Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

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Tips for achieving your best! Part 6 - Guest blogger Keon Richardson

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📥  Advice, Diversity, inspire, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

Our final blog in this series of "Tips for achieving your best!" Guest blogger Keon Richardson (Sport and Social Sciences 2107) talks about how getting up early helped to achieve his goals and why he decided to turn down a more exciting social life to reach his goals!

10.    WAKE UP EARLY!

Everyone has their optimal hours of the day when they work best. But as I previously mentioned in Tip Number 6, your brain operates at its highest rate when you first wake up early in the morning. A tip I would suggest to avoid hitting the snooze button is to change your alarm to your favourite song to get you excited to get out of bed! My alarm is DJ Arafat - Tapis Vélo. Another technique that I learned from tearing my groin in Second Year and being sidelined from playing was to treat studying like training. To get to 7.30am training from town, I would wake up at 5.50am (takes me an hour to get ready and 30-40 mins to get to campus). Being on campus at 7.30am is early enough as it is, and my earliest lecture in Final Year was at 10am. So I played a trick where I started waking up at 6am on the days that I didn't have training and started working at 7am in my room. That meant that I already had a three hour head start over my classmates who started at 10am. I took the game one level deeper and started waking up early on the WEEKEND. This was pretty easy as I didn’t go out at all during Final Year so I didn’t have to burden the pain of attempting to wake up early on Saturday with a Friday Night Hangover. So the key thing is to find out your optimum hours when you work best!

11. Make “No” your Vitamin C!

In order to reach my goals, I found that I had to give up  and ultimately sacrifice certain things by saying “No” to things I would normally say “Yes” to. In First and Second Year, I always used to talk to one of my close friends from school on the phone for 2-3 hours daily. This was mainly because I only did work on the days that I had training and lecturers. So, when I would go home after lecturers, I would phone him, watch shows online or have a nap. In Final Year, I had a different mentality and I knew that my work ethic had to quadruple. I worked everywhere that I could. On the 403 National Express back home to London; in the Barber Shop; on the coach to Away Games; and making mental notes in the shower (Weird!). People would look at me as if I was mad when I worked in certain spaces but I knew I was working towards a bigger picture which would come in small steps.

"Do you want to go out tonight Keon?"

In Final Year, if I spoke to my friend on the phone it would be briefly or my phone would be unavailable as it was on Flight Mode. I remember he asked me on WhatsApp when he could call me and I replied, “When I graduate”. I could tell that he was annoyed, but he said “OK, do your thing”. I respected that he gave me space and understood what I was doing was temporary to get to the point where I could finish all my work on time without the need for extensions (as I relied on extensions for EVERY essay in Second Year). Likewise, he respected me because I told him the truth and set it clear that I just need to give up our phone calls for a short period to focus on getting my work done. I made a commitment that I would not request a single extension in Final Year, and I had to say “No” to phone calls, partying, link ups. All of it. The last party I went to was in October 2015. I even got to the point where I had to temporarily give up certain apps on my phone. I deleted Snapchat and Instagram because I found myself procrastinating on these apps when I wanted to take a “break”, and my break ended up being more than one hour looking at everybody’s Snapchat and replaying it again just to avoid my work. It takes a lot of guts to say "No" especially to things that you enjoy and are so used to instinctively saying "Yes" to. But if you want to achieve your goals, you are going to have to give up your short-term “needs” for long term achievements.

What's Next Keon!

"What have you been doing since you finished University?"

Since graduating and returning home from my eventful summer, I secured a full time role as Disability Officer at Palace for Life Foundation (charitable arm of Crystal Palace Football Club). This is my dream graduate job and I have loved every minute of it so far! I am responsible for developing and delivering the “Inclusive Eagles” Disability Football Programme in the London Boroughs of Bromley, Croydon and Sutton. This involves: establishing PE curriculum sessions in Special Schools, leading football sessions for the Crystal Palace Down’s Syndrome Eagles; line managing a team of Foundation sessional coaches who deliver on the Inclusive Eagles programme and liaising with external partners such as Surrey FA and Royal Society for Blind Children.

Outside of my graduate job, I am a Gold Scholarship Programme Alumni Mentor and continue to manage the communications for IBSA Blind Football. I have published six IBSA articles on the development of Blind Football across the world, of which five have been re-published by the Paralympic Games. I recently went to Nantes on behalf of IBSA Blind Football to write an article on the first phase of the French Blind Football Championship. As for what’s next, I want to continue developing my expertise in disability as well as coaching and developing blind football. In 2018, I will be going to Enugu, Nigeria to deliver a Blind Football Coaching Clinic to Bina Foundation Blind Football Club and running the social media pages for the IBSA Blind Football World Championships. One of my long-term goals is to manage the communications for IBSA Blind Football at the 2019 African Championships and Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. In the small amount of spare time that I have, I’ve been learning French, Igbo and Swahili on YouTube (I enjoy learning other languages and hope to become fluent in one of them!).

