Volunteering and the Bristol PLUS Award proves a powerful combination

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.

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#10YearsOfPLUS: ‘Tis the season…to be recognised and rewarded

The Bristol PLUS Award offers you the perfect platform to challenge yourself to develop new skills. But did you know it gives you recognition for the activities that you are already doing too?

That’s right! As PLUS Award achiever Valeria Saddi explains, “at the beginning of my second year I decided I wanted to challenge myself more. I was already working part time, and I realised that by doing the PLUS Award I could get recognition for the hours of work I was putting in, as well as learning something new and boosting my employability skills.”

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Launch of myopportunities – get involved!

 

What is myopportunities? 

myopportunities is a portal that empowers you to explore opportunities outside of your formal curriculum.  

Develop your interests, enhance your skills and apply your learning today by signing up for an engagement opportunity!  

This could be a one-off volunteering activity in Bristol, a month-long internship abroad, an online course or hackathon.  

myopportunities lists opportunities from across the university and the wider community. The list is endless, so why not find an opportunity that suits you and begin learning differently today? Visit us online: myopportunities 

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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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Green Careers Week 2019

It’s mid-February, and you may have noticed that the first daffodils are with us. You may not be aware however that alongside these early green shoots each year also comes our Careers Service Green Careers Week, from 18 to 24 February 2019.

This series of events is designed to help you find out about opportunities in “green” careers such as conservation and sustainability, get advice, and network with a number of different employers.
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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…)

Still need an Intensive Skills Activity for the PLUS Award? Don’t panic!

As the deadline for the Bristol PLUS Award looms on the 8 of June, we thought it might be useful to talk about ways to fulfil the Intensive Skills Activity section of the Bristol PLUS Award.

The below are suggestions to give you some inspiration and are NOT exhaustive, we encourage you to find your own activity that is most relevant and beneficial to you!

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Making the Most of Your Summer

Exams are almost over and it’s nearly time for a well-deserved summer break. Travelling, volunteering abroad and summer placements are popular ways to build your skills and experience during the long stretch of time between June and September, but don’t worry if you haven’t got one of them lined up as there are plenty of things that you can do to make the most of your summer.

Four things that you can do to make the most of your summer

  1. Volunteer in the UK – Volunteering is a fantastic way to help others and give something back to the community. Not only that, it can also help you to gain valuable experience, especially if you are thinking of going into an industry such as media, charity, heritage or other areas where it’s more difficult to secure paid work. If you’re not sure about what you might want to do after university, volunteering can also be a good short-term way of finding out what an industry is like to help you narrow down your choices.
  2. Work Shadow – Similar to volunteering, work shadowing is a great way to gain exposure to an industry that you think might interest you, but in this case it’s likely to be far more short-term and hands off, maybe only a week at a time. Lots of companies are happy to allow someone in just to observe, and it has the added benefit of helping you meet a wider variety of people and build up your crucial professional network!
  3. Read – Reading is a fantastic way to spend your spare time; whether you’re on the beach, in a park, or listening to the rain outside your window you can settle down and get stuck into a good book. Think about using part of your holiday to dig into some of your more interesting course material, read through articles to build your commercial awareness, or just to relax and get stuck into a novel that you’ve been meaning to get around to!
  4. Work on a Personal Project – Is there a project that you’ve not managed to find the time for? Now that your lectures, assignments and exams are out of the way, pour some of your energy and time into something that really interests you. You could aim to write a blog post or an online article on a topic that you’re passionate about, try to build an app that you had an idea for, or even start writing up a plan for your own business idea.

If you need any help with your career planning, don’t forget that the Careers Service is still open as normal for the next few weeks and then for slightly reduced hours over the summer months:

21 June 2016 – 16 September, 1.30 pm – 4.45pm Monday to Friday
(Careers Service closed Monday 20th June)

Funding internships/work experience, volunteering and travel

We meet a lot of students and graduates who are looking for funding for a range of career-related activities, such as internships/work experience, volunteering and travel. This can be a difficult question since there are few straightforward sources of funding for any of these things. However, if you are creative in your search, there are some options to explore.

Funding internships and work experience

The University of Bristol Internship Scheme is open to all University of Bristol students and graduates from the last 3 years, including international students (as long as you have permission to work in the UK). The scheme provides funding for internships with a Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) i.e. not employing more than 250 people, or a Not-For-Profit Organisation (NPO).

There is also a lot of useful information on our work experience and internship pages e.g. advice about things to consider when taking unpaid work in the work experience and internship FAQs section. If you would like any further advice on this topic please do come and talk to one of our Careers Advisers.

Funding travel and volunteering

The University of Bristol Student Funding Office invites applications for the Knowlson Trust Travel Awards for travel which is not part of the applicant’s academic studies. These are made from a bequest by Mr John McKerrow Knowlson, Chartered Mechanical and Electrical Engineer of Bristol, and supplemented by grants from the University of Bristol Alumni Foundation.

