Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

Tagged: advice

The Employers Are Coming – Get Prepared for The Careers Fair!

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📥  Advice, Career Choice, Careers Fairs, Finding a Job, Graduate Jobs, Tips & Hints

The Employers Are Coming – Get Prepared for The Careers Fair!


On Thursday and Friday 19th and 20th October the employers are coming to campus! We will have around 200 employers over the two days from a range of different sectors. This is a unique opportunity for Bath graduates, undergraduates and postgraduates of any year to meet a range of employers in one venue, and will give you the chance to ask questions and assess the types of jobs on offer in an informal setting. Remember this is not just for graduate roles, there are also employers offering summer internships and placements.

The 2017 fair will be held from 11am to 4pm both days, and will be at the Sports Training Village (Netball Courts).

So how do you prepare for the careers fair? Well here are few tips for you:

 

  • Research the employers coming to the fair. The leaflet is out and you can download it from our website.  There are employers from a range of sectors within business and engineering, but we also have charities and public sector represented by organisations such as Cancer Research UK, Department of Education, Welsh Government, Frontline and Teach First. A lot of commercial companies also recruit students from all disciplines so there is something here for anyone, whatever your degree.
  • Plan your visit! Which employers do you want to see and where are they? Make sure to target the employers and find out where they are by checking the Careers Fair map.
  • Prepare questions for the employers you are interested in. The answers may make you decide on what career pathways are best for you or may inspire you to apply for a summer internship or a graduate role. Questions may cover a range of subjects. Maybe you are curious about the day to day work activities, the culture of the workplace? Or maybe you would like to know what type of skills or experiences they are looking for so that you can tailor your job application or prepare for a future interview? Maybe you want to learn more about the industry or the sector, the current issues or developments?  Have a think about what you would like to know and prepare your questions beforehand. Avoid asking the companies what they do, researching the companies or organisations beforehand should help you with that! More ideas for questions to ask can be found here.
  • Wear something nice. No need to wear a suit or business attire, but avoid looking scruffy or avoid looking like you have just just come from the gym. First impressions counts, even at a careers fair.
  • Prepare your CV. You never know when an opportunity arises to give an employer your CV. If you would like some feedback on your CV, have a look at our excellent CV guide and come to one of our quick query appointments to have it looked over. You can book these appointments through MyFuture.

Finally, just be yourself and enjoy the day. We hope that you will come out of the fair with ideas, inspiration and knowledge that you can use further in  your career.

For more information, see our website for more details or on how to prepare for the Careers Fair, have a look at our Careers Fair Guide.

 

 

 

 

Careers in the Civil Service

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📥  Advice, Career Choice, Careers Resources, Commercial Awareness, Finding a Job, Graduate Jobs, Internships, Sector Insight

Careers in the Civil Service


This blog post was originally posted by Sue Briault, but has been updated to include current information and links. For up to date news and information about Civil Service Fast Stream and for the chance of interacting with current fast streamers, make sure to like Civil Service Fast Stream Careers on Facebook


About the Civil Service

The Civil Service does the practical and administrative work of government. More than half of all civil servants provide services direct to the public. If you want to know more about the Civil Service and it's purpose then go here. If you are interested in the work of the more than 60 government departments and over 100 agencies then these can easily be found on the GOV UK website where every department and agency has a space.

Jobs within the Civil Service can range from administrative positions within departments to embassy posts with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).  There are also a number of professions employed within the Civil Service including economists, statisticians and scientists . Staff may work anywhere in the United Kingdom and possibly overseas, although the majority involved in policy work are located in London. There are increasing numbers of opportunities within the devolved regions and some departments are based in locations such as Bristol, Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Cardiff.

When applying to jobs in the civil service it is important to research the Civil Service competencies, which sets out how the Civil Service want people to work. Research the competencies and write down examples from your academic background, work experiences and/or extra-curricular activities to see how they compare and fit with each competency.

Civil Service Fast Stream

This is the accelerated development programme for graduates. Applications opened in September and will close in October 2017, so if you are interested, apply now! This includes entry into the Diplomatic Service. It is also possible to apply to the Civil Service Fast Stream even though you are working within the Civil Service.  There are several different Fast Streams and you can find more information about the schemes on the Fast Stream website.

