Recognition and relationships

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Post by James Beighton, Employer Partnerships Officer (Student Employment) at Sheffield Hallam University

There’s an age-old saying “Self-praise is no recommendation.” Proverbs have to start somewhere so at some point, somebody must’ve been willing to shout about their success and it must’ve meant something to someone.

Last week we crowned institutional winners of The Sheffield Hallam University Student Employee of The Year Awards (SEOTY). The Awards themselves are the largest of their kind in the UK and recognise students who successfully combine part-time work with study. 81 of our students were put forward as nominees by their Manager for going above and beyond their job duties, showing leadership or having a commercial impact on a local or national business.

Sheffield once again sits at the top of the table for student employment with the city’s two Universities finishing 2nd and 3rd in the overall nominations table for 2018.

What does this mean for our students? For some, I dare say most, a job fits one purpose, an income alongside study. This year, more than any other, our students are starting to reflect on the skills they are taking from employment. We’ve heard about the competitive job market, being work ready as a graduate, being tech-savvy and digitally orientated. What is refreshing is the way that all our winners reflected on their achievements in their victory speech, with confidence and humility. Soft skills will take you far.

The labour market is increasingly consumer driven. The 2018 employer is open to those with portfolio careers and it’s accepted that stand out workers will likely have exposure to different sectors, jobs and skill sets. Yorkshire’s rich list was released by The Times Newspaper last week and emphasised the trend that fortune is increasingly self-made. The rise to wealth of those setting up their own business or believing in an idea is stark. Proof, if ever it was needed, that graduates will go far with belief and resilience, two distinguishing factors amongst those who work part-time and those who work part-time with distinction.

It is possible to have an impact working as little as 8 to 10 hours per week. Looking at this year’s SEOTY nominations, our students are proving to be a driving force behind some of the bigger issues facing the Higher Education Sector. Our Commercial Impact Award winner won her award for bringing an estimated £1 million of new business to a company specialising in mental health and wellbeing. The winner of the Above and Beyond Award is a true ambassador, promoting the value of getting into further education amongst school children through sports coaching in the community. The ability of our students to apply themselves through part-time work and champion their own experience of higher education is admirable.

Work experience is as much a part of an education as learning a system or reading a textbook. It allows students to build relationships on a professional level and the confidence gained from seeing the reward in working is markable. Our students have to work, it’s no longer a desirable.

On campus, our student casual payroll paid 402 individual students last month. Between them, these students worked over 4000 hours in paid part-time work, working for teams on campus at Sheffield Hallam University. The demand for work is on the increase and through initiatives like SEOTY, the importance of a successful working partnership between students and employers is becoming ever more prominent.

The 2017 national SEOTY winner is a Sheffield Hallam student. At the time, 1st year Law student Nabeela stood out as a clear winner for her work with young people as part of The National Citizen Service (NCS) programme. Students are leading by example and working as advocates for the importance of getting out there and doing something meaningful. They may not identify it at the outset but they are resilient in a time where it’s easy to become insular in an uncertain political and financial labour market. Nabeela featured via video at our awards evening and summed up exactly what a SEOTY Award can do for the confidence of a student, “When I went to interviews I was able to say, I’m student employee of the year, hire me!”. A stand out example that work experience at any level of study is valuable both to the individual and a business.

The SEOTY Awards are now at a regional stage where winners from institutional awards will compete across the country to be named as National Student Employee of The Year 2018.

Winners will be announced at The National Association of Student Employment Services (NASES) Conference in July. For more information, head to www.nases.org.

If you’re a student, look at the hundreds of part-time on campus and off campus job roles advertised on UniHub. You could be the next SEOTY Awards winner!

If you’re an employer, you can benefit from flexible, casual workers and advertise for FREE today.

 

Everyone loves Coffee, right? Every question is recruitment…

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Coffee

Did you say hello to a stranger today? Despite what ‘the elders’ told you, you’d be surprised how often you are approached by a total unknown and offer an answer either out of human decency or merely because you feel obliged.

