My time working for Careers and Employability

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Olivia – our second year Psychology placement student – has written her final post for us.

We’re already half way through March and I can’t believe my placement is nearly over! During the seven weeks that I’ve been here I’ve experienced so much it’s hard to sum it up in this one blog post. I’ve witnessed an entire week of creativity happening around me. I’ve been involved in successful part-time jobs fairs both at City and Collegiate. At the University’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Day I was fortunate enough to meet loads of companies relevant to jobs that I’m interested in. Only last week I was involved in the organisation of celebrating International Women’s Day which couldn’t have gone any better! Listening to inspirational women talk about their success in careers, which are typically male dominated, was extremely interesting and thought-provoking.

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During my time here I have worked on many aspects of social media, ranging from promotion of events on twitter, creating a campus jobs group on LinkedIn, and producing a short video summary of the Creative Careers Week for Facebook. On a similar note, the videoing didn’t just stop there! In a hope to encourage more students to visit City Campus, so as to not miss out on some of the great opportunities, a colleague and I created a short video to demonstrate just how quick and easy the journey from Collegiate is.

Within my time at the Careers and Employability Centre I was able to complete two small projects. One of which was a spreadsheet and information pack on what psychometric tests are, and what psychometric tests are used by different companies. This will hopefully be useful for future students to use as a way of familiarising themselves with what may be expected of them when applying for specific jobs. Another project I worked on throughout my time here involved thinking of ways to gain feedback from students who don’t utilise the Careers and Employability Service. I wanted to know why this was and ways students believe the Careers Service could be improved. I was able to send a questionnaire to a list of students who haven’t used the Careers and Employability Service and gain useful feedback that way.

centreFurthermore, another part of the placement I particularly enjoyed doing was helping with practice interviews and observing student consultations and business advisor meetings. This really allowed me to interact with the students and gain first-hand experience of just some of the day-to-day jobs the Careers Consultants and Advisers do.

Overall, it has been a fantastic experience with so many things happening at all times. I have been privileged enough to work in an amazing team with some truly wonderful people!

 

Inspirational Women at Sheffield Hallam

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Post by our placement student, Olivia Royston, on the recent International Women’s Day event in the Careers and Employability Centre.

International Women’s Day was such a huge success at Sheffield Hallam this year; it was truly wonderful to see so many inspiring women in one room. The first session consisted of women, in typically male dominated job roles, talking about their success within that company, and how that company strives for equality. It was really interesting to hear from Liz Ledger, from HSBC, about the tremendous steps that HSBC are taking in order to create a more balanced workforce, for example nameless CVs! Liz also gave excellent advice, which I know will have been extremely valuable to the students, on the many challenges that women have to face when juggling a career and home life.

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Following on from this was Jennifer Standish from FDM, an international ICT services company. ICT job roles are usually a male dominated workforce, which made Jennifer’s talk about her life at FDM really eye-opening about the changes companies are trying to encourage. Especially, their ‘International Girls in ICT Day’ which they run in hope to encourage girls and young women into ICT through engagement in workshops, debates and ‘smashing the stereotypes’

The final inspirational talk came from a team of women who worked for Enterprise Rent – a -Car. Hearing about their personal career paths was especially inspiring for me as it was clear to see how passionate and successful these women were at effectively balancing their busy lives. A story that stood out in particular, was one women’s personal experience of an interview she had gone for and been successful, against nine other male candidates, whilst eight months pregnant! She successfully relocated her family and went back to work full time after maternity leave whilst her husband became a stay at home dad.

Each one of these speakers contributed so much and built up such a good atmosphere ready for the next event, the Role Model Carousal! This was a great opportunity for the speakers to interact with the students. Each female speaker went round small groups of students sat on tables and discussed anything that was of interest and was able to chat about each other’s career goals and skills. This was an invaluable experience for students to open up and talk about their successes as well as inspiring each other at the same time.

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My favourite part of the day was reading about and speaking to students who have been nominated by members of staff as inspirational students. I think this really put into perspective how much of a difference female students can make in so many aspects of life. To be inspired by these students, as I was, visit this website to find out more about the women Sheffield Hallam are proud to call their students. It was superb to see such a variety of women at the event and I hope they got as much from it as I did as it was such an empowering and successful day. However, I do believe the year that we don’t need to celebrate International Women’s day will be the biggest celebration, as that will be the day we have finally reached equality.

