Why employers love global experience

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. 

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What it’s like to be an entrepreneur

Each year the Careers Service can give up to £40,000 in funding to University of Bristol student and staff business ideas through the New Enterprise Competition (NEC) and Enternship Scheme. Some of our previous successful candidates have share their stories here.

Simmy Dhillon
Economics, Finance & Management student and founder of Rice n Spice (RNS)

Can you explain your business idea in a nutshell?
RNS provides healthy, tasty and convenient chilled meals to clients to save them time shopping, cooking and cleaning. We serve a lot of gym-goers and athletes but our meals are also used by all sorts of professionals, students and even grandparents!
When was the idea conceived and how did it all start?
I’ve always been quite entrepreneurial and given my passion for food and healthy living, everything just kind of fell into place. I started RNS during my first year at university to provide fellow students with a healthy takeaway option, it has since developed into a meal prep business with a far more diverse client pool.
Which competitions/schemes did you apply for and what was the result?
I successfully applied for the NEC development stage. I would like to apply for more competitions but applications require a lot of time which can be difficult to find alongside running the business and studying!
How have you found the Basecamp Enterprise Team programme and support?
The support from Basecamp has been great, being able to get advice from experienced people and funding from competitions is so valuable. Especially for students, we’re inexperienced and lack capital.
What top tip would you give other budding entrepreneurs?
Ship and iterate. It’s difficult to get your product perfect, I look back at photos of the product when I first began and I can’t believe how much it has improved since then. It’s important to get your product out there, seek feedback from users and continually improve it. If you’re not embarrassed by your initial product then you’ve probably waited too long to release it.


Ruth Bannister
History with Innovation student and founder of Roo Bannister Jewellery

Can you explain your business idea in a nutshell?
In a nutshell, I design and make pieces of jewellery inspired by Ancient World histories, to brings artefacts into the everyday and make ancient design both accessible and educational.
When was the idea conceived and how did it all start?
The idea was conceived in 2014 whilst I was studying for a BA in Ancient History and Egyptology at UCL. I would drool over treasures in the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert, and I wasn’t the only one with my nose pushed up against the glass in the Louvre. I wanted more than to just look at the old gold, I wanted to touch the pieces, wear their adornments, and learn more about their past. I decided to make myself some jewellery inspired by some favourite artefacts, and then I decided that I wanted to fill the market gap I had discovered.
I’m studying History with Innovation, which means I’m  able to study things like the history of alcohol and take inspiration for my jewellery designs. I’m also studying silversmithing part-time at the Bristol Folk house and I am developing the future of my brand as part of my innovation coursework. I’m gaining credits for designing the future I want, and I love it.
Which competitions/schemes did you apply for and what was the result?
I applied for the University’s Enternship scheme and I was lucky enough to gain a place. After a mentor matching speed date session, I was matched with Danielle Morgan who comes from a marketing background and works as a consultant to many businesses including a fabulous independent shoe designer. I did a little happy dance when I got matched with Danielle, as she was the only female mentor in the room and she was just perfect for me. I knew we’d get on well and I’ve loved the support I’ve received from her. We’re still in touch even after the summer Enternship scheme.
The funding the university gave me has allowed me to make such positive progress this year. My obstacles right now are predominately financial but the financial support allowed me to pay my Bristol rent over the summer and keep my makings to pump back into the business to produce my collections, create samples and organise my first photoshoot.
I now sell online, I am stocked with with five UK independent retailers, with a few more organised for the coming months, and I had my first press feature in the September edition of AnOther Magazine. My name was alongside Dior, and I can honestly say without this support this wouldn’t have happened.
How have you found the Basecamp programme and support?
Basecamp have been great. I love my little meetings to catch up with the staff and get advise. They’re so genuinely excited and interested in what I’m trying to do. Their suggestions are always valuable and their ears have been open when my boyfriend is just bored of my jewellery talk. They’ve given me the encouragement to go for this, and I shall!
What top tip would you give other budding entrepreneurs?
Take opportunities wherever you can. I am so grateful for the Enternship scheme, but I also took the summer to do an enterprise course with PrincesTrust for additional support.
If you’re interested in starting something up, then maybe use your time at university to play with potential business ideas. Being at university is sort of a safe bubble to explore ideas and see what works. I have some free time and I have a student overdraft (which I exploit wisely!). It doesn’t take much money to get something started, and social media is on our side. Just play and explore, and see where it takes you!