For me, I'm not only proud  that I've obtained a degree and not become another society statistic. I'm more proud of the fact that I stuck to what I am passionate about and now I'm beginning to reap the rewards. I'm happy that I can pursue what gives me joy and peace of mind, rather than be involved in gang wars, knife crime and the all rest of it.  I don't look down on anyone who does that as everyone has different circumstances but growing up and especially today more than ever, a  lot of young black males go down that route without knowing the long-term consequences. University is financially and mentally draining, but there are so many fantastic experiences that you can gain than just a degree. Whoever or wherever you are, take your approach to your education how Buster Douglas took his approach to defeat Mike Tyson! Be brave. Be bold. Be Brilliant. Whatever you want in life is achievable!  If you would like to leave feedback or need any further advice, email me at: keonrichardson@hotmail.co.uk or follow me on Twitter: @FinallyKeon. Asante Sana and Kwaheri! (Thank you and Goodbye in Swahilli)

 

 

Tips for achieving your best! Part 5 - Guest blogger - Keon Richardson

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📥  Advice, Diversity, inspire, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

Our guest blogger Keon talks about the importance of writing down your goals, finding someone you trust to support you in reaching those goals and importantly ignoring those who may criticize you along the way .....

7.    Write down your Goal(s) and TEN reasons WHY you deserve it!

The motivational tapes, that I mentioned in my last blog, were key to helping me get through my dissertation, but just listening to them would have been pointless if I didn’t have clear goals to work towards. The tapes resonated with me a lot better when I could relate to the motivational speaker’s trials and tribulations towards reaching their goals. I had two pieces of paper stuck to my wall. One was a list of everything that I wanted to achieve by the time that I left the University of Bath. The other (and what I needed more than the former) was ten solid reasons why I believed that I deserved to graduate with a First-Class Degree. This took a lot of immense soul-searching and deep reflection to draw out ten firm reasons. Although, when the tough times came (a week with no heat or hot water in my student house; my Laptop breaking; and walking with a bruised toe for two weeks like an injured pigeon), I could return to my wall and look at why I should continue despite the struggles. At the bottom of my list I wrote “I OWE IT TO MYSELF!!!” in block letters and underlined to ensure that I would do whatever was necessary to obtain my goal. To quote Les Brown again – “You can either have reasons or results. Reasons don’t count”. Even though it was bitterly disappointing not to receive a First Class Degree, I got a 2.1 Degree and a First in my Dissertation, which is the next best thing. As I said before, who you become in the process is bigger than the goal itself!

8.    Find someone that will make YOU responsible for your goal!

If you just write down all your goals and you don’t tell someone, then it’s easy to feel guilt free if you don’t achieve them. Why I suggest telling someone who you trust about your goal is that this person will make you accountable for your actions. In Semester 2, I became best friends with a student who is studying Pharmacy. At the end of March, I told her that I wanted to get a First in my Dissertation and I mentioned the date that I would have my dissertation completed by. She challenged me to have it completed four days before my personal deadline. It took a lot of confidence to tell her about my goal and she rightly tested me to see if I was serious about my goal. There were occasions where I was in the library watching Futsal on YouTube and she would say, “so you are wasting Student Finance to watch YouTube”. As funny as it was, it kicked me back into action to get on with my work. To quote Les Brown again, "we have so much energy that can take us so far – it’s necessary that you hook up with some other energy that can take you to the next level." I ended up finishing my Dissertation a day before our agreed date and my Dissertation was finished a week and a half earlier than the actual deadline. This gave me boundless time to proofread my work before handing it in.

9. Use your "haters" as a goal!

You have to believe that you deserve your dream. MANY people will attempt to derail you from your dream. I’ll never forget when a teacher from my secondary school/sixth form said that I have an attitude problem and that I won’t last in Bath. One summer, my friends suggested to this teacher that I should speak to the students at our old school about my university experience, and this teacher said that I must have a “hidden agenda”. When I went to school a week later, he asked, “haven't you dropped out of Bath yet?”. As much as this angered me, this motivated me because I said to myself that I’m going to make sure that everything he thought about me was a lie. The day I received my First in my dissertation I 'pulled' up to see him. He asked how I was doing at Bath and I told him that I received a First in my Dissertation. The only words that he could utter was “MY GOD!”. It was an unreal feeling knowing that I made him eat his words and all the negativity that he said about me was a lie. People are going to criticize you when you’re working towards your goals, but you have to believe in yourself that your goals are possible, your goals are necessary, and you achieving your goals will help to inspire others.

 

Tips for achieving your best! Part 3 - Guest Blogger- Keon Richardson

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📥  Advice, inspire, Sector Insight, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

Today Keon Richardson (Sport and Social Sciences graduate 2017) continues his tips for achieving your best with why its important to write something that you are passionate about and to speak to people who have been there and done it.

3.    Write about something that YOU are passionate about!

What I loved about my course was that there is no right or wrong answer. Studying how sport and societal issues intersect is different to studying Maths, where there is one definite answer (e.g. 1+1=2). With this in mind, we had complete autonomy to study whatever we desired for our 15, 000 word dissertation. After completing my placement year where I delivered community football programmes in local estates, I decided to analyse the degree to which participation in Premier League Kicks could enhance the social mobility prospects of ‘hard-to-reach’ young people from BAME backgrounds in Haringey. Sport-mega events and Health were the main areas of study that my fellow students completed their research on. Initially, I felt put off from my study as mine was unorthodox from what everyone else was studying and I was the only student completing research in Community Football Development. Albeit, completing my dissertation was surprisingly fun because I was reading concepts (Social Capital, Social Mobility, Neoliberalism) that I was competent in analyzing and it was enjoyable to read/write because of how it was connected to my own life. My dissertation gained unexpected attention on LinkedIn as I wrote an article about the study. Sport Professionals from the UK, Canada, America, Trinidad and Tobago (my homeland) and Kenya (my favourite country in Africa after Zambia) liked my post and created a snowball of professionals sharing my post and abundance of messages came through asking to receive a copy of the study once I had finished. This gave me further motivation to not only complete the study, but to take quality care of every single chapter from the Acknowledgements to the Final Appendix as the study was of meaning to people involved in sport across the world. I've had my dissertation praised by two senior worldwide research authors (Ramon Spaaij and James Oloo).