It’s pretty difficult to go through a day without somebody asking you a question. Even those who already know you cannot resist. “Hiya?”, “The weather’s not great is it?”. You’d be forgiven for thinking I’m anti-social but believe it or not, I don’t completely avoid interaction!

Every question is a form of recruitment. People want to befriend you, make you see their way of thinking and are prepared to get on board with your thinking and offer conversation. We want to know other people’s opinions and every conversation gives you the chance to take something from it.

Today’s job market is very much the one asking the questions. To give it a personality, the job market would be a cross between the recent EU referendum and Lord Sugar. It seems to know what it wants but gives you the chance to make its mind up. If you’re in it, you do your best to make other people’s minds think that they need you. If you’re not, are you confident enough that you won’t undersell your skills the next time you’re required to prove yourself?

Whether it’s your opinion or someone else’s fact, the next time you make or hear a statement you have the opportunity to;

A) Accept it and move swiftly on.

B) Dissect it and keep your thoughts to yourself.

C) Tolerate it, dissect it, offer your take on it and watch the dust settle.

D) Pretend you’re busy and store it for later!

The sooner you can reflect on your skills the better. Take the time to step out of a situation and see the bigger picture. The simplest of thought processes can often answer someone else’s problems. You can always offer something to someone, it’s knowing what to offer and in what context that’s crucial.

So, why the Coffee question? I task you with walking half a mile from your work place and not running into a coffee shop. Like it or not, coffee now has a way of quietly (in some cases) asserting itself as a constant in our lives. Flavoursome, adaptable, open to change. Solid characteristics with a take it or leave it approach. If you take it, your sold. If you don’t, you can bet your last pound that you will still see its face not too far away from every street corner. Coffee, like or lump it, is always available.

If you take anything from this post, let it be that coffee didn’t give examples of how it prioritises a workload or remains focused whilst using its own initiative. It just gets it! Coffee knows itself to the point where if it had an opinion, then it wouldn’t matter, people would automatically take notice. Be sure of your skills.

What things have you done that someone else might value? How can you recruit people to believe in what you have to offer?

Yes, I’ve posed a lot of questions but the key to success is knowing ‘your’ best answers. I’m yet to meet someone who has the right answer to everything, so be selective about your best qualities and what you can bring to the table. We all have something to offer and a place in society, let coffee be the example! Who knows . . . being sure of your skills and being open to share your success, however small you think it may be, could see you on the right side of the table when Lord Sugar says “you’re hired”.

Post written by James Beighton, Student Employment Co-ordinator at Sheffield Hallam University. For more of his musings, you can connect with James on LinkedIn.

Choosing the right digital marketing role for you

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SEO Digital Marketing to improve website views

Using SEO Digital Marketing to increase website traffic

This post was written by Samantha Cooper – Director of Little Acorn Digital Marketing

Graduates with marketing degrees often don’t realise just how many different roles are available to them, especially down the digital route. This is because huge developments in technology and culture have completely changed the landscape of marketing over the past ten years, creating a demand for a whole host of new roles which are not yet being taught in our education system.

Each role within digital marketing is vastly different, requiring a different set of skills and a different type of individual.

In this post I will run through the main digital marketing roles in order to help you determine which is most suitable for you.

PPC

PPC is short for ‘pay per click’. PPC adverts are placed on the results page of search engines such as Google or Bing with the aim of driving traffic to your website which will then convert into a sale or another form of conversion for non-e-commerce sites. A PPC exec will carefully chose the search terms which ads are visible for and bid on those terms. This role requires somebody with a mathematical and analytical mind to ensure that the company achieves the highest possible return on investment.

SEO

SEO stands for ‘search engine optimisation’ which refers to the process of developing a website to become naturally visible in search engine results pages. Again the aim of this is to increase traffic to your site and in turn increase conversions. To rank well an SEO exec needs to ensure the website is technically well built as well as providing all of the information the user desires from their search, presented in an easily digestible manner. This role mixes technical web knowledge with creativity and is therefore great for anyone who wants variation in their job.

