UCL Careers
  • Welcome

    The UCL Careers team use this Blog to share their ‘news and views’ about careers with you. You will find snippets about a whole range of career related issues, news from recruiters and links to interesting articles in the media.

    If you are a researcher, we a specific blog for you.

    We hope you enjoy reading the Blog and will be inspired to tell us your views.

    If you want to suggest things that students and graduates might find helpful, please let us know – we want to hear from you.

    Karen Barnard – Director, UCL Careers

    UCL Careers is part of The Careers Group, University of London

    Accurate at the time of publication
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  • “TEXT!!” What can Love Island teach us about careers?

    By S Donaldson, on 17 July 2017

    Love-Island-logo

    I assume you’re watching Love Island, right? It seems we all are. And if you’re not, you’ve only missed ~40 episodes. Cancel all plans and you’ll be caught up in no time. It’ll be well worth it. Much like David Attenborough’s Planet Earth, Love Island offers new perspectives on our world, a window through which we may behold truths hitherto unknown. Obviously I’ve learned everything I know about love from the show. Most people have. But Love Island also offers wise teachings on careers. In case fans of the show have missed them, and for non-fans without 40 hours to spare, I’ve summarised Love Island’s three key career lessons below:

    1) Don’t judge a career by its cover

    I don’t mind admitting that even I, one of Love Island’s biggest fans, was at first somewhat sceptical, or even scathing, about the show. I viewed myself as above it. But how wrong I was. It took merely one episode to have me truly hooked.

    I’d stereotyped the show and the kinds of people who watch it. And it’s easy to do just the same thing with careers. What images come to mind when you think of an accountant? A psychologist? A social worker? A librarian? And what information are those images based on? Sometimes we can be very dismissive of, or incredibly attracted to, certain career paths due to commonly-held stereotypes. And if we don’t delve beneath the stereotype, we risk making ill-informed career choices. Websites like https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles give you impartial information about a whole host of job roles, so it’s a great place to check that your initial impressions are correct. We also recommend talking to people in the roles you’re interested in, and testing jobs out whenever you can. You may just find a hidden Love Island-esque gem!

    2) First choices don’t have to be final choices

    Where would Olivia (and we the viewers) be if she’d stuck with her first Love Island coupling? Cast your mind back to episode 1 and you’ll remember she was first paired with Marcel. But he wasn’t her type on paper, so she moved on to Sam, who also wasn’t her type on paper. Then she was off to Chris, who also appeared not to be her type on paper. Then she tried out Mike, who was totally her type on paper. But despite being her type on paper, she actually wasn’t too keen on him (see point 1 above), so she’s (currently) back with Chris and seemingly very happy.

    Imagine if in episode 1 Olivia had felt her first choice would have to be her final choice, that she and Marcel would have to get married and be together forever. It could have left her paralysed by indecision. Well that’s how many students feel about career decisions. They worry so much about getting it ‘wrong’ that they find it difficult to engage with career thinking at all. But worry not. Studies like this, this and this tell us that changing careers, sometimes multiple times, is pretty normal. So chill. Take some of the pressure off. Career thinking is an ongoing process. You’re not necessarily making the choice about what to do forever, just what to do next. The experiences you have in every role, and the ways you change and grow over time, will inform where you go from there.

    3) Be aware of your online presence

    It’s hard not to feel a bit sorry for Jonny. He became the show’s villain after doing what plenty of other contestants do, dumping one person for another. But when that dumpee is the nation’s sweetheart Camilla, you’re bound to be a little unpopular. This unpopularity wasn’t helped by Jonny’s social media profiles, which he’s now deleted, and has admitted portrayed him as being something he wasn’t.

    So obviously if you’re thinking of entering next year’s Love Island you should do a thorough social media audit. But what if you’re applying for a job? A 2013 survey of recruiters showed 92%, 35%, and 18% used LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, respectively, to vet candidates before interview, and 42% had reconsidered a candidate based on what they found on their social networking profiles. Unsurprisingly, profanity and references to guns and drugs were viewed pretty unfavourably by recruiters. But so were photos of alcohol consumption, and spelling and grammar mistakes, rather common features in social media profiles. So be sure to regularly evaluate your privacy settings to ensure you’re happy with what recruiters might find!

