Lessons Learned From A Semester Studying At Home

By Amber,

Written by Amber

As we start a new year, many of us are reflecting on our time studying at home so far, looking at what we have learnt and how we can continue studying this way. All five of our Career Coaches were asked about lessons learned from their semester studying at home that could be shared with others.

 

My lesson learnt from a semester studying at home is to avoid all distractions and procrastination. As we are all at home, it becomes very easy to start doing something else, whether that be housework, having a chat with a housemate or family member, or scrolling through social media whilst “listening” to a lecture or trying to get assignments done. However, this will only cause stress further down the line, as you realise you didn’t hear a few sentences that your lecturer said because of that funny cat video, or a deadline has suddenly crept up on you and you feel you don’t have the time to complete your assignment to the best of your ability. I myself am guilty of most of these, and therefore would advise to turn off the TV whilst writing your assignments, take the time to listen and re-listen to any lectures or recordings you’re not sure of and all in all, minimise stress throughout these already stressful times.” – Megan

 

My lesson learned from studying at home would be, routine is key! For me, I’ve found that structuring my day with lectures or work I have to do has helped me feel more productive and like the days have purpose. It’s important to recognise that there are tasks that need completing, however, I equally recognised I need time to rest, relax and recuperate so that I can function at my best. To achieve this, I try to do something active or ‘for myself’ every day to help me get in the right mindset and help me concentrate. All that being said, I have stuck to having one day off a week as we are under a lot of pressure, more than usual at the moment, and we all need a break every now and then!” – Amber

 

The lesson I have learned from a semester of online learning is ask questions – most people on your course want to know the answers to whatever you are going to ask. Book a tutorial, online tutorials are much easier to navigate and more accessible. Also, your peers can help you with any quick questions you need answering or where to find anything, and your contribution to discussions is valuable and will further your understanding of the topic. The social aspect of my course has been about making the most of the interactions we do have online and through using and sharing resources and ideas, as everyone is in the same boat and will help each other wherever they can.” – Annie

 

My lesson learned from studying at home would be: as students, we are all in the same situation and can help each other a lot! At first, the studying from home situation was completely new, unusual and everything just felt uncertain! I was worried the standard of teaching would be compromised, the quality of my assignments would be affected and that it was not worth continuing the year. This academic year I started a master’s degree which meant I was also starting a completely new course with new people, so it was even more daunting not having any classmates to speak to that I knew. However, we quickly made a group chat, and we have all spoke every day since September which led me to discover they all had felt the same as me! We now reassure each other, talk about our worries and encourage one and other to stay motivated, not give up and that whatever we are feeling is normal! My advice would be that you are not alone, there’s a strong likelihood that other students are feeling what you are and now more than ever we need to be communicating, providing and receiving support and voicing our concerns!” – Becky

 

My lesson learned studying at home was it was not the easiest thing for me. I had to adjust to the whole process of remote learning. By studying at home, I realised that being self-sufficient was not easy and my lecturers do a lot of work in the classroom. I learned that studying at home was not the best experience ever and I commend all long distance/ remote learners who have been doing this before the lockdown.” – Bertha

 

Whatever lessons you have learned, either the same or different to ours, the most important things to remember is you’ve got this and the career team is still here for you! Get in contact through any of the methods below to get some support from a Career Coach.

 

To speak to one of our Career Coaches get in touch:

Email: careers@staffs.ac.uk

Twitter: @CareersAtStaffs

Instagram: @CareersAtStaffs

Facebook: Staffordshire University​ Career & Personal Development

LinkedIn: @CareersAtStaffs

Career Chat: https://www.staffs.ac.uk/students/careers/careers-studio/chat-to-our-careers-coaches

Merry Christmas From Careers!

By Amber,

Written by Amber

It’s that time of year again…Christmas! Everyone’s Christmas plans and ideal Christmas celebrations look different every year but I’m sure this year they will look different again. However you are spending your Christmas this year, at home with family or friends, with Christmas dinner or a takeaway, in your Christmas pjs or dressed up like you’re going “out out”, we wanted to pass on our Christmas wishes. 

To see the full video clip of our message follow this link: https://elfyourself.com?mId=55325

 

From all of the Careers Team we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! We look forward to working with you in 2021!

