Welcome Cardiff Freshers 2014!

In less than 2 weeks Cardiff University welcomes thousands of new students.  If that’s you then CONGRATULATIONS!  You must be experiencing a wealth of emotions and no doubt extremely excited about what lies ahead.

You have made a great decision choosing Cardiff!  I can say that because not only did I study here myself, I loved it so much I took a job here after my graduation.

Cardiff is a great City, small enough for you not to get lost and big enough to explore.  We have something for everyone coffee shops, bars, nightclubs, culture and sport to name but a few!

Then there’s the University and,as my teenage daughter would say,OMG!  You’re going to love it. Located in heart of the City, with historic buildings, great facilities and the BEST Student’s Union. Okay, so I may be slightly biased here but it really is one of the biggest and best in the country.  It boasts an amazing elected officer team that are there to support you throughout your university life, and has undergone a major re-vamp (they have been busy creating new venues this summer and the redeveloped nightclub Y Plas is going to be amazing!).

One piece of advice I can give to you is to really get involved in the University experience.  I implore you not to just come here to study, get along to the Societies, AU and volunteering fairs that take place week commencing Monday 22nd September and get involved.    Participating in such extra-curricular activities will not only help with you the transition to University (you’ll definitely meet new people and make friends), but it will also allow you to develop a wealth of transferable skills that employers look for.  Now, I realise many of you are not thinking about graduation yet, and I don’t blame you – you need take time to settle in to University.  But, there is no denying that many that come to University would like a great job following graduation.  Getting involved in activities offered through the Union is a great way of becoming more employable, without you even realising it.

The Cardiff Award

So, if you do decide to take my advice, come and see the Cardiff Award team during Freshers (we’ll be at all the fairs), We can talk to you about how your extra-curricular activities can help develop your skills, your confidence and ultimately your employabiity; and explain how participating in the Cardiff Award will teach you how to sell the skills you develop as  result of your extra-curricular activities to future recruiters.  

 

I wanted to share with you a brief presentation, that gives reasons why you should participate in the Award – click here to view.

Don’t forget to follow the hashtag #CardiffFreshers14 for event updates and make sure you visit the Students’ Union website.

Again congratulations and I look forward to seeing some of you soon!

Kath

What’s New for The Cardiff Award? Lots Actually:

I can’t believe we are only weeks away from the start of another term!  It’s been a busy summer, the Award team have been bringing in new sponsors and organising exciting sessions and networking events for the 2014–2015 programme.  We have never had such a large cohort to look after – there are currently 60 students due to finish in December and another 250 started the programme back in June, some of which I have yet to meet and look forward to doing so in October.

As you know from my last post, I was really sad to see the 2013-2014 students leave, some are still here studying but many have graduated and are at the start of a new journey.  I do hope to keep in touch with them all and I know some will be back for future Award networking events (to those of you reading this make sure you drop me an email every now and again!).  It is really satisfying to see Award alumni do so well, every day my LinkedIn account is asking me to congratulate someone who has just found a new role!

New Logo

 

So what are the plans for this year?

Firstly, we have new branding, out with the old blue circle and in with a fresh, modern design, we do hope you like it!

 

Secondly, we have new sponsors:

  • Blake Morgan (a leading UK law firm)
  • Net Support UK (Net Support UK specialises in providing IT support and services to a wide range of businesses and sectors across Cardiff, Newport, South Wales and the rest of the UK.)
  • ACCA ( (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants)
  • CADW (the Welsh Government’s historic environment service working for an accessible and well-protected historic environment for Wales.)
  • ACE Cardiff (A local charity running multiple projects in Cardiff, working with disadvantaged children, unemployed people and older people.

All will be involved in the Award, through workshops, networking events and assessments.  Morgan Blake are even offering work experience to a lucky Awardee!

Thirdly, we have some new networking events and workshops.  Following on from the successful Creative Industry event of last year, the next term will see a repeat of this, plus an event for the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics  (STEM) sector and one for the third sector.  We also have trips to EY in Bristol up for grabs, mock technical interviews as well as the popular Social Media, CVs and assessment centre sessions.