    The 7 R’s of Success for Newly Qualified Teachers

    By Chloe J Ackroyd, on 27 June 2017

    One student rises her hand and asks question

    Hi, I’m Anna and I’m one of the Career Consultants working with students at the UCL Institute of Education. I know a lot of you will be coming to the end of your teacher training, and I imagine you’re probably having mixed feelings right now…

    On the one hand – PHEW! And a big virtual high-five to you for making it through one of the toughest professional training programmes out there. Whether you took the School Direct Route, a PGCE or have been with Teach First or any other route, I can hazard a guess that you’re emerging out of a year that’s been challenging, eye-opening, rewarding and like a big old emotional rollercoaster ride.

    You’re probably looking forward to a well-deserved Summer break – and this should be your top priority (see the first point below) – but there’s probably also part of you that’s already looking ahead to what’s in store from September and wondering how you’re going to make the most of your NQT year.

    Well, to help you out, I’ve put together seven top tips to ensure that you don’t just survive but THRIVE in your first year as a fully-fledged new teacher. This isn’t a definitive list but it should give a few pointers over the key things to consider…

    1. Rest – You’re probably sick of hearing it by now, but this year IS going to be hard work – maybe even harder than the year you’ve just had, and looking after yourself is going to be absolutely KEY to success. It may sound obvious now, but self-care is often the first thing to go out of the window when the responsibilities mount up. Whatever you do, make sure you schedule in time for non-work activities and whatever relaxes you, whether it’s time with friends or walks in the country. And get as much sleep as you can – we’re far more effective when we’re well-rested so staying up late to catch up on work might be a false-economy.
    2. Reach out – You don’t have to do it alone. Don’t be afraid to draw on more experienced colleagues for support and ideas. People love to help so give them the opportunity to feel like a wise old sage with you newbies! This is also an opportunity to network and build relationships with colleagues, so be a familiar face in the staffroom, and be curious about others work (be sure to judge how busy they look and perhaps ask when it would be convenient to talk – you could even offer to buy them a coffee in return!) Remember too that you have access to UCL Careers for up to two years after you graduate, so if you want coaching on anything related to your career, do book in to see one of us via the UCL Careers Graduates
    3. Reflect – You will probably be heavily observed during you NQT year, but rather seeing this as a threat, try to see observations as genuine learning opportunities. It can be good to employ a growth mindset – in the same way that you might congratulate a child on their effort rather than their natural achievement, you could appreciate your own attempts to learn and grow rather than berating yourself from not being perfect from the outset.
    4. Resilience – You could say this is the most important teaching skill and it links to the point above about not being a perfectionist. In any career, there will be challenges and setbacks – what’s important is how you bounce back and learn from them without being consumed with self-criticism – remember that it’s all part of the journey! One way to develop resilience is through mindfulness practice, which helps to regulate our emotions and stay calm. UCL Student Psychological Services offers a free programme called the 10 Minute Mind where daily mindfulness practices are sent to your inbox or, if you no longer have a UCL log-in, you could try the app Headspace.
    5. Responsibility – This one needs to be handled with care – what you DON’T want to do is overstretch yourself in your first year and agree to every opportunity put on the table (new teachers can even be promoted to a head of their subject within the first year or two due to staff shortages!) However, it CAN be good to look for opportunities to take on extra duties that will help you grow in areas of interest (e.g. sports, SEN, drama activities, management) and gain extra skills that could come in handy in the future.
    6. Research – Every year, thousands of people become qualified as teachers, and so the internet is full of handy tips about how to prepare for your NQT year, including things like checklists for all the things you need to get done when you start and countless forums like the TES New Teachers You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, so learn from the experiences of others who have been through the NQT year and lived to tell the tale!

