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Share your Talents…with UCL Talent Bank

By Joe O'Brien, on 23 February 2021

Read time: 2 minutes

Written by Victoria Abbott, Recruitment & Selection Advisor at UCL Careers.

If you are looking for a job for when you graduate, or an internship for the summer break, try UCL Talent Bank.

UCL Talent Bank is a service run by UCL Careers which matches UCL candidates with opportunities sourced by the UCL Talent Bank team. The team actively source opportunities for UCL students and graduates, and then present applications to employers.

Anytime you submit an application via UCL Talent Bank and are unsuccessful in securing the role, one of our career professionals will provide you with tailored feedback on your application, helping you to develop your application skills and increase your chances of successfully securing a role in the future.

Typically, these opportunities are at Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and include internships, graduate roles, and part time jobs. Plus, all of the opportunities are exclusive to you as a UCL student or graduate, increasing your chances of successfully securing a role!

Keep reading for an exclusive interview with Nasima Bashar, Internships & Vacancies Officer at UCL Careers, who helps organise opportunities for UCL students via the UCL Talent Bank service.

This sounds like an amazing opportunity for students! Can you tell me a little bit more about the process and how students can apply?

Once we advertise the role on myUCLCareers, students can start their application, which typically involves uploading a tailored CV and cover letter. Once the deadline has passed, we review the applications and send the shortlisted candidates to the employer.

Students can apply for as many UCL Talent Bank opportunities as they like and all opportunities on myUCLCareers are paid in accordance with National Minimum Wage legislation.

The employer will then get in touch with any candidates whom they wish to follow up with, and progress to the next stage of the recruitment process.  If students are not invited for an interview, but were shortlisted, we ask the employer to provide feedback on the application and why they chose not to interview on that occasion.

If students are unsuccessful for a role, we can also provide individual and tailored feedback, specifying key areas that can be worked on to ensure improvements ready for the next application.

So how are UCL Talent Bank opportunities sourced compared to other roles that students may find for themselves?

We will actively source opportunities for UCL students and graduates, and present applications to employers on every occasion we possibly can, to ensure students have the best opportunities available to them.

We look for roles that will be of benefit to UCL students in terms of the skill set, support, and general wealth of experience that can be gained from working at each organisation. There are dedicated members of the UCL Careers team who seek roles for specific student groups, including engineering students, PhD and research students, and opportunities which are appropriate for all student levels across all academic disciplines.

It is a great pleasure to source opportunities where students go on to thrive in their roles and really enjoy working within a supportive and engaging workplace.

Fantastic! Are there any additional advantages to be gained from engaging with the UCL Talent Bank service?

A UCL Talent Bank opportunity is typically exclusive to UCL students, but this is not the only benefit of the service. When sourcing an opportunity, we make sure there is a good amount of support in place for our students who successfully secure the role, whether that be a supervisor or mentor who oversees the student.

We also ensure there are specific objectives and outcomes which the student can work towards throughout their time at the organisation and really try to ensure there are real benefits and tangible skills the students will gain from the opportunity.

Employers are very interested in recruiting the best talent, and UCL is the best place to do so. We have over 40,000 students within the University made up of undergraduates, postgraduates and research students and employers are fully aware we have plenty of bright students who meet their organisational needs!

Many UCL students and graduates have benefited from the scheme, which began in 2015. Sarah, UCL BSc Economics alumni, had this to say about the service:

“UCL Talent Bank is a quick and easy way to find fantastic opportunities with SMEs. As a recent graduate I found many relevant, interesting opportunities and the first one I applied for, I got! The job I have now has fast tracked my career and I’ve even started a professional qualification.” 

To begin your UCL Talent Bank search, just log-in to your myUCLCareers account and select UCL Managed Opportunities Scheme list, UCL Talent Bank to view all available opportunities.

 

 

 

5 Things to expect from Careers in the Life Science Industry Week 2021

By Joe O'Brien, on 22 February 2021

Read time: 2 minutes

Written by Dr Sophia Donaldson, Senior Careers Consultant at UCL Careers.

Starting on Monday 8th March we’re hosting a week of virtual events to help you navigate the Life Sciences Sector, and find out where you might fit within it. All events are held live, and will give you the opportunity to pose your own questions to speakers. Events are open to students, graduates, PhDs, and research staff, with full details and booking here.

Below are 5 things you can expect from the week.