 

To speak to one of our Career Coaches get in touch:

Email: careers@staffs.ac.uk

Twitter: @CareersAtStaffs

Instagram: @CareersAtStaffs

Facebook: Staffordshire University​ Career & Personal Development

LinkedIn: @CareersAtStaffs

Career Chat: https://www.staffs.ac.uk/students/careers/careers-studio/chat-to-our-careers-coaches

Driving Home For Christmas…

By Amber,

Written by Megan

Going home for Christmas during these uncertain times can be a daunting experience. There may be worries about seeing family members you haven’t seen in a long time, the effects that Covid-19 may have on usual Christmas traditions, or the risk of spreading the virus to family members and loved ones. This blog outlines some tips and tricks for dealing with these worries and how to make the most of going home for the Christmas period.

 

  1. Make sure you organise travel as soon as possible. Christmas is a busy period for everyone, so if you must travel on public transport, try and choose a day and time in which these won’t be as cramped. Avoiding rush hours and weekends may be the best way forward!
  2. Try to social distance as much as possible on the run up to leaving. This is mainly to minimise the chances of spreading the virus and keeping you and your loved ones safe! And if possible, take a Covid test a few days before just so you can be sure it is safe to travel.
  3. Do as much Christmas shopping online as you can. Again, this ties in with tips 1 and 2. Shops will be extremely busy at this time of year, making it difficult to maintain social distancing too. This makes Christmas shopping stressful even when we’re not in a pandemic. Online shops usually have more choice too, whilst also potentially supporting some smaller businesses who may be in need of the custom at these uncertain times. If you can get these delivered to the place where you will be spending the Christmas period, this can also save having bags of things to take on public transport with you! #LifeHacks.
  4. Make sure your university accommodation is ready for when you return so you don’t have to worry about coming back to it! As much as everyone hates cleaning, coming home to a tidy and clean house will make those post-Christmas blues that little bit easier. Even if it seems sad, put the decorations away and clean up all the glitter and fake snow so it doesn’t need to be done in January when you get home.
  5. Get as much work as possible done before you leave. This will make relaxing and spending time wit family a lot more enjoyable. You will have chance to chill out and watch some Christmas films with loved ones without stressing about that assignment that is due the first week back at uni. Take some time to yourself and do things that you enjoy! Have a well-deserved break.
  6. Finally, don’t forget to have fun! 2020 has been a strange year for all, so try to enjoy Christmas as much as you possibly can. Tweak traditions so they are still possible instead of writing them off completely, make new traditions for future years, and make some good memories for the end of 2020.

 

Here at the Career Studio, we would like to wish all our students the happiest of holidays and best wishes for the new year! We can’t wait to see you all in 2021.

 

 

To speak to one of our Career Coaches get in touch:

Email: careers@staffs.ac.uk

Twitter: @CareersAtStaffs

Instagram: @CareersAtStaffs

Facebook: Staffordshire University​ Career & Personal Development

LinkedIn: @CareersAtStaffs

Career Chat: https://www.staffs.ac.uk/students/careers/careers-studio/chat-to-our-careers-coaches

 

 

 

A Day In The Life Of A SAMPID Placement Student

By Amber,

Written by The SAMPID Team

SAMPID (Staffordshire Advanced Manufacturing, Prototyping and Innovation Demonstrator) is a new project to the University that supports businesses from Staffordshire. You could be involved with helping local companies on a paid placement based in the Mellor Building to develop a new product, service or process. You could take part in this project using brand-new cutting-edge manufacturing equipment and have the opportunity develop your skills, whilst continuing your training and increasing your employability.

 

The SAMPID team have written a description of what a day in the life of a student undertaking a SAMPID placement may look like:

8am and my alarm goes off. My first lecture isn’t until this afternoon, but I’m going to spend some time this morning working on my SAMPID job placement. I work 15 hours a week in my role as a Prototyping and Innovation Consultant, and it’s great because I can choose the hours I work to suit me. It’s based at the University too in the Mellor building, which is so handy for me because it means there’s no travel time between work and lectures, and also no commute in the morning as I live on campus! Maybe I can get away with one more snooze…

9am and I’ve made the short walk from my accommodation to the Mellor Building. I’ve booked some time to work with the University’s new robotic arms, which are so cool! My favourite is the collaborative robot, or cobot, as it has the capability to mimic exactly what I’m doing with my own arm. The company I’m working for on the placement are looking for help with stress-testing their prototypes, so the robots are perfect for this. I’ll be here all morning and then think I might pop to Squeeze Box for some lunch before my lecture.