  • Analytical Options (AFS):

Government Economic Service (GES)
Government Operational Research Service (GORS)
Government Statistical Service (GSS)
Government Social Research Service (GSR)

  • Other Options:

Generalist
Human Resources
Diplomatic Service
Diplomatic Economic Scheme
Houses of Parliament
Science and Engineering (only open to postgraduates)
Commercial
Finance
Government Communication Service
Project Delivery
Digital, Data and Technology
Other Civil Service Graduate Schemes

Other Graduate Schemes

Graduate schemes run by individual departments can be hard to find out about so keeping an eye on the Civil Service Jobs website is important as not all have dedicated webpages available to see year round (see  section below).

It is also worth noting that many Civil Service graduate schemes make offers of jobs at the grade below to ‘near misses’. This happens in the Fast Stream too. Those that scored only a few points below the overall benchmark may be made an offer or an interview for a role at Executive Officer grade (the grade below the one Fast Streamers start on). This isn’t always well publicised because employers don’t want to raise candidate expectations but it is worth being aware that applications to the Fast Stream or other Graduate Scheme can be a good entry point into the Civil Service.

Other services who recruit graduates include MI5, MI6 and GCHQ.

Other Civil Service Jobs

The place to look for all Civil Service vacancies is https://www.civilservicejobs.service.gov.uk. Create an account and you can then set up some preferences and then receive regular job updates by email. You will need to click "Show more" to be able to select Job Grade as a preference. Why should you look here? Because there are many jobs that would be suitable for graduates within the Civil Service that are not part of the Fast Stream or other Graduate Schemes.

Frequently spotted on Civil Service Jobs :

HMRC Social Researchers
Temporary Statistical Officers
Temporary Assistant Economists
Various individual Scientist Posts suitable for both undergraduates and postgraduates
Graduate Internships at Executive Officer level

Work Experience

There are two schemes available:

You will find that placements are available through your placement office in some government departments and others may be advertised through the Civil Service Jobs website mentioned previously. There is not a strong expectation that you will have gained experience within the Civil Service before applying for a graduate job there. Think about the competencies that they recruit against and develop your experience to demonstrate these.

Nationality Requirements

There is strict criteria regarding nationality for entry to the Civil Service and comprehensive guidelines are available here. Any job in the Civil Service is open to applicants who are UK nationals or have dual nationality (with one being British). About 75% of Civil Service posts are also open to Commonwealth citizens and nationals of any of the member states of the European Economic Area (EEA), although at some point this latter group will have their status changed once the UK's exit from the EU is settled. I am advised that the Civil Service is not a Tier 2 sponsor.

 

Welcome Freshers and Returners!

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📥  Advice, Careers Resources, Tips & Hints

Welcome Freshers and Returners

Ah, you found (or re-found) our careers blog, well done! Now, quickly,  subscribe to our blog (link on the right hand side) and welcome to a wealth of careers resources, inspiring articles and careers news, employer and graduate interviews and much more. Come back regularly and you will find something  that will help you every step in  your career journey.

Are you a fresher?

Freshers17

Enjoy your first few weeks at Bath. If you’re going to the Freshers’ Fair this week, you’ll probably find yourself signing up for clubs and societies, or other activities like volunteering. All of the above are great for your CV, as potential employers look for students who can demonstrate their initiative, have strong communication and organisation skills (e.g. the ability to juggle coursework with extracurricular activities and jobs!), and have held some positions of responsibility during their time at University. It is never too early to think about your career!

Make sure you visit us in our wonderful new University hub in the city centre, the Virgil Building, check out or Careers website and be sure to like our Facebook page! In addition, register for MyFuture to be kept up to date on careers events, jobs and to set up an appointment with one of the careers advisers.

Returning to second or final year?

So, you’re back after the long summer break, welcome back! Now’s a really great time to be thinking about your career. Do you know what you want to do when you graduate? If not, you could consider booking an appointment with one of our careers advisers to discuss your options, please do so through MyFuture. In addition, we have over 150 employers coming to campus for our Careers Fair later on 19th and 20th of October, and in the meantime we have lots of employer events and skills development workshops for you to attend, all bookable through MyFuture.

For those returning from placement, please be aware that we have moved to our wonderful new University hub in the city centre, the Virgil Building, we hope to see you there soon!

Over the coming months, we’ll be blogging on topics such as:

Making the most of the careers fair
Aceing interviews and assessment centres
How to start your internship and job hunt
Equality and Diversity
Alternatives to Grad Schemes

.......and much more! So make sure you check in regularly! Subscribe, if you haven't already, you know you want to!

