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Sustainability in the Built Environment

Chloe JAckroyd20 February 2019

Sara Godinho Senior Consultant at XCO2 and Lecturer at University of Suffolk

(*Spoiler alert: my career path has been a bumpy one, filled with trial and error. I don’t regret a single thing as every experience was valuable but hasn’t definitely been a straight line!)

I decided to study Architecture (MArch University of Lisbon) as I was told by a high school career advisor that it would be the best way to combine my creative and artistic side with my analytical thinking. It wasn’t really! While I liked studying Architecture it never really fulfilled me. During my studies, I had a module on Environmental Design that caught my attention. It sparked curiosity and interest in sustainability and environmental design that hasn’t fade.

After graduating and working for a couple of years in my home town Lisbon, I decided to move to London. I was always very oriented to international experiences, I did Erasmus in Norway, studied in Japan for a year, so it was only a matter of time before going abroad again. I was also increasingly frustrated as an architect only focusing on design and ignoring the environmental impact. I really wanted to make a difference and work on making buildings more environmentally friendly. London was an easy choice because after living in Japan, I understood how European I am. I also had a good English level and the UCL MSc Environmental Design and Engineering programme seemed really good. Coming to the UK was a breath of fresh air! The master was a lot of hard work but one of the best years of my life. I learned a lot, made great friends, and had a real “this is it” epiphany as this was the area I wanted to be working on!

I decided to stay after graduation but had a tough time getting a job, it took me about six months and a lot of rejection. I was trying to enter this new sector and was also a foreigner. I got interviews and having UK education helped but everybody kept seeing me as an architect with no UK work experience. I decided to change my strategy and got a job in an architecture practice. It was small and specialised in Passivhaus and was a great learning experience. I got to work on site delivering one of the most demanding energy certifications in the world on a project that has now received a CIBSE Building Performance Award! At the time, the practice had also some research funding so I was lucky to work on Post Occupancy Evaluation of Passivhaus buildings and study their actual performance. It also confirmed that I was less interested in the design and more on the performance so, a couple of years in, I decided to try to move into environmental consultancy. Having now UK work experience made change easier and I finally made it into consultancy work. Funnily for my current job at XCO2 my architectural background was valuable to them as we work with a lot of architects and, being trained in their language, is helpful.

At XCO2, my role is to lead on the energy and sustainability strategies for a project, being a masterplan, new built or refurbishment. My work focuses on reducing the environmental impact of the construction industry, improving buildings’ energy efficiency and performance while promoting occupant wellbeing. Buildings are such complex and beautiful constructions and we spend most of our time inside one so it’s really gratifying when my advice contributes to improving a building’s energy performance or occupant comfort.

Teaching came by serendipity into my life two years ago. Through connections, I saw that the University of Suffolk was looking for a Lecturer in Technology. I applied and got selected and immediately panicked! Would I be able to do it? Instead, I absolutely loved it from day one and teaching has been incredibly transformative for my career. Being able to digest all my knowledge and experience into teaching has made realise how passionate I am about sustainability in the built environment and how much it matters to me to pass on the concepts and the skills and influence future architects. I don’t see sustainability in the built environment as an add-on but as an absolutely fundamental aspect of design. I want my students (and everybody!) to know of the impact buildings have in the environment and in our wellbeing and give them tools to thinks and create better ways of designing.

Although balancing two jobs can be demanding with conflicting needs at times, they absolutely complement each other. My industry experience means I can bring very practical knowledge to my students and teaching requires me to translate difficult concepts into comprehensible principles. It keeps me very aware of the bigger picture and my focus on improving sustainability in the built environment.

 

 

 

Erasmus+ funding available for EU internships

Chloe JAckroyd15 January 2019

Thinking of undertaking an internship in the EU this summer? Perhaps you’re looking for an opportunity or you’ve already secured one. Either way, you may be eligible to receive the Erasmus+ Traineeship Grant to help you with the costs associated with interning outside of the UK.