Hallam helped me gain the confidence to apply for internships…

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Post by Emily Jefferies

I study BA English Language at Sheffield Hallam and as part of second year we all take part in a module named ‘Work-based Project’. This is where we are encouraged to contact various organisations and companies to gain some work experience. At the end of the year, we compile everything we have learnt, from both the successes and the failures, into a folder to present for assessment. I am still currently involved in this module and, although it has not been completely straightforward or without its problems, the key thing I have picked up from it is how to deal with each set back and move forward from it. This has built up my confidence as the idea of things failing doesn’t seem so daunting anymore; I am learning how I can manage complications and overcome obstacles.

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This spurred me on to take some initiative and investigate possible opportunities for work experience in summer. I worked on creating a new CV and this is when I realised how important every little bit of experience I had gained over recent years was; every bit of volunteering, employment and writing I had done as it all came together to produce an impressive body of work. I then began researching internships and workshops that I could apply to, and asked around if anyone knew of anything I would be interested in. I cannot emphasise enough how surprisingly useful it is to simply talk to people and enquire about any experiences available that they know of; this is how I discovered both an internship and a workshop that appealed to me. The internship was for ‘Now’ magazine in London and I got in contact with one of their employees and sent in my CV. I then had a phone call in which we discussed further details and I was informed I had got a place on the internship for four weeks in May.

The workshop is with a company called ‘The Writer’; it spans over two days and is targeted to second year undergraduates each year. They offer some experience of writing in a professional environment, and ask that applicants send in a short piece of writing explaining why they want to take part in the workshop and why they should be chosen. I am awaiting their response but, regardless of what they say, I am pleased I tried for it anyway. I often used to not give things a go in fear of being unsuccessful, however since working on Hallam’s work-based project I have learnt that there is no harm in contacting people and sending in applications. If you are reading this and are also a student looking for some experience then I urge you to just do a bit of research, whether it be online or communicating with people, and just give the applications a go. Also, when working on your CV try to make it appeal to the areas in which you wish to work in or apply to. A bit of perseverance and initiative can go a long way, and it will be worth it.

 

A Year 10 student’s thoughts on Creative Media Pathways

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Madison Lever is a Year 10 student from Yewlands Academy, who has been on placement with the Employer Partnerships team this week. She attended the Creative Media Pathways event on Wednesday, and here are her thoughts:

My role at the event was to take notes on the event as a whole and go to some of the talks to have an idea on what the students would benefit from the entirety of the day. I also had to take pictures during the careers fair, of the employer stands and the event as a whole.

CMPI attended Olly Mann’s talk. During the talk, Mann spoke about his career as a broadcaster, podcaster and columnist and how he felt he generated his career himself. He mentioned a few tips for students wanting to pursue a profession in the media, one of them being, “Have confidence to push yourself and your own abilities”. Overall, Olly Mann provoked self-confidence to the students and was honest about himself and his career.

The event was quite full and every stand seemed to have students asking them questions on what their company has to offer them now and in the future. While walking around I overheard some students discussing about how useful the workshop and talks were that they attended, which shows that the event was successful.

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 To the students it seemed to be very beneficial. They seemed to enjoy being able to talk to people that are in the positions they want to be in later in life and discuss how the speakers got there and the barriers they had to face. The employer stands had students at each one while I was going around, showing that students were taking the opportunity to go to the careers fair and think about future prospects.

 

What’s it like being a Graduate Intern at SHU?

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Tara and Lucy, two of the four Graduate Interns in the Development and Society Faculty, have written about their roles in the faculty and their future plans.

As a team of graduate interns we work mainly on process improvement in the faculty.

Tara – I completed a degree in BSc Psychology and I decided to apply for this job because I had done a placement at the University in HR and really enjoyed it so was looking to work here. I wanted experience doing varied types of work (project work) using my transferable skills from Psychology. In my final year I was having meetings with Careers and Employability Advisors who were helping me with my CV and application forms and I found this job on a newsletter they sent out.

The interview process was demanding but I drew on the Careers Centre for practice interviews and assessment centre advice. I also had a career mentor at the time who read through my application form and supported me through the process. My advice would be to use your contacts and experiences to prepare.

This job has helped me find out what I want to do. I am now looking for work as a Business Analyst which involves process improvement.

Lucy – I studied BA (Hon) Sociology, graduating last year. I was attracted to the graduate internship here at SHU because of the participation that I previously had within the University. I was a course rep and the idea of enacting change within the institution is something that I found really enjoyable. During my final year I thought about a career in education but on leaving university I knew I needed more ‘on the job’ training, an internship such as this offered me the skills and an insight into this area. The job has offered a great working experience, giving an in depth overview of how a University functions, offering great new opportunities.

