Work Experience for international postgraduate students

You’re currently studying for your master’s degree and on a tier 4 visa, you’d like to gain some UK work experience before returning home as you know that international experience will look great on your CV?

However, the internships you’ve found are mainly during summer, you can’t work full time during the summer and you’ve noticed that a lot internship positions are targeted towards penultimate year students (3rd year of an undergraduate degree)?

So what can you do to gain work experience before returning home?

THE INTERNSHIP HUB

Our internship hub places around 400 students per year, not all posts are open to Postgraduate students but several are. They advertise part time internships that you can do alongside your studies.

Why not sign up to the weekly internship alerts and keep up to date with new vacancies.

Off cycle internships

Off cycle internships are internships that take place outside of the normal internship cycle so you may find one that you can do between the time you finish your postgraduate degree programme and before your visa expires. These are more common in banking and finance.

There aren’t large numbers of them advertised but here are a few examples;

 

VOLUNTEERING

Employers regard good quality voluntary experience just as highly as experience from paid positions. Even more so in some cases – producing quality work in your spare time and for a good cause demonstrates your personality and passion, over and above the technical skills required. Our Internship Hub facilitates a wide range of voluntary internships with registered charities throughout the year, you will also find voluntary opportunities on Volunteer Scotland.

SMALL TO MEDIUM ENTERPRISES (SMEs)

There are some organisations who offer short term internships with SMEs after you’ve finished your degree, these include Adopt an Intern and Step.

TEMPORARY WORK

You might find suitable work experience via a temporary position within an organisation you are interested in, agency central has a list of agencies by geographical location and occupational areas of interests. Please note that you should never be asked to pay for using one of these agencies.

SPECULATIVE APPLICATIONS

Finally, if there is particular company you would like to work for, taking the speculative approach could work, in this video, Careers Manager Ann explains how to approach a company on spec.

 

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Intern Insight: Community outreach creates an enlightened future from the lessons of the past

Penultimate year English Literature and History student, Kirsty is enjoying gaining valuable experience with Northlight Heritage.


My internship experience at Northlight Heritage so far has been incredible. Right from the start I was treated like a member of the team and was encouraged to get involved in many different aspects of the project ‘Diggin In’. I have been allowed to gain experience in the way that school visits work at the site (reconstructed trenches in Pollok Park). After shadowing one tour, I have since been allowed to become active myself and take groups around the trenches and lead the activities. I was also given the opportunity to participate in an Open Day of the project, which taught me a lot about the way in which community outreach can be achieved. Moreover, it gave me an insight into the way in which sponsorship for history and cultural projects function.

The staff at Northlight Heritage have been very forthcoming and welcoming. A fun atmosphere of support and humour made me feel comfortable from the beginning, so that I could ask as many relevant questions as I wanted to. They made sure that I had the necessary guidance and preparation before I began anything new. For example, I shadowed a school trip before I led one myself, and was given all the necessary instructions so I could prepare properly.

POPPYSCOTLAND LAUNCHES MOST AMBITIOUS FUNDRAISING CHALLENGE YETI think one of the best parts of the internship is the amount of leeway I have been given to shape my own experience. By expressing an interest in other schemes that Northlight Heritage runs, I am now involved in another project they run called History Pin; even within this project I can propose my own ideas and research interests.

Overall, I could not have asked for a more engaging and inspiring internship, working with kind people who clearly want me to have the best possible internship experience.


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Getting a graduate job in Arts, Culture and Media

Why aren’t there more media companies on campus?

We are well aware that most of the jobs advertised for graduates are not with media related companies. Because of this we bend over backwards to get media companies onto campus. They don’t usually come. Why?

They do not have graduate training programmes. This means that they do not have vacancies specifically for those leaving university with limited work experience. Media companies recruit what are known as ‘experienced hires’. The small independent production companies who make programmes, sometimes have roles as runners or production assistants for those with little or no experience. This is the usual entry route for graduates. These jobs are rarely advertised. They get filled by ‘word of mouth’ or through speculative applications – either in paper or in person. For example, one of the traffic presenters on Radio Scotland got her first job in radio when she was a waitress in a restaurant frequented by staff from the station. This is how it works.

