The Cardiff Award: helping students develop employability skills

Clare Tomkins receiving her Award from Professor Patricia Price

Clare Tomkins receiving her Award from Professor Patricia Price

The Cardiff Award is an employability award that encourages students to undertake work experience or get involved in extra-curricular activities, then recognises and rewards students for their efforts. It takes you through a process that will give you the confidence and skills to be successful in the world of work, after graduation.

SOCSI student Clare Tomkins completed the award during her second year of study. Here she explains why all the hard work and determination was worth it.

Dedication and determination: A Social Scientist’s view of the Cardiff Award. Post by Clare Tomkins

Dedication and determination are two words that spring to mind when I look back over my second year at Cardiff University. When I began back in September 2012, I wasn’t quite aware of the opportunities, hard work and fun that lay ahead.

I decided to take part in the Cardiff Award towards the end of my first year at Cardiff. Studying a Psychology route of Social Science, I knew that the competition for jobs after university would be fierce. After researching the Award online and getting a few personal experiences from friends in the year above, I knew it was for me. I was interested in meeting new people, gaining the skills needed for after university, getting help with what career path lay ahead for me and most importantly networking with different companies.

The Cardiff Award helped me right from the beginning of the application process. I was lucky enough to hear about a job working for Cardiff Award sponsors ‘EY’. The opportunity was too good to miss and after seeking advice from Kath Foot, off went my application and I got through to the last stage of the application process, with an interview at the head office in London. I was successful and couldn’t wait to get stuck in with the different aspects of the award alongside my ‘EY’ responsibilities.

Throughout the year, the Award workshops really stood out for me, the commercial awareness workshop from EY was great and I really appreciated the opportunities available meeting other sponsors. For example, I took part in a mock Enterprise Rent-a-Car assessment centre and really enjoyed a special guest speech by Aimee Bateman. I was applying for an industrial placement over my second year and therefore these opportunities really benefited me personally as I went through the application process.

I’m not going to lie, the award took up a lot of my time. I was working quite a few hours a week for EY, had the Award workshops, was collecting my hours, I had the dreaded maths test (which isn’t that bad, just make sure you practice!!!) and also my academic work. This is where your time management skills are really tested. Towards the end of the year, I also had the evaluation stage of the award. I actually really enjoyed my presentation as I had learned all of the skills needed to conduct it within the Award sessions.

Those two words ‘dedication’ and ‘determination’ definitely played a big part in me getting where I am now. The biggest pieces of advice I can give you?

Work hard throughout the Award

  • Make the most of your time – time management is a great skill to have!
  • Use the facilities available, the Cardiff Award staff are amazing
  • Make the most of every opportunity thrown at you
  • Know what you want to get out of the award and make sure you are determined to achieve your goals for the year (mine was to get a placement)

After a very long nine months of searching, my determination was lacking and I nearly gave up but then I received three job offers in one week!  The Award played a massive part in each one of those offers. I decided on a placement working for Cardiff Award sponsors ‘Champions Life Academy’ in London. I am now three months in and wow, it is flying by!

I can’t recommend the Cardiff Award enough and now networking in London with a lot of graduate employers, I have found that they all agree! For those of you starting this September, I’m looking forward to meeting some of you through Champions Life Academy’s links with Award.

Good luck!

Clare