Hold the phone, a scientist completing the Cardiff Award? Post by Sum Mistry

SumYou read that title right there ladies and gents, a scientist wanting to complete the Cardiff Award. Not just any scientist, I’m a neuroscientist…I like all things brain and nervous system. What on earth are you doing you crazy fool I hear you say…Actually I’m making the best out of a situation which appears to be the ever increasing state in Science.

If you look to a career beyond the undergraduate level in science you are faced with a number of decisions. Research is undoubtedly one of those decisions, but it isn’t for everyone necessarily. If you look to the stats of it all (yes I know I hate stats too), the number of students who go on to get a PhD in whatever discipline in science it is, is not that large. Furthermore, if you go beyond that PhD level, what awaits you then? If like me you are at an age where you want security, you want to know you have a stable job and salary, that isn’t likely to be the case. The number of lectureship or fellowship opportunities does not increase in accordance to the number of PhD positions available. What does that therefore create? It creates a market where you have all these amazing scientists with no jobs!

Enter the Cardiff Award….What I have described is by no means an isolated event. This is happening all over the world and it’s about time that people started paying some attention to it. I was dead set on getting a PhD and admittedly I now have one, but the reality of this when I started back in Feb 2014 was an uncertainty. So what does the Award offer to a science undergraduate?

The Cardiff Award has undoubtedly taken me to a whole new level in terms of the experience and knowledge I now have of the current market. You only have to look to the Guardian or TargetJobs to see what skills are lacking in current graduates (in general). You want to know the number one skill that is lacking? With a resounding 67% of graduates lacking it, it’s commercial awareness. Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t know what commercial awareness was when I started and more to the point, I didn’t really think that it would necessarily be applicable to me. I mean come on, I’m going into a university setting, not a business… Back track just one second though, isn’t a university technically a business? They charge you tuition fees and then go and invest in their own means of improving the university. So in essence, yes a university institute is a business and so you need to tune into that fact.

The most recent example of commercial awareness that may be the case to those who face the task of attempting to get onto PhD schemes was my interview. I got offered an interview at the MRC Centre in the Hayden Ellis Building. Commercial awareness is vital in this interview because you need to understand :  what has the institute done recently? What are some of their key publications? How does the institute plan to move forward and therefore what am I able to give them that fits in with all of this? So, from a science point of view, suddenly you have to switch to smart business mode.

I don’t doubt that I would have read up the odd paper had I not done the Award, but what I can say is that doing this Award made me a damn site more aware of what I needed to do if I wanted to secure this PhD.

I have just done my final presentation and so am eagerly awaiting to know if I have passed the Award…but the one thing irrespective of that, is that I now have a wider context and idea of what to do if science isn’t my calling. The Award has given me the confidence to say “look here are my skills, they might not be the typical employee skills you would normally be faced with seeing, but they are transferable.” It’s the transferable bit that you should pay attention to. When they ask you “what you can bring?”, you make sure you brag about personal development as a result of the Award and how you are now armed with an arsenal of skills that makes you the ideal candidate for them!

So if you are doing a science related degree, think for one second if after graduation you are aware of what is out there. Do you realise what the market is doing, where research is going, where science is going to take you? Above and beyond that, make sure you take advantage of what the Award can do for you, it isn’t a decision that I regret and I am genuinely a better person now because of it.

Thanks for reading, hope it helped bring an insight to you that isn’t the “I love EY and I want to go and work for them” perspective.


Sum =D

The end draws near…

New Logo


It’s been a long and very busy year. Dissertation, essays and extra-curricular activities mean that I’ve been kept working hard, but its been worth it. Alongside this, I’ve been slowly working towards my Cardiff Award and last week I was able to hand in my final submissions.