  1. An overview of just how broad the Life Sciences Industry is

“Life Sciences” is a pretty loose term, right? The industry encompasses a huge range of opportunities, including roles in drug development, patenting, marketing, and selling new therapies, or communicating the latest developments in bioscience to policymakers, clinicians, and the public. We’ll kick off the week with a session at 11am on Monday 8th March from CK Group, a science-focused recruitment agency, who’ll provide an overview of the Life Science Sector, and share the kinds of roles they help companies recruit for, including roles for undergraduates, masters grads, and PhD-holders.

  1. Insight into how to use the lab and data science skills you’ve picked up from your course

Many of you will have enjoyed gaining practical experience in labs, either wet or dry, during your course. But aside from progressing within academia like your lecturers have, it can sometimes be difficult to see how these skills might translate into the workplace. So, we’re running an event to help you understand just that. In our Life Science careers in data science and the lab panel, at 6pm Tuesday 9th March, we will bring together professionals working either in lab or clinical research, or with the increasingly large amounts of data generated from them, across a range of settings. You’ll hear what their roles look like day-to-day, and gain top tips on how to follow a similar path. Organisations represented will include GSK, IQVIA, Parexel, and the NHS.

  1. Ideas for how to leave the “doing science” bit to someone else.

Many people don’t necessarily love the laboratory or data analysis elements of their study or research, and yet they still enjoy being exposed to a range of cutting-edge developments. If this sounds like you, rest assured there are plenty of ways to capitalise on your scientific knowledge and background, and stay aligned to science, without actually having to be “a scientist”. We’ll showcase some of these roles in two panel events. In Careers in Science Communication and Policy, at 6pm Monday 8th March, we bring together a range of professionals who communicate the latest life science developments to the public and policy makers. And in Biology and Business, at 6pm Thursday 11th March, we host speakers who have combined their passion for science, with roles in business, investments, and patent law. Organisations represented across these two events include CRUK, Wellcome, BBC, Incyte, and Arix Bioscience.

  1. Insight into how COVID has effected the industry

We all know the effects of the pandemic have been wide-reaching and will last for some time to come. But not all roles and organisations will be affected equally. For example, non-COVID-related health charities may be hit significantly harder than big pharma companies associated with vaccine development. We will be asking all of our speakers to share with us how COVID has impacted their role and organisation, and what they feel the lasting impact may be.

  1. A chance to experience life science sector work first-hand

You can learn a lot from hearing people discuss their roles. But the best way to decide whether or not something is for you? Try it out! We’ve organised two experiential workshops that’ll give you a taste of life sciences work. In A Career in Medical Writing  – Experiential workshop by the European Medical Writing Association 11am-12.30pm, Thursday 11th March, you’ll gain insight into the role of a medical writer, and participate in exercises to practice and improve your own medical writing skills. And in Strategy Consulting in Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare – Experiential Workshop by Cambridge Healthcare Research on Wednesday 10th March, 11am-12pm, you’ll learn about the consultant journey and the kind of consulting case studies you’re likely to face in the interview process and in the job.

 

Preparations for a Sustainable Career

By Joe O'Brien, on 15 February 2021

Read time: 2 minutes

Written by Victoria Abbott, Recruitment & Selection Adviser at UCL Careers.

Sustainability is one of the most urgent and pressing challenges we face today and many of us want to get involved through impactful careers. If you want to be part of creating a more sustainable future, then keep reading to discover how you can learn more about the sector and use your skills and experiences to generate change.

Careers in Sustainability Week is designed to give you insights into the roles, rewards, and routes into this rapidly developing sector. Here you can develop your understanding of the business issues and global challenges of the sustainability sector, preparing you for a career in the field. We know that many employers are looking for sustainability conscious employees across the entire organisation – not just in ‘sustainability’ roles.

What’s happening throughout the week, and how will I benefit from taking part?

Panel Events

Hear from employers, graduates and UCL alumni at the forefront of sustainable innovation from a wide variety of roles and sectors. These bespoke panel talks include, but are not limited to:

  • Business and Consultancy,
  • Finance & Investment,
  • Infrastructure,
  • Government & Policy,
  • Heritage Management & Preservation,
  • Wildlife and Ecology Conservation and more!

These engaging events are a great opportunity to have your individual questions answered. Find our how organisations really define sustainability and take the opportunity to network, inform yourself and engage with business representatives and sustainability professionals on the issues that matter to you.