4.    Speak to people who have been there and done it!

Most of my friends graduated last academic year whilst I was on placement at QPR in the Community Trust. Although I was ready to conquer Final Year by myself, the Final Year hit me back and it was reassuring to have advice coming from people who had graduated. Whenever I had my doubts and felt like quitting University, I messaged my sister who studied Photography Science; my cousin who studied Economics and is currently completing his Masters; and two of my closest friends who studied Cardiovascular Physiology and Drama Studies. I particularly contacted my two closest friends as they had most recently finished University, so their memory of Final Year was still fresh in their mind. What was most beneficial was my friends and family studied degrees that were different to mine but I could draw from some of the techniques that they used for their course and apply what was most applicable to mine. This came from academic to general everyday techniques, like turning my Phone on Flight Mode when I went to the Library to study, or pace myself with writing essays – “Final Year is a marathon not a race”.

Read more on Keon's tips tomorrow........

 

Tips for achieving your best! Part 2 - Guest blogger Keon Richardson

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📥  Advice, Applications, Diversity, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

Today we continue with our guest blogger Keon Richardson (Sport and Social Sciences graduate 2017) as he puts forwards his 11 tips on achieving your best whatever you are studying ...

1 Make Use of ALL the Services At University!

I alienated myself from societies, students, partying, lecturers and my personal tutor when I first started University. This was because I was quite nervous living away from home and I also wanted to focus on becoming the best Futsal Player that I could be. This came with its positives and negatives. Although I was seeing great strides in my technical ability, I often fell asleep in lectures because of my intense training schedule and I hardly read any Journal Articles that were on Moodle. But when I continued to struggle to write essays and saw Thirds littered across my Assignment Feedback, I decided that I needed to have a better balance of being a 'Student-Athlete' and use the support services that were available to me.

Ultimately, the question I asked myself was – "Why do you pay £9,000 a year to suffer in silence?" Grammar and concise writing were the main areas that I needed to work on to improve my grades, and my personal tutor recommended that I should go to the Writing Centre. At first, I was embarrassed because I perceived that he felt my writing was that poor and I pre-judged the Centre to be for foreign students who were struggling with their assignments in English. But after a few sessions, I saw improvements in my grammar, paragraph structuring and writing flow. At the same time I was in the Careers Services working on my CV. This also added to my writing development as I had to structure three pages (two page CV and one page cover letter) which summarised my experience, personal skills and why I wanted the job advertised, coupled with why I wanted to work for the organisation. As I became a regular face at the Writing Centre and Careers Service, staff members were willing to spend more time with me because I was eager to develop. Not to mention that these services are FREE.

2 Plan Plan Plan!

 

My Dad's favourite quote is, "if you fail to prepare then prepare to fail" and I couldn't agree more. Carefully prepare a plan for your essay or exam which outlines the following: topic, limit, focus, essay/exam instruction word(s), your main argument(s), opposing sides to your argument, key authors to support back elements of the argument, and a conclusion that connects to your introduction. Creating this plan will require a lot of reading and making notes which could take up to 7 days. But once you have your plan you'll be able to write your essays and attack your exams with ease. I had to constantly revise my plan for my 15,000 word dissertation as the data that I collected from my interview changed sections of my Introduction and Literature Review. Even if you are not 100 per cent confident in your plan, at least you have a foundation for your essay/exam and can continue to revise your plan as you go along. Show your plan to your lecturers to gain reassurance and ask them any questions that you unclear about for your essay/exam. I'm certain that my lecturers were sick of seeing me time and time at the end of every seminar to hound them with questions. But I'd rather know that my plan is in the right direction than have no clue what I am doing and unable to contact my lecturers over the Christmas holiday (I've been there before!).

Read more on Keon's tips tomorrow........

For further information on the Careers Service and our resources check out http://www.bath.ac.uk/students/careers/

For information on  Academic Skills Centre (previously Writing Centre) Drop in Sessions available 12:15-14:05, in the Skills Zone. Check website for further details.

 

Tips for achieving your best! Guest blogger - Keon Richardson

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📥  Advice, Diversity, inspire, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

Happy New Year to all our readers! It's a time of the year when we often think about whether we should make New Year's resolutions and then if we do whether we can actually keep it longer than the month of January! Our Career blogs over the next few days will feature a recent graduate, Keon Richardson, who did decide to make some changes to the way he did things during his student life and for him personally this helped him to go on and achieve many awards that he had not thought possible at the start of his journey. Keon wrote a blog on his experiences at University and so over the next couple of weeks we will be featuring different aspects of his blog. Find out how Keon successfully managed his time to achieve what he wanted from his University experience. Read his tips for succeeding, his low points and how he handled this, and the challenges of being a black student at a University like Bath.

Keon Richardson graduated 2017 from the University of Bath with a Second-Class First Division Bachelors Art Honours Degree in Sport and Social Sciences with the Bath Award and Half Blues Award. By the end of 2017 Keon started his dream job as the new Disability Officer at Palace for Life Foundation.

 

Posing at the River Avon!