3pm and my lecture has just finished. Since starting my SAMPID placement I’ve been feeling a lot more confident on my course, as one of my lecturers is also the academic assigned to support me and the company. It’s great getting that extra one on one time with them, and I’ve also been able to relate the things I’ve learnt on my placement back to my course – for me I find that stuff sinks in so much better when I can see how it is actually applied in the real world! My lecturers are really pleased with how my work is coming along and my personal tutor’s asked if I’ve ever considered going on to do a PhD after I finish my Master’s course. I hadn’t until recently as I didn’t know if I’d be good enough, but lately I’ve started to think that maybe it is something I could do!

Some days I’ll head back home after lectures and do a bit more work in my room but today I think I’ll go and type up my SAMPID update report in the Library to send off to the company, as I also need to pick up a book for my course and do some printing too. It’s so convenient being able to get everything done in one go!

I don’t want my 12-week placement to end as I’ve built up a really good relationship with the company I’ve been working with and they say that they’ve been really impressed with me. They’ve also told me to keep in touch as there may be job opportunities with them in the future that they’d consider me for, which would be great.

An email pops up while I’m at the Library from Unitemps, and I notice that there are now two other SAMPID placements being advertised which are due to start soon. I’ve had such a good experience with this one that I think I’m going to apply for another – fingers crossed I’ll be able to make a start on one of the new projects just as my current one is wrapping up!

5pm and I’m just finishing off at the Library as I’m meeting some friends for a drink soon. A couple of them can’t come because they work in bars and restaurants and will just be starting their shifts which is a shame, I’m glad that’s not me! They’re all dead jealous that I’m earning £9.34 an hour too, as most of them get way less than that – guess the first round had better be on me!

 

All SAMPID placement opportunities will be advertised on My Career https://www.staffs.ac.uk/students/careers/mycareer.

If you require any support with your application for a SAMPID role or other roles please email careers@staffs.ac.uk or chat with our Career Coaches at https://www.staffs.ac.uk/students/careers/careers-studio/chat-to-our-careers-coaches

If you have any questions about the SAMPID project please email Rachel Wood, SAMPID Programme Manager, rachel.wood@staffs.ac.uk.

 

To speak to one of our Career Coaches get in touch:

Email: careers@staffs.ac.uk

Twitter: @CareersAtStaffs

Instagram: @CareersAtStaffs

Facebook: Staffordshire University​ Career & Personal Development

LinkedIn: @CareersAtStaffs

Career Chat: https://www.staffs.ac.uk/students/careers/careers-studio/chat-to-our-careers-coaches

 

Avoiding And Managing Burnout

By Amber,

Written by Amber

During the pandemic we are all facing personal and professional challenges we may not have faced before. With working and studying from home, especially now during lockdown 2.0 and for those of us that may be isolating, it can be extremely difficult to stay focused, motivated and on task, to the point where we might actually be starting to experience burnout.  

 

What is burnout?

“Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and often physical exhaustion brought on by prolonged or repeated stress” (https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/basics/burnout).

I don’t know about you but with the extended social isolation, worrying about catching covid-19 and the impact it could have on family members, trying to balance work, study and a socially distanced social life on top of our usual uni experiences, we all could be experiencing repeated and prolonged stress.

There are many factors that are also probably making us feel exhausted like sitting in the same chair all day because work or uni are all or mostly online, we can’t meet people from other households, or we are physically not allowed to go out. Things like not being able to socialise and go outside the house could have huge implications on the motivation, productivity and wellbeing of individuals.

 

How to avoid or manage burnout?

Some of these tips have helped me but that doesn’t mean they work for everyone. Try to find things that work for you.  

