Ten graduate schemes to consider if you want to ‘make a difference’

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Summer is a good time to find, research and apply for graduates schemes. Here are ten graduate schemes which may interest you if you’re looking for something a little less ‘corporate’:

  1. Charity works
  2. LGA National Graduate Development
  3. Frontline
  4. Civil Service Fast Stream
  5. NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme
  6. Think Ahead
  7. Year Here
  8. The GEM Programme
  9. Teach First
  10. Leeds City Council Graduate Scheme

If any of these schemes interest you, it’s also looking at other vacancies with relevant employers (e.g. Civil Service, Housing Associations, healthcare providers) so you can gain some experience before you apply.

Spotlight on Careers in Landscape #ChooseLandscape

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The Landscape Institute have launched a new campaign to attract more people into landscape careers. Here are some interesting things I learnt from the campaign:

  1. ‘Landscape’ = outdoor space (urban and rural, green space and landscaping around buildings)
  2.  ‘Landscape careers’ = being involved in the design, management, planning or science of the landscape (see Choose Landscape)
  3. Types of organisations Landscape Institute members currently work for: 44% private practice, 27% consultancy, 14% local authority, 6% engineering company, 4% third sector
  4. Sheffield Hallam University are one of the only universities in the UK to offer an Environmental Science undergraduate degree which is accredited by the Landscape Institute (see list of courses)

These are the current issues within the landscape profession (according to Landscape Institute’s ‘The Future State of Landscape’ report):

  • a shortage of new entrants and limited routes into the profession (most common route: undergraduate or masters degree in landscape architecture – see list of courses)
  • employers finding it difficult to attract, recruit and retain the ‘right’ people
  • the need to create a more inclusive profession with more people from ethnic minority backgrounds, greater age diversity and better career progression for females
  • the need for digital skills including virtual reality (VR) Augumented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR) and use of spatial data and digital collaboration (BIM – Business Information Modelling) for the future

To help address the current issues, The landscape Institute have launched the #ChooseLandscape campaign are working to provide a wider range of ways to gain qualifications in the future.

twitter: @landscapecareer

fb: @chooselandscape

ig: @landscapeinstitute

Top Tips for improving your performance with psychometric assessments

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If you find the idea of completing online psychometric assessments daunting you’re not alone. Saqib Saddiq, Senior Psychologist at Graduates First shares his top tips for tackling psychometric tests:

  1. Start thinking about psychometric assessments well in advance so you have time to research the types of assessments you might be asked to complete and familiarise yourself with them. Many employers use the same test publishers to source their psychometric tests, so it’s worth spending time practicing to familiarise yourself with the types of psychometric tests and typical formats before you sit the assessments for real.
  2. Spend time practicing tests in advance. Most universities purchase packages to enable their students and graduates to practice online assessments under similar conditions to the real thing and receive detailed feedback so they can identify and work on areas for improvement. Along with Graduates First, (subscribed to by Sheffield Hallam University and other universities), other sites offering practice tests include CEBGlobal and Assessment Day.
  3. Find out which types of tests you’re likely to face with specific employers (for example look at the employer profiles on Graduates First), then spend time preparing for those specific tests. If you know you’ll be sitting a numerical reasoning test (tests your ability to reason with numerical information using basic arithmetic calculations) practice basic calculations in advance e.g. via BBC Bitesize. If you are expecting to take a situational judgement test or work personality questionnaires research the type of candidate the company is looking for and try to match your characteristics. When answering questions in the real assessment try to think of behaviours that a good candidate would demonstrate.
  4. Use practice tests to identify areas you can improve on, then work on improving your performance in those areas. If you find you struggle with accuracy, work on your concentration. If you run out of time you might need to take more practice tests and work on your speed.
  5. Realise that you’re not expected to finish the assessments –  they’re designed to stretch all candidates (meaning that no-one will reach the end). Stay calm and do your best – without getting upset if you do not manage to answer all questions. This is especially important if you are expected to go through a number of assessments in a row.
  6. Make sure you have the right conditions to maximise your performance completing the assessments use a PC or laptop in a quiet location where you won’t be disturbed etc. Make sure you have all the necessary items to hand before your start, such as a few sheets of paper, a pen and a calculator (if needed).

For more tips from myself and my colleagues at Graduates First, follow us on YouTube

 

Seven things to do if you’re thinking about teaching as a career

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  1. Work out whether you are aiming for Primary or Secondary teaching – or perhaps you’d prefer teaching in a completely different setting, for example sixth form college, training centre, or a prison (depending on your personal strengths, previous qualifications, and interests).
  2. Register with Get Into Teaching and the UCAS Teacher Training site; both have information on different routes into teaching.
  3. Set up a chat with a teacher to ask them what working in a school is really like. For example, you could ask about their typical day including lesson planning, marking and tasks other than teaching, what they like about being a teacher, challenges they face and strategies they use to manage the class and maintain their resilience.
  4. Arrange a visit to a school (or even better to two completely different types of schools – large Vs small intake, different age ranges), so you can see how you feel about the environment and working culture. Use your networks to find out if anyone works in a school you could visit. The Department for Education has a School Experience Programme (SEP) which can help you find local opportunities.
  5. Set up experience (volunteering or paid work) so you are in a position to apply for teacher training courses if you decide that’s the right option for you. (Getting work experience in a school or other education setting can be a stepping stone to other areas of work beyond teaching in any case).
  6. Have a look at TryTeaching (paid internships within schools to see whether you like the environment, then further support if you decide you want to apply for teacher training)
  7. Have a look at the information on getting into teaching on Careers Central and book onto one of our Career Focus Teacher Training events via: https://unihub.shu.ac.uk/

We ask an environmental consultancy practice: what does your company actually do and what are the routes into working in this area?