Social Media Conversations

Engaging with the Alumni Instagram Takeover of Sustainable UCL’s profile, will give you the opportunity to really connect with select UCL alumni, all of whom are currently working in sustainable roles. Ask the questions you really want answered and boost your networking skills and sustainable connections throughout the week.

Tailored workshop

This CV workshop is highly beneficial to ensure you market your strengths and experiences effectively. This will also ensure you highlight the skills you need to be competitive in the sustainability job market.

How can I prepare for Sustainability Week?

You may want to think about the following topics prior to attending any of the events across Sustainability Week. These may help to clarify any questions you would like to ask during the event, and to make sure you get the most out of the experience.

For example:

  • Have you considered how to best demonstrate the key skills and competencies in your applications for sustainability roles?
  • How important is undertaking further study, such as a postgraduate course or professional qualification, or are most roles offered with on-the-job training?
  • How can you demonstrate your passion and knowledge for sustainability to recruiters?
  • How important is undertaking volunteering and extra-curricular activities to gain some practical experience within the sector?

And finally:

  • Have you made use of your UCL Careers service to support you with any of the above? If you would like some additional assistance, please get in touch today regarding our one-to-one appointments.

Whatever your degree subject, and wherever your particular specialism, area of interest or passion lies, a career in sustainability could be your future.

For full details of all events hosted throughout the week and how to register for events, please visit the Careers in Sustainability Week webpage.

Careers in Health Week Commencing 8 February 2021

By Joe O'Brien, on 27 January 2021

Read time: 3 minutes

Written by Sylwia Wasiak-Rakowska, Internships & Vacancies Officer at UCL Careers.

Are you looking for a career that makes a difference to people’s lives? From the frontline response to coronavirus with clinical services, systems and data through to governance and diagnosis to treatment, Health Week has got it covered.

In this blog you’ll find out a bit more about each of the virtual events UCL Careers are running as part of Health Week. Make sure to book your place if you’d like to hear from and network with professionals from across this varied sector.

Throughout the week, you will learn about the different roles that are available within the sector, where future opportunities for students and graduates can be found and what you can be doing now to ensure you are best-equipped to begin your career in the health sector.

See you there!

Tuesday 9 February

Careers in Frontline Healthcare Panel, 1-2.30pm

If you enjoy working with people and want to make a real impact in people’s lives, then you’ll value our Frontline Healthcare Panel where you’ll hear from and have the opportunity to put questions to healthcare professionals and those training to work directly with patients and clients in a health focused role.

Professionals with experience in the areas of Medicine, Speech and Language Therapy and Midwifery will be in attendance, with more to be announced.

See event details and sign up to attend on myUCLCareers.

Wednesday 10 February

Health Careers Discovery Evening, 6.30-8.30pm

Join UCL alumni professionals, working in a range of health roles, for this discovery panel and networking evening where you will have the opportunity to hear about their experiences and their insights and connect in smaller groups for networking.

Professionals with experience in the areas of Global Health, Health Communications and Health Policy will be in attendance, with more to be announced.

See event details and sign up to attend on myUCLCareers.

Thursday 11 February

Data and Diagnostics Panel, 5.30-7.30pm

Challenges to health and health systems are changing rapidly on a global scale and the ways in which data and diagnostics are used to make decisions on preventing, treating and curing diseases are crucial. If you are interested in how data analytics and diagnostics are being used in the Health Sector, book onto this panel event where you will hear from professionals who are actively engaging in using data to improve our lives.

Panellists include health professionals from Aquarius Population Health, NHS Digital, Oxford Heartbeat, and more!

See event details and sign up to attend on myUCLCareers.

 

All Health Week events are open to UCL students and recent graduates with an interest in the sector, regardless of your degree subject.

Be sure to look out for information on live opportunities you can apply for in the Health sectors on UCL Careers Twitter feed during Health Week.

Once you’ve booked your place, why not explore our Online Careers Library for useful sector guides, job profiles and key job sites in preparation for the events?

Online Volunteering and Your Career…

By Joe O'Brien, on 25 January 2021

Read time: 2 minutes

Written by Grace Brown, Volunteering Partnerships Coordinator at UCL Volunteering.

It’s no secret that gaining volunteering experience can give you the edge when applying for graduate jobs and even be a direct link to working for a charity. Since the start of the pandemic last year, The Volunteering Service have been working with partners to promote safe volunteering opportunities online that have helped students to develop skills and gain valuable experience in the charity sector.