 

Set Boundaries  

Remember it’s okay to say no! You don’t have to be capable of doing everything all the time – if you don’t have time, don’t feel able or just don’t want to do it then that’s okay.

 

Healthy Work-Life Balance

Make sure if you work or study at home you are not going beyond what is expected of you. If you work from home, I highly recommend not having work emails on personal devices you have access to all the time like your phone.  

 

Designated Workspace

Try to have a specific workspace like a desk or different room to where you relax if possible. It can help with your ‘work mindset’ to have a specific place to do work tasks.

 

Write A List

I am definitely a list person! Sometimes it helps to write down your tasks for the day and when you cross them off it can be so satisfying. Try to make sure they are achievable though otherwise the to-do list could have a negative impact.  

 

Take A Break

This sounds so simple but having a break and switching off is the best thing for us! I try to have at least one day a week where I do nothing but facetime friends and binge watch Netflix. If you feel like you can’t have a full day off, then at least try to have an hour or two each day.

 

Fresh Air

For people that aren’t outdoorsy, I still recommend trying to get outside occasionally as I’m sure we all might be experiencing some cabin fever at some point during the pandemic. I know it’s cold at the moment which doesn’t seem inviting but after 8 hours sat in one spot at a computer screen even the cold air is welcoming.   

 

Talk

One of the biggest, most important things to do is to talk to people, whether this is people you know like friends and family, speaking to lecturers or tutors, or speaking to people you don’t know. If things start becoming overwhelming or you feel like you’re more stressed than usual, then tell someone.

 

Meeting Deadlines

Now, as many of you may know this is also a busy time to meet deadlines for graduate schemes, jobs and placements, which can also be stressful. To try and make that experience easier for you firstly try to follow (or find) tips to help manage stress and burnout.

Regarding career questions, problems or applications the Careers Team can help you every step of the way. Make an appointment with a Career Coach via My Career (https://www.staffs.ac.uk/students/careers/mycareer) and we can discuss what stage you’re at and how best we can help you. This is a service you can keep coming back to as many times as you need, even when you are a graduate.  

Alternatively, you can also chat to a Coach (https://www.staffs.ac.uk/students/careers/careers-studio/chat-to-our-careers-coaches) if you would prefer a more informal (text-like) conversation. Our Coach profiles also show our experiences which may help you get the answers you need as many of us may have ‘walked in your shoes’.

 

Remember we are still here for you!

 

To speak to one of our Career Coaches get in touch:

Email: careers@staffs.ac.uk

Twitter: @CareersAtStaffs

Instagram: @CareersAtStaffs

Facebook: Staffordshire University​ Career & Personal Development

LinkedIn: @CareersAtStaffs

Career Chat: https://www.staffs.ac.uk/students/careers/careers-studio/chat-to-our-careers-coaches 

 

 

 

 

Digital Career Studio – We’re Still Here for You!

By Amber,

Written by Amber

We want you to know we are still here for you! Even though we’re currently living through lockdown 2.0, getting in touch with the Career Studio has never been easier. You can access our services through a range of different platforms across a magnitude of devices.

 

What is ‘Career Chat’?

One of the new ways of contacting us is the ‘Career Chat’. This is where you can contact a Career Coach and send an informal/instant message to them. This is a really easy and simple way of asking any questions you may have or asking for some quick tips, which may lead in to directing you to further support.

 

How do I access ‘Career Chat’?

You can access ‘Career Chat’ by going to our website, clicking on ‘Career Studio’ and then clicking the link ‘Chat to our Career Coaches’ (https://www.staffs.ac.uk/students/careers/careers-studio/chat-to-our-careers-coaches).

 

As you can see on this page you have a few different options. If you look at the ‘Buddies’ tab you can learn a bit more about the Coaches which may help you decide who to direct your query to. Also, there is the ‘blog’ tab which will highlight some of the blogs our coaches have been writing for our main blog page that you may find useful (there are also organised into themes). The following two tabs ‘Inbox’ and ‘Sign Up’ are where you can send messages to the Coaches and you will receive email notifications when you have received a response from the Coach.

 

When can I use ‘Career Chat’?

You can contact our Coaches whenever is convenient to you and we guarantee the Coaches will get back to you within 24 hours.