"My four years at Bath has been special and full of memories that I will cherish forever. I was the only student from the University of Bath to complete a professional placement at QPR in the Community Trust; to achieve the London FA and The FA Young Volunteer of the Year; the only student from the University of Bath Football and Futsal Club this season to be presented with the Half Blues Award; and one of two University of Bath students to represent Team Bath in the Zambia IDEALS Project last year and compete for Bristol City in the FA National Super League. Last summer I was awarded a football coaching scholarship by Team Archie to shadow a football coach educator deliver Premier Skills across China and support the delivery of the Federation of University Sports of China High School Girls’ Football Final from 22nd July for four weeks.

Despite the amazing accolades, I was hugely frustrated of just missing out on a First-Class Degree. Nevertheless, I am personally proud of my own personal development over my four years of academic study. As hectic as my studies and extra-curricular activities sound, it gave me discipline to prioritize my time wisely and balance “work and play”. And with God’s grace and a plan of action, I received a First in my 15,000 word dissertation.

The purpose of my blog is not to impress you that I received a 2.1; my message is to impress upon you that you have greatness within you more than you are currently expressing. You have something special in you that eyes have not seen, ears have not heard, nor hearts that have not felt. I know from my own personal life that anything is possible if you have a vision and you are dedicated to working every day to make that vision into a reality. I went to a state school in North London where I was told more about my ­limitations than my potential. “You’re not socially ready to go to University”; “You’ve never been in an academy. How can you play at University Futsal First Team Level?”; “You’ll never get into Bath”. This was a typical reaction that both students and teachers threw at me to derail me from going after my dreams to both study sport and play first team futsal full-time. As a young black male living in Tottenham (London Borough of Haringey) which is outlined as “one of the most deprived authorities in England and ranks as the most deprived in terms of crime” by the Department for Communities and Local Government, drugs, gang wars, knife crime, and robbery has been impinged on myself and other young people throughout our adolescence. But I got to a point where I realized that I should not deprive myself from obtaining knowledge nor experiencing the best life that has to offer just because I live in deprivation. Adding further to the plight, the Independent Commission on Social Mobility highlighted that “there are more young black men in prison in the UK than there are UK-domiciled undergraduate black male students attending Russell Group institutions”. In the summer 2007, I was robbed for my Sony Ericsson and Apollo Mountain Bike by one of Tottenham's rivalry gangs and that was the day that I decided that I won't fall into this type of lifestyle and I will overcome this negativity.

When I began University in 2013 I decided to set my goals high and aimed to receive a First Class in my degree. In the moment, I set that goal for the sake of it. However, between finishing my placement year at QPR in the Community Trust and preparing to coach football in Zambia, my motivation to receive a First was to take my work ethic to another level that I had not been to before. I realized that to get a First I would have to do things I had never done before, such as: preparing lists of questions for my Dissertation Supervisor; reading Books and Journal Articles with a close analytical eye; sticking to a weekly work schedule; working on days that I didn’t have lectures; and setting myself personal deadlines to finish my essays. What I have now come to believe is when you set extremely high goals for yourself, who you become in the process is much more important than the goal itself.

Even if you don't achieve the goal, your personal development through the process outweighs the goal itself. I know that's easier said than done. I cried and was very upset for most of the day when I received the email stating that I received a 2.1 and not a First. However, I am slowly coming to understand that the person I've matured into physically, mentally, spiritually and socially over the past four years at University is greater than a First Class written on a piece of paper. So how did I do this?! Over the next few days I will share with you my eleven tips to achieve your best in whatever you are studying……"

 

Living Successfully with Psychosis

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📥  Diversity, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

This year I had the privilege of providing career support for Neal who has just completed his MA in International Security. It's not easy to live with a condition like psychosis and yet despite setbacks in his life, Neal recently started as a consultant for Alten. He kindly agreed to be interviewed and this is his story.

From the age of 14, I had started to feel unwell and then one day I found myself climbing on the school roof – I was completely deluded and didn’t know where I was. It was like watching the TV programme Quantam Leap or The Truman Show film with Jim Carey. Medics had no idea what caused this as I had never taken drugs, or alcohol and I was diagnosed as having psychosis. Fortunately, I didn’t suffer from any hallucinations, but I ended up being hospitalised for the next six months. I found myself being one of the first people to try Risperidone – an anti-psychotic drug which had great success. I guess during this time I was incredibly lucky and had a great childhood. I was one of seven children with very supportive parents but it was really hard for my parents to see me so ill. I was taken off the medications but then relapsed again at 16 and then 18. But despite everything, I still achieved 4 A levels ABCC from a State School. I somehow knew that Maths would open doors for the future. It was my best subject and I thought it would impress people. I was really happy to get to University of Bath to study Mathematics and Computing from 1998-2002. I spent my year placement at Motorola and then they sponsored me for my second year and final year which was excellent. Somehow, I had managed to get through university without telling anyone about my psychosis. I didn’t tell anyone because I was so worried about the stigma and how I would be received. I survived because I had the support of a long-term girlfriend and by getting a lot of sleep as the drugs made me feel so tired. I wasn’t sporty so didn’t do much exercise, but looking back realised that probably would have helped me. Anyway, I just paced myself and was glad to have got a 2:2. I was also very fortunate that I didn’t have any psychotic episodes during this time.