Last year Tanja Hann returned home to Germany to undertake an internship in a research institute. She told us more about the experience…

“The Erasmus+ Traineeship Grant allowed me to undertake an internship where I found out what real work in a research laboratory looks like. I have always wanted to become a research scientist, but never really had any actual experience with this. Of course, I also had occasional doubts – what if the job is not right for me? What if it is totally different from what I imagined? The internship definitely helped me to get a better impression of what type of career I want to pursue and erased any doubts I had about whether this path would be right for me.”

How did you find your internship?
The internship was not compulsory to my degree programme – it was fully up to me to decide where to apply. Sourcing the internship was more straightforward than I initially expected. I knew roughly what I wanted to do and what expectations I had and so I just started searching online. I quickly found a couple of research institutes that raised my interest and then proceeded to search for individual research groups. When I found the website of the laboratory I eventually worked with, I knew their work would be right for me – so I just contacted them and was lucky enough to receive a positive reply!

What did you do during your internship?
My internship took place in a research laboratory which is focussed on gene therapy. I was able to get involved in several ongoing projects, which was a really valuable aspect of my experience. One of the projects hadn’t yet reached the experimental stage and I was able to contribute to planning it from the very beginning. This involved reading many research papers on the topic and coming up with an overall project objective. This experience not only taught me how to be a scientist “behind the scenes”, but also gave me the opportunity to learn experimental procedures within another, larger project. The tasks I completed were typical for a cell and molecular genetics laboratory and involved cloning, Western analysis, qPCR, transfection of mammalian cells and even iPSC development.

Why did you choose to undertake an international internship?
The country in which my internship took place was not new to me – however, given the international background of the research institute I worked with, I came into contact with many different cultures at once. My co-workers and I often found ourselves discussing differences between languages, cuisines and even day-to-day habits. This not only taught me to look at things from a different perspective but was also a lot of fun!

What skills did you develop during the internship?
Naturally, working in a research laboratory for two months taught me a lot of experimental techniques relevant to my field of study, as well as the process of planning an advanced research project. However, I learnt so much more than that. During the internship, I wrote a scientific report on all of my accomplishments during the time – this was a really valuable experience and improved my scientific writing skills. On top of that, I believe that working with a variety of people in the laboratory really boosted my communication and teamwork skills, as well as critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Has the experience influenced your plans for the future?
The whole internship experience strengthened my desire to pursue a career path in this industry by giving me a much better impression on what this type of work actually involves. I feel like I am more prepared for life after university now and it all seems much less scary!

What tips do you have for other students thinking of doing an internship overseas?
My main tip for students considering going overseas would be: be open to everything. Your experience will (most) likely not be precisely what you imagined and it would be pretty boring if it were, right? You will learn so many things and gather valuable experience – for your studies, your career and your personal development. Another tip I would give to virtually anyone with high career aspirations is: do not be afraid to dream big! You will only have a chance to succeed if you are unafraid to try so do not let anyone, including yourself, tells you what you cannot do!

You don’t need to be doing an internship in a research institute to receive the Erasmus+ Traineeship Grant – all sectors are eligible! If you’d like to apply for the grant, have a look at the Funding page on the Global Internships Programme website to find out more.

Photo from Tanja Hann 

 

Develop your global mind-set with an international internship

Joe SSprecher5 December 2018

Global Intern in Slovakia

Jan Hradicky in Slovakia

Global Intern in Kenya

Jingyi Zhang in Kenya

Global Intern in USA holding a flag

Nora Venin in USA

UCL’s Global Internships Programme is fairly new, with the first participants undertaking internships in summer 2018. Students went all over the world, from Belgium to Japan to USA, with internships in SMEs, large companies, charities and government offices.

100% of participants said they would recommend undertaking an international internship to their fellow students, with the most common piece of advice being “just do it!” So if you’d like to intern overseas next summer, read on…

How can you be part of the Global Internships Programme?

Secure an internship which is sourced and managed by UCL Careers – these are called ‘exclusive internships’ and UCL Careers are busy trying to source opportunities just for UCL students. They will be advertised from 6th February and will be available to browse via your myUCLCareers account.

Apply for funding to help cover the costs of going overseas – depending on the location and duration of your internship, you may be eligible to apply for the Global Internships Bursary or the Erasmus+ Traineeship Grant. The latter is for internships in the EU and UCL has lots of funding available so perhaps think about heading to Europe next summer! Details will be provided in the spring term.