 

Look out for our weekly LIVE Career Chat events:

  • Monday – 12pm – 1pm
  • Wednesday – 1pm – 2pm
  • Friday – 11am – 12pm

 See the website for the Career Chat Link.

 

Our team endeavour to make sure your Digital Career Studio experience is easy as possible, please let us know if you have any suggestions how we can improve our service delivery.

 

We look forward to hearing from you soon.  

 

To speak to one of our Career Coaches get in touch:

Email: careers@staffs.ac.uk

Twitter: @CareersAtStaffs

Instagram: @CareersAtStaffs

Facebook: Staffordshire University​ Career & Personal Development

LinkedIn: @CareersAtStaffs

Career Chat: https://www.staffs.ac.uk/students/careers/careers-studio/chat-to-our-careers-coaches

 

Placement Experience with Staffordshire Police

By jp4,

Written by Becky

During my experience completing a six week placement with Staffordshire Police, which was through the Staffordshire University Forensic Partnership, my project was based in the Digital Forensics department.

 

Starting the placement

The day came and I found out I was one of the few lucky students to be given a placement and I was ecstatic! It was daunting as I was going into an unknown environment and was worried I didn’t know enough or would be prepared enough however, my levels of excitement surpassed this so couldn’t wait to start. We had to complete a number of vetting forms which were quite extensive and therefore took a number of weeks to be processed, then the placement could commence.

Before we started the placement, we attended an induction day at headquarters and were provided with induction check sheets which tracked our progress and helped us visualise the things we needed to be aware of to give us the best start possible. We were then taken to our relevant departments where we could meet the rest of the staff we would be working with, finalise our project ideas and start to plan our time.

The project idea that interested me the most was related to collecting data from games consoles. I chose to do this because my interest in the digital side of forensics has grown massively over the last year and I had been contemplating studying a masters in that area upon completion of my degree. (That is the great thing about forensics; it is so versatile and has so many routes to explore!)

Every day I was learning so many interesting facts and regulations and gained a good understanding of how it works behind the scenes. I brought my own console in to practice on, as for obvious reasons I couldn’t use the ones in police possession due to them being a part of live cases. Working alongside staff in this environment demonstrated to me in real-time the hurdles technicians face and gave me the chance to ask them directly what they would improve if they could. I then started my own research, carrying out typical live previews on my console and using the new technology to see if it would be of use to the police.

At the end of the project, we are required to make a presentation to staff members from both the police and the university, who were invited to watch and ask us any questions they may have. I created the presentation so that non-technical readers could understand and the report included more detail as it will be used by the forensics staff working in that area.

 

Benefits of completing a placement

I feel I have really benefited from this placement and I have absolutely loved every day of it! It has given me an insight into how forensic departments operate, what processes are carried out and what protocols are followed. It has really reinforced my ambition to go into this line of work when I graduate and if anything, increased it! It is definitely something I could see myself doing as a career and hope I am lucky enough to do this in the future! I feel like this will be a great addition to my CV, giving me relevant experience that I will inevitably need. I was the first 2nd year student to get onto this scheme (as it is usually 3rd year students), therefore I feel I have a unique opportunity to apply my knowledge to my studies and help others learn from it.

Not only does it benefit me as a student looking forward to a future career, but it also benefits the police force as students may provide an insight or perspective on an issue that may not have previously been viewed. Furthermore, it provides the force with extra people to help research areas they may have been wanting to work on but didn’t have the time or man-power to dedicate themselves.

My expectations were nowhere near as good as the placement itself! I thought my placement would be similar to the open days, for example all of the screens being turned off when we entered the room etc. However, once I completed my induction (after vetting), people treated me as an equal and carried on working around me, integrating me into the office and chatting to me. I appreciated this as it really gave me a feel for what it would be like to work in a place like this and the whole team were so incredibly friendly and welcoming! I didn’t think I would learn as much as I did but I feel like I have come away with so much knowledge and understanding of processes and legislation I didn’t even know existed! I didn’t expect to get much help due to the staff having their own work to get through but everyone went out of their way to help me with whatever difficulties I had!