Student Experiences

Zainab Dar, a first year BA Comparative Literature student has been volunteering with the community organisation BUD as a Business Development and Partnerships Research Coordinator. Zainab spoke to us this month about the impact she has made and how volunteering online has been.

‘I believe it can be so fulfilling to make a change in society and improve your own skills even within the confines of your home amidst a pandemic.’

When choosing your volunteer role, it’s a good idea to consider how it can give you new insights into your academic subject and help you develop skills that you can use within your course. Our volunteering directory allows you to filter opportunities by skills, so you can search roles to develop new skills or build on existing ones.

 

Yaning, a second-year Population Health with Data Science student at UCL, has been volunteering with Med Supply Drive UK and told us about her skills development.

‘Volunteering with Med Supply Drive UK has introduced me to programmes such as Canva, Visme, Slack, and Trello. It has improved my writing and design skills, as well as my attention to detail, and has taught me how to respond productively to criticism.’

Read more stories of how students have been volunteering online this past year, the challenges, and rewards of volunteering online and how it has supported student’s skills development.

Our Top Picks

Filter opportunities to find leadership skills today on our directory and results will include amongst others a Project Leader position at Camden Carers Centre. If you wanted to develop your research skills, you’ll see roles such as this Trusts and Foundations volunteer at a hospice or a working on a Asian Food Heritage Project. For many of these roles the time you commit is completely flexible.

Whilst it’s not possible to meet people face to face just yet, there are many opportunities to creating meaningful connections and build on your communication skills through tutoring and mentoring volunteering. Volunteer with The Access Project to tutor a young person for one hour a week or become a Volunteer Buddy at Sense to support a young person with complex needs online. No prior experience is necessary as all training is provided.

Find all current online volunteering opportunities on our online directory, check out our guide to volunteering safely during the pandemic, and get in touch with any questions or to share your own experience of volunteering online.

Want to find out more about careers working in a charity or NGO? Book yourself on to the events as part of UCL Careers’ Charities & NGOs Week.

Careers Support for Students from Diverse Backgrounds

By Joe O'Brien, on 19 January 2021

Read time: 6 minutes

Written by Lee Pike, Careers Consultant at UCL Careers.

Why diversity matters

It is widely recognised that having a diverse workforce helps organisations operate more efficiently and creatively. A diverse workforce is one that includes people from different backgrounds, cultures, personalities and viewpoints.  In addition, organisations are increasingly becoming more global so diversity in terms of understanding different cultures, different ways of working and being relatable to clients from different backgrounds is a definite advantage.  

What does this mean for recruitment?

Recruiters are increasingly looking at ways to increase recruitment of underrepresented groups including women, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME), LGBTQIA+ people, those with a visible or non-visible disability, and students from lower socio-economic backgrounds. In the ISE Student Recruitment Survey 2020 by the Institute of Student Employers, they found that 62% of 179 ISE employer members said they had ‘formal targets around attraction of different cohorts of candidates’ and 82% of respondents said they were taking actions to maximise the diversity of candidates they attract. However, this article from the Institute of Student Employers recognises that employers still have some way to go between their intentions and their actions.

What does this mean for you?

With issues surrounding diversity in the workplace becoming more prominent, there’s a growing number of opportunities available for those from a diverse background. Here’s a list of some current initiatives open to applicants from a range of diverse backgrounds:

  1. 100BlackInterns

100blackinterns offer internships to Black students from all academic backgrounds looking to get into investment banking with over 200 employers almost exclusively in London.  As with the Goldman Sachs above, although closed for 2020 entry, it’s certainly worth exploring for applying in 2021.

  1. Blind In Business

The Blind in Business Employment Service is designed to help blind and partially sighted students and graduates prepare for and find jobs within their chosen careers.  They provide support, advice and training, including how to talk to an employer about your visual impairment.

  1. Creative Access

Creative Access was set up to offer opportunities in the creative industries for young people from underrepresented groups. They work with global brands such as Apple, Tate, ITV and National Theatre.  A number of opportunities are advertised on the site.  A few of the current opportunities include:

  • Producer or Studio Researcher or Production Co-ordinator, CPL Productions (closing date 15 Jan 2021);
  • Young Board Members, Creative UK (closing date 18 Jan 2021); and
  • Collaborative Doctoral Awards, National Theatre (closing date 5 Feb 2021).

Visit the Creative Access Opportunities webpage for the full list.

