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Environmental Careers Week: UCL sustainability staff share their experiences

Weronika Z Benning18 February 2016

As part of UCL Careers Environmental Careers Week, we asked members of staff around UCL about their environmental jobs, what motivates them and what tips they’d give to recent graduates.

Evan Landy, Sustainability Officer

Evan

What does your role consist of?

My role covers three main areas of sustainability at UCL. I use the RICS Ska sustainable fit-out tool to embed sustainability into refurbishment projects throughout the estate – this involves designing in measures to drive energy efficiency, waste reduction, procure environmentally friendly materials and to maximise occupant wellbeing within refurbished spaces. I also spend time auditing and assuring both construction and occupational activities to monitor and reduce our operational environmental impacts and risks. Lastly, I am involved in driving the UCL Estates Biodiversity Action Plan to monitor and improve biodiversity on site through designing in green roofs to new building projects and incorporate biodiversity enhancements elsewhere around campus.

What got you interested in the environment?

I always enjoyed spending time outside as I was growing up, whether it was outdoor sports or wildlife watching and when it came to thinking about my career, the only thing I wanted to do was to contribute to the multitude of challenges that I began to realise were affecting the environment. I have been lucky enough to experience some of the most spectacular sights and sounds on the planet – from watching blue whales in the Atlantic Ocean to trekking up Mount Kenya and ultimately I am driven by such experiences and wanting to do my bit to protect that for future generations. I think it is important to realise that economic development is inevitable which brings challenges and also opportunities as new technologies, research and collaboration can help ensure this is done more sustainably than in the past.

What tips would you give to someone interested in this field?

I think it is really important to gain experience in all walks of life, work with and understand the needs of different people and why being sustainable might not be at the forefront of everyone’s agenda. Ultimately, not everyone is going share the same passion for the environment as you so it is critical to understand what else can drive sustainability – often there are tangible benefits such as costs and wellbeing that need to be identified and communicated effectively. Most importantly though, I would say that there is no conventional way in to a career in sustainability – although it helps to have a degree in an environmental discipline for some roles, it is often not a prerequisite and please do not be put off if you have other skills as we need talented environmental writers, artists, lawyers, economists and people across all industries to work together towards resolving the worlds environmental and sustainability challenges.

Jennifer Hazelton, Strategic Research Facilitator for the Environment Domain

Jennifer

What does your role consist of?

My role is multi-faceted and involves working with academics right across the UCL Schools, Departments, Institutes and other research groupings. I help to identify, publicise and coordinate opportunities for funding in environment-related areas, particularly where there is an interdisciplinary element which could not be provided within an individual unit. I look after the publicising of UCL Environment research, including the Environment Domain website, twitter feed, blog site and emails, keeping up to date with what is going on across campus. I liaise with colleagues in professional services such as Research Services, UCL Press, Web and Marketing, Estates and Information Services in order to support UCL’s environment-related research and the Domain.

What got you interested in the environment?

I have always loved the outdoors, having grown up surrounded by lots of open space in Northumberland. The role of the environment in the health and wellbeing of me, my family, friends and the rest of humanity has gradually become clearer; so too the impact we, individually and collectively, have on everything from our immediate surroundings to global systems. The power of nature is awe-inspiring, and humankind has shown remarkable adaptability and resilience in the face of environmental hazards, but equally we pose our own threats to the world around us. A desire to understand the relationships between people and their environment led me to study Geography as an undergraduate, and everything I have done since.

What tips would you give to a current student keen to work in this field?

I think the attributes which I have that helped me get to this position are having an interest in almost every field of study. I work with academics from all  disciplines and need to be able to broadly grasp what they do and find linkages or gaps between them. At school I enjoyed all subjects, then went on to study a degree which provides an excellent base for most environment-related disciplines. I then took a job as a Research Assistant, where I was able to study part time for my PhD, and gradually moved across from a purely research role to a professional services position when I realised that I didn’t want to be involved in a single line of research. My advice would be to remain open minded and take opportunities that present themselves, even if they differ from what you might have planned (I always wanted to be a school teacher!)