Finally - and this is really exciting – this term we launch the Champions Life Academy Cardiff Award Student of the Year!  This Award recognises students that have excelled during the programme.  As we have 2 intakes this year there will be 4 awards in total:

  • 2 Student of the Year Awards (one for each cohort), winners will receive a £100 cash prize and an engraved glass trophy
  • 2 Special Commendations (one for each cohort), winners will receive a £50 cash prize and an engraved glass trophy

The winners will be announced at the end of year celebration event, taking place in June 2015.   A huge thank you to Champions Life Academy for sponsoring this Award!  They are a great organisation that share our ethos of ensuring students leave university with a wealth of skills and able to gain successful employment.  Visit their website and look at their amazing Easter and Summer internships.

If you are not doing the Cardiff Award then maybe you should think about it – not only do you get official recognition for your extra-curricular activities, you get to meet employers, the chances of gaining graduate employment are improved, you could win work experience as a result of being involved and you might even be the Cardiff Award Student of the Year – how good does that sound!

We have 500 spaces for a January 2015 start.  Applications open September 29th, 2014 and close December 12th – we will close early if sufficient applications are received.  Check out this Prezi for information on how to apply.

That’s all from me.

Kath

 

Get out of your comfort zone – Apply to The Cardiff Award

ca-blog-header1.jpg

As the first semester of a new university year is fast approaching all universities students’ start to question their abilities and skills.

Unfortunately the careers we hope to achieve do not come with a wave of the fairy Godmothers wand.

Employers are looking for individuals who not only have a good degree but can demonstrate their initiative and self confidence effectively.

In my opinion your degree alone is not enough to equip you with the necessary skills to outshine other candidates. Job hunting can be cut throat.

The big question is how can you make yourself stand out?

Apply to The Cardiff Award!

See our 2014 video on YouTube.

The Cardiff Award is an employability award that recognises student’s extra-curricular activities and work experience.

It provides students with a support system, encouraging work based opportunities and internships.

The Cardiff Award also hosts invaluable workshops and networking events; exclusive to participating students only.

This all enables Cardiff Award students to become a part of the top achievers.

Every Fresher and current university student will be faced with new opportunities and challenges throughout their university life.cardiff-award-20121.jpg

Each one can and will shape your future self and your future career.

So why not apply to The Cardiff Award?

*Apply for one of the 400 Cardiff Award places in September to begin in January 2015 (More information on the application process will be available on our blog and our Twitter page soon!)*

Blogger: Meaghan Crancher

Experience is necessary: Post by Alexander Franklin

mourinho blog post

“Unfortunately, the Cardiff Award scheme does not include a module with the UEFA Pro License so my Champions League dreams will remain unfulfilled for now.”

 

2014 has been a year of realisation. A disastrous first spell on the ice dashed hopes of becoming the new Wayne Gretzky, and an 18 month long tussle with War and Peace came to an abrupt end with Tolstoy the clear winner. One of the more serious realisations came whilst looking over my CV. I’ve always considered myself to be a reasonably competent individual with a range of skills that would be useful in the workplace, but in reading my CV I realised that I really had no way of demonstrating this. Bar my academic history, a short stint as a double-glazing salesman, and a summary of my extra-curricular achievements, I had nothing to say. I struggled and stared for a while, coming across another harsh realisation that ‘Winning the Premier League with Newport County on Football Manager’ was not a suitable addition to the CV of a 20 year old soon-to-be graduate.

I required experience. I needed a way to both demonstrate and develop skills that I had and also learn new skills. Watching my career-minded and business-savy housemates apply for a plethora of internships and placements with little luck made me realise just how competitive the corporate world is. I could claim to have all the skills in the world on my CV but no way to prove it. My connection with the corporate world has been limited as it’s always been in my mind that ‘I can do it later’ or ‘I’m too young to be worrying about this, I’ve got years left.’ Well, times up. I realised I needed to improve myself as a person and as a potential employee, but that would not be enough. I needed to stand out.

You’re reading this on the blog for the Cardiff Award so you know where this is going.

"You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – Wayne Gretzky.

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – Wayne Gretzky.

A former housemate of mine was a participant in the Cardiff Award 2013-2014. As he regularly referenced it, I eventually asked about the scheme and its benefits and it was after this conversation that I knew I needed to apply. It sounded like the opportunity to develop myself both personally and commercially in the way I needed to. It was time to start thinking about my career path. I’m sure ‘Present Alex’ is going to have to put in some serious graft for this scheme but ‘Future Alex’ will thank him.

