As an enthusiastic, motivated undergraduate from the School of Social Sciences (Eductation) I thought I was the bee’s knees. I was in my final year of my degree at a prestigious university with plenty of voluntary and paid work experience under my belt.Then I joined the Cardiff Award in September of third year and I felt like my eyes were opened to the world of employability. I learnt how to make myself employable and realised that stating all the different hours work experience you had completed doesn’t necessarily make employers want you. I began to recognise all the skills I had gained and how they had developed and still were developing through my voluntary and paid work.
The Cardiff Award was brought up in every interview I had after I graduated and employers were all very impressed by it. I felt it definitely helped me to prepare for my interviews and taught me how to show off my skills and answer situational questions. Due to the skills gained from completing the Cardiff Award I was able to secure a graduate job in August working for a charity, Student Volunteering Cardiff (SVC), based in Cardiff University’s Students’ Union
SVC is a student led organisation that relies on students giving their time to help others in the community. It is run by students who make up a board of trustees, they generally put in 200-400 hours in a year. Volunteer coordinators run the day to day running of the projects and usually put in 100-200 hours per year. Volunteers who attend our projects each week usually put in around 30 hours a year. All of these hours will be recognised through the Cardiff Award programme.
SVC volunteers not only help disadvantaged people but also develop a large skill set which is developed over time; the Cardiff Award gives you the skills to recognise this. Self-reflection is one of the hardest skills to grasp but the Award will guide you through this. Through self-reflection you will be able to see how you are developing and in which areas. This will also aid you to see which skills need more development. It’s all well and good telling employers what you have done but it’s no use to them if you can’t explain the skills that you’ve developed through these activities, even if it is a long list.
Volunteering for SVC and the Cardiff Award go hand in hand; you will be recognised for all your commitment to SVC and you will learn valuable employability skills that are vital in today’s graduate job market.
For more information on SVC visit www.svcardiff.org.