Ciaran Jebb, Sustainability Officer (Energy)

Ciaran

What does your role consist of?

In my role as Sustainability Officer (Energy), I am supporting improvements to UCL’s energy management and the energy and carbon performance of the University’s construction and refurbishment projects. At the moment I’m working to improve our energy billing and making sure we’re meeting our legal obligations for things like our buildings’ Display Energy Certificates as well as our own sustainability reporting. I’ve only just started at UCL, but I’m looking forward to helping implement energy saving initiatives in collaboration with UCL’s departments and getting started on UCL’s Living Lab project, supporting research which uses the campus as a test bed for research.

What got you interested in the environment?

I have always been interested in renewable energy, and while studying Chemistry as an undergraduate I worked on developing new materials that can be used to improve solar technology. I’m a keen cyclist, even in London, and I believe there should be no difference between living comfortably and living sustainably. I want to help create positive environmental change and for the last two years I’ve been an active member of my local Green Party. This gives me the chance to talk to lots of people about living sustainably, and how that can improve their wellbeing and our shared environment.

What tips would you give to a current student keen to work in this field?

My advice is not to be afraid of changing your mind and taking a non-direct path to do what you want. After graduation I worked in accountancy for several years, before deciding to pursue my interest in sustainability. And although it’s been a big change, the skills I developed have been really useful in my current role – I still deal with a lot of numbers. I can’t emphasise enough the importance of getting experience. Because I started on a non-environmental career path, the volunteering I did outside my job was essential in allowing me to make the jump into an environmental role. And remember that sustainability is an incredibly broad area, and increasingly opportunities will appear in organisations and industries that would never have considered it important before.

UCL Career’s Environment and Sustainability Week took place in the week commencing 8th February. Make sure you join us next year for a similar programme of events: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/events/getinto/environment

A Degree in Physics – What Next?

UCL Careers15 January 2016

It is a fact that approximately 70% of all graduate jobs are open to any degree discipline. So there is a vast amount of choice when it comes to deciding what to do after your degree.

However, many students choose to enter a profession that utilises the subject knowledge that they gained during their degree. Physicists are no exception to this. In fact, at UCL about a third of undergraduates go on to study physics at masters or PhD level before launching themselves in a job – whether that is in academia or industry.

So if you really love your degree, what are the sectors that will really use your knowledge of Physics?

Here are just 5 of the areas you might consider, to show you the range of possibilities open to you.

Energy

This is a growth sector and it is expected that within the next 10 years, there will be 200,000 people working in ‘Energy & Utilities’. The UK government wants 15% of our energy to come from wind, tidal and solar power by 2020, so developing a workforce to support these areas is a priority. The nuclear industry is massive in the UK (50,000 people) and of course these is also the Oil and Gas sector.  Physicists are needed for research & development roles, design engineering, data analysis roles, sales and trading roles and many more. More information:  https://www.energyinst.org/home

Medicine

Medicine is an ever advancing sector. Physicists play a very important role in developing new technologies and medical procedures. The range is vast and covers the development of medical equipment such as heart valves, artificial limbs or surgical equipment. It includes nuclear medicine for the treatment of cancer and x-ray, NMR and PET scanners. And it includes developing new technologies such as nanobots to target cancer cells or blood-monitoring infrared light. More information:  http://www.ipem.ac.uk

Sport and Games

This area can be broadly split into two. You could be on the design and development engineering side in sports physics. This includes looking at how to improve sports equipment such as the aerodynamics of a racing bike or better cushioning in sports shoes. Or you could be on the IT side,  developing the graphics for more realistic computer games or analysing data during live sports matches. Either way, you would be part of a multi-million pound industry. More information: http://www.uksport.gov.uk/about-us/the-english-institute-of-sport

