Postgraduate Researchers: How the Bristol PLUS Award can work for you

‘As a Postgraduate Researcher, it can be easy to focus so intently on your research and forget how much university life still has to offer. The Bristol PLUS Award has encouraged me to seek out these experiences, and meet a wider range of students and staff, which I am incredibly grateful for.’

(19 – 20 PGR PLUS Award achiever)

Broaden your Horizons

A photo of volunteers outside in an allotment, standing together and smiling
Volunteers on the City Challenges programme

The Bristol PLUS Award is the university’s employability Award, giving you the opportunity to gain formal recognition for commitments you take on outside of your research.

Getting involved outside of your research is a great way to build connections and community. The PLUS Award recognises a broad range of activities, and for Postgraduate Researchers, lots of these are things you may well already be taking part in.

That could be teaching support, marking, or submitting a paper to a journal. Or experiences outside of the university such as part time work or volunteering. For more ideas, you can check out our list of common PGR options for the Bristol PLUS Award.

Articulate your value, consolidate your skills

‘Overall, the Bristol PLUS Award has helped me develop valuable, transferable skills and allowed me to reflect on how I can use these skills to become more employable.’

22-23 PGR PLUS Achiever

Whether you are interested in a career in academia or industry, or are still exploring your options, the Bristol PLUS Award gives you a framework to reflect on your skills and experiences and equips you to communicate the value of your research to a broad audience.
You’ll gain expert support through workshops, courses and reflection, and be formally recognised by the university for going above and beyond in your commitments outside of your research.

Mayra’s PLUS story – Postgraduate Researcher and PLUS Award Achiever

‘I realised that I am a competent researcher, I am resilient and I know how to work in different circumstances. I felt extremely satisfied with my work and learnt a lot about myself. All this experience taught me that sometimes things do not go according to your plan, but with an open mind, all your effort and love, good results can be achieved’

Mayra Yadira Rivera Lopez
A photo of Mayra, smiling
Mayra, Outstanding PLUS Award winner 21-22

Alongside her Aerospace Engineering PhD, Mayra got involved in various roles and opportunities, all of which could be used towards her Bristol PLUS Award. These were:

After achieving her Bristol PLUS Award, Mayra went on to also win the Outstanding PLUS Award in the Resilience category, by articulating the resilience she showed in pursuing her PLUS Award. You can read more about Mayra’s Outstanding PLUS Award win in our blog post.

Want the PLUS to work for you too?


4 hidden ways the PLUS Award benefits you! – untold secrets of a PLUS Award achiever

Hello prospective PLUS Award achievers! I’m Avellina, a final year Biology student and 2021/22 PLUS Award achiever. 

Avellina smiling.

Many students understand that the Bristol PLUS Award is an employability award that rewards you for going above and beyond your degree. We know that it boosts our CV and makes us stand out to future employers… but there are also secret, unknown benefits that you’ll only uncover upon starting the Award process! 

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Engaging in the Bristol community: Our Winter Tea Party

Towards the end of term, as many of us were beginning to wind down for the winter break, the Careers Service, in collaboration with the SU Volunteering Team, were busy organising a Winter Tea Party for some of Bristol’s elderly residents.

This initiative, one of the Service’s community engagement activities, saw them take over the Richmond Building’s Carpenter Room and share some festive cheer in the form of food, chat, and entertainment.

A picture of elderly residents and volunteers enjoying the table top activities

The Winter Tea Party welcomed fifty members of the community from Parkway Methodist Church, Brunelcare, and St. Monica’s Trust; together with a number of student volunteers and society representatives who supported the guests and helped ensure they had an enjoyable afternoon.

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Everything you need to know about the Outstanding PLUS Awards  

Text that says "Outstanding PLUS Awards" on a purple background

Want to find out more about the Outstanding PLUS Awards? Let’s get all your questions answered.  

What are the Outstanding PLUS Awards?  

Launched last academic year, the Outstanding PLUS Awards (OPA) reward Bristol PLUS Award achievers who have gone above and beyond in their PLUS Award activity. The OPA is so sought after because there are just eight winners every year – one winner per category.  