James Nightingale
Engineering student and founder of Abon

Can you explain your business idea in a nutshell?
How many of the people that read this eat a nutritious meal every day? It’s embarrassingly few of us, we’re busy people and don’t necessarily have time or inclination to slave away in the kitchen every night. The ideal ready-meal is tasty, nutritious, cheap and quick to prepare. Currently, there isn’t one product that ticks all the boxes, and supermarket shelves are filled with uninspiring compromises. The solution is A Bag Of Nutrition (Abon), a frozen, vacuum sachet of curry or pasta sauce. Each sachet guarantees three of your five a day, is vegan, gluten free, preservative free, and can be prepared in less than five minutes. Just add the sachet to a pan of boiling water with your rice or pasta, snip it open and enjoy!
More and more people are recognising the benefits of a plant based diet, but being vegan can be really hard- our products are a shortcut to this healthier, more ethical lifestyle.
When was the idea conceived and how did it all start?
I first came up with the idea for Abon halfway through last year. It all happened by accident. I cooked too much pasta sauce and poured the surplus in to a freezer bag. I forgot about it, and then found it months later. Rather than thawing it out I impatiently added it to the boiling pasta water. Unfortunately, it resulted in a horrible mess- but got my creative juices flowing and resulted in Abon!
Which competitions/schemes did you apply for and what was the result?
I applied to the New Enterprise competition ‘ideas’ and ‘growth’ rounds, as well as the ‘Enternship’ programme. I received all of the funding I needed for initial product validation, market research, product development, public and product liability insurance, a website, brand development and many other overheads which I wouldn’t have been able to finance privately.
The support has been more than just financial. Basecamp provided office space at the Centre for Innovation over the summer, introduced me to a fantastic mentor who has been instrumental in Abon’s success, and provided the guidance and advice I needed, as someone not from a business background.
How have you found the Basecamp programme and support?
Basecamp has been invaluable for Abon. Early stage businesses outside of the University typically have to relinquish some equity early on at relatively poor rates, as the risk to investors is high. The grants from Basecamp have meant I can focus on developing an excellent product, growing the business sustainably and still owning 100% of the business. They also secured me tickets to various networking events, awards shows and workshops, all of which have helped me to become a more rounded entrepreneur.
What top tip would you give other budding entrepreneurs?
Just give it a go! The only way you can be certain your idea won’t work is if you don’t try. Startup success rates can be really intimidating, but from my point of view the rewards of running your own business justifies the risk.

Looking for a summer internship?

The University runs internship schemes that enable you to gain quality, paid work experience.

We work with SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) including charities, social enterprises, and start-ups, as well as larger organisations across the UK.

There are many reasons why you might want to do an internship: (more…)

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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Bristol Mentors – Helping shape my future

We caught up with Lucy Downer, Final Year English BA Undergraduate, about her experiences of having a mentor with the Bristol Mentors programme.

Starting out as a third-year student I felt incredibly daunted by the prospect of life post-graduation. Being part of the Bristol Mentors programme this year has given me invaluable experience within an industry I am considering entering after graduation. (more…)

How running in a Bristol SU election could benefit you

The SU election period is here, and we thought it would be useful to look at how students can get involved with this process, focusing on employability and careers.

Nominations for the Bristol SU Elections have officially opened and will remain open until midnight on Thursday 28 February!

The nominations are for the main Bristol SU elections which will take place in March, electing Full Time Officers, Chairs of Networks, Chair of Student Council, Faculty Reps, returning Course Reps and Student Trustees. Find out more here.

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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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My SME Internship with LettUs Grow

I graduated last summer with a degree in Biology. When I finished I hadn’t got a large amount planned, all I knew was that I wanted to remain in Bristol. I was open to all jobs to start off with but my overall aim was to head down a biological route. 

In November I had an opportunity to have a meeting with a member of staff from the UoB Careers Service, this was really helpful in clarifying the types of jobs I could see myself doing and what steps I should take next. She also told me about internship schemes Bristol University offer with local SMEs. (more…)

My Internship Experience at HSBC

Joe Baldwin, a Chemistry student at Bristol, shares his experience as a Commercial Banking Summer Intern at HSBC.

My time as an HSBC  Intern started as I expect it does for many, concerned about possibility of not having a job to go to after graduation. My search for an internship wasn’t about finding the perfect internship, as I didn’t know what this would be. I wanted to get a flavour of the jobs available to chemists – one that doesn’t involve lab coats and safety goggles. (more…)