Hi guys! Long time no post – sorry about that, things have been getting a bit crazy round here. Most students get to do nothing after they finished exams but for me it’s been a bit of a manic rush to catch up on all the commission work that I put off during the exam period!
One of the things I have been doing is a poster to advertise the Cardiff Award. ‘What on earth is it?’ I hear you ask. Well, the Cardiff Award is an employability award – you complete it over 2 terms and the aim is to improve all the areas which recruiters normally find students lacking in once they graduate. In total you do:
- 70 hours of extra curricular activities
- 8 personal development workshops
- Numeracy and literacy based psychometric tests
- An assessed CV and application form
- A presentation at the end of the year to explain how the Award has developed you
When you sign on at the beginning you go to a introduction talk where you’ll be introduced to Kath, who runs the Award, her assistant Helen, and also the Award mentors. There is an Award mentor assigned to one of 2 groups of subjects, the humanities, social sciences and arts, and then the sciences and law. Once inducted onto the Award you will join a Facebook group where you keep up with everything that is going on and if you have a question about anything you can post it on there and one of the mentors will be able to help you out!
As you can see from the huge number of sponsors and general statistics, the Award is a great thing to get involved with. With people like Ernst&Young and IBM working with us it’s not a bad start to your career and it hasn’t been unheard of for Award students to be invited to interview on the basis of mock interviews done with some of the companies mentioned as part of our workshops. Cool, huh?
So what was my experience like?
I applied to do the Award because I do a lot of extracurricular activities and really wanted these to be officially recognised, I also wanted to learn more about how to use the skills I get from the activities to make myself more employable.
As often happens, I decided to do the Award with 2 of my friends, and it was certainly not a bad thing. It is not a competitive venture, everything you do is for your own benefit, so doing it with friends is actually great because it means you have people to talk to about any worries or when you’re stressed about stuff. Ironically as Maths students, we all got most stressed about the numerical psychometric test! Luckily we all passed though 🙂
Like many other people I decided to do my 70 hours over the summer after having the induction in June because it would take the pressure off when I got back to uni. I recorded hours from some of my sign language lessons, part-time work I did as a hotel Housekeeper over the summer, my work with SVC, my work on my own business, and work I did with my local Mencap group. 70 hours sounds like a lot but it’s not hard to collect once you start!
We did the psychometric tests in the Autumn term, and CVs and applications in Spring term with workshops running through both for you to complete as and when. Luckily my department were running personal development workshops for 2nd years anyway and these were allowed to count towards the Award so I was able to complete the majority of my 8 without having to do too much organising! They included things like CV workshops, what to expect from Assessment Centres and how to conduct yourself in an interview.
At my presentation I talked a lot about how my Commercial Awareness has improved (I challenge you to tell me what Commercial Awareness is and how graduate recruiters want you to show it without going to some of those workshops!) and how my time management abilities this year have gone through the roof!
To give you an idea, this is a little chart I showed in my final presentation with the results of a self audit I had done at the beginning and end of this year to show how I felt I had improved. Of course there are always places to keep improving (no one is perfect!) but the Award sets you up to keep developing once you finish 🙂
It’s been a busy year for sure, but so worth it. The Award is recognised by all of our sponsors and they know how much hard work gets put into it which is extra great if you are planning to apply to one of them once you graduate. We even have networking events where you can meet the recruiters in person and socials too to meet other people doing the Award.
If there is one thing to commend about Cardiff University (even though there are many!) it is that they are so heavily invested in making sure we get the best graduate jobs we can, and leave university with more than just a degree classification. The Cardiff Award is testament to that and I’m so glad that I’m at a university who recognises it. If you’re here now, or planning to come in the future, please please please make sure you check out the Award – what ever degree subject you do it’s for you and you won’t regret becoming super employable! 🙂
Last week we had our Awards Ceremony, where we all received our certificates. They were presented to us by the Vice-Chancellor (who basically runs the university – pretty cool!), with talks from EY representatives and the Students’ Union President. After that we had nibbles and networked, then everyone went out to Walkabout!
It’s been an amazing year and I really can’t recommend it enough! If you have any questions about the Award feel free to comment here or tweet them to @CardiffAward ! You can also check out the Cardiff Award blog