     And last but not least…

    1. Remember why you’re doing this! I’d imagine it wasn’t JUST for the long holidays, was it? It’s important to keep sight of the bigger picture, so when you’re swamped in marking and feeling overwhelmed, put the pen down, go for a walk and reflect on why you were motivated to become a teacher in the first place and the impact you wanted to make. And above all, remember that it WILL get easier. Teaching may be hard work, but it’s also one of the most rewarding jobs out there, so it will be worth it in the long run.

    Good luck and have a wonderfully relaxing Summer holiday!

     

    Overcoming misconceptions about the fast stream and civil service – a UCL students insight

    By Chloe J Ackroyd, on 19 June 2017

    Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 11.05.57
    UCL masters student Georgina Evison

     

    Throughout my undergraduate degree the Civil Service Fast Stream was no more than a blip in my peripheral vision. I vaguely heard friends mention that they were applying – a couple even said it was their dream post-uni job – but it never particularly piqued my interest and so I never enquired exactly what it was.

    This was out of the idea that I didn’t want to go into politics – an idea that I now understand represents a distorted view of what the Civil Service actually is.

    During one of the first weeks of my Masters degree, when I saw the Civil Service Fast Stream representatives on the UCL campus, it would be dishonest of me to pretend I walked over to them for any other reason than they were giving out free coffees.

    About to go to work and feeling a bit sleepy, I thought I’d have a quick chat and be on my way; the thought that I might actually end up quite interested in something new didn’t cross my mind. The two women I spoke to explained about the various schemes and I began to understand the breadth of opportunities available within the Civil Service Fast Stream.

    Before this, I had for some reason imagined that the Civil Service Fast Stream would essentially involve lots of admin and one single path for graduates. After a few minutes and lots of questions, I filled out a survey asking how likely I had been to apply to the Civil Service Fast Stream prior to speaking to the representatives (not at all likely) and now (somewhat likely!) and continued on my way to work – coffee in hand.

    I admittedly then forget about our conversation for a couple of days, at which point I discovered I had missed the deadline to complete the initial stage of the application.

    Mildly disappointed, but with the thought of applying next year in mind, I didn’t give the Civil Service a great deal of thought until I received an email mid-January. I had completely forgotten that in filling out the survey I would be entered into a competition to shadow a senior civil servant for a day – the detail hardly registered in my mind given my minute chances of winning.

    As a Human Rights Law Masters student, the opportunity to shadow a civil servant in DFID (Development for International Development) was basically a dream prize, and when I looked up the bio of Ellen Wratten – who I would be shadowing – I looked on in awe at the list of accomplishments.

    To be honest, I was a bit surprised that someone who had done so many cool things worked for the Civil Service. The day itself was an eye-opening experience to the realities of working not only in DFID, but for the Civil Service generally.

    I arrived at 22 Whitehall and was given a quick tour before attending an event to celebrate and share the accomplishments of four different global development think tanks. The event was opened by MP James Wharton who gave a short speech about the various global development challenges that DFID is engaging with in order to try and positively impact on the lives of some of the poorest people in the world, in line with DFID’s goal to “leave no one behind”.

    Everyone that I was introduced to seemed to do something different, and they all had a few encouraging words for me when I explained about my own career aspirations. Having the opportunity to talk to Ellen afterwards made me see that despite the image of government that we see in the media – politicians standing up and giving speeches – it’s really the hundreds of civil servants working hard behind the scenes that are responsible for many changes.

    I also realised that there isn’t a “type” of person that works in the Civil Service, something which a few of the people I spoke to alluded to as becoming increasingly important. The range of educational and employment backgrounds from which civil servants have come from is remarkable and definitely changed my perception of both the type of work that civil servants do, and the type of people who apply.

    I’m grateful that I had this opportunity because otherwise the Civil Service Fast Stream would have remained a bit of a mystery to me, when in fact it’s something that I will enthusiastically apply to now. I would encourage anyone who was like me to just have a look and learn a bit more about the Civil Service Fast Stream because it’s easy to discount it as “not for you” when in fact there’s probably an opportunity to interest everyone.