  1. EmployAbility 

EmployAbility is a career management resource for disabled students and graduate. They run first year, internship, and graduate programmes, as well as vacation schemes and training contract opportunities, with inclusive employer partners.

Visit the EmployAbility Students and Universities webpage for a full list of opportunities.

  1. Exceptional Individuals

Exceptional Individuals provides recruitment and employment support to individuals with dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD and autism. Their resources include job boards advertising inclusive companies’ jobs specifically for neurodivergent people.

  1. Goldman Sachs Student Possibility Programme

Goldman Sachs Student Possibility Programme is an interactive multi-day program for students from low socio-economic backgrounds*.  The programme is open to students from all degree backgrounds and is designed to introduce students to the financial world through hands on experience. Although closed for 2020 entry, it’s certainly worth exploring for applying in 2021.

*Candidates who identify as first generation in their family to go to university, attended a state school (non-fee paying), or were eligible for free school meals.

  1. SEO London

If you are from a low socio-economic background or an underrepresented ethnicity group, SEO London‘s SEO Careers initiative prepares you for career success in the sectors of corporate law, consulting, engineering and technology.

SEO London partner with over 50 sponsor firms across eight leading industries and have supported several thousand alumni into internships and graduate roles since 2000. You can find help with preparing for interviews, as well as securing internships or a full-time job.  They also provide training on CVs, psychometric tests, commercial awareness, tech skills, presentation skills, assessment centres and interviews.

Find out more about SEO Careers on the SEO London webpage.

How can UCL Careers help?

Careers Extra

UCL Careers Extra is a programme of additional activities and support for UK undergraduate students (home fee status) from any of the following groups who are currently studying at UCL:

  • Neither parent went to university and you went to a UK state school
  • Care leaver
  • Carer
  • Disabled
  • Household income below £25,000 (as declared to Student Finance England)
  • Black African, Black Caribbean or mixed Black African/White or Black Caribbean/White
  • Received an Access UCL offer

Students who sign up to UCL Careers Extra will be added to a circulation list for targeted employer events and programmes. They can also apply for bursaries to help cover the cost of undertaking internships and can access preferential booking for some UCL Careers events, longer careers appointments and extra careers events that are exclusive to UCL Careers Extra students.

Support for students with disabilities/long-term health conditions

If you have a disability or long-term health condition you can do the following:

  • Request an extended one to one appointment with a careers consultant.
  • Request adjustments to enable you to access a one to one careers appointment (which all currently take place via MS Teams).
  • Request reasonable adjustments for an event or workshop you will be attending (please email at least 48 hours in advance).
  • Receive careers information for students with disabilities or long-term health conditions.

Where can I find out more?

UCL Careers has gathered information about a variety of organisations working to support different groups – you can find this in the Diversity and Inclusion section of our website.

Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority

This UCL Careers Extra web page for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students provides numerous careers-related resources relevant to students from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.

Find information about sector-specific resources, non-sector specific resources, students’ union UCL clubs and societies and BAME mentoring.

Disability and Health Conditions

This resource provides careers-related information for students with disabilities on a wide range of topics including

  • Organisations providing advice and support;
  • Disability positive employers;
  • Legal rights;
  • Neurodiversity and autism;
  • Job listings;
  • Internships,
  • Work experience and graduate schemes;
  • Finding work opportunities through UCL
  • Funding

Other sections on the UCL Careers Disability webpage include discussing disabilities or long-term health conditions with employers; list of appropriate blogs; and, disability support at UCL.  UCL works in partnership with MyPlus, giving you access to MyPlus Students’ Club.

Careers Extra Resources

Visit the UCL Careers Extra webpage to find out more.

Next steps

Step 1

Why not set aside some time within the next week or so to take a look at the wealth of resources available highlighted in this blog.  It’s impossible to cover everything in this article so some exploration of the links and resources mentioned will help you, whether that’s understanding your rights or finding organisations that proactively engage with, support and assist students from diverse backgrounds.

Step 2

This article ‘The Importance of Diversity in the Workplace’ on getsling.com focuses on why diversity in the workplace is essential for success. It provides 13 reasons why diversity is important to a company and helps you to understand the importance of diversity in the workplace.

Step 3

If you’re a UK (home fee status) student and meet the criteria described for Careers Extra, why not register and book an extended 1-to-1 with a careers consultant?

Whatever your background and wherever you’re from, UCL Careers is here to help you on your career journey.