 

 

Getting a graduate job or placement when you have a non-visible disability

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📥  Advice, Diversity, Labour Market Intelligence, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

 

Applying for graduate jobs can be daunting, but when you have a disability, this can sometimes add to the stress of applying for graduate jobs. This blog aims to allay some fears and also encourage you with tips, advice and information on where you can find help and support to succeed in the graduate labour market.

Defining a non-visible disability

It’s probably a good idea at this point to define what we mean by a non-visible disability. These are basically disabilities which are not immediately apparent. They are also sometimes referred to as “invisible” or “hidden” disabilities. An interesting fact is that one in every two people has some kind of health condition -this may not necessarily equate to a disability under the Equality Act definition but it does mean that there are a lot of people living with things that are not immediately obvious to the eye.

Some of the non-visible disabilities that many of us have so to name a few:

ADHD, Dyspraxia, Deafness, Anxiety, Dyslexia, Chronic Fatigue/ME, Coeliac Disease, Narcolepsy, Repetitive Strain Injury, Tinnitus..

Its worth knowing at this point that there are therefore huge numbers of people working successfully in the workplace with non-visible disabilities.  For example, how many of you know which non-visible disability these well know people from the entertainment and political arena have?

George Clooney     George_Clooney-4_The_Men_Who_Stare_at_Goats_TIFF09_(cropped)

Lady Gaga

Lady-gaga-icon-thatgrapejuiceKylie   Kylie Minogue

381px-Theresa_May_MPTheresa May

Donald Trump                    Donald_Trump_September_3_2015

Daniel Radcliffe Daniel Radcliffe

(answers will be put up on our Careers Facebook Page in a few days time!)

So many people have a non-visible disability but they have successful careers. So how might they have done this?

Become an expert!

What’s important when applying for a job is that you become an “expert” on your disability. It’s important that you understand how your disability affects you and the adjustments you would need to work well in an organisation. So think about what would make your life easier. This may range from flexible working, working from home occasionally, specialist equipment, line management support – a preference for having clear goals and regular meetings to check progress are some of the things to think about.

The question an employer will always want to ask is “What is your disability and how will it affect your ability to do the job?”

Once you feel comfortable with the above and have thought about your needs, and the support you might ask for to succeed in the job, think then about your strengths.

Know Your Strengths

It’s so important to know what you can offer an employer, so spend some time thinking about your personal attributes and your knowledge and experience. For example, a person with dyslexia, has often learned to be very organised because short term memory can sometimes be an issue.

If you suffer from Chronic Fatigue/ME for example, again you may have worked out how to be extremely organised during your degree to meet deadlines and cope with tiredness. You may also have developed strong resilience and empathy skills as a result of your condition.

Think how you have achieved on your degree course and how this could be transferred to the workplace. Perhaps some of the techniques or tools you have used during your academic study would be easily transferable to the world of work. If you are finding it difficult to articulate your strengths, do come and speak to a Careers Adviser.

Finding Jobs

You may find it useful to target disability friendly employers. Look for particular accreditations such as Disability Confident employer or the Two Ticks. disability_confident_employer_roller

EmployAbility www.employ-ability.org.uk is a not-for-profit organisation that provides support and advice for students and graduates with disabilities. Employ-Ability also runs a wide range of internships and graduate recruitment programmes on behalf of many of the most prestigious and progressive blue-chip and public sector organisations.

When or if to tell an employer about your disability

“So how do I get a job and when, if, and how should I tell an employer about my disability?”
When to disclose has probably been the most popular query I have had this year as a Careers Adviser covering students with disabilities.

Disclosure to employers is complicated and a challenge, because you don't always know exactly what you'll be doing in that job, and whether your condition will be relevant. As many disabilities aren’t obvious to people, students may also find it tempting not to let a potential employer know in advance. However, there may be many benefits to disclosing and particularly early in the recruitment process. One recent graduate I met at a Careers Adviser’s training event in London last week said that he really hadn’t wanted anyone to know he had dyspraxia/dyslexia and when applying for the Civil Service Fast Stream, he chose not disclose the first time round and then failed on one of the final tests. The second time round he was advised to disclose, was given extra time and support and he was successful in his application. His biggest regret is not doing this earlier!

Firstly, if you are not sure, you can decide anytime whether to disclose or not. However, the important thing to bear in mind is that you will not come under the protection of the Equality Act 2010 until you do. For more information on this take a look at https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/equality-act-2010/what-equality-act

or Diversity Link information.