The Cardiff Award has been a fantastic experience, allowing me to meet and work with a variety of major employers. It’s enabled me to work on my commercial awareness and business sense, which is vital as a humanities student. As well as this, I’ve learnt a great deal about how my transferable degree skills can be applied to the workplace and how best I can demonstrate this to an employer through a variety of ways.

downloadThe Award has taught me the effectiveness of using social media in a job hunt. It’s something that can often be overlooked which is surprising considering how almost everybody is now involved in some sort of social media. Many people neglect this in searching for graduate roles, whether that be through inappropriate use of social media or simply not using it as an excellent communication tool directly to employers. One of the main aspects of this has been through LinkedIn where Cardiff Award sessions demonstrated how best to utilise this amazing platform as an impending graduate and how I can use this in my job hunt.

Even outside of the main Cardiff Award sessions, it inspired me to take on a variety of extra-curricular activities to help build up my hours requirements. I began taking German lessons as part of the university’s exciting new ‘Languages for All’ program as well as continuing with my sporting responsibilities as captain of a football team and member of the ice hockey society. Whilst initially I did not think of these as things that would help me in my search for employment, the Cardiff Award taught me that activities such as these help develop valuable workplace skills such as communication and leadership and I have been able to address this properly and demonstrate it to employers.

CV photo EH1This was done most effectively through a massive revamp of my CV as a result of the Award. Sessions with CareerCake’s Aimee Bateman and career consultations have helped me revise my CV to truly demonstrate the skill-set and experience at my disposal, something which was severely lacking before the Award. I had a moment of realisation whilst sorting out my final submission when I read an old CV I had printed off. I had not really gained any workplace experience or such since I last wrote the CV but it did not represent what I had to offer an employer. I can now confidently hand out my CV knowing that it represents me both as a person and as an employee, and this is something I have the Cardiff Award to thank.

Next week I will be giving a final presentation to a selection of employers and Cardiff Award staff. I am genuinely excited at the prospect of being able to discuss and display how the Cardiff Award has changed me and how I can employ this in the workplace. My degree and my stint in the Cardiff Award may be coming to an end but they have taught me so many skills that have developed me into a more rounded person. Most of all, they have taught me the skill of learning and development, the most valuable one that I will leave the institution with.

If you’re reading this, wondering whether or not to apply to the Cardiff Award, then I hope by now you realise what a valuable experience it could be. Don’t turn this opportunity away!


Make sure you apply to The Cardiff Award!

Make sure you apply to The Cardiff Award!

Cardiff Awards Creative Industries Networking Event – A night to remember


On hearing about the Cardiff Award’s Creative Industries networking event I was extremely excited to be given the opportunity to listen and meet such recognised individuals. For those of you who don’t know, the Creative Industries consists of different aspects such as the music, TV and art world. ‘Creative’ being the most important word.

Cardiff Award Creative Industries Event 2015

Cardiff Award Creative Industries Event 2015

At the Cardiff Award event there was a variety of guest speakers to reflect the different parts of the Creative Industry. These included Toby Mott a second year Cardiff Univeristy JOMEC undergraduate student, Polly James – Breakfast DJ on Capital FM, Kate Anderson – Account Executive at Brighter Comms, Jen Tippet – Journalist at the Sun Newspaper, David Sansom – proprietor of the ‘Gallery in the Square’, Juliette Nicholls Imaging/S&P Producer for the Heart Network and Amy Pay – Programme Planner at Made in Cardiff TV.

All of these speakers were inspiring, each having their own career stories to tell. Glancing at the panel and their positions was firstly intimidating to say the least, and left me personally wondering if I could carve a career half as good! However, as the night began I started to realise that all on the panel have started in similar positions. One of the key themes that flowed throughout the event was that resilience is essential. You have to be able to take the negatives with the positives. Perseverance will help you to attain the career you desire.