Education

There is currently a shortage of physics teachers in the UK, which is why you could get a bursary of up to £25,000 from the Department of Education if you decide to train to be a physics teacher. You would need to gain qualified teacher status (QTS) through a range of further study options. You would then decide to teach at secondary school level (11-16 years or 11-18 years), or in further education (16 years+). More information: https://getintoteaching.education.gov.uk

Nanotechnology

Whilst not a ‘sector’ in its own right, nanotechnology spans across engineering, medicine, energy, defence and much more. However, as one of the newest areas that physicists enter, it would be poor form not to mention it. Roles within nanotechnology are largely focused on research, development and design engineering. It is an exciting area for anyone who wants to be at the cutting edge of science – enhancing the energy efficiency of windows, designing medical devices, enhancing the efficiency of batteries, designing lighter and stronger sports equipment and much more. The possibilities in nanotechnology are vast and largely unknown at present. More information: https://www.london-nano.com

This isn’t an exhaustive list at all, we didn’t even mention the space industry, the environment, defence,  meteorology, or science journalism. But hopefully it has given some food for thought. If you want to discuss your options, come and talk to a careers consultant at UCL Careers. Alternatively, you will find some excellent information on the Institute of Physics website: http://www.iop.org/

Visit Careers Tagged for more information on Physics careers

– Karen Barnard, Director, UCL Careers

Press Assistant: Inspire Me

UCL Careers5 December 2015

As part of our #UCLInspireMe series, Lornette Harley, Press Assistant at Soho Theatre, talks to us about how she got this role and shares some tips for UCL students who want to get into the sector. For more insights from recent graduates working for smaller organisations, search #SMEProfile.

How did you get into your role?Lornette
I did a degree in musical theatre and discovered that that side of theatre wasn’t really for me as much as I loved it. After my degree I got into a lot of event planning and managing which then turned into a lot PR work in the music industry and that was how I realised that I love PR. I did about 3 works on music events and PR work and then a friend of mine sent me the vacancy for the role of Press Assistant at Soho Theatre and I thought it was the perfect mixture of all the things I enjoyed doing, so here I am!

What are the best things about working in your role?
The fact that I am always learning something new and constantly meeting and interacting with new people. The people that I work with are also some of the most amazing people I’ve ever worked with. We all sit in one open plan office and the atmosphere is always great. It’s a great role that mixes my love for all things creative with the office work.

What are the biggest challenges you face in your work?
I sometimes think it can be quite difficult to plan my day at work because I never know what’s going to happen when I get there. I’ll have an idea of what I want to get done in a day and then I’ll get a string of emails all marked as high importance and my plan goes flying out of the window. It can be quite difficult to fit in everything that needs to get done.
 
What top tips would you give to a student interested in this type of work?
Get into theatres, see as much as you possibly can, really immerse yourself in all things theatre so that you know what’s going on. Be aware of the press that is around as well; read the papers and magazines, listen to radio shows and watch news programmes. Also, reach out to your local theatre wherever you might be, see if there are any part time front of house roles that you can do alongside your studies if you have time. Get into a theatre and make yourself known, you never know what possibilities for moving up there might be and if you’re already in the theatre you’re in a better position that people applying from outside. Lastly, remember everyone you speak to (the industry is small and you’re very likely to work with people more than once) and be nice to everyone you come across.
 

To find our more about working in PR, visit Careers Tagged

Media Week is coming…

UCL Careers25 November 2015

Interested in media? Want to hear from professionals in the industry? We have a variety of events during our Media Week, 1st – 4th December 2015, that will give you a great insight into this popular sector!

Media Week

Panel events will involve talks from each panel member about their current role, their career path and tips on how you can progress. You will then be able to ask questions to the panel, so come prepared! The sessions will be followed by informal networking to allow you to follow up to any conversations started in the Q&A.

The schedule of events is as follows:

Tuesday 1st December

  • Panel: Get into Publishing, 17.30-19.00. Hear panel members discuss their top tips for getting into this notoriously difficult industry. Speakers include Dr. Nina Buchan, a freelance Science and Medical Editor, and representatives from Sage Publications, HarperCollins, Collins Editing and UCL Press.