 

Advice for students

The main advice I would give to students who may be reading this would be to go for it! You have nothing to lose by applying, and even if you are not successful, the application process is an experience in itself! I would say to always believe in yourself and your abilities, I hadn’t done anything similar before but settled in straight away. Finally, I would say to choose something you are interested in – if you find a topic you really want to do you will surprise yourself with how much you will learn about it in a short space of time and it will boost your work rate so much.

 

To read the full two-part series of blogs written by Becky about her experiences on this placement look at the links below:

http://blogs.staffs.ac.uk/careers/2020/03/26/work-placement-experience-at-staffordshire-police/

http://blogs.staffs.ac.uk/careers/2020/03/27/work-placement-experience-at-staffordshire-police-2/

 

To speak to one of our Career Coaches get in touch: 

Email: careers@staffs.ac.uk 

Twitter: @CareersAtStaffs 

Instagram: @CareersAtStaffs 

Facebook: Staffordshire University​ Career & Personal Development 

LinkedIn: @CareersAtStaffs

Career Chat: https://www.staffs.ac.uk/students/careers/careers-studio/chat-to-our-careers-coaches

My Psychology and Mental Health Placement Experiences

By jp4,

Written by Amber

Unsure about completing a work placement? Don’t know what to expect and need convincing?

I’ll start by saying doing a placement, whether for a whole year or alongside your study, is 100% worth it!

 

 

Placement Year

I completed a placement year in between my second and third year of my undergrad degree and even though it was the scariest, most challenging thing I had done so far it was also the most rewarding! During my 12 months as a support worker I gained invaluable experience working with a diverse range of people suffering with homelessness and poor mental health from different backgrounds, with different experiences. This role pushed me to my limits…in a good way! Who knew I could be confident, resilient and a good leader – I didn’t until I had actually lived this experience.

Although my time on this placement came to an end (a very sad end I might add with a teary farewell party) I had gained connections in an industry of my interest for life. This experience gave me an insight into a career I wanted in the future, formed the basis for my FYP in my final year and helped me secure my next opportunity. (They actually headhunted me for a job too!)

 

Securing My Next Opportunity

Even though my first placement gave me useful and invaluable experience, I needed support with the application process and interviewing preparation for this next role. As one of your career coaches I understand how important it is to tailor my application and interview to the specific role, therefore I asked my fellow coaches and other members of the Careers Team to assist me. They helped make sure my application was tailored correctly and helped me decide which examples would be the best to use. Also, I did a mock interview with the team to practise my answers, being put on the spot, and making sure the virtual interview wouldn’t phase me. Make sure you use this service when applying for a placement! (I know I’m slightly biased but it genuinely helps you feel more prepared and confident).

 

Placement Alongside Study

At the moment, I am completing a placement with a mental health charity, which I don’t think I would have had enough experience for without my first placement. This second placement is developing my skills even further by working within a new role, with a completely new client group and working within situations I haven’t encountered before. For the first time, I am managing my own case load with little supervision, consulting with mental health professionals and working in a person-centred way. Although it has only been a short time I feel like I have already gained valuable insight into my career aspirations from this point, and the learning and training I have completed so far will put me in the best position when I look for my next opportunity.

 

Pros of Placements

  • You gain experience
  • You make connections
  • You develop ideas for your FYP
  • Can lead to further employment or opportunities
  • Huge amounts of personal development!
  • Can help you decide what you want to do or what you don’t want to do (equally important)
  • You get to do something you are passionate about!

 

 

To speak to one of our Career Coaches get in touch: 

Email: careers@staffs.ac.uk 

Twitter: @CareersAtStaffs 

Instagram: @CareersAtStaffs 

Facebook: Staffordshire University​ Career & Personal Development 

LinkedIn: @CareersAtStaffs

Career Chat: https://www.staffs.ac.uk/students/careers/careers-studio/chat-to-our-careers-coaches

 

How I worked with the Career Studio and the Coaches to secure work experience and graduate employment.

By jp4,

Written By Matthew, Graduate of 2020 Computer Networks & Security

Introduction

My name is Matthew and I am a graduate of 2020 – Computer Networks and Security at Staffordshire University. I found out about the amazing vital work the Career Studio team do from my course lectures. The university’s academic departments have good links with the Career & Personal Development Team and the Career Relationship Managers/ Coaches who have specialist industry knowledge on tailoring applications and interview advice.