I have no idea where I want to be after I graduate. I never have. I’m hoping that in twelve months, when I write my final post to you I will be able to say with confidence that I know where I’m going and how I’m going to get there. I have the utmost confidence that the Cardiff Award is going to help me with that. Maybe I’ll have finished War and Peace and be on my way to beating Gretzky’s NHL records too. First I need to learn to skate. One page at a time, one step at a time.

"By the end of the Cardiff Award I hope to have developed the business acumen to make me a right Don Draper"

“By the end of the Cardiff Award I hope to have developed the business acumen to make me a right Don Draper”

 

Alex Franklin

Follow me on Twitter @welshfrankie

My year in 1120 words: post by The Award Manager, Kathryn Foot

Well here we are again – the end of another year.  This job is really no good for me – the years fly by and I keep getting older, much quicker than I’d like!  This year has been another brilliant year. 3 years in and I wonder how the next programme could be as good as the previous one – it always is though.

I have to be honest this year has been hard.  We started the programme back in June 2013, with over 200 students, the most yet.  And if that wasn’t enough we took an extra 70 in January 2014!  For those of you that are familiar with the programme, you will know it is rigorous.  We have set high standards but that’s great for the participants; one sponsor this year said:

“The Cardiff Award is the one of the best awards that we sponsor!”

Me: March 2014!

Me: March 2014!

What an accolade.

So, the challenge for the Award team (which is actually only 2 people!) was to maintain the high standard achieved in previous years, with a lot more people. There were times during the year the simply were not enough hours in the week to do it all, the metaphorical plates were spinning - I didn’t know which one to tend to!  But somehow we got there, 145 students passed the Award in May (the Award ceremony was held recently – check out Rhian’s blog) and we still have 64 students on the programme due to complete in December.

 

In keeping with previous posts, here are my highs and lows:

Lows (we’ll start with this so we end on a high!!):

  • Consistent with last year I have to put losing students into this category; we lost around 30% this year for a variety of reasons, some failed at various stages and did not re-submit, some struggled with the additional workload the Award brings, others dropped out before submissions saying they had got so much already they didn’t need to “pass”.  I endeavour to keep people on the programme (last year I recall saying about how I take it personally – this is still the case, I often wonder if there was anything I could have or should have done).  However the Award is an extra-curricular programme, and, as is the nature of these programmes, people will leave.  The Award isn’t for everyone and for those that pass, it makes it even more meaningful.
  • I have already made reference to this but one of the struggles has been the workload. At certain times of the year my kids would ask me when I was coming home!  At the end of the day though I think most people who work in skills awards feel like they are doing the job of 2 people, but we do it because we love it – it is such a rewarding role and the students involved make it great, so we just crack on, at least there’s no time to get bored!

 Highs (there are so many I really don’t know where to start):

  • On a personal level this has been an epic year!  I was accepted onto the AGCAS Skills Awards Board (who develop best practise and produce guidelines for award schemes across the UK). I delivered a webinar to industry professionals on my employer engagement, and have been invited to speak at 2 nationwide conferences, so I must be doing something right!
  • This year’s cohort have again been brilliant, I have met so many wonderful and inspiring individuals (I go home and tell my children that that’s what I want them to be like when they grow up!).  The students I work with are an absolute credit to themselves their families and the University, I feel privileged to be able to work with them.
  • This year’s programme has been a huge success; the focus group was really positive and we were able to implement some worthwhile changes for the 2014-2015 programme.  The evaluation was a pleasure to read:

- 100% would recommend the Award to their peers.
- 48% have already found graduate employment/work experience and 88%      attribute some of their success to the Award.  This figure does not include the  many that have found employment in the last week – I have had 4 emails this  week alone from Award students being offered contracts!
- 90% of the Computer Science students on the Award obtained a placement  year or a graduate role.
- All who participated felt more work ready than not and a very high percentage  felt the Award had developed existing or new skills.

  • Employer engagement this year has been second to none, 10 of us visited Centrica HQ for a mock assessment centre (what an experience), 1 student won work experience with law firm Watkins and Gunn, new sponsors IBM offered 2 consultancy experiences for Award students only, and I have had great feedback from all our other sponsors on the high calibre students involved with the Award.
  • This year I was short-listed for the Enriching Student Life Award too!  Sadly, I didn’t win but making the short-list for the third time in three years is pretty special!
  • The Vice-Chancellor attending the Award Ceremony was a perfect end to the year; it shows how highly the University regard the Award.  Receiving an email from the VC following the event was also pretty special and a great way to end the year.