    __

    Profile – Georgina Evison

    Georgina is studying a Masters in Law, specialising in Human Rights law at UCL. From 2012-15 she studied law at the University of Bristol. In the year between her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees she did an internship with an NGO in Nepal for 4 months and then moved to Paris to work as an au pair and English tutor and improve her French. Georgina grew up in Sheffield but moved to Toronto when she was 11, and moved back to the UK for university. She is interested in human rights law issues – particularly relating to privacy and security law, freedom of religion, and children’s rights. Outside of academics, she likes reading, languages, running, and cooking. Upon finishing her Masters she’d will be working for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse as a paralegal.

    The Five Most Useful Things I Learnt at GCEP

    By Chloe J Ackroyd, on 23 May 2017

    moodle graphic

    Written by Tiba Fazeli; (UCL Alumni) M.A in Transnational Studies

    1. Take the time to properly research your company or organisation.
      • Of course, the website is a great place to start, but don’t limit yourself there. As a minimum, you should spend some time familiarising yourself with the website, but you should also look for information in news articles (using Google News), on LinkedIn or through alternative sources. This way, you can get an insight into their latest developments, like whether they’ve made any major recent structural changes, as well as get to know more about the people they work with (e.g., clients, suppliers, donors, etc.). Not only could this information potentially give your application and/or interview that extra edge, but it will also force you engage with and thoroughly understand the company’s or organisation’s values, ultimately helping you to decide whether they fall in line with yours.
    1. Cater BOTH your CV and cover letter to the role and organisation.
      • Before attending GCEP, I knew this was a given for the cover letter, but I never really considered updating the content of my CV to cater to a specific role. To be frank, I thought it was both time consuming and unnecessary. However, I learned that a few minor alterations and amendments can actually go a long way. Employers and recruiters might have to read through hundreds—if not, thousands—of CVs when they advertise a role. If you can clearly identify why you’re perfect for the job, rather than expect them to work it out based on your background and experiences, then you’re a step ahead of the guy who sent out 30 generic copies of his CV. And yes, that might mean eliminating a few details from your past that are perhaps admirable, but irrelevant to the role.
      • Of course, whilst your CV should generally point out your skills in a concise, easy-to-read format, you can use your cover letter to highlight anything on your CV that you think deserves greater attention. This is also your opportunity to demonstrate your passion and personality to the employer…though ideally, not at expense of your professionalism. If you stick to a clear structure outlining why me, why the role and why the organisation (in whichever order works best for you), then again, you’re doing the guesswork for the employer and providing them with yet another reason to hire you.
    1. There’s nothing wrong with a two-page CV, but your cover letter should always be one page.
      • For years, the question of whether a CV should be one or two pages left me both anxious and bewildered. When I finished university in 2008, the answer was one…well, two was passable, but one was better. Based on this advice, I spent ages struggling to include the important, yet diverse and plentiful details of my background, whilst choosing a large enough font size so that the person who read my CV wouldn’t have to use a magnifying glass. In the time that has passed since then, I think employers, recruiters and, generally, the world at large have come to realise that people are diversifying. They’re getting their Bachelor’s degree in Literature and their Master’s in Biology. They’ve worked as a server at a restaurant, as well as a digital marketing assistant. They have multi-faceted skill sets, and frankly, one page just isn’t enough to demonstrate everything they bring to the table. These changes in the professional world mean that not only is a two-page CV now acceptable, but it’s actually becoming the norm. At the same time, it’s important not to fill two pages with unnecessary information, just for the sake of filling two pages. As I mentioned in the last tip, all the information presented should be relevant to the role, and if possible, to the organisation.
      • On the other hand, a cover letter should never be more than one page. If you’ve gone onto the second page, then you know you’ll either have to edit the body of the letter, or alternatively, go for a smaller font size—10 at the very But really, you should try making the letter more concise and punchy, before forcing the reader get out his/her bifocals.
    1. LinkedIn isn’t just professional Facebook. You can and should use it to meet people in your desired sector, company or organisation.
      • One of the best tips I picked up at GCEP was to make good use of LinkedIn to network with individuals in my desired sector, company or organisation. Sure, you can use LinkedIn to gain access to information about the people who work at a particular company or organisation, including their backgrounds and potentially some of their published work. But you can also use it to engage directly with someone who works in your desired sector or organisation—or even better—with someone who is currently working in the role or a similar role to which you’re applying. In my personal experience, I reached out to someone who worked in the same role I was applying to, but in a different department at the organisation. I offered to buy him a coffee in exchange for an honest chat about the work of his organisation and his experiences there. Meeting him in person and speaking with him for what was supposed to be 30 minutes, but ended up being an hour and a half, lent the organisation a human quality and offered me an insight into the social culture. After this conversation, I knew that I wouldn’t have any trouble fitting in with the rest of the staff, as it seemed they had similar backgrounds and values to mine. This really put me at ease during my interview, and in the end, generated a very positive outcome (i.e., the job!). If you manage to meet with the person before you submit your CV and cover letter, then you can even mention what you took away from the conversation in your job application.
    1. It’s important to be professional, but it’s more important to be genuine.
      • Believe it or not, it’s not that hard to tell the difference between someone who is discussing something he/she is genuinely passionate about, versus someone who is pretending to be passionate about something because they think they have to. In other words, are you really passionate about finance, or have you ventured in this direction for the money? It’s not that the latter is equivalent to a cardinal sin. It’s simply that people exude more charisma and confidence when they talk about something in which they truly believe. And this can go both ways… You may not be enthralled by the financial analyst role, but perhaps, you’re really interested in the organisation or sector. You can highlight your ability to accomplish the logistical tasks at hand, while you emphasise your passion for the content. Alternatively, if you’re lacking a little on the skills and experience side but you love the company’s or organisation’s work, then you can focus on that during your interactions with the employer. At the end of the day, when it comes to considering your next role, where—let’s face it—you’ll be spending the majority of your waking hours for the foreseeable future, it’s important to be honest—not only with the employer, but also with yourself.