 

Placement Application Advice

A major part of my university degree was a 12 month industry placement.

The careers service can help prospective placement students with job applications by providing expert CV and Cover Letter advice, alongside tailored interview advice. With most placement students having no previous industry experience it is important to emphasise the content covered on university modules, any qualifications completed and part-time work experience. I would particularly encourage taking part in a university society or volunteering in the community because it shows employers, an individual is motivated and dedicated to a cause without financial enticement. 

During my university studies, I have volunteered as an instructor for the local fire service’s cadets programme. This provided me with transferable skills including communication and leadership that I have been able to incorporate in my university modules.

 

The Benefits of a Placement

All students that are offered the chance to complete a placement as part of their Staffordshire University degree should seize the opportunity for the following reasons:

  • Increased employment prospects post-graduation, several students get offered a position at their placement company.
  • Improved industry knowledge through interaction with experienced colleagues and exposure to common industry practices.
  • Access to university support services such as a dedicated tutor who is available for advice throughout the placement and will visit twice during the contract duration.
  • Motivation to improve academic performance in the final year of your degree and utilise skills developed whilst on placement.
  • Increased confidence and independence, I experienced this via living on-site during the week and daily meetings to discuss progress on work projects.

 

Placement Jobs Board and  Employment Fair

The initial step for any student looking to complete a placement should be to check the university’s placement jobs board which contains a range of exclusive opportunities that are only open to Staffordshire University students. These roles offer excellent university-approved industry experience and are often at well-established companies such as Cisco, Rolls-Royce and NHS.

My placement was at Ellesmere College, a leading independent school in Shropshire. Students from Staffordshire university have worked at the college for many years and provides amazing benefits including onsite accommodation, all-inclusive meals and opportunity to network with placement students from different disciplines.

Furthermore, the university operates a yearly Connected Futures event for all courses that offer placements and is an excellent opportunity to discuss available roles with employers who will often recruit students they meet. If there are no current opportunities in your desired area it is worthwhile getting their details for future networking. Meanwhile, if it’s part-time employment you are looking for, there is a dedicated fair which offers flexible roles to fit around your studies and overseas adventures in the summer university break – during recent times the events are offered digitally.

Finally, several departments such as Computing offers seminars with industry guest speakers to discuss the latest trends, their current projects and will often advertise roles available within their business. It is important that students take advantage of these opportunities as it promotes good relations between students, companies and the university.

 

Graduate Services

All Staffordshire University Alumni have lifetime access to careers advice, I will highlight the services I have used below and an insight into my personal job finding techniques.

 

Tailoring applications based on my Placement

When applying for a graduate job, it is important to emphasise how your university modules and any industry experience make yourself the perfect candidate. In the current crowded job market, I would advise focusing on the desirable qualities in job adverts that indicates how you are a better match than other candidates.

Also, I have seen the importance that employers place on interpersonal skills at a time where many companies are working from home. This makes verbal communication and effective time management stand out. During my placement as an IT support technician, I developed many skills that cannot be obtained during a university course such as processing live cases on task management systems, exposure to industry-standard technologies on a large scale and the chance to interact with multiple departments (internally and externally) to complete a task in line with set deadlines.

The Career Studio has a range of templates for key documents such as cover letters that can be easily adapted to each position without much alteration making it is easier to highlight your key skills in an effective manner.

 

Graduate Job Interview Preparation

During the many graduate job interviews I attended, most took place in the summer when the country was in lockdown with social distancing in place which meant a majority took place virtually. To help me adapt to this change of interview format, I arranged multiple practice interviews on Microsoft Teams with the university’s careers coaches who were able to test my knowledge of each company and the skills I may require via personal real-life scenarios.  Following each interview, I obtained feedback which allowed me to work with the careers team to strengthen my weaknesses. After multiple interviews, I have achieved an IT Analyst position at Knights PLC ( an upcoming nationally-based legal services company, who have their headquarters in Newcastle-Under-Lyme).