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Sophie Lewis, Landscape Consultant for Tyler Grange explains what the company does and gives two case studies of routes in:

What Tyler Grange Actually do:

Tyler Grange (TG) offer expert advice, assessment and consultancy services in relation to planning applications and new developments. Their work covers a broad range of projects in both urban and rural contexts and includes complex urban extensions, major infrastructure proposals (roads, rail, housing), and commercial development. Depending on the project, work might include site surveys (existing physical features including trees and habitats, protected species surveys), environmental assessments (e.g. animal and plant species on site) and recommendations to ensure clients comply with environmental legislation when planning new developments including strategies for minimising the impact of new developments on the ecological environment.

Specialist teams cover each area:

Arboriculture

Our team of arboriculture consultants specialise in the production of BS5837 surveys, the formulation of tree protection strategies associated with complex development sites; and, the critique and challenge of Tree Preservation Order (TPO) designations.

Ecology

Our team of ecologists are members of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM), working in accordance with the Code of Practice, to carry out surveys and assessments on protected species such as bats, badgers, newts and birds.

Landscape

Our team of landscape architects provides advice in relation to all aspects of landscape planning; from initial site appraisal, through the preparation of Landscape/Townscape and Visual Impact Assessments (L/TVIA) to the presentation of landscape evidence at public inquiries.

Getting into this area of work:

There’s no set route in, it’s a case of building up practical experience and securing additional qualifications in areas which interest you (for example experience with protected species if you’re considering ecology).

Team Member Case Studies

Laura Mason – Landscape Consultant

Following an initial degree in Geography and Environmental Management, Laura gained further masters-level qualifications in Geographic Information Science (GIS) and Landscape Architecture.

Laura says: “I was uncertain what to do after my first degree in Geography so went on to study GIS. This led me towards working as a Graphics Technician within a large multi-disciplinary environmental consultancy company. Once there I discovered landscape assessment and decided to undertake further studies into Landscape Architecture to become a qualified landscape professional and a member of the Landscape Institute. I enjoy working in this sector because of the cross-over between the different disciplines and the variety of work available.” 

Introducing Hilary Thumpston – Landscape Intern

Hilary is undertaking a ‘Master of Landscape Architecture’ (MLA) degree at Manchester Metropolitan University and joined TG as part of her placement module for the summer of 2017. Before the MLA, Hilary completed the BSc in Environmental Science course at SHU. Her time at SHU led her towards a career in environmental consultancy through her studies into topics such as remediation, EIA, atmospheric and water quality and ecology.

Hilary says: “My placement is based within the landscape department and my work involves providing technical landscape advice to improve development designs to the benefit of the local landscape and users. TG also provide Ecology and Arboriculture services which I am encouraged to become involved with. There are many different careers within companies such as TG which can stem from an initial qualification in Environmental Science.”

For further information about working within this area and things you can do to increase your chances of getting into this area, have a look at the case studies on Tyler Grange’s site and the ‘environmental consultant’ and ‘landscape architect’ profiles on National Careers Service or Prospects

Nine tips if you’re still looking for a sandwich placement

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If you’re still looking for a sandwich placement for your second year, don’t despair. Here are our top tips for securing a placement:

  1. Use the Placement Portal as one option (placements are uploaded throughout the year including summer), but try a range of other approaches – advertised vacancies, speculative applications and networking (to get inside information)
  2. Don’t forget to search on UniHub – the ‘search employers’ section is also useful as you can identify potential employers to contact
  3. Identify the type of work you’d like and the location, identify potential organisations and then approach them directly – discussing strategies with an Employability Adviser can help
  4. Take the time to get a named person to call or address your email to, then make sure you follow up to check they’ve received your email/CV after around two weeks if you don’t hear anything
  5. Utilise social media: create a positive online presence, use twitter and LinkedIn to get ideas about potential organisations, positions and contacts – see if you can arrange to talk to your contacts face-to-face.
  6. Look out for full-time vacancies: contact the employer to explain that you’re available for 12 months and ask whether they would still consider your application
  7. Check websites such as student ladder, Targetjobs, Prospects and Rate My Placement – identify organisations which interest you then identify alternative companies you could approach which are less well known
  8. Make a list of 50 employers you’d consider: use UniHub, try Googling “top 10 transport companies in Yorkshire” (or whatever criteria suits you), ask others for suggestions, check professional bodies’ websites, then ring the employers on your list to ask whether they offer sandwich placements and ask for suggestions for other companies to try
  9. Find a list of previous employers who’ve offered sandwich placements to students from your course in previous years and contact them to ask whether they’ve recruited this year: you may need to ask lecturers or placement administrators to help you locate the list