award.
Are you planning an adventure this summer?
(image from Pixabay)
You may be about to travel, volunteer, work or study abroad and you’ve probably thought about what you’ll gain on a personal level. But have you considered the employability gains too? The two things aren’t mutually exclusive! What you’ll learn from personal challenges will positively influence your ability to perform in the workplace – enabling you to listen, communicate, adapt and solve problems.
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!
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…)
Whether it is work experience, an internship, part-time job, or your first graduate role, the first few days are crucial in any new job. You will make that all important first impression, and set the foundations for what you will achieve and get out of the experience.
Here are a few tips to help you find your feet and make the most of those early days:
It might seem obvious but…
Plan for your arrival on day one. Make sure you know who you are meeting, where you are going, and plan your journey. Arriving relaxed and on time will reduce some of those first day nerves, and ensure you make a positive first impression on your colleagues.
Do your research
Finding out what you can about your role and the organisation will make the first few days feel less overwhelming, and enable you to get going more quickly. Revisit your application, remind yourself of the expectations and why you were hired, and read up on anything that will help you build knowledge more quickly (e.g. the company website and social media channels).
Get to know your colleagues
Being friendly and engaging in conversation with your new colleagues will help you feel more at ease, and build the foundations for good working relationships. Find out who they are (though don’t expect to remember everyone’s name the first time round!) and what they do. Remember that as well as knowing who to ask now for help, it’s important to start building a professional network to help you get to where you want to in your career.
Learn and adapt to the new culture
Bringing fresh ideas and new ways of working is highly valued, but balance this with taking time to understand how and why things are done. Fit in with your new workplace by observing and mirroring the behaviours and interaction within the team. Is email or in-person communication preferred? Do people make small talk in the morning? Do people take it in turns to do a coffee run? While these might seem insignificant, they are valuable ways to quickly become part of the team.
Be open-minded and flexible
Take all opportunities to learn, gain experience and challenge yourself, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Be an active team member, find ways to contribute, and offer help – even if it goes beyond your job description. An open mind will only enrich your experience and set you up for long term success.
The first week in any new job will be exciting, challenging, and at times exhausting. Be patient with yourself, don’t expect to know everything on day one, and treat every experience as an opportunity to learn and develop. Whether temporary or permanent, this new job could be a stepping stone to achieve your career goals. Make it count!