At the Psychometric Test, Application or Interview stage?

If you do decide to disclose think about when you might. You may decide if you have dyslexia or suffer with anxiety or ADHD, that it would be good to tell an employer of your disability prior to sitting any psychometric tests as you may need to ask for additional time and in some cases you may need to give the employer time to consider alternative tests in order to measure your capability to do the job. A key tip here is think about telling the employer sooner rather than later as preparation work would need to be done to best support you.

You may decide to disclose at the application stage as  companies may select you then on meeting the essential criteria required to do the job. You may decide that you would prefer to apply and then if shortlisted disclose then. It may be that you need some reasonable adjustments for the interview in order to compete successfully.

You may decide that actually, you will wait to see if you get a job offer and then speak to an employer about support you might need in the workplace.

Some graduates decide to wait and see and will start working before making a decision to disclose.

It’s really up to you and what you feel is the best time if at all. If you would like help on making this decision then please do book to see me – just email me - Melanie Wortham or careers@bath.ac.uk. If you are leaving Bath then we can do a Skype appointment.

Links to information and Advice

There are many non-profit organisations and charities who also offer advice and support. Some of these are:

EmployAbility (specialist organisation working with disabled students and graduates)
Disability Rights UK (includes a useful careers guide)
RADAR (disability rights organisation)
Leonard Cheshire Disability (the UK's leading charity supporting disabled people)
Great with disability
Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB)
Action on Hearing Loss (formerly Royal National Institute for Deaf People)
MENCAP (for people with learning disabilities)
MIND (for people with mental illness)
British Dyslexia Association
The Dyspraxia Foundation
Narcolepsy Association
Interview and Assessment Centre Preparation

Resources at the Careers Service

We have many resources in the Careers Service to support you.

Check out our website http://www.bath.ac.uk/students/careers/

See our selection of DVDs on preparing for interviews and assessment centres http://www.bath.ac.uk/students/careers/information-resources/catalogue.bho/index.html

Book a practice interview to help you prepare for those difficult question and alleviate some anxiety

Try out our video interview software Interview Stream

So my final thought for today is play to your strengths and take your time to prepare for the recruitment process, finding out exactly what is involved and how you can be a success in that job.

For further information and support do contact us by popping into our new facilities in the Virgil Building on Manvers St or sending us an email at careers@bath.ac.uk.

 

Melanie Wortham

Careers Adviser

MW photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graduate Fair Blog Series: Looking for work locally?

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📥  Advice, Careers Fairs, Careers Resources, Finding a Job, Graduate Jobs, Labour Market Intelligence, Tips & Hints

Bath3

This blog entry is a part of the Graduate Fair Blog Series introducing sectors and industries which will be present at the University of Bath Graduate Fair, Tuesday 25th April. Please go here for more information about the fair and the employers present.


So you are graduating soon and you want to stay in the local area, great! There may be many reasons for this, perhaps you are from here or have established family here? Perhaps you love the area so much you would like to stay (like I did 10 years ago)?  Whatever reason, Bath, Bristol and the rest of the South West are lovely places to live and work.

The disadvantages by looking in one region only

Be aware that looking in one region only may limit your job opportunities. In some towns and cities certain industries dominate, while others are under-represented. Limiting yourself geographically may not match with your particular career choices so you need to do your research. Ask yourself how long you are willing to commute? Bath and Bristol are commutable, but you may also want to consider towns like Cheltenham, Swindon and Reading or Newport in Wales. Work out how you will get to work, the costs and how far you are prepared to travel so you can look beyond the immediate locality.

Employers in the Bath area

Bath is not a big city so it is limited in terms of which sectors/industries are located here. The biggest employers in Bath are in the education and health sectors, i.e. the two Universities and the NHS. A wealth of software development firms base themselves in Bath and several internationally recognised architectural and engineering consultancies are found in Bath (source: Bath and North East Somerset Council). See our graduate jobs leaflet for more details on companies and organisations in Bath.

Major Industries in the South West

The major specialisms/growth areas in the SW:

  • Advanced Engineering which includes Aerospace (Bristol), Automotive (Swindon), measuring instruments and medical devices (Gloucestershire)
  • Biomedical and Healthcare (Bristol/Bath and Exeter/Plymouth)
  • Creative Industries (Bristol, Gloucestershire and Plymouth areas)
  • Environmental Technologies
  • Food and Drink (Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset)
  • Information Communication Technology (Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Bristol, Devon)
  • Leisure and Tourism
  • Marine (Devon, Cornwall and Dorset)

Source: www.gradsouthwest.com which includes more details about these sectors.