What can you do over the Christmas break to get started on your global internship journey?

  1. Start exploring possible internships! Have a look at GoinGlobal, TargetJobs and Prospects for information about working in various different countries. Look for opportunities on myUCLCareers under the ‘Vacancies’ tab.
  2. Make some applications! You can book an appointment with an Applications Advisor to talk through your applications, whether they are for particular opportunities or speculative approaches.
  3. Think about funding! Hopefully you will be eligible to apply for the bursary or grant, however if not (or if you are unsuccessful) then you will need to have a plan in place for how to finance your internship. Start thinking about all of the costs of going overseas and how you will cover these – you can use Numbeo to help you.
  4. Prepare to go! You don’t need to do this part just yet, but there is no harm in thinking about it. There will be lots to do, from getting a visa, securing accommodation and preparing to work in your target country, particularly if it is new to you. You can use Hofstede’s Country Comparison tool to see how your culture is similar or different to the country you plan to go to!

The Global Internships Programme webpages are currently being updated and will be available very soon. If you are interested in any of the above, sign up to our mailing list and we’ll ping you an email when we open for applications.

Steering your career towards South East Asia

Chloe JAckroyd1 March 2018


At the recent Global Careers Series event at UCL, we were joined by a panel of speakers who discussed their experience and tips for students and recent graduates looking to find work experience, or a more permanent job, in South East Asia.

We were lucky enough to hear from:

  • Shamini Darshni Kalimuthu, Executive Director of Amnesty International Malaysia (and currently on sabbatical at SOAS);
  • Peter Gibbinson, Regional Head of Standard Chartered;
  • Yong Chaulet, UCL Alum (Previously Thai Embassy, ExxonMobil Thailand, Bangkok Public Relations);
  • Amy Wong, UCL Student with previous internship experience at the Singapore Government; and
  • Ally Hawley, Ex-Student Recruitment in Malaysia.

Here’s what one of our panellists said about their top tip for finding work in South East Asia:

“My top tip for students looking to work in South East Asia would be use your network – I found my job in Kuala Lumpur through an ex colleague I stayed in touch with. As a student here in London you’re likely to have classmates from South East Asia who you’re studying with right now. Use their knowledge and experience of the region when applying for roles. Also remember to continue to develop your network throughout your time at university and after you graduate, make use of your university’s alumni platform and LinkedIn, both can be used as an excellent resource when seeking work in a particular region!” 

Expanding Your Network at UCL
As our panellist said, if you’re interested in finding out more about working in South-East Asia, make sure you utilise UCL’s strength as a university with tens of thousands of alumni based all over the world.

Have you started to take advantage of UCL’s alumni mentoring network? If not, consider signing up and looking for mentors in countries and industries that appeal to you. There is a whole range of knowledge and advice to be gained from using this system. You can find out more and sign up here.

Want to learn more about this region?
Luckily, there is a range of useful websites out there to help you. For example, Goinglobal (which UCL subscribes to) contains guides to finding work and making applications in Singapore and Vietnam. Another useful resource, Prospects, contains guides to Malaysia and Singapore.

Additionally, Gradlink have a dedicated section for South East Asia, including advice for working in different sectors in Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Singapore.

Jobs Boards

  • JobsDB job listings in Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and Hong Kong
  • Indeed Malaysia internships in Kuala Lumpar
  • JobStreet for jobs in Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines, and Indonesia

Other considerations
Working abroad can be an enriching and exciting experience, but there are a few things you might like to think about before embarking on a trip of a lifetime. Will you be comfortable with being away from familiar surroundings and your established support network? Will you be able to adapt to a different culture? You might find it useful to look at a website such as Just Landed to gain an insight into the expat experience in your chosen destination.

You’ll need to be careful that your entry visa covers any work you may do while in another country, guides such as Internations  can be a useful starting point, but make sure you also check official sources such as the embassy website of your intended destination.

Working in International Development – Top Tips from Industry Experts!

Chloe JAckroyd21 February 2018


If you’re considering a career in international development, you might already be aware that this is a competitive sector to break into. As part of International Development Week we have asked some of our themed week contributors, with experience in this sector, to tell us some of their top tips.