     

    The 2017 Global Citizenship Employability Programme is fast approaching!

    By Chloe J Ackroyd, on 23 May 2017

    gcep digital screen

    The 2017 Global Citizenship Employability Programme is fast approaching, and we are really looking forward to welcoming students from across UCL to the two week programme!

    Here are 3 main things we hope you will gain from the programme, and 3 things you could do before you start on the 30th May.

    Three things you will gain from the programme:

    1. Have the opportunity to gain an in depth look at your own values and, strengths and start making plans for the future, supported every step of the way by the team at UCL Careers. It can be human nature to put off making decisions when don’t know where to start: this programme will give you a framework to explore your thoughts on employability.
    2. Practice with real life employers, before the “real” thing. Applications, Assessments and Interviews can be scary things however prepared you are. The Employability programme enables you to practice in a safe environment, gaining useful feedback that you can build on.
    3. Develop your ideas on Global Citizenship: what does it mean to you and how might this impact your future career decisions.

    Three things to do before you start. If you have time, the following areas would be useful before you come on the 30th May:

    1. Check out our Employability Moodle, which is full with loads of information to get you thinking about Global Citizenship.
    2. Start thinking about what you would like to get out of the programme.
    3. Make sure you have paid your deposit! As places are confirmed on a first come first served basis, you will only be able to attend the programme if you do this before the places run out. You will receive your deposit back if you attend at least 70% of the programme.

    In the meantime, if you have any questions please do contact UCL Careers careers@ucl.ac.uk or drop into our offices on the 4th floor of the Student Central building!

     

    Advice from a fellow UCLian

    By Chloe J Ackroyd, on 23 May 2017

    Hello fellow UCLians,

    I hope that you are enjoying the final chapter of education. As with most students, you probably haven’t thought much beyond your summer exams (I definitely didn’t) and after graduating in Chemical Engineering, I had no idea what I wanted to do. Fast forward three years, and having switched my career path on many occasions, here I am working as a Business Development Manager at MVF.