5 things to gain from International Development Week

By Joe O'Brien, on 18 January 2021

Read time: 3 minutes

Written by Glyn Jones, Careers Consultant at UCL Careers.

UCL Careers will be running a series of online events between 1 – 4 February focusing on careers within International Development. The week will kick off with an introductory session, followed by panel discussions throughout the week, giving you the opportunity to hear from professionals working in the industry. These panel events are an excellent opportunity to hear about new career pathways, as well as giving you the opportunity to gain sector insights from people working in the industry.

Below we’ve highlighted 5 things that you will gain from attending events run during the International Development Themed Week.

  1. An introduction to International Development

Throughout the themed week you’ll learn about what working in International Development means and find out what opportunities there are for graduates.

On Monday 1 February, the week will start with an introductory session run by a UCL Careers Consultant. This will provide an overview of International Development as a work sector, and offer advice on how to get the most out of the week. Registration for this talk is now open and bookings can be made through the event page.

  1. Hear from UCL Alumni working in the industry

When thinking about your own career prospects, it can often be beneficial to hear from others and see what pathway they have undertaken. By hearing from UCL Alumni you’ll be getting insights from those who have been in the same position as you and have the opportunity to gain any tips that they may share from their own experiences.

We have numerous UCL Alumni joining us throughout the week, and on Thursday 4 February we have our ‘Connecting with UCL Alumni’ event, which will focus solely on UCL Alumni. To find out more about the event take a look at the event page.

  1. Learn about different career pathways

Our events will offer insights into the range of careers and employers who work in the sector. As well as hearing these first-hand accounts, we will have a session focusing on the different career pathways within the sector. This event will enable attendees to hear about the variety of routes available to graduates, whether these are specific programmes associated with International Development, graduate vacancies or alternative career pathways that can lead to working in the industry.

For further information about our ‘Pathways into International Development’ event, take a look at the event page.

  1. Learn about how the sector has been impacted by Covid 19

Throughout all the events we’ll hear about how the pandemic has changed the work of our panellists and the sector as a whole. Given the huge impact of Covid 19, we’ll also have a dedicated session that will look into how the sector has had to adapt as a result.

Our event on Tuesday 2nd February focuses on International Economic Development and the impact of Covid-19 on the sector. For more information on the event, visit the event page.

  1. Grow your professional network

Throughout our events, you’ll have the opportunity to put your own questions to the experts. Furthermore, for some panellists we will set up individual rooms for speakers at the end of the session, giving you the opportunity to speak directly with panellists. Not only are these opportunities a unique way to learn first-hand about what working in International Development is really like, but you’ll also have the chance to grow your professional network.

For full details of all event hosted throughout the week and how to register for events, please visit the International Development Themed Week webpage.

Bookings Open for Charities & NGOs Week 2021

By Joe O'Brien, on 11 January 2021

Read time: 3 minutes

Written by Sarah Sirrell, Information Officer at UCL Careers.

This year’s Charities and NGOs Week kicks off on Monday 25 January 2021. The main focus this year is on getting into the sector and making a difference. Whether you are committed to pursuing a career in a Charity or NGO, or just exploring your options; join our virtual panel sessions and workshops to hear from professionals working in the sector who are keen to share their experience and tips with you. This year we are excited to welcome speakers from Save the Children International, Unicef UK, British Heart Foundation, WWF-UK, The National Trust, and many more.

View the Charities & NGOs Week event schedule for more information and booking links.

Want to hear from someone with firsthand experience of working with a charity?

We heard from Sam Huddlestone, a UCL student who recently volunteered remotely with Age UK offering virtual poetry classes for older adults. Sam told us about his experience of volunteering and the impact that volunteering had on his career aspirations.

Please provide a little further information on your background; what are you currently studying and when did you do your internship/work experience?

I am currently a third year BA English Literature student and I volunteered with Age UK Kensington and Chelsea over the course of the summer of 2020.

Why did you choose to work for this organisation?

The combination of the COVID-19 lockdown, my having nothing to do over summer, and the advertisement of the volunteering position on the Student’s Union website all sort of directed me towards the placement. Age UK Kensington and Chelsea are also my local branch of Age UK and so I wanted to help out the best I could, in any way that I could – volunteering for them seemed the best way for me to be able to do that.

How did you get the job with the company? Is there anything that you would recommend to any students should they wish to get into this Sector?

I applied for the position via the Student’s Union volunteering webpage – I would recommend that students at UCL who want to volunteer consult this facility as it has some excellent opportunities available.

