Read their stories and find out more about the support available to you whilst you are at Cardiff University.
Phoebe’s story …
Hi I’m Phoebe a third year Journalism, Media and English Literature student and like many students I had very little work experience before university, and it wasn’t until my second summer in I began to panic. I therefore decided last summer to stay in Cardiff and apply for a number of work experience/internship roles.
What did I do?
The best advice I have to offer is to attend Careers fairs. They have so many employers attend these events and it is a great way of networking with companies to find out what they do and what they could offer you. At the Internships, Volunteering and Work Experience Fair I found WCVA (Wales Council for Voluntary Action) and it is through them I applied to do two unpaid internships over summer. I worked as a Fundraising & Bidwriting Intern for George Thomas Hospice Care and a Marketing & Research Intern for Horn Development Association.
In between these internships I also did a weeks work experience with Buzz Magazine. This opportunity was sent to me via my university email and although I know as students we get bombarded, it is really important to check your emails regularly. I am signed up to both services TargetConnect and ExperienceWorks and opportunities are sent all the time.
What skills did I gain?
- All of the experiences helped boost my confidence in talking to people both in person and on the telephone. I gained invaluable communication skills that will be transferable in a variety of job roles.
- I gained two valuable references and contacts that will hopefully help me in the future – they add weight and validity to my CV.
- I gained important insight into what it is like to work in a professional working environment. The people I worked with had years of experience and were always willing to offer me guidance and support.
Yes, the thought of unpaid work isn’t great but many third-sector organisations are grateful for any time you set aside, making it I found, easy to fit around my paid job at the Students’ Union. I found both opportunities incredibly rewarding. It opened my eyes to the different variety of job roles and opportunities that are out there, as well as helping me land my current Marketing internship at Student Support.
Will’s story …
Hi I’m Will and I’m a third year Psychology student. Before University, I had a couple of part time jobs and completed some junior football refereeing and P.E coaching. During my first year, it became clear that my C.V was a bit empty and that I needed to make it more appealing to employers via volunteering experiences associated with my course.
What did I do?
In my second year at University I signed up to Student Volunteering Cardiff (SVC) and volunteered on their Mental Health Project. I became a SVC befriender and paid weekly visits to hospital wards including mixed elderly at Llandough Hospital and rehabilitation at Whitchurch. My general responsibility was to reach out to patients and aim to improve their day by having a warm, friendly chat.
I also completed a third year Psychology Placement with the Cardiff University Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Service. My role was incredibly varied as I engaged in several different tasks each week. Tasks such as increasing mental health awareness across the University, assisting with session and workshop materials enhanced numerous skills but with group work, presenting and public speaking in particular.
What skills did I gain?
- The volunteering programme was one of the most difficult challenges of my life. Witnessing individuals in such vulnerable situations was incredibly humbling and opened my eyes to the harsh realities of Mental Health which had a huge benefit to my Psychology course.
- My placement provided some much needed time away from academia which refreshed my motivation for final year. I feel the year break has greatly benefitted my work rate. During placement, I was offered my current part time Marketing Internship at the Student Support Service and am continuing to bolster my experience for the imminent job searching during my last few months of University.
Finding work experience
The Careers & Employability team have staff who work with all academic schools to offer a great range of information, support and events to help students, these include:
Internships, Work Experience and Volunteering Week from 25th – 28th January in the Students’ Union Throughout the week top graduate recruiters such as PWC, L’oreal, Teach First, Enterprise Rent a Car and Santander will be holding presentations and workshops to give you top tips and advice. From learning how to succeed in applications, psychometric testing and assessment centres to gaining commercial awareness, there is a massive range of topics to choose from. Alongside the top graduate recruiters, the careers and employability team will be on hand delivering sessions and workshops, providing advice and CV clinics and helping you make the next step.
Work Experience Team staff are available to help you find and prepare for work experience. They offer various programmes and work experience opportunities for Cardiff students.
Help with Your Careers Journey
Careers & Employability offer students support throughout their University life, that you can access at any time. They provide the services and events to help you with:
Exploring your Future – Know yourself, identify your strengths, explore your options by:
- Gaining 1-2-1 careers advice and guidance
- Attending a fair or employer presentation
- Registering for their employability award: the Cardiff Award
Building your Skills – Develop yourself, take opportunities, reflect & focus by:
- Attending workshops to develop your enterprise skills, academic skills or to support your job applications
- Become a student mentor
- Gain some relevant work experience
Making it Happen – Know the process, take action, achieve your ambition by:
- Logging into Career Central to access resources for your degree subject or industry sector
- Accessing business start-up support
- Searching for jobs targeted at Cardiff University students & graduates
Best of luck,
Will and Phoebe
Student Interns, Student Support & Wellbeing
Your Student Life, Supported.
The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including: Advice & Money, Careers & Employability, Counselling, Health & Wellbeing, Disability & Dyslexia and International Student Support.The Student Support Centres are located at 50 Park Place, Cathays Campus and Cardigan House, Heath Park Campus.
For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.