 

Access to careers material post-graduation

There are a range of career’s services that I think are beneficial to graduates including:

  • Obtaining LinkedIn Profile Feedback: it is essential to confirm that your profile displays all the information that employers are looking for through the demonstration of previous industry experience. There are now multiple job opportunities exclusive to LinkedIn and 65% of B2B organisations such as Knights PLC have acquired customers via the platform.
  • Access to tailored employment content on MyCareer and the links to external training course sites which can develop your knowledge in relation to your existing job or re-skill for a new career path.
  • Finally, on a personal note, I would encourage graduate job seekers to target smaller companies, I found this article really interesting:

https://targetjobs.co.uk/career-sectors/it-and-technology/286185-a-graduates-guide-to-starting-your-career-with-a-small-employer .

 

During my first month at Knights PLC, I have experienced in-depth training demonstrating how legal professionals use company technology. I had the opportunity to meet all my fellow IT technicians including shadowing an experienced colleague for a week. Knights have showcased the dedication to staff retention and success that SMEs can offer which larger companies may struggle with because of staff shortages or business targets which don’t allow for staged introductions. Also, my placement has massively helped because I am familiar with core Windows technologies which most companies will use in various ways with the common aim of providing simple IT systems for user usage.

 

To speak to one of our Career Coaches get in touch: 

Email: careers@staffs.ac.uk 

Twitter: @CareersAtStaffs 

Instagram: @CareersAtStaffs 

Facebook: Staffordshire University​ Career & Personal Development 

LinkedIn: @CareersAtStaffs

Career Chat: https://www.staffs.ac.uk/students/careers/careers-studio/chat-to-our-careers-coaches

Why Attend Connected Futures?

By jp4,

Written by the Career Studio Team

19-23rd October Connected Futures – Why You Should Get Involved!

Our Coaches, your Peers tell you why!

 For more information and to join the sessions please visit:

https://www.staffs.ac.uk/students/careers/events/connected-futures/home

 

Amber Porter

 “Personally I think we’re quite lucky Connected Futures is digital this year as it means we have a whole host of different talks from experts in their field that can improve both our career and personal development.  By taking part in Connected Futures you will get the opportunity to connect and network with like minded peers and professionals (Which could help you in the future when job opportunity searching), improve your employability and learn more about your mindset, including how to set and achieve better goals.  REMEMBER, you are capable of anything you set your mind to!

After taking part in Connected Futures last year I was able to connect with employers in my industry and was given the opportunity to shadow the work of one company which helped me make some decisions about the field of work I want to specialise in”

 

Annie Thompson

“To enhance your employability skills and ask industry professionals vital questions about work  in different fields”

 

Rebecca Edwards

 “Connected Futures gives students the opportunity to take part in workshops and seminars that equip them with vital employability skills and the ability to network with industry professionals. There is something for everyone, for example those who want tips on becoming self employed starting a business, those looking for tips for applications and those that would just like to network and get a feel for the industry. No matter what your year of study is, you can learn a lot from this event and have a lot to gain.

Last year at Connected Futures I gained some high quality contacts and continued the networking through LinkedIn after the event. Since then, although I have been studying and not actively seeking a job, these employers in this time have employed students from Staffs, meaning they really do want to invest in our futures and are willing to offer opportunities!”

 

Megan Arrand

 “It’s a great way for networking with potential future employers even digitally this year. It might seem that there is no-one there who is relevant to you, but you never know who they know in their own networks.”

 

Bertha Eke

 “At Uni it is important to connect with others in your field of interests.  From my experience, connections create opportunities which can be beneficial to you before heading out into your prospective career.  The university offers different networking – this event in particular so check next week out and make an effort to attend some of the sessions.  This may seem scary at first but being able to create professional relationships with other students, professors and prospective employers on campus is very rewarding and I am sure you will find this valuable.”

 

To speak to one of our Career Coaches get in touch: 

Email: careers@staffs.ac.uk 

Twitter: @CareersAtStaffs 

Instagram: @CareersAtStaffs 

Facebook: Staffordshire University​ Career & Personal Development 

LinkedIn: @CareersAtStaffs

Career Chat: https://www.staffs.ac.uk/students/careers/careers-studio/chat-to-our-careers-coaches