What were the main project(s) that you were working on during your time with the company?

I hosted weekly online poetry sessions for thirteen weeks via Zoom for Age UK Kensington and Chelsea. This involved choosing several individual poems or poets to discuss with the group every session, much like a book club. My session was part of a whole host of others that Age UK had been providing their members with over the course of the COVID-19 lockdown, during spring and into the summer, ranging from Yoga classes to Spanish classes.

What were the biggest challenges?

I think the biggest challenge was attempting to overcome my own technical ineptitude and lack of Zoom expertise (turns out not all young people are good with technology). Getting the chance to join other sessions before hosting my own was certainly a good introduction.

How did this affect you personally, working within the Charity/NGO Sector?

I think it affected me a great deal. I developed a real connection with the members in the sessions, I think because we had all been brought together by two very disparate and yet somehow conducive entities: a passion for poetry and a global pandemic. And yet, for an hour a week, we were able to forget about the latter and just enjoy reading poetry, and I must say, for the time that I hosted those sessions, they were the thing that I looked forward to most in my week.

What measurable benefits have you seen within the Company, or within the certain areas of the business that you were working in?

I can’t speak to the overall running of Age UK, or even to the Kensington and Chelsea branch thereof, but I do know that as an organization they relied, and still rely, on volunteers to help out with the running of these sessions for their members. I would hope that my volunteering with them meant that they were able to offer one more session than they had before and that by documenting my fantastic experience with them – in a way such as this – will help to encourage other students to get involved and volunteer with organisations like Age UK, and by doing so benefit organisations such as Age UK by, perhaps more importantly, benefitting its members.

What was the most rewarding element of your experience?

The most rewarding element was – as clichéd as it sounds – the feeling of making a difference, even if that difference felt infinitesimal in the grand scheme of this horrible pandemic. It seems to me that I’ve unduly gained more out of the experience than all the work I put in during my time as a volunteer, which is testament to the experience itself, and to the people I’ve met over the course of doing it.

How has this experience affected your career aspirations/plans?

There’s no doubting that my being able to lead weekly classes on poetry, fairly independently, certainly honed my teaching skills and led me to consider academia as a career option to a greater extent than I had done before. However, it has also opened my eyes to how a charity like Age UK operates and, having now seen the fantastic work they do first-hand, I would happily work for them again in the future.

Check out the UCLU Volunteering Service for volunteering opportunities big and small and don’t forget to sign up for the exciting events at UCL Careers Charities and NGOs Week 2021.

Coming Soon… UCL Careers Themed Weeks – Spring Term

By Joe O'Brien, on 7 January 2021

Written by Victoria Abbott, Recruitment & Selection Advisor at UCL Careers.

Read Time: 1 minute

With the festive break now over, and the Spring Term well underway, it can be easy to forget about career planning. With a mix of panel discussions, presentations, and skills workshops, UCL Careers Themed Weeks are therefore an ideal opportunity for you to learn more about specific sectors you might be interested in. Hear from industry professionals, UCL alumni and Careers Consultants to develop your understanding of what you need to succeed in the areas of work we’ll be featuring this term.

Which sectors will feature during the Themed Week series this term?

Charities & NGOs week – 25-29 January 2021

Join a selection of panel discussions and an interactive workshop to find out more about opportunities across this exciting sector. Gain tips on routes into charities and NGOs from experienced professionals and learn what you can start doing now to increase your chances of success!

Bookings now open for Charities & NGOs week!

International Development Week – 1-5 February 2021

A week of different events showcasing different roles and career paths in the international development sector.

Careers in Health Week – 8-12 February 2021

Explore a week of career forums and networking opportunities designed to help you learn more about the diverse array of opportunities in the health sector.

Sustainability Week  –  1-5 March 2021

UCL Careers is partnering with Sustainable UCL to put on a week of activities designed to help you find out more about this popular sector.

Careers in the Life Science Industry Week – 8-12 March 2021

Explore a week of career forums, networking opportunities and experiential hands-on sessions designed to help you learn more about the diverse array of opportunities in the Life Science Industry.

How can I prepare for a Themed Week?

Speaker profiles will be provided for each online event, allowing you to do some initial research before attending. This will help you ask insightful questions during the events themselves.

We also run a regular series of lunchtime talks on effective networking at events as part of our Career Essentials programme which provide tips and advice on building your professional networks.

How can I book or register my interest for an event?

Full programmes are published two weeks before the start of each Themed Week and can be found on our website.