I would describe the interview process as challenging, but an invaluable experience. I also used the Careers and Employability Advisors in my department who read through my application form prior to submission and offered practise interviews. My advice would be to practise, practise, practise!

I am involved in interesting, varied work, with supportive managers. The job has enabled me to realise that I would like a career in Higher Education, which involves project work.

Some of the tasks we have been asked to do this year are:

  • Make a guide for administration staff to understand the process of mobility (sending and receiving students to/from other countries)
  • Improve the process of postponing classes (what happens when an academic calls in sick/ unable to attend a session) and the DBS process for Education students
  • Analyse the NSS results by department in D&S
  • Work in the student rep process management group to make decisions on the rep process, facilitating and designing training and trying to improve engagement with it.
  • Organise a staff wellbeing event and wellbeing scheme to increase staff volunteering.
  • Analyse student withdrawals to identify demographics of students who withdraw and action plan how students could be supported more.

Some of the challenges we have faced:

  • Unexpected and tight deadlines which involved good time management and the ability to reprioritise.
  • Communication with stakeholders and customers
  • Learning how to write in a business style instead of academic style
  • Implementation of new strategies / action plans

by Tara Seipel and Lucy Shanks

Insights from “I want to Work with People” Careers Week (Part 1)

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Close to 200 students attended the first dedicated careers week hosted by the Psychology, Sociology and Politics department which included seven separate events with a variety of engaging guest speakers. In the first of two blog posts, Psychology placement student Olivia Royston, shares an overview of the events, student feedback and key learning points.

 

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Forensic Psychology in a Prison Setting

Anna and Andy kicked off our ‘Working with People’ week with an exciting start and also the most popular event of the week, with near 70 students in attendance! These two Psychology graduates work as Programme Managers and Facilitators at HMP Moorland and HMP Lindholme and shared with students about their fascinating careers and what it is like working in the prison services. They found every day was different, entertaining and challenging. They get to see offenders make positive changes and see them challenge their own thoughts and perceptions. As well as rewards there are also many challenges, their expertise is frequently scrutinized by offenders, the difficulty of balancing individual needs with organisational outcomes and the struggle to tackle the individual motivation of some of the prisoners. Andy outlined the key skills that are required to work within the prison services, which students reported finding useful in their feedback. These skills included leading and communicating, open mindedness and resilience or ‘thick skin’ as they put it. Students were challenged to think of evidence from all aspects of their life which could show they meet these competencies.

Anna outlined in detail about the drug and alcohol six week therapeutic programme which she runs and it was interesting to also find out about the longer programmes available to prisoners which Psychology departments and Forensic Psychologists work on, such as anger management, thinking skills and victim awareness. Many students commented on how useful the information was about the qualifications and experience needed to pursue a career in Forensic Psychology. You can find out more here http://careers.bps.org.uk/area/forensic. Further study and professional training is required to become a chartered forensic psychologist but programme facilitator roles with a psychological focus can be entered by Psychology or join honours graduates with relevant experience and skills. Furthermore, knowing the relevant job sites to look at (NARCO, G4S, Civil Service Jobs) to gain experience was particularly useful.

Routes into Health Psychology

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Chartered Health Psychologist Kate Greenwell (left), with Psychology lecturer Katie prior to her guest lecture

One of the biggest pieces of feedback from Kate’s talk about Health Psychology was how much students learnt about what Health Psychology is! With Health Psychology being a relatively new and developing area of Psychology it was very insightful learning about its focus on the links between the mental health of the mind and the physical health of the body.  Key areas include the promotion and maintenance of good health, use of psychology to prevent illness, analysis and improvement of the healthcare system and supporting those with long term health conditions. I also learnt who a health psychologist was likely to be employed by and the many different research projects Kate had been involved with. Through her PhD work on the coping mechanisms of individuals with Tinnitus, she had discovered that the more stressed about their Tinnitus a patient was, the worse their physical symptoms became.

Personally, it was very interesting to learn about the differences between Clinical Psychology and Health Psychology. It was particularly useful learning about the different routes into becoming a Health Psychologist, you can find out more here: http://careers.bps.org.uk/area/health . I think it was reassuring to those listening to Kate to know that, in some situations, there is funding available and that there are several possible routes into health psychology.