Some key points for people who are considering working in the radio industry was to not bevideocamera afraid to start in a position that isn’t necessarily the job you desire. Both Polly James and Juliette Nicholls began working as promotional staff within their respective radio stations. Helping a radio station out can “put your foot in the door” of that company. This is relevant to any job you are seeking. Similarly the television industry is also about gaining as much experience as possible. This can then go onto help you make further applications to different work experience or permanent jobs, and shows a hard working, willing applicant. For people working in print Jen Tippet discussed how working at a news agency can help you to require the skills you will need to become a successful journalist. She also said that it was important to “take a punt” and don’t hold back when it comes to your dream of working in the Creative Industries.

After the speakers told us of their experiences working within the Creative Industry sector theregraduate hat was a Q and A session. Although many of the speakers had also completed degrees, some in Cardiff University itself, many of them focused on the need for work experience. They went on to explain that work experience, although many go unpaid, leaves you with life-long skills which are invaluable! As Toby Mott said once you gain one work placement it creates a “snowballing” effect creating more opportunities within the Creative Industries.

Looking for work experience just so you have something to put on your CV is not the right way to do it. Passion and drive to succeed during your work placement can, as some of the panellists proved, lead to permanent positions.

smile-famous-quotes-sayings1One of the top tips that was given by Kate Anderson was to smile, be happy and hard-working during your work placement or intern-ship. Many of the panellist who have had interns come into their companies commented on how much of a difference this makes, it showcases your willingness to learn and appreciation of the experience.

Another top tip that I will always try and remember came from David Sansom, to have no fear and believe in yourself. Although many of us may be stuck in a tidal wave of application forms and essays, we shouldn’t be afraid of applying to things that we dream of doing! As Amy Pay explained you will never know unless you try your very best, and your very best means putting yourself out there. Giving people a face to go with your name is vital. In such a technology lead environment personal touches can mean a lot!

One thing throughout the event was clear all of the panellist were extremely passionate about working in the Creative Industries “Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life”.

New LogoThe Cardiff Award would also like to thank all of the brilliant panellists for attending and providing such a great insight into the Creative Industries!

Thank you for reading,

Meaghan Crancher

(@Cranchermeg )

Deadlines Approaching: CVs and Application Forms

Hello all,

As my time with The Cardiff Award is coming to a close the deadline for our CVs and applicationNew Logo forms is fast approaching. For many Cardiff Award students this can induce a crazed panic, however if you attended the session held by Kath Foot, you would of left the building reassured and guided in the right direction.

Here are just a few tips that were set out at this session for those of you who couldn’t make it or need a recap!

Firstly the most important detail – the date! CV and application form submission must be handed in by the 9th of March at 12 noon (also the same date/time for activity form submission). These need to be emailed to the awards email address (the one we send you emails from), they should be entitled ‘Cardiff Award Submission’. Just like any job application you need to get these in on time!


Now if you are anything like me, CVs can seem like the most mind numbing process but it doesn’t have to be that way!! You are attempting to sell yourself as potential asset to a business, remember your CVs content and layout can make a huge difference. Always be willing to regularly update it.

For the Cardiff Award a two page CV is all that is required. Don’t let that seem like it makes it an easier task, many Cardiff Award students will find this hard as you all are involved in many different things. What the Cardiff Award would recommend is not to over use “I”, we know your CV is about you, you don’t need to repeat this. Also, we would also suggest that you stick to 17-35 words per sentence. A recent study found that recruiters only spend 6.25 seconds looking at an applicants CV before deciding  whether or not the role will suit the candidate. You do not want to put off a recruiter by including large paragraphs throughout your CV.

One last tip on CVs is always, always use spell check and then check again yourself!

Application Form:

Application forms can be just as stressful as CVs, as they usually require real life examples fromaward-marc-2 the candidate. The Cardiff Award application forms are available in Learning Central in the assessment folder. There are two questions each require a maximum of a 200 word answer.

These questions are:

  1. Describe a challenging project, activity or event, which you have planned and taken through to conclusion.  What were the challenges and how did you overcome them.  What, if anything, would you do differently next time?
  2. Give an example of when you have worked in a team?  How did you contribute to the team’s success?