It wasn’t until the final week of my final year that I told my personal tutor about my mental health as I had asked him to be my referee for MBDA.  The tutor actually put on the reference – “this student is extremely good at keeping secrets!” MBDA (part of BAE Systems) offered me a job on their graduate scheme and I worked my way up to principal engineer on their missile systems. I had disclosed my disability when I joined and it had taken 11 months to get my clearance which came with certain restrictions on how I could work, but the organisation was always very supportive and wanted me to do well. I worked on some really interesting and diverse projects including an internship for RUSI (a big think tank).

Suddenly out of the blue in 2006 I had another psychotic episode and this time diagnosed as having Schizo-affective disorder with manic type, now labelled as Recurring Psychosis. I guess it may have been kicked started by the fact I had been under a lot of stress outside of work, and also my drug dosage had been reduced yet again. This time I was so bad that I couldn’t even look after myself and I was eventually sectioned 24/7 for six months. In this breakdown and other later breakdowns, I suffered with hallucinations and delusions.  It wasn’t a great time in my life and it was hard for my family who visited me regularly. I have never taken drugs (other than my medication), never smoked and never drank and yet here I was again.

My company were great and they paid me for those six months and then I went back to work. I worked successfully for another five years and I was still on medication but I hardly had any time off. Then in December 2011, I fell ill again and I just couldn’t get well and was sectioned three or four times and by October 2014 I lost my MOD clearance which was devastating as it meant I lost my job. Looking back this time, the doctors believe that I ended up with a chemical imbalance, as I was now exercising a lot and spending a lot of time in the gym and somehow this had diluted how the drug worked.

I was finally put on a new drug which is working really well and appealed to the MOD on my clearance but I couldn’t get it back. So in 2015/16, I decided to take some time out and went travelling.

I thought about what I wanted to do and realised that I had always had an interest in military science and I think my time at RUSI had inspired me on that as I would often attend lectures. I had always enjoyed reading magazines such as Foreign Affairs. It was a friend who recommended the Masters in International Security at University of Bath and so I thought “why not!”. I mainly did it out of interest and really enjoyed it although I found the essays hard though because with my STEM background I didn’t have that much experience. My dissertation was on The Ethical Mandate of Autonomous weapon systems in a UK context. If I ever manage to go back into the Defence industry, then I think my Masters will prove to be extremely useful.

What’s different about being at the University of Bath again for a Masters? Well, this time I decided to disclose my disability and it’s been really great to have support. I saw a Counsellor from Student Services every week who helped me to deal with any stress/anxiety I may have had on the course, although I do know that stress is not related to any relapse I might have in the future. I also used the Skills Centre and had my essays checked. As well as this I have used the Careers Service - a lot! I attended a workshop on Developing Resilience to Support your Career run by Careers and Student Services and found this particularly useful. I attended a webinar on To Disclose or Not to Disclose your disability which included information on where to find disability friendly employers. My personal view from having a mental health issue is to disclose after you get a job offer! However, I appreciate that for every individual this will be different. I also had several one to one appointments with a careers adviser. This was useful as I had thought about going on another graduate training scheme but realised through the guidance interviews that I had a load of experience and needed to find a higher-level role. As well as discussing career options, I used the career meeting to seek advice on improving my CV which was actually a challenge to do as a mature student and so the advice was useful. I eventually decided that my career goal was to be a consultant or chief engineer with a particular technical specialism. My longer-term career goals, well I have even thought about going into politics! I really admire those people going into politics later in life even if I might not agree with their political views. I’ve even thought about doing another degree in my spare time.

So, my advice to anyone who has a disability is to get the support you need but also get involved. This time round I joined the Debating Society and the Philosophy Club as well as took part in activities within POLIS attending extracurricular seminars on campus and also at BRLSI in Queen Square.  Don’t be secretive either about your condition. I don’t publicise my disability but I will talk about it if asked. The way people view mental health conditions is changing and I think high profile people like Stephen Fry help to do this. It’s really important when things get tough to look back at your previous achievements and remember what you have accomplished. Despite my condition, I have achieved a lot – a 2:1 for my final year project and I am very proud of my French GCSE. And just remember there is nothing wrong in being ill for a year – sometimes that just happens, or taking a gap year to recover. Don’t see these things as a fail – it will in the long term help you to do better grade wise. Repeat a year too if that’s the best thing for you. Most importantly, stick to your medication.

After CV checks/applications checks, and support I ended up with two job offers and had to book another careers appointment to help me with deciding which job! I have just started working with Alten – a multi-national software engineering consultancy and currently working for Rolls Royce designing engines for private jets – really interesting work. So as I start on another career journey, I hope my story will encourage you to do the same!

(For information on support offered by Student Services visit the Welfare and Wellbeing Advice Team. Drop in sessions run daily.) 

 

Introducing the Careers Fair app - Summer Internship Fair

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📥  Advice, Careers Fairs, Internships, Networking, Uncategorized

Introducing the Careers Fair app - Summer Internship Fair


On Friday 17th November we are running our much anticipated Summer Internship Fair in the Founders' Hall from 10am - 3pm. At this event you can find out everything about summer placements, some are also open to all years and all degree disciplines, so there is something here for all students, whatever year or degree discipline. I hope to see you there!

This year we are trialing the use of a new app. You can download this to find out more about the Fair and the exhibitors by searching the App store or Google Play for "Career Fair Plus''. Then, select University of Bath from the list of universities and you'll see the Summer Internship Fair. Download and see for yourself!

Today, browsing through, I found information about 27 different employers, what their target degree disciplines are, what opportunities are available and even how to apply, all in a couple of clicks. In addition, it gives you a direct link to the fair map layout and where the employer is situated. This way you can walk directly up to the employer without having to lose time finding out where their booth is.