Routes into Counselling

This popular event was really enjoyable for undergraduates as well as students on master’s courses.  It began with advice on relevant volunteering using counselling skills and was really helpful to hear about all the opportunities especially from a past student of Sheffield Hallam who now works with Hallam Volunteering (https://www.hallamstudentsunion.com/volunteering/). Gerry, from the Samaritans talked about his involvement in the helpline service and how rewarding and yet difficult it can be at times. The service offers training and support for volunteers and is currently recruiting in the Sheffield area (http://www.samaritans.org/volunteer-us )

The second part of the session Gail Evans, a professional counsellor and counselling trainer from www.counsellingacademy.org/ spoke about how to become accredited in this area. Graduates with relevant experience can work in a related role using and developing their counselling skills straight from their degree, but to qualify and receive accreditation as a counsellor, an introductory course is required before progressing onto a Diploma course which is completed part time over a number of years. Gail also gave useful information, including financial details, useful websites to help gain experience and information on the different bodies of accreditation. If you are interested in finding out more about becoming a counsellor some useful starting points can be found here: https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/advice/planning/jobprofiles/Pages/counsellor.aspx

 

by Olivia Royston and Caroline Hanson with additional contribution from Georgia Robinson

 

Students from Psychology, Sociology, Politics and Criminology courses can view all slides and resources from the sessions on their course Blackboard sites

 

 

My first week of placement

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Olivia, our second year Psychology placement student, has written about her first week with the Careers and Employability Service.

I was lucky enough to begin my placement at an exciting time for the Careers and Employability Centre. Creative Careers Week was full of brilliant opportunities for a variety of students ranging from Fine Art students to Psychology students. There was a wide selection of workshops going on, including help with your CV as well as top tips on how to survive as a freelancer in the creative industry.

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The start of the week looked at what it was like working in the creative industry. It was fascinating listening to Jane (from Sheffield Creative Guild)’s personal experience of her journey in the creative arts industry. She talked about the numerous years of a variety of jobs she had been in; some of which lasted two days, others lasting two years. All of which had accumulated numerous skills which had been helpful in focusing on the career she enjoys today in the unpredictable creative industry. Something that I especially enjoyed was listening to NatashaMcGowan talk passionately about the company she cofounded  ‘A Mind Apart’. It sounded like a thoroughly rewarding job for anyone looking for experience in the performing arts whilst working with challenging and inspiring children.

Something that was discussed in almost all of the guest speakers’ talks was how unpredictable job opportunities are in such a competitive industry. This meant that many people pursuing their passion often found themselves in a wide range of jobs in order to fund their true drive. This was demonstrated in Kyle Williams’ talk about how tough it was to break into the performing industry straight from his course at Sheffield Hallam. Common to all of these people’s journeys was their wealth of experience and networks gained from volunteering and other part time jobs which have helped them get to where they are today.

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A particularly creative workshop was the Art Therapy talk. It involved learning about what Art Therapy was and we were lucky enough to hear from a current student doing an Art Therapy Masters. She shared her experiences on the placement she was currently on and what she thought the future looked like for her. The workshop even involved students interacting with clay, to demonstrate some of the activities that may occur in an Art Therapy class. This was particularly fun – yet messy!

The talk about being self-employed taught me crucially that someone who is very talented can remain unknown if they don’t create contacts, get themselves out there and to some extent encounter a bit of luck. I found that the best pieces of advice the speakers gave were to be confident and proud of your work and that first impressions mean everything. Always have examples of your work with you, whether that be drawing or jewelry making, as you never know who you’re going to meet.

The talk on ‘Creative Arts, Media festivals and Events’ was really eye opening, If I do half as much in my career as Jonny Douglas has, it would be a pretty big achievement. His current and previous work involved interior designer, his work with ‘Sheffield Soup’, ‘PechaKucha Sheffield’ and ‘Avenues to Zero’. All of which were such big projects and accomplishments. The week ended excellently in the ‘Working behind the scenes in TV, Theatre and Film’ workshop, with over five speakers talking about their own experiences, none two of which were the same, in some of the most exciting jobs in the Creative Industry. We had Richard Knight speak to us, who had been a location set finder for Screen Yorkshire, to people like Debbie Gamble, who is head of wardrobe at the Crucible Theatre!

One day perhaps I will have done something in my career that I can come back to Hallam and talk about to students which will let them know that they are capable of doing what they’re passionate about. My first week of placement was an enjoyable experience, with Creative Careers week being just a small snippet of the many things I got up to; overall it couldn’t have gone better!

