Cardiff Award

Tips for managing your time on the Cardiff Award

We understand that it can be quite daunting being at the beginning of your Cardiff Award journey. You may be wondering how you are going to fit in all of the requirements of the programme around your studies.

Kirsty and Nikkita, our Cardiff Award Student Mentors, both completed the Cardiff Award last academic year. Here they offer some advice and share how they managed their time when they were on the Award. We have also put together a suggested timeline for the Cardiff Award at the bottom of this page……

Nikkita Patel

How did you structure your time on the Award?

I completed the award from November 2015 to March 2017. I started by completing my induction and completed as many workshops as possible before the summer holidays. I wanted to get most my hours completed during the summer, so I organised my work placement plus a couple of other work experience opportunities. When I returned to University in the September, I completed a skills development service course as well as taking part in languages for all. Furthermore, I took part in the university mentoring scheme which involve training in spring time and mentoring from September to December. The recruitment activities I completed were both a mock assessment centre in December and psychometric tests in October.


What kinds of activities did you do towards your extra-curricular hours?

  • Skills Development Workshops
  • Summer internship
  • Work experience- Insight Days
  • Mentoring
  • Languages for all course

How did you manage your time on the programme alongside your studies?

At first it was challenging, but by planning ahead and looking forward to when activities where organised made it much easier. Using my free time over summer definitely helped to get most my hours done ensuring there was less pressure on getting my hours completed during term time.

Do you have any tips to students just starting the Cardiff Award?

  • Plan ahead to ensure you get it all done in time
  • Use this as an opportunity to take part in something you wouldn’t usually do, you’ll get so much more out of the award and develop so many transferable skills for the workplace.


Kirsty Firman

 How did you structure your time on the Award?

I completed the workshops during the first semester of my enrolment on the Cardiff Award programme

I completed my extra-curricular hours throughout the duration of the programme but also made the most of the long summer break for this – I volunteered in Sri Lanka for 5 weeks

I completed the recruitment experience during the second semester of my enrolment on the programme

Lastly, I completed the application form, reflective accounts and reflective log about a month before the Award was due


What kinds of activities did you do towards your extra-curricular hours?

  • Volunteering with Student Volunteering Cardiff (SVC) and Cardiff Volunteer (CV) – lead volunteer with CV
  • Volunteering posted by Cardiff Award staff – volunteered with Run4Wales for the Cardiff Half Marathon 2016
  • Cardiff University Student Ambassador
  • Global Opportunities – volunteered in Sri Lanka for 5 weeks over the summer
  • Work Experience Team – insight project working with children in a therapeutic play setting
  • Placement year – working with a children’s charity
  • Additional volunteering – Cardiff Youth Offending Service and helped out a researcher from Psychology

How did you manage your time on the programme alongside your studies?

  • It is very easy to manage your time on the programme alongside your studies if you spread things out
  • For workshops, I integrated them into my university day and spread them out over the weeks. I also did my cv and cover letter if I had a break between lectures during the day
  • For the recruitment experience, application form and reflective log, I did these after I got home from my placement or at the weekend
  • As for extra-curricular activities, I completed these when I had an evening spare or weekend spare and over the summer holidays

Do you have any tips to students just starting the Cardiff Award?

  • Spread the workload out and don’t leave it until the last minute – things feel a lot less daunting that way!
  • Make the most of the opportunities offered by the Cardiff Award – I didn’t know about or consider the student ambassador scheme, work experience team or the opportunity to be a lead volunteer until I signed up to the Award but found these to be some of the best opportunities to develop my skills
  • Do the additional option of completing the reflective accounts for the extra-curricular hours – they really help you to get into a reflective mind-set which is really helpful for job applications! Also, if you do complete them, do them once you have finished the activity – I left them until the end of the programme. Although I still found it beneficial I felt that my reflection could have been stronger if I’d completed it when my memories of the activity were still fresh

Cardiff Award Suggested Timeline for 2017-2019 cohort:








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