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Getting to know the Outstanding PLUS Awards: Resilience & Wellbeing Champion

The Bristol PLUS Award rewards students for participating in extracurricular activities alongside their studies, and provides a framework to articulate their skills and experiences to employers.  

Last year we launched the Outstanding PLUS Awards (OPA), to reward students who went the extra mile in their PLUS Award activity. In this final edition of our four-part OPA blog series, we will be breaking down the Resilience and Wellbeing Champion categories to show the spectrum of activities that can be used towards both categories.  

Resilience  

This category is all about demonstrating how you persevered or adapted to challenges whilst in pursuit of your PLUS Award.  

A personal challenge is a broad concept and can encompass many situations. The highest scoring nominations reflected on how they responded to challenges, and how those challenges impacted their PLUS Award journey (more…)

Getting to know the Outstanding PLUS Awards: Everyday Hero & Innovation

,The Bristol PLUS Award gives you the chance to get rewarded for your extra-curricular activities and learn to articulate your skills to employers. Last year, we also launched the Outstanding PLUS Awards (OPA), to recognise PLUS achievers who went above and beyond in one of 8 categories.

In this post, we’re taking a closer look at the Everyday Hero and Innovation categories.

Everyday Hero

This category is all about showing evidence of you being reliable and consistent in your work and inspiring others with your energy and enthusiasm.

Photo of Elizabeth playing netball, jumping to shoot the ball
Elizabeth McGechie, Year 3 Applied Anatomy BSc, Netball Coach

The qualities of an outstanding Everyday Hero can come across in any PLUS Award activity. Here’s what some of last year’s nominees did:

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Getting to know the Outstanding PLUS Awards: Change Maker & Better World 

The Bristol PLUS Award rewards students for taking part in extra-curricular activities during their studies. In 2021/22 academic year, we launched the Outstanding PLUS Awards (OPA), which allows PLUS Award achievers to nominate themselves for going above and beyond during their PLUS activity.  

In a past blog post, we looked at the Diverse Partnerships and Civic Superstar categories. Today we are introducing you to the Change Maker and Better World categories, and the diverse range of activities that could count towards both categories.  

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Violet: Student Leader, drag artist, and PLUS achiever!

Bristol PLUS Award achiever and Outstanding PLUS Award nominee Violet Allmark achieved her 70 hours of PLUS activity through working as a freelance drag performer and taking on a student leadership role as chair of Bristol Theatre Department Society InterACT. 

Violet was a freelance performer with drag cabaret ‘The House of Savalon’ during their residency at award-winning Bristol LGBTQ+ venue Queenshilling, proud sponsors of Bristol University LGBTQ+ society. 

A photo of Violet performing in a drag show
Violet performing as Etta Boy, at The House of Savalon

‘My freelance work, as part of the House of Savalon’s three month residency at Queenshilling, gave me the opportunity to develop my artistic costume-making practice, and improve my time management and organisational skills. I spent hours preparing for my acts: sourcing, making and editing my own costumes, props and audio. 

In addition, the regular feedback sessions enhanced my personal reflection skills on my own performances as well as my communication skills through constructive feedback

A crow of people in drag on a stage cheering
The House of Savalon at the Queen Shilling

Kickstarting my drag career this year has led to such amazing performance opportunities, such as performing last week before Divina de Campo at the Creative Youth Network Station and even internationally in Woody’s Bar Toronto, where I was tipped during my performance by a queen recently announced to be on Season 3 of Canada Drag Race and I was even in the presence of the show’s ‘version’ of Ru Paul: Brook Lynn Hytes.’

Violet also developed new skills and experience by chairing the committee of InterAct, the theatre department’s society. 

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Getting to know the Outstanding PLUS Awards: Diverse Partnerships & Civic Superstar

Bristol PLUS Award students undertake a huge range of activities, and develop an abundance of skills and experiences. The Outstanding PLUS Awards launched in 2021-22 to further celebrate students for making outstanding personal contributions, whatever their chosen activity. 

In this blog, we’re looking at two of the Award categories, and some examples of nominees from our very first Outstanding PLUS Awards cohort.  

If you’re interested in finding out more about what our Outstanding PLUS Awards students got up to, check out the other related posts on our blog and you can find more information on our webpage.

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