That’s why, if we can’t get the companies to come in we approach ‘names’ who have worked for the BBC and the like – recently we had Kirsty Wark and Jackie Bird on our First Tuesday Talks –  to tell you how they got started so you can copy them!

Why aren’t there more jobs in Arts and Culture?

Good question. You would think from the headlines Image-015athat we are drowning in culture! The ‘City of Culture’ bids, Olympic and Commonwealth Games, the way that arts, culture and music are promoted to support our wellbeing.

I think we need to remember that a lot of art and culture is funded from the public purse. The public purse is shrunk and shrinking. Much of the money in Arts and Culture from the public purse is in the form of a grant, which has a short shelf life and does not create that many long term job opportunities. A lot of the work in Arts and Culture is done on a volunteering basis – most of the opportunities associated with the Olympic and Commonwealth Games were volunteering. Many of those working in arts and culture got started by working for free to get the necessary experience to apply for paid posts. Also, many of the jobs in this sector are self-employed.

Don’t get me wrong. It is highly possible to make a good career in arts, culture and music if you want to but very few jobs come ready-made.

Why aren’t there more advertised opportunities for writers?

Believe me. If there were more advertised jobs for those who wanted to write ‘out there’ we would post them on our vacancy board.

Most openings to write are self-generated! You have an idea for an article, you look for the on-line and print publications which might publish your article, you float the idea with the editor. You might not get paid for it first time and your first shot might not get published, but this is how you start building your writing career.

Again there are no graduate training schemes for would be writers. That’s why we set up events like the Human Book Project in our library in October where 8 alumni from the industry came in to talk with students offering advice on how to get started as a writer!

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Intern Insight: A medical history of Glasgow uncovered

Recent IH Intern and English Literature Graduate, Molly spent her final year interning with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and gained a valuable insight into the world of Archives.


Undertaking an internship at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow was an excellent opportunity, providing a fascinating insight into the esteemed medical history of Glasgow, and indeed, the impact that medical advances have had in the UK and beyond.

My role was to assist in the College’s Oral History Project in which I carried out the transcription of interviews hosted with world renowned physicians, surgeons and members of the College faculty- relating to their account of their experience working in a range of hospitals throughout Scotland. This internship was therefore the perfect opportunity to utilise my writing skills acquired during my undergraduate English degree whilst opening up insights into medical science. On a typical day, expect to be confident with independent research; accuracy is key with the spelling of medical terms and researching into the works of those interviewed. Patience, ability to pay attention to detail and an interest in medical history/ science is crucial to carrying out and, most importantly, enjoying this role.

Victoria Stewart   19 Glasgow Street, GLASGOW, G12 8JW 07770408170The role provided me with a valuable insight into the work of archivists and librarians who provide a crucial service to researchers and the general public alike. Expect to become involved in other tasks such as cataloguing in their archive- working with a range of medical books, journals and pamphlets and learning databases such as ALEPHS and ALMA to catalogue- enhancing both your computer skills and ability to complete deadlines.

All of these tasks are mentally stimulating as much as they are fascinating – from Dr. Joseph Lister (the father of modern antiseptics) papers to the medical instruments of Dr David Livingstone- you never quite know what you will come across!

The work that you do here will have a direct impact increasing accessibility to a rich variety of collections for years to come.


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5 reasons why working for an SME could get your career off to a flying start

If you have not considered working for a Small or Medium Sized Enterprise (SME) this might just change your mind.


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Bolt has a hard day at the office (thanks to local SME, freetobook for this image)

From your school days right the way through university everyone tells you that you should want to work for a large organisation but why? Looks better on your CV, better pay, more career opportunities? By focussing on all the big, well-known organisations you could be missing out on some excellent opportunities with SMEs. Did you know that in March 2016 there were 348,045 SMEs operating in Scotland, providing an estimated 1.2 million jobs and that last year, 34% of graduates across the UK went to work for SMEs?