Gradsouthwest will be at the graduate fair, do go and ask them any question you may have about staying in the South West! In addition, CIMPA, Decision Analysis Services, Sword Apak and Rise Technical Recruitment have roles in Bristol and London and Country Mortgages has roles in Bath!  Research these employers and the roles they can offer in our Graduate Fair programme.


How to find local work as a graduate?

First, you should make a list of employers that you are interested in.

Find out what employers exist in the area that are in the sectors or industries you would like to work in. Our Find a Graduate job leaflet has some great tips for you:

  • Monitor local job adverts – senior posts will still alert you to potential employers
  • Ask local people which companies they know
  • Tap into local networks of relevant professional bodies or looking for local business groups
  • Look for news items, articles and annual reports in local newspapers and business magazines for potential job growth, e.g. new factories/offices, new product/service launches, organisations relocating, takeovers etc.
  • Keep your eyes open for businesses of interest
  • Building local contacts from your own recreational activities.

You can also find A-Z lists of employers that have been in contact with us on our website.

What are the typical job websites?

You are able to search for local jobs in MyFuture, but be aware that there will be many more jobs available that are not advertised on MyFuture. Bath Chronicle advertises jobs in the Bath area, Bristol Evening Post in the Bristol area. Duport business confidence reports details business performance trends in the city. There are many more local job sites for you to try, please go here for a comprehensive list.

Contacting employers speculatively

As you know, most jobs are not advertised! Therefore, you should be flexible and creative in your approach to employers. Can you apply speculatively? Use LinkedIn in your job search? Get ideas from friends and other contacts? Our Find a Graduate Job leaflet gives you an insight in to different strategies in job hunting.

What else is there to say but the best of luck in your search and maybe I will see you for lunch in Bath or Bristol soon!

good-luck-1200588_960_720

 

Graduate Fair Blog Series: The many ways of getting into teaching!

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📥  Advice, Careers Fairs, Graduate Jobs, inspire, Sector Insight, Subject Related Careers, Tips & Hints

 

Teacher Facing Pupils In High School Science Class Infront Of A Whiteboard

This blog entry is a part of the Graduate Fair Blog Series introducing sectors and industries which will be present at the University of Bath Graduate Fair, Tuesday 25th April. Please go here for more information about the fair and the employers present.


I wanted to become a teacher once. I am from a family of teachers so that may have influenced me, but I also like to teach, to relay ideas, inspiration and motivation to an audience or work together with students to find solutions. Do you feel the same?

In the UK there are several ways to become a primary or a secondary teacher, and this blog entry will summarize the different ways and give you additional resources to research whether any one of these pathways is the right one for you. You can also get free help and support from Department for Education, such as one-to-one tailored support in the application process and getting you help with regards to finding work experience in schools. Take advantage of their expertise.


Department for Education will be present at the Graduate Fair. This is a great chance for you to talk to someone about all the different routes available and the differences in applications. Do not miss this opportunity!


teaching3

Training options

You can choose whether your training option is school-led, meaning that your training will be based in a school, or you can choose your training to be at a University. There are also several specialist training options.

  • School – led training

This option is for students who wants to get hands-on training and are not afraid to try out their skills from day one. You’ll get the chance to work in at least two different schools and learn from experienced colleagues. These courses generally lasts for a year and most places do also offer a PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education). School-led courses are referred to as SCITT (School-Centred Initial Teaching Training) or Schools Direct.

Find more information about this option, go here.

  • University-led postgraduate training

This postgraduate training option is based at a University. University training lasts normally one year full-time or two years’ part-time. Your training will be taught by your University colleagues. You will also spend time in schools, a minimum of 24 weeks which will improve your practical teaching skills. Your training will lead to a PGCE.

For more information about this option, go here.

Other specialists training options:

With the support of partner schools, businesses and universities, Teach First trains its participants to be effective teachers and leaders in schools in low-income areas. Their leadership programme (LDP) combines teacher training and a fully funded postgraduate diploma in Education (PGDE), which is twice the credits of a PGCE. You need a 2:1 to apply.

If you want to learn more about Teach First – go to their website.


Teach First will be at our Graduate Fair. Take this chance to ask any questions you may have about this graduate programme!


There are also other great specialist training options, such as Researchers in School (for PhD researchers that have submitted their doctorate before the beginning of the programme).