Wednesday 2nd December

  • Workshop: Journalism, 13.00-15.00. Two-hour workshop run by News Associates, the top UK journalism school. This session will involve you writing an article in a mock breaking news exercise. Spaces are limited and you will need to pay a returnable deposit.
  • Panel: Get into Broadcasting – TV, Film & Radio, 17.30-19.00. Speakers confirmed include a Director/Producer/Editor for Slack Alice Films, a Lead Producer for the BBC’s Digital Storytelling Team, a freelance Series Producer/Director/Cameraman, an Assistant Producer for BBC World Service and an Account Director at Precious Media.

Thursday 3rd December

  • Presentation: What is Media Analytics?30-14.30. Media is changing. Data and analytics is key to delivering successful media campaigns and growing clients’ business. Find out more about this growing part of the sector in a presentation delivered by GroupM, global media investment group, and part of WPP.
  • Panel: Get into Marketing, PR & Advertising, 17.30-19.00. Panel members include Claremont Communications, Lloyds Bank, Ogilvy, Periscopix, & Gerber Communications.

Friday 4th December

  • Panel: CVs & Applications for Media Careers,00-14.00. Get top tips from industry professionals on how to make your applications stand out and what you can be doing now to increase your chances of securing a role in this industry. Panel members include Head of Commercial Marketing from The Guardian, the MD of Slingshot Sponsorship, an experienced media recruiter from SapientNitro and a guru around creative industries from CreativeSkillset.

If you are interested in attending any of the above events, please sign up via your MyUCLCareers account. We look forward to seeing you!

Project Manager: Inspire Me

UCL Careers11 November 2015

As part of our #UCLInspireMe series, Durgha Ramji, Project Manager at Inme, talks to us about how she got this role and shares some tips for UCL students who want to pursue opportunities abroad. For more insights from recent graduates working for smaller organisations, search #SMEProfile.

Durgha RamjiDurgha Ramji (25) is Inme’s very own ambitious young person from the UK. Durgha spent her first year at UCL before transferring to the University of London Institute in Paris. Durgha has interned at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Sharekh Youth Forum in the Palestinian Territories and the Next Billion Online project powered by Google in Bangalore, India. She now heads Inme’s engagement with the outward student mobility strategy of UK HE Institutions.

Go International with UCL

I remember my time at UCL as being an opportunity to interact with people from all over the world. My friends circle had never been so diverse. There were  also lots of opportunities to learn about projects which can support a student gain international experiences through volunteering or placements. These experiences are critical in todays globalised world as employers are looking for graduates with the ability to work in multiple cultural contexts.

While at UCL I applied to The British Council’s Study India Programme (SIP) and after graduating I spent a year in Bangalore as part of Google’s Next Billion Online project (NBO). These experiences really inspired me to pursue opportunities in India. When it came to deciding whether I accept my offer of a graduate job in London or continue exploring career development opportunities in India – having had the SIP and NBO experience made the decision easy for me – it was always going to be India.

From my previous exposure to the cultural, economic and youth led start up environment I knew the responsibility, initiative and skills I would develop by leaving the UK would be invaluable and attractive to employers back at home once I returned.

Returning to a world of opportunities in India

Selected as delegate for the World Conference on Youth in Sri Lanka, I knew I would also visit friends in India and so bought along my business plan for a student leadership programme I had submitted to the Lloyds Bank Start Up Fund. I’d got through the application round and had my phone interview in a tent on the banks of the River Ganga while working as a facilitator on an Inme rafting programme in Rishikesh.

Unfortunately I didn’t pass this stage of the Llyod’s application but I’d also shared the business plan with Inme who took up the offer and decided to explore the opportunity to internationalise their  offering of leadership programmes to international students.

And so I decided not to take my flight home and I’ve been working in India since.

Global Entrepreneurial Minds at Inme Learning Pvt Ltd

As part of my role, I am heading the entire project cycle of designing, selling, implementing, evaluating and improving an international product. I am responsible for ensuring the success of the project, anticipating and following through on opportunities and working with different departments to ensure my objectives are met.