Affiliate

Affiliate markers place adverts on third party websites in order to attract people to their website and increase conversions. They carefully chose websites which have a cross over in target audience and agree commission rates with the sites. This role demands somebody with great communication skills as well as string maths and analytical skills. 

Email

If you are a little more creative and have some design skills then email marketing may be for you. The role includes creating great looking emails using ‘subliminal’ marketing tactics to be sent out to a database of subscribers. The end goal is to get people to take a particular desired action off the back of reading the email, whether that is to visit your website, make a purchase, sign up to an event, enter a competition and so on. You will also need some degree of analytics to review what tactics provide the best results.

Social Media

The usage of social media has grown rapidly over the last few years providing companies with a means of speaking directly with a huge proportion their target audience on a regular basis. The majority of companies with an online presence include social media in their overall marketing strategy. This role is really popular with outgoing and creative people although it does also require some degree of analysis to define a strategy which achieves a constant increase in followers, likes, shares etc.

Social media provides companies with a regular means of speaking directly with their target audience.

Social media provides companies with a regular means of speaking directly with their target audience.

 

If there is more than one role which you would like to pursue or you don’t want to limit yourself to one area then you will be glad to know that some companies combine two roles together. For example you may see some adverts for SEO/PPC exec where time is split between the two or alternatively you could opt for a digital marking assistant role where you will gain a small amount of experience in each area and then go on to decide which area you wish to specialise in. 

TravelBird Scholarship

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TBbike

Travelbird Scholarship

Travelbird have an exciting opportunity for one student to win a €3,000 scholarship prize to go towards their travel experiences, work placement or studies, based on a creative project. The most successful applicant will also have the chance complete an internship at their Headquarters in Amsterdam for 3 to 6 months, and students are now eligible to enter.

What’s the Opportunity?

  • The TravelBird Scholarship will enable a talented and motivated student to work at their Amsterdam office for a period of 3 to 6 months based on the winning project about a travel experience.
  • The benefits don’t stop at the invaluable insights you’ll gain during your time there, or even the €3,000 prize you’ll receive for having been awarded the scholarship. You can also look forward to delicious, healthy lunches, free wine and beer at the end of a great week and the use of your own Macbook Pro.
  • In addition to this, you will also receive an intern allowance of €350 per month. Sound good? Then they want to hear from you!

TravelBird-Bikes

How to Apply?

To apply for this scholarship you need to be a current student and answer the following question:

“What has been your most inspirational travel experience?”

  • There are no limits as to how you can approach the question, we would actively encourage you to think carefully about and approach the question from as wide, creative or inspiring a perspective as possible! You are also free to choose which format you want to answer the question with, please go to the Travelbird website for more details and how to apply.
  • The application deadline is at 23:59 (CET) on May 31st, 2016, and the winner will be announced on June 15th. The internship will last for 3 to 6 months and you can choose when you want to start, as long as are you are still a university student aged 18 and over (ie, have not yet graduated) at the point at which you begin.
  • This is open to all national and international students, however only entries in the following languages will be accepted: English, German, Dutch, French, Swedish, Danish, Finnish and Norwegian.

Jobs Fair impresses employers and final year students

by Kayleigh Gray, graduate intern with Careers and Employment team  

On 13 March the Careers and Employment team put on another recruitment fair for students in the Careers and Employability Centre; it was focused on final year students, and invited these soon-to-be graduates to talk to local and national employers.

The day was a success, with over 300 students interacting with currently advertising organisations, thereby increasing their chances of jumping into a graduate job after leaving Sheffield Hallam. The event was so popular that we had students queuing out of the door – luckily it was a nice day and our ambassadors gave them some biscuits whilst they waited! Before coming to the fair, students had the opportunity to read who was there and what they do and as a result, they were able to prepare questions and bring relevant CVs. This contributed to positive employer feedback, with representatives saying that our students were friendly, enthusiastic and knowledgeable in their subject areas.