I could go on but you get the idea!

award do

 

 

 

 

 

 

Award Ceremony

I wanted to thank our principal sponsors EY and all the other sponsors for their efforts this year along with the the brilliant people I work with across the University.  There are too many to name but include:

  • staff from the Students’ Union especially the  elected officers, John Steele and Kelly from SDS, CU Enterprise, SVC, Tracey from Marketing and the catering team,
  • all my colleagues in Careers and Employability, including my partner in crime Helen Lloyd!
  • to my friends in Registry, and
  • the wealth of staff across the three academic colleges.

 

 

 

I also want to thank the Award students, for pushing themselves out of their comfort zones, for their participation, for their effort and for their personalities – we have had some laughs this year amidst the hard work!  Good luck to you all; you have very bright futures ahead of you and keep in touch!

My final thought: I recently attended an Awards skills conference at MMU.  Pro Vice-Chancellor Penny Renwick gave the opening address and she made a key point: if skills awards are going to engage students then they need to be fun.  I am proud to say I firmly believe we have achieved this with the Cardiff Award.

I look forward to continuing to working with the Jan 2014 cohort and bring on the next programme!

Best wishes, Kathryn

 

The Cardiff Award Presentation Ceremony: Post by Rhian Davies

Last Thursday was the Cardiff Award presentation ceremony, marking the end of our Cardiff Award journey. It was great to see how many of us had passed, and everyone had made such an effort to look their best (probably for the pictures!).

The evening began with speeches by Ben Lewis, Director of Student Support and Well Being, the Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Riordan, Caroline Cundy, Director of Tax at EY Bristol and previous awardee Elliot Howells now President Elect of Cardiff Students’ Union.  All the speeches emphasised the commitment it takes to complete the Award, a sentiment I’m sure everyone present could appreciate. The speeches were a lovely way to see how outsiders view the Award, and all speakers were definitely positive.

cardiff award cert editedAfter the speeches we each came on stage to receive our award from the Vice Chancellor himself. With over 100 students completing the award this year, I thought watching people collect their Awards would be boring, but actually it was just enjoyable to see every person having their moment.

 

Cardiff award food

Jane Goodfellow, Head of Careers and Employability, finished the formal part of the evening off with a great speech acknowledging all the hard work that Kath and Helen do to ensure that the award runs smoothly and to such a high standard. When completing the award, it’s hard to concentrate on anything but passing, but there is so much going on behind the scenes, such as organising the workshops, acquiring sponsors and implementing new initiatives. Kath and Helen put so much effort in to make it possible for us to complete such a well-respected award. The evening was finished off with a lovely canapé spread with plenty of bubbly, and networking with our fellow awardees and sponsors.

buzz cardiff awardThe whole presentation was a great way to celebrate the hard work and commitment shown by all awardees. Through the Cardiff Award, I have learnt and grown exponentially: my commercial awareness has gone from never having heard of it to being able to pick out key business problems; I’m now able to balance many tasks at once, as well as organise future tasks effectively; and finally, I have developed strategies to continue my development. I decided to do the Cardiff Award on a bit of a whim, but I am so glad I did it. I now feel so much more confident going into the job market, and I would especially like to thank Kath for making the award experience so enjoyable.

Meet the Cardiff Award Bloggers for 2014-15

This year’s Cardiff Award bloggers are:

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

Meaghan Crancher

Hello!  I’m Meaghan Crancher, a third year student in Cardiff University studying jourmeaghannalism, media and cultural studies. I will be this year’s Cardiff Award social media intern bringing you news of up and coming positions, internships and other opportunities. I decided to do the Cardiff Award to improve my employability skills, which will help me in my current university life and future career. It’s a unique opportunity that I am excited to be apart of. I have  previously sat on the committee for Cardiff University Art Society as publicity officer. I hope to fulfill this role by bringing exciting prospects to students.

 

Alexander Franklin

Hey, I’m Alex and I’m going into my third year at Cardiff studying English Literature and History. I applied for the Cardiff Award because I saw it as a great opportunity to demonstrate my wide skill set to employers and receive recognition for my extra-curricular activities at Uni. I’m hoping that the Cardiff Award will not only give me the chance to build some new connections, bAlex Franklinut to develop my skills and make myself a more employable prospect!