    Entering the ‘real world’ after learning about it for so long can be quite scary but is also very exciting. After all, it’s your time to impart the knowledge you have learnt and see what difference you can make in your chosen field. It’s good to get a feel for what kind of work environment you thrive in, for example, I know I like to work with super clear targets as I hate not knowing if I’m doing well or not. Being in sales, all my progress can be measured by a single number and I love it. Our annual companywide trip to Ibiza is also a nice motivator along the way!

    Here are some things that I wish someone had told me after graduating:

    • Take the time to think about your personal aims and where you want to be in two to three years time. If you see yourself managing a team in the future think twice before taking a job that doesn’t offer good career progression or training opportunities. The trick is to find a profession which suits your personal and career goals; you will be much happier at work if you feel you are on track to achieving your aims.
    • Travelling and charity work give you invaluable experiences and skills that will make you a fantastic asset to their business. Don’t feel pressured into taking the first job you are offered as gaining more life experience after uni can put you in a better position to understand exactly what sort of job you will be happiest in.
    • Culture is King! Anyone can go to work and make money, but company culture is what’s really going to have an impact on your day to day life. Deciding which company to join is as important, if not more so than choosing a university. The reality is that you will be working with these people eight hours a day, five days a week, so make sure they’re a good bunch. Do your research and look to join companies that encourage a close-knit community and acknowledge the importance of personal development.

    Well folks, I hope I’ve provided you with some useful advice. If you have any questions, or just want to chat about potential positions here at MVF, please email our People Team careers@mvfglobal.com.

    Good luck with all your exams!

    Amit

    Thoughts on participating in the Spark Challenge 2017

    By Chloe J Ackroyd, on 16 May 2017

    Written by Majunyang (Serena) Xiao

    I heard about the spark challenge through the newsletters from UCL Careers Service. I am attracted by the focus on youth loneliness in the UK, which is definitely one of the most pressing issues concerning mental wellbeing of young people in the UK. As an undergraduate student myself, I could actually relate to this problem and have thought about various possibilities to fill in the ‘void’. This challenge conducted by the Tata Consultancy Service aims to utilize technology to tackle this problem. I see full potential in this discussion as the advancement of technology surely could provide a direction for a sustainable solution.

    There are in total six candidates in the final round of the challenge and each of us is required to give a five-minute presentation to the panel judges who will prompt questions at the end of our presentation.

    I proposed a solution that I call Metaverse. Various research and papers suggest that the university students here in the UK are feeling increasingly lonely and the main reasons attribute to the fact that they leave their support networks and tend to feel extra self-conscious when making new friends. So the main goal of my proposal boils down to two main sectors – first, to give the shy students the extra push they need to meet new people. Second, to provide mental reassurance and readiness through a fun VR experience.

    Metaverse is platform that combines 3-D virtual gaming and social net-working. In the game, every user registers with their testified personality type (Myers-Briggs-type indicator) and preferred type of social interaction, hobbies and locations. Those information will form tags that will be matched between users and generate group activity recommendations. So in order to level up in the game, players will need to accomplish the social interaction tasks chosen and upload group photos for verification purposes. The incentives for them to level up in the game would be the unlocking of wider-range of VR game models which are definitely a hit among young users. So in short, this game would be an easy way for young people to step out of their comfort zone and give them naturally common topics to talk about, for example, their reasons of joining the game and so on.

    Why would VR games be such a strong incentive? Because they have almost inexhaustible resources for us to explore. Here are some of the lately established game models that enable players to talk to each other in a common space. You play sports, you can go traveling, sit on the edge of the cliff together, watch a movie without extra costs, you list it. Among the three currently available VR sets, I would recommend promoting the use of PlayStation, as the ps 4 and ps VR combined cost less than the gaming pc you need to run the other two. Users could also choose to connect to their Facebook account to invite more friends and secretly those who they wanted to meet but not yet have a good reason to.

    Although some people are concerned about addiction to the games, but I would say this differs from other games, unlike other video games the grading system essentially depends on real-life interactions, so the games are simply a supplement and a less daunting way to encourage people to speak to strangers.