Each organisation had a stand where they answered student enquiries about their company and jobs; one of our pre-requisites for the fair was that all employers on the day had live graduate job vacancies. Employers present included Decathlon, Kin Speed and G Media. Some of the organisations stayed on to take part in a Question and Answer session which was very productive and offered our students the chance to engage with the companies in a different, more direct manner. Some of the questions included, ‘What do you value more, paid work or voluntary experience?’ and ‘When asking an interviewee about teamwork, what skills do you want to hear?’

Some employers were so impressed that they expressed an interest in taking part in our Career Mentoring scheme and have said that they would like to return for any other recruitment fairs we may have. In addition, the students benefitted from the employer interaction, the opportunity to ask questions and the chance to see a small sample of the jobs available upon graduation.  We appreciated the time that these companies voluntarily offered to us and our students and we will certainly be repeating the experience again next year for all to enjoy. If you have any Careers and Employment questions, please ring us on 0114 225 3752.

Graduate Employment Conference

The Graduate Employment Conference took place in Sheffield on the 30th of May and gradcore have put together video clips from the day on their site for those of you who missed it or for a recap of the best bits of the day.

They have provided video clips, one of which is by the CEO Martin Edmondson, on the various themes including Employability strategies and bridging the gap between SMEs (small to medium enterprises) and graduates. Find them here.

On the site you can also find the programme for the day.

Social Enterprise Unleashed

Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) was recently named as a HE social entrepreneurship partner by UnLtd and HEFCE as part of their HE Support initiative. During the last few months SHU and its Student’s Union have been working on establishing a social entrepreneurship culture which will allow their staff and students to start up social ventures and create social change.

So far the awards have gained a great deal of attention in Sheffield and have sparked new conversation around social innovation. Sheffield Hallam University are being looked at as one of the leading HEIs involved in the programme and have already awarded 13 projects with grant funding, with more to be issued in the summer.

With support from academics working in Social Enterprise, SHU and the Students Union have been able to run specialist workshop days enabling applicants to gain one to one advice on writing bids and starting their own social ventures.

Sheila Quairney, Business and Enterprise Manager at the Research and Innovation Office commented, “We’ve been delighted with the dramatic increase in interest in social enterprise across the University since we launched the UnLtd programe.  The partnership between the University and the Student’s Union has been key to achieving this and has worked extremely well. The programme has also attracted the attention of senior staff who value the impact that it is having on the student experience”.

The collaboration between SHU and it’s Student’s Union has led to a great start to the HE Support initiative. With over 50 applications already, the SHU & Students Union partnership expects to create further developments in the ever growing student led social enterprise landscape.

You can follow the Union, the Research and Innovation Office and Sheffield Hallam University on Twitter 

To find out more look on the Hallam Union website.

A great year for Venture Matrix!

As the 2013/2014 academic calendar draws to a close, the Venture Matrix team reflect upon another fruitful year. The significant increase to enterprise projects with local Sheffield schools, especially through the city-wide enterprise initiative – The BiG challenge, resulted in over 200 students working and mentoring over 1,700 high school pupils through 150 projects.  It is also noteworthy that 70% of the pupils, who were shortlisted for a Big Challenge award, had been supported by Venture Matrix students.  A number of these students have now successfully been accepted on to PGCE courses, using their Venture Matrix experience as a key feature of their application form.

Additionally, the Venture Matrix team are currently receiving extremely positive feedback from external clients, who have been providing over 180 projects for Venture Matrix students from across the University, many providing personal references and testimonials for the student groups they have worked with. The external clients, from all three sectors, are often organisations that have previously not had any business relationship with the University.  However, a pattern is now emerging whereby these organisations are now building their relationship with SHU outside of the Venture Matrix scheme by offering placement, internships, guest lectures and research projects. 

Venture Matrix students have also raised over £3,000 for local charities as a result of their external projects. It has also been significant through feedback from external examiners, in particular Graphic Design, Business and ICT and Early Childhood Studies, that the Venture Matrix scheme is recognised for adding innovative value to the curriculum, in addition to developing student’s skills.

Learn more about Venture Matrix here