Bookings will also open at this time.

All events must be booked in advance through your myUCLCareers account.

To receive email alerts about upcoming events you should update your myUCLCareers ’email preferences’ to register for ‘Event update‘ emails.

I missed last term’s themed week. What can I do?

We have a Themed Week Archive where you’ll find resources such as panel recordings and blogs from previous themed weeks. Make sure to check in regularly for updates!

We look forward to ‘meeting’ you at an event soon!

What I learned from… Roles in Nutrition Case Studies

By Joe O'Brien, on 4 January 2021

Read time: 5 minutes

Written by Glyn Jones, Careers Consultant at UCL Careers.

Recently I revisited some case studies that I had collected from those working in the nutrition industry. Here I summarise some of the key skills and take home messages that came from the Roles within Nutrition Case Studies.

Communication

A large proportion of the roles in the case studies deal with people, therefore communication skills are key in this line of work. This could be in the form of presenting skills when delivering workshops or training; writing skills when preparing content to be circulated in written form (e.g. blogs, news articles or mailings); or interpersonal skills when building relationships or gathering information from clients. The extent to which you will use these skills depends on the specific role, however the need for clear communication between you and the client will always be crucial.

Compassion

Many of the roles in nutrition mention how they involve helping clients with their diet, welfare or general health. As a result, understanding a clients’ needs and demonstrating compassion for this is essential. Through demonstrating an understanding of this, you will be able to relate to clients and support them in their situation. Some clients may be in a particularly vulnerable situation or some may have a misinformed idea of what course of action they need to take. It’s important to be able to understand a client’s thought processes whilst working with them in order to come up with a plan of action to overcome their challenges.

Passion for the cause

Passion for a subject or cause was something that many of our case study contributors mentioned as being important in their line of work. This could be a passion for nutrition itself, the health and wellbeing that stems from this, or perhaps a drive to help people and make a difference. This passion may have developed from research carried out during your studies, or through keeping up to date with the latest developments in your particular field of interest. You might find yourself discussing these topics during an interview or as part of an application process.

Applying your expertise

Postgraduate qualifications are mentioned in many of the case studies. This won’t be the only way to work in the industry, however it does seem to be a well-trodden path. Further study provides knowledge and understanding of how theories can be applied when working in the industry. Through gaining these insights, you’ll equip yourself with practical information that can be used when interacting with clients, a skill that is particularly useful in this industry.

In addition to this maintaining an awareness of the latest trends of nutrition is important. With new initiatives regularly being featured in the media, it is key that nutrition professionals have sound knowledge and expertise of these latest developments. It is important to be able to navigate these different approaches in order to discuss the most suitable treatment for clients. This is also useful to rectify any misinformation that clients may have received.

Networking

Another aspect of a postgraduate study that can prove valuable is the networks that you create. These could be lecturers, tutors or guest speakers that you come into contact with during the course. One of the case studies mentions the importance of staying in in touch with your lecturers after graduating, as it can lead to further connections or being notified of possible future opportunities.

Many of the case study contributors mentioned how they sourced volunteering or work experience either as part of their course or by proactively approaching suitable organisations. Due to current restrictions, there will be limitations on how much of this is currently possible. However, reaching out to professionals working in the industry could still provide valuable insights and information that can help with future job hunting and applications. This could be within the NHS, or at private clinics, charities or commercial businesses that offer nutrition support. You may even find that these networks can lead to longer term professional relationships and the possibility of future employment.

Demonstrate your skillset

Relevant study or experience are both great ways of equipping yourself with skills that will help you get into your future roles associated with nutrition. However the case studies do mention other ways you can hone your skills and make yourself a suitable candidate for certain roles. With such emphasis on communication, it may be that you aren’t required to have direct experience speaking with clients about topics related to nutrition. Your communication skills could be demonstrated through a more general role associated with health or offering support, through an online customer service role or even through producing your own written content (e.g. writing a blog). In any industry, it’s useful to be able to clearly demonstrate your skillset with sound examples. If you’re able to add demonstrable passion and enthusiasm for the cause on top of that, you’re likely to be a strong candidate for future roles.

To find out more about a range of different roles associated with nutrition amongst other industries, please take a look at the UCL Careers Case Studies. For information on how to develop your skills, be sure to visit the UCL Careers Skills Hub and if you wish to discuss your career options or possible next steps, you’re able to do so by booking an appointment with UCL Careers.