Read more about other specialist training programmes here.

 

funding


Funding

There is a lot of excellent funding opportunities for you out there and you can get a bursary of up to £25.000! This depends on your degree background, subjects you will be teaching and your degree marks. Department for Education has an excellent webpage covering the different funding opportunities.

Additional Resources:

Read about different job roles in education on Prospects and read about the teaching sector.

TargetJobs - Would a career in teaching and education suit me?

 

 

 

Graduate Fair Blog Series: Careers in the IT and Technology Sector

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📥  Advice, Career Choice, Careers Fairs, Careers Resources, Graduate Jobs, Subject Related Careers, Tips & Hints

 

Pictures circling around Pacific Islander woman's head

This blog entry is a part of the Graduate Fair Blog Series introducing sectors and industries which will be present at the University of Bath Graduate Fair, Tuesday 25th April. Please go here for more information about the fair and the employers present.


The Sector

The IT & technology sector is thriving as never before. Employers are desperate for high-skilled graduates, often from any discipline, as the demand for skilled workers do not match the amount of work available. Meanwhile, the Experis Tech Cities Job Watch report for the second quarter of 2016 notes that the skills shortage covers five main disciplines: IT security, cloud computing, mobile, big data and web development. Even though a degree in Computer Science will be an advantage and some jobs do require a degree, some organisations will have a preference for those who studied a STEM subject (that is, science, maths, technology or engineering). Other jobs require only an interest and understanding of IT and technology and you will learn the necessary skills on the job. Problem-solving, being good at collaboration with colleagues and communication are key skills needed.

The Careers

With an interest in IT and technology or a computer science degree you have a wealth of different careers on your fingertips. With an additional interest in business and technology, you may thrive as a consultant or work as an analyst in the financial industry. On the other hand, maybe you will thrive more as a games developer or a web developer? There are also many jobs where a computer science degree or an understanding of IT and technology is useful, such as becoming a teacher or a social media manager.

Look at Prospects for a closer look on different job roles within IT & Technology.

The Employers

Common employers are IT consultancies or IT providers but you can get jobs in pretty much all sectors including healthcare, defence, agriculture, public sector and more, as everywhere needs an IT and technology specialist. There are many opportunities in major companies and SMEs (smaller to medium enterprises), however be aware that there are also many start up tech companies which may require your skills.


There are  several employers at out Graduate Fair with roles within IT and technology, some require a computer science or STEM degree, others are looking for students from any degree disciplines, please check the programme which will be available from early April. Employers include: Sword Apak, Data Interconnect, Bath Spa University, Office for National Statistics, Global Kubrick Group, Rise Technical Recruitment, Global, Thought Provoking Consulting, The Phoenix Partnership and more. Check here for further information about these employers.


Getting work experience and qualifications in these areas - whether it be learning specific programming languages or doing a summer internship or placement - will put you in prime position to start you career in the sector.

Interested to read more?

If you are still interested here are some good articles for you to learn more:

The benefits of working in information technology

Getting a graduate job in IT and technology - the basics

Overview of the IT sector in the UK

 

 

Graduate Fair Blog Series: World Social Work Day 2017 - do you feel inspired?

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📥  Advice, Career Choice, Careers Fairs, Careers Resources, Sector Insight, Subject Related Careers

world social work day

This blog entry is a part of the Graduate Fair Blog Series introducing sectors and industries which will be present at the University of Bath Graduate Fair, Tuesday 25th April. Please go here for more information about the fair and the employers present.


World Social Work Day was on Tuesday 21st March. Twitter was full of thanks for the hard work that social workers do and how much their work is valued.  Inspired by the quotes and the images from #WSWD17 I am writing a short blog entry giving you some information and links that will support you in deciding whether social work is the right career path for you.

What is social work?

The British Association of Social Workers describes it as:

Social work is a profession that is centred around people - from babies through to older people. The BASW Code of Ethics defines social work using the international definition of social work.

Social workers work with individuals and families to help improve outcomes in their lives. This may be helping to protect vulnerable people from harm or abuse or supporting people to live independently. Social workers support people, act as advocates and direct people to the services they may require. Social workers often work in multi-disciplinary teams alongside health and education professionals.

Where do you work?

You can work in a variety of organisations, from local authorities working with children or adults to NHS Trusts and other private or public sector organisations. You can work with a range of different people such as children, older people, refugees and asylum-seekers, the homeless, people with drug addiction and many more. Where people need support, a social worker is usually needed.