When answering these questions we recommend using the STAR model. STAR; stands for “Situation, Task, Action, Result”. This model will help you to breakdown your questions andI enable you to give us a concise answer. You can also use the STAR model for future application forms!

Using a examples that are specific and relevant to you is important as we can see how you dealt with them.

Of course, like the CV correct spelling is essential!

Hopefully this information helps you with your Cardiff Award submissions and future job prospects!

Thanks for reading, Meg x









Survey Findings Link: http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2014/03/17/the-best-and-worst-words-to-use-on-your-resume/

The all new Cardiff Global Award

AwNew Logoard HQ has been rather busy lately, last week we brought you news of the new Enterprise strand that has just been developed.  Today I am excited to reveal another strand: The Global Award and we need students for our pilot commencing in March…

The Cardiff Global Award supports you to develop global skills through participation in cultural experiences both home and abroad.

What’s it all about?

It focuses on giving participants the opportunity to develop their skills by participating in activities abroad.   This will help to develop a set of skills to help you to become a ‘global graduate’; increasing your employability and social mobility.

Employers are serious about social mobility.  They are increasingly seeking to recruit ‘global graduates’ – graduates who see the world through a wider lens and who can demonstrate both global knowledge and cultural agility.

The Global Award is part of the University’s Internationalisation Strategy.  It aims to encourage student mobility and to support students who want to spend their professional training year abroad, who want to participate in mobility schemes such as ERASMUS and seek opportunities through the Global Opportunities Centre or independently.  Its aim is to enable students to see the value of such activities on their own employability and equip them with the necessary skills to succeed in the global marketplace.

 When is it?

The Cardiff Global Award will start from March 2015. You will complete the Award in the December following your return from your activities abroad.

Who can take part?

The Cardiff Global Award is open to all current 1st, 2nd and penultimate year undergraduates across all disciplines.  You must be thinking about or have arranged work experience/study/volunteering/paid work abroad.

What do I have to do?

To participate in the Cardiff Global Award, you will need to undertake at least 40 hours of skill-developing activities abroad. You must also be involved in activities that involve working cross-culturally. E.g.:

  • Activities arranged via Global Opportunities (such as ERASMUS/Study China)
  • Work experience/study abroad as part of your course
  • Independently arranged work experience abroad (e.g..Camp America/UNA Exchange)
  • Cultural activities at home such as society work where members are from different backgrounds and cultures
  • A language ambassador
  • International ambassador
  • Working with international students
  • Involvement in the Student Unions’ GO Global Event

You will also need to undertake some additional activities including a small number of compulsory workshops (pre and post departure).  These sessions focus on developing cultural awareness, as well as understanding and selling your skills.

What do I get out of it? 

Successful completion of the Cardiff Global Award will give you:

  • A good understanding of what it means to be a global graduate.
  • Development or global skills  to enhance your CV and LinkedIn profile.
  • An understanding of the skills sought by employers.
  • Practical examples to provide to future employers or to help you further develop your own ideas.
  • Improved self-confidence and self-awareness.

How is it assessed?

To pass The Cardiff Global Award you are required to:

  • Undertake at least 70 hours of extra/co-curricular activities at home and abroad.
  • Complete a Skills Audit at the beginning and end of the process (this will help you identify strengths and weaknesses and will aid your reflection as you approach the end of the Award).
  • Undertake a set number of personal development sessions.
  • Present written submissions to evidence your learning,  1) Produce a career-focussed CV, 2)  complete a competency based application form, 3) Deliver a 10 minute presentation to a panel.

You will be given lots more information about each of these requirements and given support to complete the activities when needed. The Cardiff Award - Global How it Works

How to apply

Send an email (no more than 300 words) to cardiffaward@cardiff.ac.uk by March 6th, with the following information:

  • Your course name, year of study and student ID number.
  • Why you want to participate in the Cardiff Global Award and what you hope to get out of it.
  • What activities you think you have already planned or  might undertake to complete the Award, including any relevant societies or groups you are a member of.