Outside of my studies I have a wide range of hobbies. I am captain and manager of a football team within the university’s IMG leagues and maintain an active interest in a wide range of sports. I’m also an avid writer so am naturally excited about the opportunity of writing for the Cardiff Award blog. I hope you enjoy reading about my experiences throughout the year.

 

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

Charlotte Eales

Hi, my name is Charlotte Eales and I’m about to go into my third year of studying Human Geography. I grew up in Bournemouth and began my degree at Cardiff in 2012. I decided to apply for the Award as I thought that I would benefit immensely from the activities and opportunities that were on offer through being a participant. I thought it was really interesting that the scheme not only encouraged students to get involved in extra-curricular activities and gain new skills, but also rewarded them for it! I’m really looking forward to continuing with the Cardiff Award and I hope you enjoy reading about my experiences!charlotte eales

 

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

Jordan Nicholls

Hey there! I’m Jordan, a second year music student in Cardiff University. Originally from a rural town in mid Wales, I am currently taking piano as my principal study. I enjoy critical reviewing theatre and musicals and write quite a bit for Quench and Gair Rhydd. I applied for the Cardifjordan nichollsf Award as it is a formal recognition for the extra-curricular work I already participate in uni life as I’m the secretary for the music society and also head Music’s UCAS audition days as well as being a student representative. I think the Cardiff Award will definitely broaden my horizons through the opportunities it offers as well as opening my employability. I’ve got some good experience of blogging as I’m part of the university’s ‘Insiders’ scheme so let’s see how we get on!

 

 

 

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

Lauren Evetts

1497472_10153765295550074_1423407054_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hi! I’m 26 years old and I’m from Newport, South Wales. In my spare time I enjoy martial arts, reading, writing short stories and biking. After five years of working as a pharmacy dispenser I decided to finally follow my dream of studying English Literature. I’d like to either train as a teacher or work in PR – two very different careers, I know! Having worked before, and having seen my friends graduate and struggle with the jobs market, I am only too aware of the heavy competition in applying for a graduate role. I realised that getting a good degree isn’t enough – employers like to see something extra on your CV. That’s why I’m doing the Cardiff Award. I feel that being taught essential employability skills and gaining experience in extra-curricular activities will give me that something extra.

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

Rebecca Taylor-Ashfield

[photo and bio coming soon]

The Cardiff Award and The IBM Consulting Experience

IBM_consulting_experience

 

 

 

 

Day 1 (written by Brian Baldacchino)

Morning

After waking up early for a long train journey from Cardiff to Winchester (coincidentally, we were later told that travel is a ‘feature’ of a consulting career), we arrived at 09:30 eager and dressed in business attire, at the reception of IBM Hursley. After briefly getting acquainted with everyone we were led through the site to the Apollo training room and given an introduction to the Experience and the staff leading the scheme.

Following a quick icebreaker exercise, we were shown a form of data analytics; using our personal information in a ‘secret’ mathematical algorithm, designed to ensure an even and diverse mix, we were allocated our teams and ready to start the first challenge.

The first challenge was designed to promote communication. It was a race to complete a numerical and verbal puzzle. However, this seemingly simple task was made harder as each member of the team was given different information that was required to solve the puzzle, and we were not allowed to show each other the information we had. Working together, we eventually reached the correct answer, a feat we were proud of!

We were then given an overview of consulting and working in our groups, had to do our first presentation of the day to present our understanding of the role of a consultant.

Afternoon

After lunch we were given a presentation about IBM, followed by a Q&A session and careers discussion. This was invaluable as we were able to understand what working for IBM and working in consulting would be like. We learnt insights and experiences from consultants at various levels and in different roles in the company.

The rest of the afternoon was designed to improve our presentation skills and knowledge of different technologies. It consisted of timed group exercises that required us to research and present our findings and ideas to the other groups. Armed with flip-charts, sticky notes and board markers, we were introduced to new ways of making presentations more engaging such as storytelling and live drawing, and were required to use these new techniques to deliver our presentations. What was really beneficial was being critiqued on our performance after each presentation and being advised on ways to improve our personal presentation technique.

Evening

After finishing at 17:30, we got a taxi back to the hotel. Shortly after checking in, we met at the bar for a drinks reception, followed by a dinner in which we were joined by numerous IBM employees ranging from new graduates to directors. This provided an informal setting to chat to the employees and gain a more personal insight into their individual experiences within the company. After a very long day it was off to bed ready for an early start the following day.