  1. Joshua Adams, Europe Policy Analyst, UK Department for International Development.

‘Make sure to use the full breadth of your experiences in applications – formal and informal education, training and learning, workplace experience, sports groups and social collectives. I’ve seen a range of examples from touring rock bands to UN youth panels used in applications. As long as the narrative from situation to result, and what was learnt in between, is well formed, you can easily demonstrate the transferability of important skills. This is particularly relevant for competency based applications!’

  1. Alexandros Yiannopoulos, Humanitarian Coordinator covering Middle East, North and Southern Africa in Oxfam’s Global Humanitarian Team.

‘There is no substitute for experience, this is a catch 22 situation which frustrated me when I set out at the beginning, but now looking back and making decisions on who to employ at whatever level of seniority, experience counts and becomes the litmus test.  There have been times when I have made a decision when someone had done an excellent interview, not to recruit them because they did not have the right level of experience for the role.  For entry level roles, get voluntary experience that is relevant, this shows that you have commitment and drive towards the role you would like and are applying for.’

  1. Katie Bisaro, Careers Consultant and Deputy Head, UCL Careers, and former Programme Manager at Save the Children,

‘My biggest recommendation for working in the sector, or more specifically when you are breaking your way into the sector, is to stay on people’s radar- the sector moves rapidly and opportunities can come up very quickly, so keep yourself at the forefront of your contacts’ mind’

  1. Soha Sudtharalingam, International Development Consultant, PwC.

‘You can’t change the world on day one, whilst the work is exciting, be prepared to get your hands dirty when you first join. There’s a lot of admin that needs to be done, i.e. reporting as donors require them.’


Follow the news and be aware of political changes, political economy is key in decision making and this cascades down to every level of work you do.

Be prepared to be humbled, it’s a humbling experience when visiting the field. Don’t go in knowing it all.

Network, network, network! You only broaden your insights if you talk to people outside your circle who bring new ideas and ways of thinking.’

If you missed our International Development Week events then visit http://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers and look out for themed week event recordings.

 

Breaking into International Development

Chloe JAckroyd14 February 2018

What do you imagine when you think of working in International Development? Maybe you envisage working on the ground in a remote, developing part of the world to address issues such as poverty, disease and education. This image of front line work provides the visible and public face of International Development but have you considered the wide range of roles and functions required to support the successful execution of projects on the ground? These support roles may be less visible but could provide a good foothold into International Development. For example, policy, advocacy/outreach, human resources, finance, IT.

If you’re considering a career in this rewarding sector you will probably want to start preparing yourself sooner rather than later as International Development is a competitive field to break into.

Here are a few tips to help you with this.

  • Have a clear idea about the kind of development work you want to do. This is likely to involve investigating the different roles within International Development and considering which of these roles might be a good fit for your academic background, experience, skills and career interests.
  • Think about specialist or technical skills/qualifications/experience that might be required and consider how you might acquire these.
  • Gain experience and build networks/contacts through volunteering activities, involvement in fundraising or campaigning activities, blogging etc…
  • Commitment to/experience of International Development is essential and it’s unlikely you’ll be able to secure a graduate position without having relevant experience (voluntary or paid) on your cv.
  • Consider gaining relevant/transferrable experience and qualifications outside the International Development sector. It’s not unusual for professionals to transition from the commercial sector into international development a few years into their career.

To find out more about careers in International Development, including opportunities to meet employers and alumni working in this sector, please visit:

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/about/what_we_offer/events/themed-weeks/development

 

Five top tips for launching your career in the charity sector

Chloe JAckroyd6 February 2018

Anjali Dwesar manages Charity Apprentice  – an online course run by international development charity Child.org. Charity Apprentice is a free 10-month course that anyone can do in their spare time to gain the skills needed for a career in the charity sector. A combination of online learning and real-life challenges, the course has been designed by charity professionals and covers topics ranging from effective advocacy to social enterprise to fundraising strategy to sustainable development.

Anjali is here to give you her five top tips for launching your career in the charity sector.