Can’t wait to hear from you…

Speak soon



Roleplay with Frontline – by Lauren Evetts


My role-play skills were okay, but they weren’t great. Last summer I was unsuccessful in applying for a graduate scheme after attending an assessment centre. I feel that, had I been better in the role-play activity, I might have got the job. So when I found out last November that Frontline was holding a workshop to improve role-playing skills, I decided to go along.

group workKatie, Frontline’s Recruitment Director, was very friendly and made everyone feel comfortable straight away. Because there were only a few of us, she suggested that we move from the lecture-style seating and make an informal circle at the front. We spent a few minutes discussing our various experiences with role play and assessment centres and got to know each other a bit better.

We then watched a short video which showed a Frontline applicant taking part in a role-play at the assessment centre. The applicant was on the phone to her ‘manager’ and had to tell her that she had not completed a vital report because she was overwhelmed with her workload. Because we weren’t involved in the activity and could see it through the eyes of a third person, it was easy to critique the applicant’s approach. She seemed reluctant to admit that she had not completed the report, instead emphasising how busy she was. From this, I learned that it is always best to get to the point straight away. However, she was also quick to think of ways to resolve the situation, which showed me that it is good to think outside what you are being asked to do and consider possible solutions to the ‘problem’ you are given. I also saw that the ‘manager’ was careful to re-clarify what the applicant was saying, which helped her get to the point, and showed support by agreeing to the suggested solutions. It was interesting to see a role play from this perspective.

After discussing the video, we broke up into groups of three and acted out our own role plays. downloadWe were given three scenarios, and in each of these one person was the applicant, one person was the actor and one person was the assessor. During the first scenario I was the actor, playing against the applicant. I found it pretty tough as my applicant had to take her cues from me and I had to offer the right reactions to get her to fully explore the scenario. I was really hopeful that my applicant would reach the expected conclusions and when she did a good job I felt really happy and proud. Playing this part made me realise that the staff at assessment centres put a lot of effort into their activities and they want you to do well at them too!

I took a turn being the assessor, which again gave me the benefit of being able to see the situation from a third point of view, and then it was my turn to be the applicant. I was a little bit nervous but at this point I had seen a role play acted out twice and had also been the actor myself, so I felt I had more knowledge of how to go about it. In my scenario I was a member of staff in an independent shop and had been there for years. I had problems at home and a college course to attend in the evenings, and the manager had just gone on holiday. He had left a young member of staff in charge, who had only worked there for a few months and she had a pretty radical idea to make more money – leaving the shop open for a couple more hours each evening, which would make things difficult for me. This member of staff and I had to have a discussion about the idea. Katie played the other member of staff and I found it very easy to get into. We explored all the benefits and possible negative consequences of leaving the shop open later and came up with some good solutions. In the end, our characters compromised, deciding to do a trial run. According to my assessor the role play went well as we did a good job debating different options and had approached the situation from all angles.

We got together as a group and thought about why role-play is needed in an assessment centre. It is something every graduate dreads and seems to be a lot of effort for everyone involved. The truth is, prospective employers need to see how you’d react to certain situations. And the role-play format not only makes the situation seem more real, but is a good way of testing how you would act under pressure. After all, in a work environment, stressful situations arise every day, and being able to deal with them confidently is important. Towards the end of the session Katie gave us some general tips on how to prepare for assessment centres so we could arrive calm and focused on the day ahead.

To conclude, we learned a bit more about Frontline and how to go about the application process. For those of you who aren’t aware of what Frontline do, they train up talented graduates to become social workers in just two years. Participants learn on the job, working closely with the people who need them most. It is challenging but also incredibly rewarding and you have the opportunity to make a real difference to people’s lives.

graduate hatThis session was very interesting, enjoyable and a good way to practice role-play in a ‘safe’ environment. A month ago I went to another Assessment Centre and I got the job. I now have a graduate scheme lined up for when I finish university. I feel that my performance was largely improved thanks to Frontline. If you get the opportunity to attend one of Frontline’s Roleplay workshops, I fully recommend it.