 

Day 2 (written by Emily Latham)

Retail_Lab

IBM’s Hursley Smarter Commerce Retail Lab

 

 

 

 

 

 

Morning

Day 2 began at 08:15, starting with a recap of what our groups had done the previous day. Each group had to recap in different ways; one had to recap through making a song, one through a poem, one through a Britain’s Got Talent style showcase and one in the style of a news report. We then had to present to the rest of the groups. The whole IBM experience was focused on team collaboration and presentation.

The next scheduled event of the day was the tour of the IBM technical labs. In the different labs we saw some of the equipment that IBM were using with their clients through the different smarter planet initiatives. We went in the Smarter Commerce lab and saw some products that are being used in supermarkets. These included electronic food tags on shelves that automatically reduce food if its sell by date is up.

Next we moved on to a different part of the IBM site where we found out more information about how IBM were working with the automobile industry. This would help us with our team challenge later on in the day.

Afternoon

After lunch, each team was given the same case study based on an automobile company called EMC Motors. Our task was to identify the company’s problems and find solutions to them using technologies we had learnt about so far, for example the different technologies we had learnt about on the tour and also through own innovative ideas.

The rest of the afternoon consisted of working in our teams, brainstorming ideas and putting together a presentation. The following day we would have to present our work to two ‘clients’ from EMC.

Evening

Once we got back to the hotel around 17:30, there wasn’t much time to rest. We continued to work in our teams from 18:30 onwards until each team felt they were prepared enough. Each team was given their own conference room to work in. This was to give us a taster of how actual consultants work. The hotel prepared some buffet food which we could take back to our team rooms. My team finished at around 21:30. We delegated each team member’s role for the presentation and then we each went back to our own rooms to prepare by ourselves for the pitch the following morning. Once that was done I was happy to have a rest and sleep after a jam-packed day!

 

Day 3 (by Brian Baldacchino)

hursley_house2

Hursley’s 18th century mansion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Morning

After another early 08:15 start, we were each given one hour to work in our groups to put the finishing touches to our presentations we had been working on the night before. The hour seemed to fly by and it was soon time to make our presentations.

With our flip-charts in hand and nerves at an all-time high, we were led to the board room where three high level executives from EMC were waiting for us. The presentation had to be 20 minutes; this seemed long but the time flew by, and fortunately it went smoothly as everyone had prepared and practised their delegated sections. Following the presentation we were asked a few questions on both our strategy and use of technology, which, although challenging, forced us to think dynamically and to give answers we were proud of. To finish off the presentation experience, we were given really useful detailed feedback on our presentations.

After each group had made their presentations, we were given a tour around the IBM Hursley site. We got to see the buildings where the ATM was developed, as well as the statistics software SPSS. With the sun shining, we also got a tour around the grounds of the 18th century mansion in which the IBM Hursley site is based in.

Afternoon

To wrap up the Consulting Experience, after lunch there was an awards ceremony where different prizes were given out including the prize for the best presentation. Although we didn’t win the prize we didn’t feel hard done by as we felt we did a really good job of the presentation and there were lots of positives to take from the feedback.
To sum up our experience

We feel very privileged to have had the chance to take part in the IBM Consulting Experience. It was a challenging three days that really helped develop our team-working and presenting; the continuous feedback provided really helped us work on and improve different areas of our presentation technique.

Throughout the experience, IBM stressed the importance of using LinkedIn, especially for students who will be looking for graduate employment in the near future. They also recommended making contacts with the fellow participants and also the IBM consulting experience ‘tutors’ who led the experience so that our ‘professional networks’ could be enhanced.

It was thanks to the Cardiff Award we got to take part in this, so we would like to personally thank the Cardiff Award and IBM for what was a really worthwhile experience, one we would wholly recommend to anyone interested in a career in consulting.

The end of the journey: Post by Tom Allen

I can’t quite believe it but my Cardiff Award journey has now come to an end! It has been a challenging but very rewarding experience; something I could never have imagined at the beginning of the year. Looking back on my first blog, it is quite clear that, like many students, I wasn’t really sure which career path I wanted to pursue. However, nine months down the line, things are very different. The Cardiff Award has helped me to realise that the skills I have are well suited to Human Resources and I am really excited to continue working towards this.