    Considering that students may not be able to afford the expensive game, stations of VR gaming could be set up on campuses or local health organisations in which students could access to the facilities. There is also a high chance that we could collaborate with the Mind organisation in the UK which conducts regular workshop about mental wellbeing. We could also draw from the Mayor’s Fund for Young People’s Resilience and Inclusion with a worth of £3.2 million to help ensure that young people have built the necessary strong social connections.

    Future possibilities include collaborations with volunteering units that would provide a meaningful shared social interaction, or merchandisers who would sponsor vouchers to users. Most importantly, this gaming platform would provide the health organization with necessary information to monitor mental health among university students.

    The other five candidates are all from different universities such as the University of Glasgow and University of Warwick. Everyone has their unique selling point, some really interesting ideas draw my attention, for example, creating an event-generating system that allow no less than four participants as having a minimum of four people in a group activity is proved to be the sweet spot where no one will be left out in the interaction. There are also ideas on creating alarm system that could enhance level of safety for young users to meet new friends from on on-line connections. This competition also trains our presentation skill and ability to respond to questions in a logical and confident manner, maximizing our unique selling point. I also had amazing opportunities to communicate with TCS consultants as well as partners of TCS that include non-profit organizations such as Dame Kelly Holmes Trust working on empowering youth in the UK. It was indeed a fruitful session for me to make friends with peer presenters who also care about mental wellbeing and also exchanged meaningful insights on various youth problems and successful case studies with the various organisations. I therefore definitely recommend this spark challenge to future participants from UCL.

     

    Further reading – https://www.ucl.ac.uk/current-students/support/ssw/0000-mind/spark-challenge

     

    UCL Entrepreneurs successfully reach the final of the Mayor’s Entrepreneur Competition 2017

    By Chloe J Ackroyd, on 26 April 2017

    170320-MoL-Entrepreneur-17-1075

    UCL Entrepreneurs and founders of Captum Technology; Sam Ghazizadeh and Hossien Bahrami were successful in reaching the final of the Mayor’s Entrepreneur Competition 2017.

    The competition challenges London students to think of ways to improve the city, make it more sustainable and reduce carbon emissions. Sam and Hossien were selected from more than 300 entries to take part in the live final of the Mayor’s Entrepreneur competition on Monday 20th March. Each competitor was judged on originality, practicality, clarity, longevity and importantly – carbon savings. Competition for the two groups of UC groups came from King’s College London, City and Imperial College London.

    They pitched to a high-profile panel of judges including perfume entrepreneur Jo Malone MBE, Jenny Tooth OBE from UK Business Angels Association, Niels Kirk from Citi, Christian Lane from Smarter.am and previous winner Arthur Kay from Bio-bean at London City Hall.

    170320-MoL-Entrepreneur-17-0433

    Here is an account of their experience:

    ‘We heard about the 2017 Mayor of London Entrepreneur competition from UCL Enterprise. As some of you may know, a previous winner of this competition was Arthur Kay from UCL who is now the CEO of bio-bean and wants to turn Coffee waste into valuable bi-products. We were greatly inspired by his success from UCL and wanted to give our idea a chance in this competition. UCL Enterprise has been extremely supportive in many aspects: they really helped us to polish our business model, to know our numbers very well, and also to prepare for pitching our idea.

    The process of this competition started with submitting an online proposal where we had to explain our business idea in simple terms but in detail. Amongst 350 submissions which involved about 600 students, 10 groups were selected as the finalists and we were one of them! We were then invited to pitch our idea in two minutes in front of a panel of judges who were selected by the City Hall. We were proud to see Arthur Kay as one of the judges! We received very positive feedback about our project and how we should take it forward. The competition gave us a great exposure and also the opportunity to talk to various CEOs and investors invited to the City Hall.’

    Sam and Hossiens idea in Mayor’s competition was a London-based and UCL home-grown start-up called Captum Technology – a clean technology start-up that is developing novel methods to turn carbon dioxide into valuable materials which can be vastly used in manufacturing industries. They aim to reduce the CO emissions from industrial plants in a financially viable way.