I have found inspiring mentors in the senior Inme team who themselves come from diverse backgrounds and have extensive experience in pioneering visionary ideas and products in India. The senior team are experts in using adventure based learning, behavioural science and attitudinal and mindset training to build leadership skills.

With Inme – I believe I have discovered the most conducive environment to build my own leadership capabilities!

Skills focus

Through working with the senior Inme team my steepest learning curves has been in the following key areas:

Adaptive challenges – As a start up project making mistakes enable us to gain insights, understand our target group and adapt the product to what works best for them. I know that having the bigger picture and an overall plan is necessary but I must be ready to adapt to the context and situation.

Anticipating opportunities – When attending my first SOAS Alumni event in New Delhi I took along my programme brochure in anticipation of sharing it with fellow alumni.  In a chance meeting with a representative of the British Council we discovered a potential collaboration opportunity. Investing my time, energy, creativity, relationship building efforts and trust in multiple options and opportunities is important – I know some will fail, but some will pan out extraordinarily!

Taking risks – Taking risks with a combination of trusting my intuition and reasoning (add to this a dash of serendipity!) will leading to rewarding results for myself and Inme.

Appreciating diversity – There are many different ways, processes and methods of achieving the desired result.

Living the Generaton UK – India experience

Today, I find myself living the Generation UK – India experience – and with the project I am heading – The Global Leader Inme – I really want to inspire fellow UCL students to take the same leap I have of being at the vanguard of ambitious young people ready to work with India and innovative and exciting Indian Companies to build ties between the UK and India which go beyond simple economics.

Inme are UCL Skills4Work supporters and are delivering a workshop with Deloitte on Career Drive and Motivation on Monday 16th November 2015 at 5pm.

Career inspiration No. 3: Taylor Swift

uczjsdd4 November 2015

In this series of blogs we’ll be looking to pop culture for career inspiration.

Taylor SwiftImage of TS from @taylorswift13

How has it taken me three celeb career inspiration blogs to get to Taylor Swift?! Here are just a few of the possibly infinite number of career lessons we can learn from Tay Tay’s phenomenal success.

1) The first step doesn’t have to be the last

Remember when Taylor Swift was more than a little bit country? I do. She was doing pretty darn well, and country music is a hugely lucrative business. But she decided to follow a different creative direction, making her sound a little more pop and a lot more awesome.

Choosing the right path when you graduate can be tough. Putting time into researching what’s out there, and into researching yourself, will ensure you make an informed decision. But don’t fret too much, because just like T-Swiz, many people change direction during their career, sometimes only slightly, sometimes quite drastically. The experiences you have in the world of work will reveal what you do and don’t enjoy. And the process can continue throughout your career, as both you and your jobs evolve.

2) Networking is great for your career

Swifty knows how to make friends, and how to make the most of them. There’s her collaboration with Kendrick Lamar, her on stage guesting with Mary J. Blige (and SOOO many others), her touring, instagraming and BFFing with Haim, and her star-studded Bad Blood video. These links broaden her already incredibly wide appeal, helping her sell more records.

Taylor Swift and MaryJ BligeImage of pro networker T with Mary J Blige from @taylorswift13

But networking isn’t just for the superfamous. It’s important in most careers. If you need proof, just check out the data in What London Graduates Do. 25% of graphic designers, 27% of scientific researchers, and 32% of management consultants surveyed heard about their job through personal contacts. And that’s not just friends and family (although of course you should make the most of any links you have). Personal contacts include people met at networking events and through LinkedIn or through UCL’s Alumni Community: a chance to speak to Alumni in sectors you’re interested in. So get networking!

3) Learn from feedback

Believe it or not, even Taylz isn’t perfect. But her Twitter beef with Nicki Minaj earlier this year showed she can admit when she’s wrong and take steps to improve herself.