Inspired by Creative Careers Week

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Creative Careers Week was put on to inspire and inform students, with talks and presentations from creative professionals from around the city. As a Careers Adviser listening to some of the talks, the week has highlighted for me the range of brilliant creative professionals out there in Sheffield, doing their thing and making a difference. Some of the key messages coming out from many of the sessions were:

 

  • Know what skills you have to offer, but also think about your values – what is important to you? What sort of work do you want to do? Who do you want to work for?
  • Keep learning. You aren’t going to leave university with a complete set of skills required for a job – much of what you need in a job you will learn as you go along, and this is an ongoing process. If there is a skill you don’t currently have that you think will be useful in a future career (coding, blogging, photo editing, running workshops…) teach yourself, do a course, ask a friend to teach you, or volunteer to gain the experience.

  • Don’t be defined or restricted by your degree – for instance, just because you haven’t done a creative degree doesn’t mean you can’t be creative in your job; you don’t have to have an events management degree to organise events…

Finally, and most importantly:

  • Talk to people. Everywhere and anywhere. It’s all about making connections – people who can inspire you, help you, give you feedback, give you work, but who might also gain from you as well. Make those first contacts online, use social media, but then good old face-to-face conversation is the best way to develop meaningful professional relationships.

Rachel Firth, Careers and Employability

Being a Graduate Intern at Sheffield Hallam

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By Emma Burkinshaw

After hours of writing applications, days and evenings full of job search and a hand-full of unsuccessful interviews, I was finally successful and gained a role as a Graduate Intern at Sheffield Hallam University. To say I was surprised is an understatement as I had fallen trap of the ‘I’ll never get a job!’ way of thinking! Finally, months of job search, applications and interview preparation had paid off and I couldn’t wait to get involved in what sounded like a fantastic opportunity in a great institution. After months of unemployment, I couldn’t have been more ready to get back into a routine, challenge my brain and earn money, helping me finally stand on my own two feet after three years of University.

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I am based in the (very large) Careers and Employability team and most of the first couple of weeks involved meeting colleagues, finding out what they did and where they fitted in with the various services on offer. I must admit those first couple of weeks involved trying to absorb A LOT of information and remember countless names and faces – however every single person I met greeted me with a warm smile and insisted I shouldn’t worry about remembering everything – for the mean time anyway!

So, the first weeks were over and after a very indulgent Christmas break, I was back in the office – eager to get stuck in.  My first main work load came from ‘Career Impact’ – a programme comprising of advice and information for a diverse group of highly motivated students looking to apply for placements or graduate opportunities. I was encouraged to get as involved as possible from the word go and was soon one of the main contacts for any queries regarding the programme. Something I particularly enjoyed while working on this project was attending a celebration event, where I was able to speak to participants of the programme and really gain an insight into how helpful they had found it.

Another of my main duties involves working on the Careers and Employability Centre Help Desk, which is a really diverse area of work and one that I sometimes find quite challenging. Every day is different and to start with it feels as though every query is too! This is a great experience as it puts me out of my comfort zone by requiring an on the spot response, however, moving out of your comfort zone is never easy.

In the near future I have plenty of things to look forward to, including being a part of practice interviews for students, creating and maintaining a Careers and Employability Instagram account and getting involved in some of the many fairs and events run by the team.

A couple of months in and I’m over the moon that that interview panned out!

 

Want to work with people? A week of events just for you

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Hi all! I’m a second year Psychology student, currently on my work placement with the Careers and Employability Service, writing to you about the fantastic opportunities available to you as students of Sheffield Hallam.

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An entire week has been designated to allow you to gain insight and advice on a variety of job roles involving working with people. Events are based at Collegiate and planned to be specifically relevant to Psychology, Sociology, Politics and Criminology students, but open to students and graduates from all courses. Commencing Monday 8th February, there will be a wide range of speakers from different professional backgrounds, coming to speak about their careers in supporting, advising, educating and counselling others. If you are, like myself, undecided about your future career path, then this week is the perfect opportunity for you to gain awareness of the diverse possibilities. There is something for everyone, ranging from insight into careers in a prison setting, to different job roles in education. If you are interested in forensic psychology or social issues these opportunities are perfect for you.

As a Psychology student I often have an interest in a certain area but am unaware of the routes into it and how competitive it is so I’m looking forward to finding out more. Special guests will be discussing the different routes into areas such as health psychology and human resources and their own personal journeys, also providing opportunities to network and make new connections. Many people pursue careers in teaching. However, if that isn’t for you but the education sector is something that interests you then, one event will allow you to explore other roles such as family support worker and learning mentor which may be perfect for you and would utilise your course specific knowledge.

Follow the link to book your place for events during the ‘Working With People’ week. Places are filling fast, so don’t miss out!

Olivia Royston, second year Psychology student