You can also find more information about the event and the employers present on our Bath Careers website and on MyFuture - Summer Internships Fair

What are your next steps?

  1. Read the information about the employers on the app or on the above link
  2. Plan which employers you want to see and where they are situated in the fair
  3. Prepare questions in advance - if you are wondering what to ask then we have an excellent previous blog entry and a careers guide - Prepare for the Fair (both cover advice for our main fair in October but a lot of the information is still valid for the summer internship fair).
  4. Bring a CV - just in case
  5. Show up - learn about organisations, explore summer job opportunities and have fun!

See you on Friday!

 

 

Thinking about a Career in Teaching Part 2

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📥  Advice, Sector Insight, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

Part 2 of our “Thinking about a Career in Teaching” blog focuses today on Schools Direct route (SCITT), Teach First, PGCE (FE), resources and support for potential teachers with a disability. LATEST NEWS! Find out about a scheme to reimburse student loan repayments!

Schools Direct – School-centred initial teacher training (SCITT)

A SCITT is an accredited body with links to the Dfe and where groups of schools get together to provide on the job training.  A SCITT will often offer every secondary subject if they can because of the scale of the operation. They also tend to target mature students if it is expensive to live in the area and difficult to attract young graduates. All trainees are called Associate Teachers to get the respect and all courses are registered on UCAS with salaried and non-salaried SCITTs available.

One important thing to check when looking for places is the actual number of places available as if a SCITT is advertising history or PE, they may only have the one place. For further information on SCITT see here.

Teach First

The Teach First route is now pretty well known and is fully funded and salaried and available in 11 different areas. It also has partnering organisations such as the Navy and PwC. Target areas are rural and coastal as these are the areas where it has been difficult to recruit teachers.  Teach First will cover Early Years, Primary and Secondary. On this programme you would be teaching curriculum subjects but the different to other schemes is that you do not necessarily need a degree in that subject as Teach First will also consider any relevant A Levels.

The advice for students with non-curriculum subject is to ring the TF admissions so for example if you are studying a humanities subject you may be advised to apply for English.

You will currently need a 2:1 and 300 UCAS points but UCAS points are likely to be dropped very shortly. It is hoped that this will encourage more students from widening participation backgrounds to apply who may have been taught in TF schools and are inspired to teach but may have lower grades. It’s important to note that although there is minimum criteria, no-one is told not to apply. The PGDE is fully funded by TF which is a school based programme, with some teaching days at a university. New recruits are also allocated TF mentors. This programme awards QTS after year 1 and then PGDE and NQT status the following year.

Whilst you are on the programme you have the opportunity to do Insight Days in partner organisations in the First Year, and in the Second Year –years 2 week internship offered with partner organisations.

If you are applying in your penultimate year of degree then it is possible to be offered 1st choice in location. Interesting statistics for the Teach First Scheme show that 60% stay on to teach and after 15 years 80% are back in teaching. Generally TF teachers will get promotion faster within their TF schools. For more information see Teach First. https://www.teachfirst.org.uk/

Teach First will be doing a presentation on 14th November and you can speak to them on the parade on the 9th and 14th November. Check www.myfuture.bath.ac.uk for more details.

PGCE (FE)

If you are considering teaching in an FE college you can take a PGCE which leads to QTLS but not QTS. Most students on this PGCE have a job or placement prior to doing the course. If not, help is given to find a placement. If you are interested in this qualification you would apply Direct and not through UCAS. Graduates who hold a third degree classification may be able to enter this course if they have a good reason for their final mark.

Concentration in FE colleges is on the 16-18 age group so you will not get experience of the 14-16 age group.  If you are considering maybe doing guest lecturers at an FE College in addition to another job then you won’t need a PGCE and can simply apply to do a six day course.

Psychology graduates have more opportunities to teach in FE. You would normally accept a lecturing post and then be trained.

It is important to note though that career prospects in FE are less well paid than a teacher and less secure.

Latest news - Bursaries and English Teachers Required

From September 2017 there will be more apprenticeship routes for students as Trainee Lecturers at the college or apprentice teachers. Bursaries available £9K for English. The reason behind this is that many 16 year olds have to redo English or Maths and therefore have to stay in education so there is a larger requirement for lecturers in this area.

Resources and Support for Potential Teachers with a Disability

There are 6.9 million disabled people of working age.  9% of teaching applications were from people declaring a disability, yet less than 1% of the teaching workforce has a disability.

Often students won’t declare on an application form and declare it afterwards to the admissions officer or personal tutor whilst on placement. However, students are really encouraged to declare any disability on the UCAS application form so that adaptions can be made for the interview if required, but also any reasonable adjustments when considering the teaching aspect and the placements.

There are specific forums to support disabled students such as the Disability Teaching Network Other resources produced by the Careers professional body AGCAS are available to support potential teachers with a disability. If you would like information on these then please do book to see a Careers Adviser by emailing careers@bath.ac.uk

International Students

International students can get on to PGCE courses. There are also cases of international students taking course in Independent schools. Perseverance pays off as there is a case of an international student convincing school that they could sponsor her and they did.

Scottish Students

If doing the PGCE in England, when they start, they need to contact the Scottish body so that they can do the QTS in Scotland afterwards.

Reimbursing Student Loan Repayments

The DfE have just announced details of a pilot programme for reimbursing the student loan repayments made by some teachers in the first ten years after they gain Qualified Teacher Status, with the intention of improving recruitment and retention is areas where this is most challenging.

