Ways to develop your skills and employability from home – the student experience

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 IslandsHeadshot of Carlos

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!

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Find work experience for this summer 🌞

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. 

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COVID-19 SME Internship Fund

We have launched a new internship fund to provide paid work experience of 4 weeks within Bristol-based small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).  

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Chambers of Commerce: the successful job hunter’s best kept secret

What are Chambers of Commerce?

Chambers of Commerce are membership organisations which businesses can join to access services to help them grow and play a part in their local business community. They exist around the world at the local, regional and national level. Bristol Chamber of Commerce is run by Business West. You can easily find Chambers for your nearest home town or city, or home country, by searching online. For example, “[name of city] Chamber of Commerce.”

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Why would an SME hire me for an internship?

If you’re looking for an internship, sourcing your own can be a great way to find an opportunity with an organisation that you’re really interested in. 

For our SME Internship Scheme, we can offer funding to a small and medium enterprise (SME) to help them take you on for a paid internship. 

When you’re approaching SMEs to ask for an internship opportunity, it can feel like you’re asking for something which only you benefit from. However, it’s important to remember that an internship can be mutually beneficial, and SMEs in particular can reap big rewards from taking on a University of Bristol intern. 

Here’s four reasons why recruiting aintern can be good for a small business:  (more…)

#10YearsOfPLUS: Your UG Education Officer shares her Award experience.

More than 5000 students past and present have achieved the PLUS Award in the last decade. One of which is your currently elected UG Education Officer Hillary Gyebi-Ababio who used work experience as a Telethon Fundraiser and a society committee position, among other things, to gain the Award alongside her Social Policy degree. This is what she says about her experience.

“Taking part in the Bristol PLUS Award made me a stronger candidate for my career. I honed my skills in organisation, communication and most importantly for myself, leadership. It enabled me to feel confident in realising my potential in the future career I hope to have.

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My internship with the Mayor of Bristol

Usha, a final year student in the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies, spent her summer as a policy intern with the Mayor of Bristol. We asked her about her experience, and how it is helping her to achieve her career goals.

Why did you decide to do an internship, and to apply for that one in particular?

I received an email from the Careers Service advertising the opportunity. I immediately applied because it was the perfect opportunity for me. The application involved writing a 10,000-character document demonstrating how my experience matched the outlined person specification. It also involved a practical assessment where I completed tasks that were typical day-to-day activities in the Mayor’s Office. After being shortlisted, I was called for interview. My closest friends and family know how much I struggle to gain enough confidence to apply. So, when I made it to interview, I was terrified but also excited.

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Four skills employers are looking for

The top skills employers in the south west are looking for and how you can develop these over the festive season.

What skills are local employers looking for? In the recent Local Sector Skills Statements 2019 produced by Skills West, communication skills featured in the top three most desirable skills listed by employers across eight separate sectors in the south west.   (more…)

Calling all final years and recent graduates! An internship opportunity for you!

The Santander SME Internship Scheme provides quality, paid work experience opportunities for final year students and graduates who completed their degree in the last 18 months.

The internships are 280 hours long and can be completed on a part-time or full-time basis.  (more…)