Thank you, Frontline, and a huge thank you to Katie.

Written by Lauren Evetts

Written by Lauren Evetts

For more information about a career with Frontline visit http://www.thefrontline.org.uk/

Introducing our brand new Award: The Enterprise Award!

enterprise header

Here at Award HQ we have some very exciting news.  We are launching a new strand: the Cardiff Enterprise Award, and we need students for our pilot commencing in March…

The Cardiff Enterprise Award supports you to develop your enterprise skills and celebrates your success in using them to launch a new project or business idea.

What’s it all about?

The “Cardiff Enterprise Award” will start in March 2015.

Enterprise is about spotting an opportunity or identifying a problem; coming up with a solution and putting it into practice. Essentially, it is about having an idea and making it happen. Enterprise skills are valuable to you whatever your future career plans.This very practical sense of putting your ideas into practice and actually doing something with them will run through the Award.

When is it?

The Cardiff Enterprise Award will run from March 2015 to March 2016. Applications need to be submitted by Sunday 1st March 2015.

Who can take part?

The Cardiff Enterprise Award is open to all current 1st and 2nd year Undergraduates across all disciplines.

What do I have to do?

To participate in the Cardiff Award: Enterprise, you will need to spend some time through the Award developing and implementing your own project, socially enterprising idea or business. This could be anything from

  • planning and running a new event for your society
  • Organising and running an event to raise funds for a charity
  • developing a fundraising campaign for your sports club
  • running a project to meet an identified need in the local community
  • or starting your own business part-time.

You can develop your project or business on your own or as part of a team. If you are a member of a team you will need to demonstrate that you personally had a role in developing and driving the project.

Your project or business idea doesn’t need to be able to change the world, but it should take a new and innovative approach. If you are unsure if a particular activity will be eligible, please get in touch with the Award team for guidance.

You will also need to undertake some additional activities such as a small number of compulsory workshops and at least 2 enterprise-focused events or competitions.

What do I get out of it? 

Successful completion of the Cardiff Enterprise Award will give you:

  • A good understanding of the process of implementing your own ideas
  • Development or practical skills  to put on your CV.
  • An understanding of the skills sought by employers.
  • Practical examples to provide to future employers or to help you further develop your own ideas.
  • Improved self-confidence and self-awareness.

How is it assessed?

To pass The Cardiff Enterprise Award you are required to:

  • Undertake at least 70 hours of enterprise-focused extra/co-curricular activities and develop your own project or business idea (see below for further details)
  • Complete a Skills Audit at the beginning and end of the process (this will help you identify strengths and weaknesses and will aid your reflection as you approach the end of the Award).
  • Undertake a set number of personal development sessions including a small number of compulsory sessions.
  • Present written submissions to evidence your learning, specifically in relation to the skills and competencies listed below:  1) Complete a Business Model Canvas (a one page business/project plan) and 2)  a competency based application form.
  • Present your project or business idea (whether complete or in development) in a 3 minute pitch.

You will be given lots more information about each of these requirements and given support to complete the activities when needed. 

How to apply

Send an email (no more that 300 words) to enterprise@cardiff.ac.uk with the following information:

  • your course name, year of study and student ID number
  • why you want to participate in the Cardiff Enterprise Award and what you hope to get out of it
  • What activities you think you might undertake to complete the Award, including any relevant societies or groups you are a member of. eg developing a project to raise funds for your society, test trading a new business idea, working on a project in the local community etc

Don’t worry if you don’t know what project you might undertake just yet, we can help you to develop your ideas.

Can’t wait to hear from you…

Speak soon


Become a University Mentor, they are recruiting NOW!