  1. It’s all about the skills and experience
    The charity sector is extremely competitive, and landing a job in the sector isn’t based on good intentions unfortunately. In order to stand out amongst the other candidates, it’s really important to build up your skills and experience during your time at university and beyond. You need to demonstrate to employers that you’re qualified for the role and that you’re going to make a success of it. Of course, you must demonstrate passion for the cause of the charity – but ultimately, it’s your skills and experience that will get you the job.
  1. Find out what you’re good at
    The sector is hugely diverse, and there are such a wide variety of jobs available. Saying that you want to work for a charity is not enough – you need to think carefully about your skill-set and what you can bring to the sector. It’s not just campaigners, fundraisers or volunteer managers that the sector needs – there are jobs in designing, coding, project management, and many more. Explore the team page of charity websites and look at the kinds of jobs available – you might surprise yourself!
  1. Be impact-driven
    I’ve met some of the most passionate and inspiring people in the charity sector. Yes, it is a lovely place to work but that doesn’t mean it’s easy! If you’re working in the sector, your job is to make the world a better place and that’s hard work. You need to demonstrate in your applications that you’re driven by the question: how can I make the most impact in my job?
  1. It’s not what you know…
    Don’t rely on the big charity recruitment websites – smaller charities might not have the budget to post their opportunities on there. Make sure you’re using lots of different tools to find out about job vacancies, both online and offline.  Use LinkedIn, Twitter (#charityjobs), Facebook groups, attend charity networking groups, events etc.
  1. Don’t give up!
    You might not get your dream job straight away, but all experience you gain will be valuable. Say yes to opportunities and work hard – you will get there!

To find out more about Charity Apprentice, visit  charityapprentice.org.

 

 

Global Careers Series Collaboration – next up North America!

Chloe JAckroyd13 February 2017

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 12.27.12Global Careers Series came to UCL at the end of January with an event focusing on the Middle East.

The Global Careers Series is a collaboration across five University of London colleges, including UCL, King’s, SOAS, Goldsmiths and City University, and is designed to educate and inspire students about working in a number of global regions.

We are now just over halfway through the series, and so far we have learnt about working in China, South East Asia and the Middle East. During the Middle East event we heard from a variety of speakers, including UCL alumni, FactSet (a financial data company), and two UCL academics. This diverse panel offered excellent insights into the benefits and challenges of working in the Middle East whilst answering questions from the student audience.

Next up in the series we will be focusing on North America, and students from UCL are invited to attend this event being held at City University. This promises to be a lively event, with two panel discussions, a keynote speech and a raffle to win a $2,500 mobility grant to participate in Global Experiences’ US program! If you’re interested, please register to attend here [Eventbrite].

To end the series, we will be heading to Goldsmiths University to hear all about working in Western Europe and we look forward to hearing from a variety of speakers there.

For more information about the series, please see Global Careers Series [website].

 

Summer Internship Opportunities Exclusively for UCL Students

Chloe JAckroyd8 February 2017

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UCL Careers Summer Internship Scheme

We will be advertising paid summer internship opportunities exclusively available for UCL students and graduates to intern at London-based Small – Medium Enterprises (SME).

“I didn’t have any defined expectations, but I really didn’t expect to have such a wonderful time. I was/ am so happy to go in to work every day because I really loved the company atmosphere, and really respected and got on well with my co-workers. I feel like I wasn’t treated like an intern or the youngest member of the team (which I was), but was given responsibilities and respected on an equal footing. I learned a lot of things that I had no real comprehension of before the internship. I genuinely feel like I was helping out as well.”
Vesa Popova – UCL BASc Arts and Sciences – graduating 2018

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In association with Santander Universities, we are providing subsidised funding for internships, paid at the London Living Wage, across our summer scheme.

The subsidized funding will support the training allowance for UCL students or recent graduates to work as interns with small-medium-sized businesses for 6 or 8 weeks full-time during the 2017 summer vacation period (June – September).

Internships will be available in a range of sectors including:

  • Consultancy
  • IT/tech
  • Engineering
  • Arts/Culture
  • Life Sciences/Health
  • Finance
  • Social Sciences/Media

Applicant Eligibility

You will need to be eligible to work in the UK full-time during the internship. If you are on a visa, your visa must cover the full duration of the internship.

