Student Volunteering Week is just around the corner, with a jam-packed week of events around the themes of Health, Education, and Environment.
Students have been engaging in a variety of problem-solving activities to help local charities in the Bristol area. So far this year, students have worked with local charities including Brigstowe, Talk Club, and St Werburgh’s City Farm.
Calling all Bristol PLUS Award achievers: have you gone above and beyond in your PLUS Award? Did you make a significant change or impact in a PLUS activity or role? If so, you can nominate yourself to receive extra recognition with an Outstanding PLUS Award.
Select one of your Bristol PLUS Award Experience activities where you were able to shine and use it to nominate yourself for an Outstanding PLUS Award! With 8 categories to choose from, the Outstanding PLUS Awards celebrate a broad range of achievements.
Did you make a difference to the people in your community? Maybe you helped create a positive change that would not have happened without your efforts? Did you consistently go the extra mile in your role?
For your Bristol PLUS, you reflected on the skills you developed and how you can articulate these to employers. For the Outstanding PLUS, we ask you to put that into action by telling us how your activity meets the brief of your chosen category and why you deserve to win!
The Outstanding PLUS Award is open to students who achieved the Bristol PLUS Award this academic year, so if you have not yet completed your Bristol PLUS, this is a great incentive to do so!
What if I completed the Bristol PLUS Award in a previous year?
The Outstanding PLUS Award is intended to be completed in the same year as your Bristol PLUS. The Outstanding PLUS Awards are open to students completing their Bristol PLUS Award in the current academic year only.
Applications are open now until 26 March 2022, and winners will be announced in April 2022.
For the full details on how to apply, including all the categories and briefs, head over to the Outstanding PLUS Awards guide.
Students have been engaging with older community groups in Bristol by running a series of showcases and activities at Parkway Methodist Church in St Werberghs on Monday afternoons. Not only are these experiences a great way to give back to the local community, but they also develop planning and presentation skills, and it looks great on a CV!
We caught up with Kayleigh, Katie, Lillian, and Darya to hear about their sessions: (more…)
The City Challenges are an exclusive programme of events which provides you with the opportunity to engage with Bristol’s charity sector, gain informal work experience, and develop your skills through working on real life challenges posed by local community organisations.
The first City Challenge involved piloting a problem-solving session focusing on reducing HIV stigma within the medical community, which was supported by the Brigstowe charity and the Careers Service Community Engagement team.
A total of 10 students took part, developing their teamwork, communication, and decision-making skills to create presentations in which they gave details of how Brigstowe could approach raising awareness in the medical community of unfair and untrue beliefs around people living with HIV.
This City Challenge allowed students to explore their interest in community outreach as well as learn about how they can be aware of and actively combat their own biases around their attitudes to people who are living with HIV. They explored issues such as how General Practitioners and students can destigmatise their work when dealing with people living with HIV. Brigstowe will now be able to use these ideas for possible future funding bids, marketing campaigns and training sessions.
The next City Challenge will be based ask the question ‘How can we encourage male university students to talk about their mental health?’ and students will be working with Talk Club and the Community Engagement team. This challenge will be eligible for the Bristol PLUS Award and held on Wednesday 27 October from 11.30am to 5pm and you can sign up on myopportunities.
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!
Work experience is any opportunity which gives you experience of work, or the non-academic skills that will prepare you for work. It can be paid or unpaid experience and is not necessarily related to your degree or your future career plans. This can include internships, summer vacation jobs, volunteering, insight events and shadowing as well as self-driven projects.
Good quality work experience should:
- Teach you new skills including professional behaviours.
- Highlight which skills you need.
- Let you explore a career idea.
- Connect you to people you could use as contacts in the future.
- Improve your understanding of that sector.
- Demonstrate your interest in that sector.
- Provide you with a reference.
We know that many of you have had your summer internships and work experience cancelled or are struggling to find opportunities.
Here are some ways we’d suggest you look for new opportunities for this summer.
We are getting a little nostalgic as we draw closer to the end of the PLUS Award’s 10th anniversary year (just under 6 weeks to go!) We are so proud of all the achievers, past and present.
The PLUS Award has certainly grown and evolved in the past decade; In its pilot year, 165 students achieved the PLUS Award, since then over 5,000 students have achieved it. Another 800 have finished so far this year, persevering to bag their Award despite changing circumstances! (more…)