As we saw with Nadiya from GBBO, career resilience is vital. You’re bound to get some rejections, so it’s important to stay positive. But it’s also sensible to reflect upon what (if anything) caused the knockback. As Albert Einstein famously said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”. And that guy was pretty smart.

Employers will often provide feedback if you’ve been unsuccessful at interview, so ask for this, and use it to improve your performance next time. And you can always come and visit us at UCL Careers for guidance on improving your applications and interview technique.

 

S Donaldson, UCL Careers Consultant

Government and Policy week is coming…

UCL Careers3 November 2015

In its second year running, the UCL Careers Government and Policy Themed Week’ is approaching! Below you will find a run down of the range of events organised to inspire and engage those who are interested in a career within the public sector, as well as those who are yet undecided.  This is your chance to meet with organisations in this sector – to hear from and network with a range of guests from recent graduates to senior officials.

The events below are open to students and recent graduates from all degree disciplines and all of the events below are now bookable through your ‘My UCL Careers’ account.

Careers that Make a Difference: Leadership Roles
Monday 16th November | 12 noon – 1pm

Come and meet an exciting range of organisations deliver a panel and Q&A on their leadership roles in the public sector.

Confirmed speakers so far:

  • NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme
  • National Graduate Development Programme
  • Think Ahead

Careers at the Heart of Government

Tuesday 17th November | 5.30pm – 6.30pm

Hear from a panel of speakers working at the heart of government, in departments like The Treasury & GORS.  Learn about alternative, non-Fast Stream, career paths into government roles.

Case-study Workshop: The Civil Service Social Change Challenge

Wednesday 18th November | 2pm-3.30pm

Are you looking for the opportunity to excel as a future leader, the chance to improve the country and to be tested intellectually?

Find out first-hand what it’s like to tackle the biggest issues of today in this interactive policy workshop.

Influencing Policy

Thursday 19th November | 12 noon – 1pm

Chaired by the editor of w4mp jobs, at this event you will hear from representatives of some of the leading shapers of public policy.

Confirmed speakers so far:

  • Chatham House
  • Counterpoint
  • Action Aid

*The events are on a first come first serve basis so please book early to guarantee a place and to see room details.*

Events are now bookable through ‘My UCL Careers’

Marketing Assistant: Inspire Me

UCL Careers29 October 2015

As part of our #UCLInspireMe series, Nadia Newstead, Marketing Assistant at Soho Theatre, talks to us about how she got this role and shares some tips for UCL students who want to get into the sector. For more insights from recent graduates working for smaller organisations, search #SMEProfile.Nadia Newstead

How did you get into your role?

I did Drama and English at university where I threw myself into Stage Managing various productions. I did an internship as part of my degree which was my first taste of administration work. I did various box office/front of house/stage managing jobs until I got my first job as an administrator, then marketing trainee at The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury and then Marketing Assistant at Soho Theatre.

What are the best things about working in your role?

I like that although it is an admin role, it is also a creative role as you get to have input on photo shoots for show images and do filming for trailers as well as coming up with fun content for the web and social media. I like helping small companies reaching the best audience possible. Marketing great shows is my way of sharing my love of theatre with others.

What are the biggest challenges you face in your work?

The amount of shows we have on here at Soho Theatre! All the shows require the same basic  amount of attention whether they are on for one night or 7 weeks. A lot of the shows also have very small budgets so you have to try and maximise what they have to reach the most amount of people.

What top tips would you pass on to a student interested in this type of work?

Have a go! If you’ve got an upcoming show, exhibition, reading or know someone who has then offer to help them with marketing. With social media it’s very easy to get started – just know how much you have to spend and stick to it and always evaluate what did and didn’t work.

Soho Theatre currently have an opportunity to join them as a Marketing Assistant, visit UCL JobOnline to apply.

To find our more about working in a Marketing, either come in an speak to a Careers Consultant or visit Careers Tagged.