In order to be able to claim reimbursements a teacher must meet these criteria:

·         Have been awarded QTS between 2014 and 2019

·         Be employed by a maintained secondary school, a special school or a secondary phase academy/free school

·         Have taught languages, physics, chemistry, biology or computer science for at least 50% of their contracted hours during the year they are claiming for

·         Be in a school within one of the 25 participating local authorities

·         Still be teaching when you apply for reimbursement

The participating authorities are: Barnsley; Blackpool; Bracknell Forest; Bradford; Cambridgeshire; Derby; Derbyshire; Doncaster; Halton; Knowsley; Luton; Middlesbrough; Norfolk; North East Lincolnshire; North Yorkshire; Northamptonshire; Northumberland; Oldham; Peterborough; Portsmouth; Salford; Sefton; St Helens; Stoke-on-Trent; Suffolk.

Full details are available here.

If you would like to discuss any of the teaching routes with a Careers Adviser do book an appointment through www.myfuture.bath.ac.uk

On a final note!

This blog was written with the latest information on teaching that is currently available. However, teaching routes and different schemes are constantly changing so if you are reading this blog several months after it was published then do remember to check out the government website for any future changes! Get into Teaching 

 

Thinking about a career in teaching - Part 1

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📥  Career Choice, inspire, Sector Insight, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

Many students consider teaching as a career option during their time at University. In October we had a Getting into Teaching event so I thought it would be very timely to give a teaching update and what routes are available to get into teaching as there is a lot of choice out there! Many graduates choose to do a PGCE in Higher Education, but it’s worth investigating other routes into teaching. Last week for example we heard the news of the apprenticeship route into teaching.

As there are several routes to cover there will be two blogs – Part 1 and Part 2! Today’s blog will look at Bursaries, EYTS, Primary and Primary and Secondary PGCE and the new postgraduate apprenticeships. This blog will give you a quick overview on the different routes and a few key pointers on what to consider when making your decision from some teaching professionals. However, for further detail do check out the main government website on Getting into Teaching at https://getintoteaching.education.gov.uk/

Those entering teacher training remains fairly static. However, school led routes have grown now to around 56%. The Government has targets by subjects of number of teachers needed and as applications for Business Studies, Chemistry, music and PE are down were down in 2016, it is likely there will be a real push to increase more places in these subject areas.

So how many routes are there into teaching? Well, there are HEI led, School led, and Specialist routes and options within these.

HEI led
PGCE and PGDE
Also options to train in Early Years EYTS
School Led Routes
Teach First
School Direct (salaried)
School Direct (non-salaried)
HMC Teacher Training (2 year Independent private schools) leads to PGCE and QTS
School Centred IIT (SCITT)
Apprenticeships
Specialist Routes
Researchers into Schools (PhDs)
Assessment Only – must have good experience
Now Teach – London only – career changers – runs like Teach First – early stage
For HEI and School Direct routes apart from Teach First, you need to apply through UCAS

Applications will open 26th October 2017

https://www.ucas.com/ucas/teacher-training/ucas-teacher-training-apply-and-track

Bursaries available for training

To encourage applications from some shortage subjects bursaries have been in place since 2011. The large bursaries given for some subjects means for example that a student wanting to teach a shortage subject with a First Class Honours could be better off doing a School direct – non salaried and taking the bursary than doing a Schools Direct – salaried. So it’s very important to take into account the subject you are wanting to teach and the bursaries offered for different degree classifications.

The NCTL has announced details of the bursaries which will be available to trainees on postgraduate teacher training courses beginning their training in autumn 2018. For shortage subjects you could earn up to £28,000 whilst training for your PGCE! Check out https://getintoteaching.education.gov.uk/funding-and-salary/overview for further information.

To receive a bursary or scholarship trainees must be entitled to support under the Student Finance England criteria.

Early Years Teaching Status (EYTS)

An EYTS course covers 3month to 5 year olds. The curriculum will have more emphasis than the primary route on social, health care, child psychology and child development of this age group. It is important to note that EYTS status does not have Qualified Teach Status (QTS). However, it is structured around a PGCE course and you must be prepared to work across all age groups. You wont be able to get any funding if already have the EYPS. Graduates holding an EYTS can teach in a reception class setting.

Various routes within EYTS

PGCE birth to 5 Graduate EYTS £7,000 paid towards fees. A full time pathway
Professional certificate – part time work based. Bursary of £14,000 - £7K towards fees and £7K to employer
Assessment only pathway for more experienced practitioners. Will gain experience across the age groups. Assessment covers 5 days in Key Stage 1 and 5 days in key Stage 2. Assessment period altogether is 12 weeks and included a portfolio.
Many graduates go on to work in various locations including Disney – cruise ships, family centres, nurseries, and hospitals.

Primary PGCE

This route is again a university-led postgraduate teaching programme. Information can be found here. So I thought it would be useful to focus on what skills do you need for teaching in a primary school?

The main challenge teaching in a primary school is that you need to be an expert in all 11 areas of the curriculum. Universities offering Primary PGCE will normally offer seminars in all the different areas Maths, English, PE to get you up to speed. You will also need a good deal of resilience because teaching is hard, but the real X Factor of teaching is the need to be able to get along with children and establish a rapport. So, if you have some good experience of working with children then this will help you with an interview for this course. One additional point to mention is that modern languages have to be taught in primary schools now so it’s a real advantage if you have another language!