How do you become a social worker?

There are different routes to becoming a social worker. You can take a social work undergraduate degree or a postgraduate two year master’s degree. There may be bursaries but this changes year by year and you will need to research whether funding is available for you.  Two fast-track schemes also exist. Step-Up is an intensive full-time training programme that covers everything trainee social workers need to know in 14 months and is funded. Frontline is a two year funded full-time training programme, benefitting from intensive practical and academic training.


NB Frontline will be at our graduate fair in April! Take advantage of having social work experts at the fair and ask any questions you may have!


You can find more information on routes into social work here.

What you should think about before making a decision to become a social worker

  • The challenges of social work

Being a social worker is not an easy job, it is emotionally demanding and you often see a negative view of social workers in the media. Positive stories are rarely shared.  You need to be resilient and have a good support network around you to be able to successfully be a social worker. A good supporting network at work and at home is vital. Many students go into social work because they want to make a difference. Because you want to make a difference you are in a danger of putting all your time and energy into the work day and may quickly feel the effects of stress. A heavy workload is normal,  you need to be creative and adaptable to change and be prepared to have good time management skills. This is not a straight 9 to 5 job as you may have a lot of assessments to write up after your working day.

  • The rewards of social work

Social work is not known as a profession where you get a lot of rewards, however social workers value their position as someone who can support people in a crisis and help them back on track, help people achieve their goals and be able to see for themselves when progress is being made. This can be as little as support someone with severe anxiety go outside for a dog-walk to helping someone to turn their life around from a life of adolescent crime to be a valued member of his or her community. It is important for a social worker to remember the successes as a small change supported by a social worker can be a massive change for the client he or she helps.

You can read some examples of the rewards of social work here.

How to learn more about the world of social work

To be able to start your study you are expected to have an awareness of the challenges and rewards of the social work profession and for the postgraduate degree you will need to have some experience. You can get this by researching, volunteering or gaining paid work, and talking to people in the profession. Attend relevant employer events on campus, attend any events put on by professional bodies or Step-Up and Frontline, such as our graduate fair in April, see if there are any relevant volunteering opportunities by contacting Volunteering Centre, speak to your academics, and see if there are any social workers in your network of family and friends. You are also welcome to come and see a Careers Adviser with any questions you may have.

Asking, learning, volunteering and listening will help you decide whether this is the right career path for you. Read through additional information on University of Bath Bsc Social Work,  Prospects and The Association of British Social Workers

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Battling nerves before an interview

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📥  Advice, Careers Resources, Interviews, Tips & Hints

nervous

It is natural to feel nervous in front of an interview, but sometimes it can all feel a bit too much. Here are some tips that I follow and that I hope can help you battle those nerves.

Preparation

This is an obvious one but the more you prepare, the better you will feel on the day. Make sure you read the personal criteria or person specification for the job and practise answering questions about the competencies listed. Read through our leaflet for advice on different type of interviews and how to best answer questions.

Brainstorm examples to use, write them down and then practise answering them out loud. Practise with a friend, with your careers adviser or use our Interview Stream software.

In addition, research the company and employer and come up with good reasons why you want to work there.

Be healthy

Get a good night’s sleep! Stay in the night before, watching a feel good movie so you go to sleep with a smile on your face. Being up all night doing last minute cramming won’t look good on your skin and lack of sleep may make you forget all the important points you remembered during the night. Avoid too much caffeine and make sure you eat a good breakfast.

Arrive early

Don’t get extra stressed because a train gets cancelled or a bus does not turn up. Arrive early and instead go for a walk around the area or sit at a café. Getting unduly stressed because of circumstances outside your control won’t help your nerves!

Breathing exercises

If you are feeling your nerves and anxiety are going out of control, try breathing exercises. These can be done in the morning at home, on the train, in the bathroom before you head in for the interview. They work for me, I hope they can work for you. NHS tells you how. Getting into the practice of meditation may also help.

Warm up your voice and body

I feel doing some exercise of the voice and body prepares the whole you for the interview ahead, this has worked for me several times. I have even written another blog post about it. Try it out and see if it works for you!

Be yourself

Don’t try and be someone you are not. Acting or talking like another person won’t be good for your nerves or your confidence. The employer is interested in who you are, not just the skills or the degree you have, show your personal energy and enthusiasm.

If none of this works and you need extra support....