    Sam explains: ‘Captum Technology has two forms of clients. First, industries who emit carbon dioxide as their waste gas. Our service to these industries is that we setup our CO2-capturing technology in their plants and reduce their CO2 emissions on a significantly higher scale than is currently possible. Our value proposition to these industries is that we offer our technology at no cost! This means that industries such as cement or energy, need not invest directly in their CO2 reduction. In return, we will require to have the full right/access to use their waste gas.

    In industrial plants, such as cement, we direct the output gas streams into a large-scale apparatus where CO2 transforms to carbon. First, the gas flue will be inserted into a process that can selectively take up the CO2 molecules. Then, the taken CO2 gas will be utilised in a chemical reaction to form carbon. Carbon is our added value product with a chemical composition suitable for various applications. We aim to sell the carbon in bulk to various manufacturing industries, such as Steel.’

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    They go on to explain: ‘Although at the end we did not win the competition, our experience with Mayor’s competition has been indeed empowering. We had to be well prepared in front of the judges – very similar to the Dragons’ Den style. In principle, we had to present our idea very concisely but effectively. This, on its own, was a great skill we acquired from the process. At the end of the day, it’s all about how you present yourself and sell your idea in a compelling way. You want to show you’re best suited for a given opportunity.’

    They are currently seeking support, endorsement and investments from interested parties in the UK to make our idea into reality. ‘We have to say that being a finalist in the Mayor’s competition has served us very well!’

     

    Find out more on their website – www.captumtechnology.com

    And for more information about the Mayor’s Entrepreneur Competition click here – https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/environment/smart-london-and-innovation/mayors-entrepreneur-competition

     

    Interested in a career within Life and Health Sciences?

    By Chloe J Ackroyd, on 3 March 2017

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    Join us for a series of panel events and workshops taking place during Life and Health Sciences Themed Week, Monday 6th – Thursday 9th March 2017.

    Our panel contributors, from various professional backgrounds and at different stages of their careers, include a Patent Attorney from J A Kemp, the Global Head of Digital at Cello Health Insight, a Senior Account Manager from Hanover Communications, a Senior Medical Writer, a Project Manager from the Royal Free, the Head of Government Science and Engineering Profession within the Civil Service and an NHS Graduate Management Trainee to name just a few. They will be sharing unique insights into their career journeys and current roles as well as answering your questions during our panel and networking events, below:

    Monday 6th March, 17.30-19.30: Leadership & Governance Panel

    Tuesday 7th March, 17.30-19.30: Communicating Science & Health 

    Wednesday 8th March, 17.30-19.30: Biology & Business

    Thursday 9th March, 17.30-19.30: Non-Academic 

    Our workshops will introduce you to various clinical and non-clinical roles within the life and health sciences sector and offer the opportunity to ask questions and delve deeper into what a career within these areas can offer you through an interactive lunchtime session.

    Tuesday 7th March, 12.00 – 13.00: Lunchtime Workshop: Clinical 

    Wednesday 8th March, 12.00 – 13.00: Lunchtime Workshop: Non-Clinical 

     

    Working for a Healthy Society

    By Chloe J Ackroyd, on 28 February 2017

    Blog1_lifesciencescareers

    Careers within the field of life and health sciences are incredibly diverse and encompass a broad range of specialisms in both clinical and non-clinical areas.

    Whether you are looking to apply your skills and expertise ‘behind the scenes’ within research, laboratory-based work or the development of new scientific treatments and medical technology, or directly with patients in a public-facing role, the life and health sciences sector offers a multitude of exciting career options.

    Join us to hear more about some of the professional pathways available to you during our ‘Life and Health Sciences Week’, from Monday 6th March – Thursday 9th March 2017.

    We will be hosting a series of panel events covering themes including leadership and governance, biology and business, communicating health and science and non-academic careers, as well as offering interactive workshops to inspire you to explore the range of employment opportunities within life and health sciences. More information and booking details here – http://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/events/getinto/lifehealthsciences

    In the meantime, check out the top hiring trends in life science for 2017 here: https://social.hays.com/2017/01/05/top-10-life-sciences-hiring-trends-for-2017/