The following information on travel grants and bursaries was compiled by the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) and NASES (National Association of Student Employment Services) members. 

Organisations that offer bursaries or funding:

Other possible sources of funding:

Alternative sources of funding 

There are some general Careers Service pages about funding. Although these are written with postgraduate study in mind, the section about trusts and charities may help you to fund a wide range of activities. For example, the Careers Service subscribes to the online searchable database: Alternative guide to postgraduate funding.  You can also access the latest edition of the Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding (PDF, 3.54 MB), or come in and use the reference copy in person. This provides details of how to find and apply to various sources of funding. There may be organisations in there who would be interested in funding someone for education or career-related travel, volunteering or work experience.

There are a number of useful books and websites mentioned on the pages above. In addition to these, the Careers Service has a reference copy of the Guide to educational grants, available from the Resources Help Desk. This is a comprehensive list of sources of non-statutory help for people in education who are in financial need, up to and including first degree level. It contains information on over 1,400 national & local grant-making trusts, which together distribute more than £54 million in grants. Browse our online resources for ‘funding’ to see full details of all relevant resources, both print and online.

Further help and support 

If you are able to come into the Careers Service in person then Information Specialists and Welcome Desk staff can show you the funding guides and talk you through the resources above in person. You can then also make an appointment to talk to a Careers Adviser about funding applications. For example, you may want to draft some applications and bring these in to get feedback.

Megan Wiley, Information Specialist

The best thing you can do at university

showcase

Guest blog post from Imogen Palmer, Vice President Activities, UBU

I grew up in the countryside, where the biggest opportunities were writing the obituaries for the local paper and playing the young William Wordsworth in my hometown’s annual history walk. I was overwhelmed when I arrived at Bristol by the 200-plus societies and clubs it had to offer, and I went a bit overboard. I acted in a play but realised I didn’t like acting. I went to kick-boxing and decided I didn’t want to be a ninja. I was an editor for the student paper and found I didn’t want to be journalist. Doing UBTV, the student TV station made me realise I didn’t want to be a TV researcher.

The most common thing I hear undergraduates say is ‘I don’t know what I want to do’. Most of us dread the ‘post-uni’ question that family insist on asking every time they see us, but not knowing is no bad thing. I had no idea what I wanted to do when I arrived at uni and I’ve managed to narrow it down so far. I don’t know any other point in your life where you can try on this many different ‘lives’, so to speak, and figure out what really stokes your passion.

It’s not all about getting ‘transferable skills’ or plumping out your CV, even if that’s an added bonus. It’s about working out what you like and being able to make the most educated choice possible about which direction to go in, because there isn’t just one.

My involvement with activities led me to the firm conclusion that I love people and I love trying new things. Therefore, when the opportunity arose to campaign for a job that would involve enabling more people to try things, in the form of VP activities, I leapt at the chance.

And that’s not just for the first-years; it’s for the second-, third-, final-years and post-grads as well. Life doesn’t stop in the library. Go and seek adventure during UBU Showcase Month, try something new and see what happens. Remember: if you’re finding it too expensive to get involved with activities outside your course, you can apply to UBU’s fair access fund: ubu.org.uk/activities/committee_resources/funding/.

We’ve had great feedback from student groups so far about Showcase Month, with lots of people trying new things, from canoeing to cross-country running. Volunteering Week kicks off this week so get on it! May I particularly recommend ‘Bristol’s Got Talent’ on Monday 24th February and the Volunteering Fair on the 27th.

Bristol’s Got Talent: facebook.com/events/731175766900390/
Volunteering Fair:  facebook.com/events/750510671625775/
Full UBU Showcase listings: ubu.org.uk/events/

Imogen Palmer
Vice President Activities
University of Bristol Students’ Union

Some further info:

  • UBU Volunteering will soon be launching a new database where you’ll be able to sign up and join various volunteering projects. In the meantime, you can join the Volunteering Mailing List and follow UBU Volunteering on Facebook to be kept up to date with current opportunities:  ubu.org.uk/activities/volunteering/getinvolved/
  • Week commencing 24th Feb 2014 is Student Volunteering Week (SVW). SVW is a nationwide celebration of all things student volunteering! UBU Volunteering will be teaming up with Bristol Hub to put on a load of exciting volunteering events and competitions throughout the week. Find out what’s on online: ubu.org.uk/activities/volunteering/
  • As part of SVW, the Careers Service will be running the following event for students:

Careers in the Third Sector: How to sell volunteering on your CV – Tuesday 25th February, 3pm
This session is an opportunity to hear tips for accessing careers in the Third Sector, including useful resources and effective planning for your next steps.  There will also be an opportunity to talk with professionals who have successfully made the transition into this sector. Sign up here: careers.bristol.ac.uk/ViewEvent.chpx?id=206070