Go and see a Careers Adviser to talk about strategies in how to deal with confidence or nerves during an interview. Together we can look at your experiences and skills to date and support you in articulating them well, giving  you more confidence in your skills and abilities. We also have a lot additional resources for you to read through.

If there are other reasons for why you are feeling anxious or you are feeling low on self-esteem, please go and see the Well-being team. Talk through what is going on in your life that are making you anxious.

We are here to support you!

 

 

 

 

Virtual Reality – coming to your assessment centre soon?

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📥  Advice, Applications, Graduate Jobs, Interviews, Tips & Hints

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I remember when I first put on those Virtual Reality (VR) headsets, it blew me away! Just to clarify, I am not a gamer at all, the closest I have come to playing a game has been playing free games on my phone! I am, however, a massive sci-fi fan so the idea of being immersed into a virtual universe did appeal to me. Maybe it was this interest that made the journey into the VR universe so natural for me. Saying that, recent research states that 95% of people trying out VR say the same. It seems so real that you automatically act the way you would have done in the real world. Maybe this fact is why employers now are researching using VR in recruitment processes and at least one employer is already using it in some assessment centres. So what do you, as students, need to know?

What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual Reality typically refers to computer technologies that use software to generate the realistic images, sounds and other sensations that replicate a real environment (or create an imaginary setting), and simulate a user's physical presence in this environment (taken from wikipedia).

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For Virtual Reality to work you put on a headset which covers your eyes and ears completely, you are unable to see or hear the outside world. You only see the simulated environment in front of you. With the help of handsets you are able to move around the environment and complete tasks. You have a small space to move around in and the software prevents you from walking too far outside the zone (don’t worry, the likelihood of crashing into walls is low). It is currently mainly used for gaming as it gives the user the feeling of being fully immersed in the game.

Why are more and more employers researching the use of VR in recruitment processes?

Employers would like to be able assess a candidate’s authentic capabilities in doing the job. Compared to competency-based questions, where a candidate can prepare answers which not necessarily are all authentic, the VR environment is unexpected and can’t be prepared for. As research shows that the large majority of people trying out VR acts like they would do in real life, this means that employers can easier match the candidate skills and strengths with the job in question.

Employers are also researching using VR as a way for applicants to get a real feel for a company, how it is to work there, which goes beyond just looking at the website or the interview setting.  Companies would like to show their prospective employees how great it is to work there and VR may help with just that. VR can introduce you to the office, you may get a tour of the building,  meet your co-workers, be introduced to job tasks and real-life business scenarios. You may even be invited to an after work social event through VR! In an article Deutsche Bahn states they use VR to give potential employees the chance to “experience” different jobs on offer before they apply, for example looking over the shoulder of an electrician or a train driver.

It is already in use!

As stated above, several companies are using VR as a way of introducing their companies to potential applicants. In addition, VR in recruitment is already in use by at least one graduate recruiter, which started using VR in their assessment centre selection for their IT and digital graduate schemes in autumn 2017.

They says this on their website:

“By using Virtual Reality the assessor will be able to present situations to candidates that would otherwise be unfeasible in the conventional assessment process. The candidate will have complete freedom of movement within a 360 degree virtual world and will be able to move virtual objects using tracked motion controls. Although the Group cannot disclose what potential graduates can expect to do in the assessment centre, so as to not provide candidates with an advantage, the puzzles they will be tasked with will be designed to demonstrate the strengths and capabilities required of the Group’s future leaders.”

In addition, other companies are considering using VR in their recruitment to better assess candidates’ strengths and cognitive abilities. Although we do not know whether VR will be used by other companies, its popularity is increasing and therefore more may follow..

How can you prepare for VR?

I think it would be hard to prepare for a VR assessment. The employer won’t assume you have used it before, so you should get good instructions in how to use it before you start your tasks. As the employer would like to find a candidate that matches the skills and strengths they are looking for, I believe the best preparation is to be yourself and complete the tasks as you would do naturally. If you have a friend that has VR at home, then you can always ask them for a go, although be aware that the tasks set in the assessment centre probably will be different from VR gaming.

Be open and enthusiastic about it on the day, be yourself and enjoy the experience!

Additional articles for you to explore:

University of Warwick has written an excellent blog article about Virtual Reality.

Two other interesting articles:

https://www.cornerstoneondemand.com/rework/latest-recruiting-tool-virtual-reality

http://www.wired.co.uk/article/vr-interviews-lloyds-banking