Being a student may mean making some great new friends, having an awesome social and sporting life, having some unique experiences and of course getting a degree! However, not all students find it easy settling in straight away. Everything is new, many students are living independently for the first time, lectures and new ways of learning can be daunting and orientation around the campus and city has its challenges. But here at Cardiff University many of our first years get to fast track this ordeal with the help and insider knowledge from Student Mentors!

The Student Mentor programme is recruiting now.  If you have just joined the Award and are looking for ideas for hours then this is perfect!  Iyou do fancy becoming part of the Cardiff University Mentor Community you will need to complete an 5-students-socialising-270x152application form and selection interview.  The application form is available here, and needs returning before 12 noon on March 2nd.  Mentoring and the Award go hand-in-hand, as the hours contribute towards the Award, and the Award allows you to recognise the valuable skills you develop as a result of this important and rewarding role.  Don’t just take my word for it, Ryan and Matt are currently on the Award and are Mentors, see what they have to say: 


 “The Cardiff Award is a great way to enhance your CV, as well as gaining the valuable employability skills that graduate employers look for. The student mentor scheme goes hand in hand with the Cardiff Award. It contributes to the hours required for the Cardiff Award, and also allows you to develop the skills that the Cardiff Award requires you to demonstrate.

The student mentor scheme is easy to fit into your timetable, regardless how busy you are, it requires 1 to 2 hours a week maximum and the Student Mentor team are always there if you need any help.

I would highly recommend both the Student Mentor Scheme and the Cardiff Award to all students. If you want to make the most out of the opportunities the University has to offer and develop crucial employability skills that will help you stand out against other graduates, then these schemes are for you.”   Ryan Farr, Accounting and Finance Student Mentor and Cardiff Award.


“Being a Student Mentor has allowed me to give back to Cardiff University. I have enjoyed sharing my knowledge with first year students who I know will have the same uncertainties I experienced in my first year. Furthermore, in my second year I was selected to become a Mentor Consultant. Essentially, this paid role means I mentor the Mentors (ironic I know). Overall, it have been a rewarding experience which I am glad to have been a part of, especially as the scheme continues to grow year on year.

In addition to this, the Mentoring scheme goes hand-in-hand with the Cardiff Award. As a recommendation, if you are thinking about being involved in one scheme, I would also suggest joining the other. As well as enhancing my personal and professional skills, my role as a Mentor and a Mentor Consultant contributes to the 70+ extracurricular hours required for the Award. Developing employability skills is the overall aim of the Cardiff Award and is widely recognised by several international firms who are partners of the Award; including EY, IBM and Enterprise, amongst others. The struggle of getting a job, which all students eventually face in their final year, is made a lot easier by joining these schemes. And they’re free to join. So don’t delay…”  Matt Blackburn-Smith, Business Management Student Mentor & Cardiff Award

Don’t forget the deadline to apply to this amazing programme is 12 noon, March 2nd.  The application form is available here.  




Cardiff University Social Science student, Clare Tomkins shortlisted for a major industry award

nue awards 15This Friday is the 6th annual National Undergraduate Employability Awards (NUE Awards).  The Awards are organised by Cardiff Award sponsors, RMP Enterprise and the prestigious event is sponsored by PwC, as well as supported by like-minded thought leaders, the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) and Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS).  The NUE Awards are also run in association with The Guardian in order to raise awareness of the importance of undergraduate employability within the industry.

The Awards showcase the outstanding achievements of organisations, universities and students in undergraduate work experience. The Awards reflect the increasing pool of undergraduate work experience schemes in the market which are on offer for first and second year students across a variety of industries; including placements, internships, vacation schemes and insights.

As RMP are Award sponsors, I get to take 1 lucky Award student to this event.  It is a big deal in the graduate recruitment world and subsequently attracts a large number of graduate recruiters  This year’s lucky winner Sophie Timbers will have the opportunity to talk to them and gain useful contacts that will aid her future career, as well as honing her networking skills.