Other Useful information about this route!

9 month course with 5-11 age group pathway or 3-7 pathway. Both pathways lead to QTS.

Generally those on the course are 50% new grads and 50% previous career or sometimes women returners.

There are normally three large periods of school based work experience – 6 weeks,7 weeks, and then 8 weeks across all age ranges. You will also study pedagogy which is based on years of research.

The course includes 3 Masters level components leading to 60 credits and you can often complete the Masters at a later date.  It’s worth doing this as the Masters is becoming an important step forward if you want to be considered for promotion.

Working in Special Schools

The normal route is to do a PGCE and then specialise afterwards and do a Masters. Some courses will offer an option to specialise on your course. For example:

Perry Knight from the University of Bedfordshire who offer Early Years Teaching Status advises that those wishing to work in special schools or as an SENCO teacher can do one week in a specialist school on placement and if successful offered a full placement in that area. The student would then go on to do the Masters in Special Educational Needs.

PGCE Secondary School

There are many providers offering the PGCE Secondary and this is probably the best known route and a university-led postgraduate teaching programme. All applications are through UCAS.  Further information can be found on the link above on primary.   A key piece of advice here is to make sure you check out the teaching experience you will get on your selected course. For example, Nigel Fancourt – Acting Director PGCE Course Oxford works only with non-selected schools and not even grammar schools as he feels that students needs a wide experience of different schools.

There is still a shortage of teachers in secondary education particularly in Physics and Chemistry. However, Biology remains oversubscribed.

If you are a Psychology graduate and interested in teaching, then its important to demonstrate enough knowledge of chemistry and maths/stats to get in. Again, those graduating in Engineering may be able to gain a place on a PGCE course if enough Maths can be demonstrated

As in the PGCE primary, the pedagogy taught is key in drawing on wider context and research. 60 Credits are also gained towards a Masters which Fancourt stressed was needed for leadership positions. Its worth noting that for the future research informed practice is likely to be the main model  and possibly a 2 year teacher training postgraduate course incorporating a Masters

Latest News! Postgraduate Teacher Apprenticeships

The DfE announced last Thursday a new post-graduate apprenticeship route into teaching.  The post-graduate teaching apprenticeship is a school-led initial teacher training (ITT) route, enabling schools to use their apprenticeship levy to support the training of new teachers.

Entry requirements are the same as for existing PG ITT routes.  The apprenticeship combines work with on and off the job training and on successful completion, apprentice teachers will be awarded Qualified Teacher Status.  Apprentices will be paid at the rates applicable to unqualified teachers.  Schools may receive further financial support from the government for apprenticeships in the shortage subjects and also to a lesser extent for general  primary. This route is available for candidates starting their apprenticeship in 2018.  Applicants will apply for school-led places listed on UCAS and potentially convert their place to an apprenticeship at a later date. For further information click here.

Tomorrow’s blog will look at PGCE (FE), Teach First, SCITT and resources and support for potential teachers with a disability.

 

 

Career Planning Checklist for First Years

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📥  Advice, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized, Work Experience

Career Planning Checklist for First Years


I hope you have enjoyed the first few weeks on campus!  In the next few years you may make friends for life and acquire knowledge that will inspire you in many different directions, I know it did for me! You might already wonder about what you would like to do with your degree and what you will learn here at Bath. Your first year is all about finding out who you are, what you like to do, what you are good at, what you are not so good at and creating friendships and networks. Your career journey actually starts here, today, and I have several ideas about how you can start exploring.

Get involved!

This is the time to join student societies and clubs. Do you like to juggle or debate politics? It is for you to find out. Would you like to have an active voice on campus?  Join societies, student committees or join roles in the Students’ Union.

Get work or volunteer experience!

I had no idea what I wanted to do after my degree when I started, so I explored many different roles and acquired many different skills which became useful later. Working in catering taught me I don’t like working with food but I love talking to customers! Working as a market researcher taught me I don’t like speaking on the phone, but I enjoy writing up company marketing reports. I volunteered in translation, which confirmed my interest in languages. Being a student advisor in the Study Abroad Office my last year at University taught me that I enjoy supporting students decide about their future, and became the reason why I started working in student support and ending up as a Careers Adviser. So my advice to you is to get experience, try different jobs and volunteering roles. Explore who you are!

Start writing your CV!

To apply for work experience and volunteering roles, you may need to have an updated CV. So why not start that now? It will also be so much easier to add to the CV later on if you start early, believe me! There are several CV writing workshops and talks you can join through MyFuture – our careers portal to events, talks, workshops and for booking appointments. We also have a great CV writing resource to get your started.

Does all this peak your interest? Come and visit us!

We are open everyday and we always have time to speak to you. We are now based in city centre, near the station in the Virgil Building. We have lots of resources, both online and in the centre, for you to look through. We have Careers Advisers for you to book appointments with, to share your ideas and thoughts.  We offer a range of appointments and support, please see our website for more details. We even have a page dedicated to you, first year students.

Here are further links for you to explore:

-          MyFuture – your links to careers appointments, skills development training, employer events, jobs and internships.

-          Bath Careers website – A great resource for all things careers, from writing a CV and succeeding in an assessment centre to exploring employers and taking a gap year.

-          Joblink – The Students' Union's part-time job portal, if you would like a part-time job alongside your studies.

-          Students’ Union – great resource for all things SU.

But most of all, ENJOY your first year at Bath.