70 hours of experience

The Award requires participants to complete 70 hours of work – this can be anything from paid work, voluntary work or extra commitments within the University. As part of this, I applied and was successfully accepted for a Human Resources work experience with Tiger Tiger, through Experience Works, an additional scheme at Cardiff University. I’d strongly recommend everyone to look into the experiences they offer as they really are fantastic! Despite not starting this until later in the year, the few months I have done so far have been extremely useful as a starter experience. It was great to be part of a company which was relaxed and allowed me to get really involved to get the maximum out of it.

CVs, Application Forms, Presentations and Psychometric Testing

Image

With the abundance for support, the psychometric tests won’t seem as challenging

As we all know, when applying for jobs, there are lots of parts which aren’t the most exciting. However, getting these right will make a big difference. The Cardiff Award ensures that we are prepared for the real application process by requiring us to complete all of these. Although these can be challenging, the award offers tonnes of advice, resources and support sessions to make sure these seem as straightforward as possible. Digging out those GCSE Maths revision guides for the psychometric tests was a shock to the system; I thought I’d left my mental maths for good years ago! The presentation at the end of year also allowed me to take some time to reflect about where I am now and how the Cardiff Award has helped me to reach this point. The panel were really friendly and put me at ease straight away!

The personal development workshops

Although university life can be hectic at the best of times, I really enjoyed attending the workshops organised from the Cardiff Award. They covered a wide range of topics and are presented by many of the main sponsors. A great way to do some important networking! In the words of Kevin Bacon, it’s a no brainer – these companies could be the very ones I apply for in the future. So by them telling me what they look for in candidates, this should help so much! From CV enhancing sessions to EY’s application boot camp – I really feel more equipped for the big wide world of work. Although you only need to do two of the optional workshops, I’d really recommend doing as many as you can that equally look interesting to you.

My personal highlight

Image

The Awardees on the way back from a hectic but rewarding day

For me, without a shadow of a doubt, the mock assessment day at Centrica plc was my favourite moment of the process. Although I’d heard about what these days entailed, there is no better way to fully understand what is expected than to do one properly. I remember being extremely nervous on the drive up to their HQ in Windsor but Kath was on hand to keep us calm and the feedback we received afterwards has helped me to develop myself further. Being stuck in a traffic incident for 4 hours on the way back wasn’t the highlight of the day though! You can read all about the day here.

So there it is, my Cardiff Award journey! I am so pleased that I took the decision to start my application. If you are thinking of applying – DO IT, DO IT, DO IT! You won’t regret it and hopefully a year from now, you’ll be writing a blog just like this saying how equally pleased you are that you decided to join the Award.

My Cardiff Award experience – nearly there! Post by Oliver Curtis

So The Award is coming to an end, and over this year it has been a great experience. I have learnt a lot from the Award and workshops that have been given, and it has certainly helped me gain the required knowledge that employers are looking for.

It has been a tough year, especially trying to fit all the hours in around my studies, but it is achievable and it is great fun to get together with the other Award students in workshop tasks and get to know about one another. The time has flown by and there is only the presentations left, all the paperwork is gone and submitted but it only seems like yesterday when the Award started. My highlights have been:

  • Passing the Psychometric tests, I admit I was scared about them as I had never completed tests like these before, however they aren’t as bad as you think and with enough practice, focus and accuracy completing the tests aren’t so scary. Thanks to the Cardiff Award, I am pleased that we had the opportunity to take these tests, as it has prepared me for when I take test for placement/graduate jobs.

mathsNumbers

  • Taking part in the EY pub quiz, with other Award students, and we didn’t come last!
  • Taking part in the best workshops ever. The Award and their sponsors work so very hard to give the best experience to Award students ever, all the workshops are very motivational and helps us find out more about the skills we have and do not realise is a skill. One of the most inspiring workshops I have the opportunity to take part in was the ‘How to sell yourself using social media’ delivered by Aimee Bateman of Careercake. This workshop was truly inspiring, and as a frequent user of social media/networks, this workshop helped me gain better insight into how I can present myself on various network sites. If you ever get the opportunity to be given a talk by Aimee I recommend you take it, as you will not be disappointed.

careercake

The Award has been growing my skills throughout everything I have done, and it is really beneficial to be given an opportunity such as The Award, as it really helps me to sell myself effectively to future employers. In fact, thanks to the Award and the workshops, it has managed to help me land a placement for next year at Accenture. So the Award does give back for the time you put in.

The reward has some great benefits and as The Award comes to an end very soon, I would like to thank The Award team and all the sponsors for all their hard work and dedication to provide an experience that will continually give in the future.