Museums and Cultural Heritage Week is coming…

UCL Careers26 October 2015

Considering a career in or want to find out more about the Arts, Cultural Heritage and Museums sectors? Then this is the week for you! All events are open to students from all degree disciplines. All events take place during week commencing 2nd November 2015 and need to be booked via your  ‘My UCL Careers’ account.

Arts Management Forum | 2nd November, 5.30pm-6.30pm
Confirmed panellists include:
> Dr Michael Hall – Curator and Dealer
> Marion Crick – Head of Collections Management, Victoria & Albert Museum
> Eleni Duke – Owner/Founder, Curious Duke Gallery

Museums Forum | 3rd November, 5.30pm-6.30pm
Confirmed panellists include:
> Frances Jeens, Jewish Museum
> Dr Neil Wilkin – Curator (European Bronze Age collection), The British Museum

How Volunteering can start your Career in Museums & Cultural Heritage (run jointly with VSU) | 4th November, 5.30pm-6.30pm

Confirmed panellists include:
> Marta Mrozek – Collections Management, The British Museum
> Stephen Wilson – Education Manager, Benjamin Franklin House
> Carly Lawrence – Volunteer Supervisor, Handel House Museum
> Charlotte Frearson – Undergraduate/Fieldwork/Museums Placement Administrator – UCL Institute of Archaeology
> Oliver Peachey – Volunteering Administration & Partnerships Coordinator, VSU

Cultural Heritage Forum | 5th November, 5.30pm-6.30pm
Confirmed panellists include:
> Dr Joe Flatman – Head of Central Casework and Programmes,English Heritage
>Alison Richmond – Chief Executive, Icon, Institute of Conservation
> Dr Gai Jorayev – Research Fellow and Senior Heritage Management Consultant,  Centre for Applied Archaeology, UCL Institute of Archaeology

All events need to be booked via your  ‘My UCL Careers’ account.

Career inspiration No. 1: Nadiya from GBBO

uczjsdd12 October 2015

In this series of blogs we’ll be looking to pop culture for career inspiration.

Nadiya 3

Image from BBC One

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week you’ll know that Nadiya Hussain quite rightly won 2015’s Great British Bake Off. Her acceptance speech brought a tear to many an eye and her victory has been all over the papers and EVERYWHERE online.

But this is the UCL Careers blog. Surely we can’t make the GBBO about careers, right?

Wrong.

We think Nadiya’s performance holds important career lessons for us all. And we’re going to tell you about them.

1) Sometimes it’s good to step out of your comfort zone

Nadiya wasn’t the most confident contestant to begin with. But she threw herself into the competition, and as the weeks went by her boldness grew, culminating in her glorious victory. And that speech! “I’m never gonna put boundaries on myself ever again. I’m never gonna say I can’t do it. I’m never gonna say ‘maybe’. I’m never gonna say, ‘I don’t think I can.’ I can and I will.”

Pushing yourself to have varied experiences will help you develop skills and confidence. And testing out different things can help you figure out exactly what you want from a career. If you’re nervous, why not start small? Try taking on a new task in a social or voluntary setting first. Then when you’re feeling braver you can transfer your new skills to your course or job.

2) Resilience is vital

Ok. So Nadiya had some low points on the show. She presented incomplete vol au vents. She fluffed the soufflé technical challenge. She shed some tears. But did she let that stop her? No sir.

Jobhunting can be tough, most people don’t just walk into the first job they apply for. Even the best candidates are bound to get a knockback every now and then. But staying positive and learning from your experiences is an important career development skill.

3) Make your motivation clear

Recruitment is an expensive and time-consuming business, as is training new staff. So it’s important for employers to know they’re taking on people who are motivated to work hard and stick around for a while. In your applications and interviews you need to show you’ve done your homework, you understand the role and the company, and you’re excited about the position.

Nadiya was clearly serious about baking and the competition, hence the incredible show stoppers and the tears. But for the best evidence of Nadiya’s passion, one need look no further than her wonderful facial expressions. Enjoy!

Nadiya 4

Image from Indy Voices

S Donaldson, Careers Consultant, UCL