Please note: UCL Tier 4 Postgraduate (Taught and Research) students are not permitted to work in excess of 20 hours per week for the full duration of their degree programme. This includes the summer vacation period. UCL is unable to issue a visa for the Summer Internship Programme therefore UCL Tier 4 Postgraduate students are not eligible for this scheme.

It is the student’s responsibility to ensure they are eligible for the scheme and comply with UCL sponsorship duties and visa regulations before submitting an application. It is the responsibility of the business to check their intern’s eligibility to work in the UK taking into account the above regulations.

The Timeline

  • Internships will be advertised on the UCL Talent Bank website from mid-February to Friday 31st March.
  • You will need to submit your CV, and a tailored cover letter online for each application you make.
  • Follow us on social media to hear about each role as it goes live Twitter and Facebook search: UCL Careers
  • Each employer will receive a shortlist of the best applications for their role. They will then invite UCL students and graduates to interview.
  • Prospective interns should know if they have a place on the scheme by mid-May, so please bear this in mind when making vacation plans.
  • Once the employer has made an internship offer and you have accepted that offer, UCL Careers will send both you the intern, and the employer, an agreement letter each to fill in and return to UCL Careers.
  • Funding for the internship will not be released to the organisation until we have these completed letters returned.
  • Internships will commence as follows:
  • 6 weeks starting 12th June and ending 21st July 2017
  • 8 weeks starting 12th June and ending 4th August 2017
  • 6 week starting 10th July and ending 18th August 2017
  • 8 weeks starting 10th July and ending 1st September 2017

Get involved and get that internship!

  • Prepare: Keep an eye out for our CV and cover letter writing workshops at the end of February, as advertised on our Careers Essentials webpage: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/events/essentials
  • Perfect: When you know which internships you want to apply for, you might want to book in for an Applications Appointment to make sure your application documents are competitive with other applicants’.
  • Apply: Register on our UCL Talent Bank website with an up-to-date CV.

NOTE FOR THOSE WHO ARE ALREADY IN CONTACT WITH A COMPANY ABOUT AN INTERNSHIP:

If you are already in contact with a small-medium-sized company who is hoping to offer a summer internship to you, which would benefit from some financial assistance, please encourage them to contact us by sending an email to Laura: l.radford@ucl.ac.uk

The proposal form we will ask all companies to complete about their vacancy will ask the question of whether they already have a student or graduate in mind to hire. If the company and the internship proposed meet our criteria, the internship will be reserved funding without having to be advertised.

Lastly, if you know of an organisations who you feel would be interested in participating in this scheme, please direct them to further information for employers here: http://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/careers-employer-engagement/2017/01/09/ucl-careers-summer-internships-scheme/

 

 

Charities & NGOS Week – Pursue a fulfilling career in this sector

Chloe JAckroyd25 January 2017

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Charities and NGOs Week: 30th January – 2nd February 2017

Though important, there is so much more to working in the charities and NGOs sector than shaking a tin, volunteering or delivering aid to those in need on the frontline.  Many charities and NGOs are run as professional businesses that carry out functions such as research and lobbying, as well as raising and redistributing funds.  In the pursuit of addressing human or environmental needs, the sector can be intensely competitive in terms of attracting media attention, funding and other resources.  Most non-profit organisations rely on paid staff as well as volunteers and the sector attracts intelligent people with a passion for their work.

UCL Careers Charities & NGOs Week 2017 aims to dispel some of the myths that surround working within this sector.  Through a series of four events, this themed week will provide students with an opportunity to gain a deeper insight into the diverse range of roles available to them, from campaigning and policy work to international development and disaster relief.  The employer-led insight and applications session will help prepare students to demonstrate their motivation and enthusiasm and ultimately increase their chances of job success.  The final event in the series will provide an excellent opportunity for students to link up with employers, be inspired and pick up some top tips from the experts, who are currently working in the sector.

Charities attending include:

Oxfam
Greenpeace
MacMillan Cancer Support
Save the Children
Sustrans
The Wellcome Trust
Islamic Relief
and more…


For further details about UCL Careers Charities & NGOs Week 2017 including how to book:

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/events/getinto/charitiesandngos