10.05.13Cardiff Award presentation evening at Cardiff City HallThis year is even more special as Cardiff Award mentor, past Award student and final year Social Scientist Clare Tomkins has been shortlisted for an award – an AMAZING achievement!  I nominated Clare as I was informed of the impact she had on the organisation where she undertook her placement year.  Clare worked in HR for Award sponsors Champions Life Academy and became indispensable!  Improving administrative systems, generating income and developing a social media strategy that impacted positively on the business.  I am so proud of Clare and am delighted to be able to be with her this Friday, and hopefully see her collect the winning trophy and cash prize!  Clare is in the category: Best Student Contribution to a Small to Medium-Sized Employer.  This Award recognises the student who has exceeded expectations and genuinely made a significant impact to the small business as a whole.

Finalists include
Clare Tomkins – Champions Life Academy
George Maier – Renewal Trust
Jaesik Choi – Ecube Labs
Laura Sinclair – Caulder Moore
Mihaela Gruia – FleishmanHillard

I look forward to posting about the event next week, look out for our tweets on the day (we’ll be using #NUEAwards and maybe #GoClare!)

Thanks for reading!

Kathryn Foot

Guest Blogger: Past Award student, Barney Willis, Vice President, Societies and Campaigns.

barney dinoHi all, Kath (Award Manager) here.  This week’s guest blogger is none other than our very own Barney Willis, Vice President, Societies and Campaigns.  I first heard of Barney 2 years ago when he ran a very close campaign against Elliot (the Students’ Union President)  for the very role he is in now.  It was a close call and Barney lost out by a tiny margin.  I recall being very impressed with his memorable campaign (who could forget that big purple dinosaur!), so I was over the moon when he applied for the Award the following academic year.  I have to say it was an actual pleasure working with him too.  He went on to pass the Award with a distinction.  During his time on the Award he successfully campaigned for the role he is in now – so I still get to work with him!  Read about his Award experience:


BarneyLooking back on my time studying at Cardiff, I realise now that there were several moments when I made a decision that defined my University experience. One of these was my decision to sign up for the Cardiff Award. Initially I just wanted to take advantage of another opportunity that had come my way, as opposed to letting it slip me by but, as the programme progressed, I realised I had managed to get on to something that was going to be of immense help as I worked out who I was, and what I wanted to do with my working life. I can honestly say it pushed me, but this pressure saw me develop and I can’t overstate how much I recommend you throw yourself in!

The Cardiff Award, in case you didn’t already know, is  the University’s employability scheme that sees students complete employability workshops and training. It is designed to help students acquire the skills employers are always complaining they lack: commercial awareness, professionalism etc. and gives them a distinct edge in the employment market. Aside from that, you also get the support of amazing people such as the Award convenor Kath Foot. Her support on everything from presentation skills to my CV has helped me immensely and I can’t thank her enough.

Personally, my experience of the Award was particularly useful when I failed the presentation element and had to redo it (this is no longer a requirement but you can still improve your presentation skills by undertaking the SDS Professional Development Certificate, which counts towards the Award).   I am not overly fond of failing things and it caught me by surprise somewhat. However, with the support of the Award staff, I endeavoured to knock their socks off with my second attempt and the positive feedback from my second attempt showed me that I had learned and improved from the initial setback, a tweet from Career Guru, Aimee Bateman to me confirmed this!   It might seem odd to list this instance as a highlight but I really feel it was a moment where I found my limits and pushed them back. I simply wouldn’t have been in that situation had I just stuck to my degree.

Having completed the Award and my degree, I am now Vice President of Cardiff Students’ Union and am loving my job. As I look forward to the scary world of work, I feel far more prepared having completed the Award. I know what employers are looking for and how to word my own experiences in such a way they would appreciate. If you are on the fence about applying, I really must urge you just to go for it. If you have any questions about any aspect of the award, drop me an email on VPSocieties@cardiffstudents.com and we can go over anything that worries you.

Visit the Award team at the Refreshers Fair in the Union on Wednesday (Jan 28th 2015), if you’ve missed the boat this year they may have places left!