Here are our top 5 reasons why working for an SME could be a great option for you:

  1. Early career progression

Working within an SME might not offer a structured career path but if you join a fast-growing start-up you could find yourself being promoted early on. By taking responsibility and getting involved in all aspects of the business you are likely to get yourself noticed and promoted.

  1. Lots of responsibility

Working for an SME will often involve juggling lots of different tasks and it will really develop your multitasking skills. If you love multitasking and variety, an SME could provide both. You will gain a breadth of experience and really understand how every aspect of the business operates. On a daily basis you will get the chance to work with all levels of seniority within the business due to a flatter management structure and the director is visible, not hidden behind a door!

  1. Real sense of your contribution making a difference

Why be a small cog in a big wheel when you can be the big wheel? Your contribution will directly impact on the success of the business and you are more likely to feel valued. In an SME there is nowhere to hide as everyone must pull their weight and this creates a strong sense of team spirit with your colleagues. Everyone is responsible for driving the business forward which can be extremely motivating.

  1. Great work culture: Office pets, free lunches, fruit, Friday drinks etc ( we could go on…)

SMEs will rarely be able to compete with large organisations when it comes to salary but they compensate for this in other ways. If you love animals you might find yourself working in an SME with an office pet. There’s nothing like a cute dog to make you feel all warm and fuzzy! If that doesn’t interest you, how about a tasty office lunch, free fruit or gym membership? We can’t guarantee that every SME will offer these perks but many do!

  1. Dynamic work environment

In an SME you do not have to face the bureaucracy that often goes hand in hand with a large organisation. The pace of progress tends to be faster and just remember that Google was once an SME! It’s important to think about which industry area interests you the most and find a way in.

At the Internship Hub, 77% of our internships are with SMEs so start building up your experience now to find out if it’s the right environment for you!


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Intern Insight: The appliance of science

IH Intern and final year Chemistry student, Amy had the chance to apply the theory gained in her studies into a practical setting in her summer internship.


I’m currently a fourth year chemistry student and I found my science-based summer internship with Biofilm through the university’s Internship Hub.

During my internship, I was given the opportunity to take charge of my own project within a product development environment; from the initial research stages, through to formulating and testing my ideas in the lab. The internship entailed a mixture of office-based and lab work, along with some clean-room tasks in the manufacturing plant. I also attended department meetings and was lucky enough to receive some GMP and COSHH training.

Biofilm

My biggest achievements during the placement were successfully formulating a product which appears to have improved the efficacy of a current Biofilm product, and developing a method of testing the efficacy of such goods in-house.

I learned how valuable industry experience is to my career and feel my future prospects have been greatly enhanced because of the experience.

My advice to others undertaking similar science-based internships is to be confident in your abilities. New responsibilities can seem daunting at first, but use them as a chance to demonstrate your skills.


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What is the entry route for PhD graduates into careers outside of academia?

This is a very common question I am asked by PhD students and post-doc researchers who are thinking of moving away from academic roles.  It is also something that I know can cause frustration and stress for you as it can be time-consuming to find out the answer from employers.

The first point I want to make to you is to reassure you that you are hugely employable and that whatever route you have to take into a particular role, being a PhD graduate makes you stand out to employers outside of academia. If you look at destinations data for PhD graduates from UK universities then you will see that generally speaking, over 50% each year move into non-academic roles and mostly into professional level roles.

The answer to the question about entry routes varies between employers and, yes, can mean more work for you to find the answer. Only a small number of non-academic employers are interested in the PhD qualification itself but please don’t feel disheartened as the experience and skills that you have gained make you hugely employable to a wide range of employers. Employers are interested in your PhD and postdoctoral research experience as they know it develops a huge range of high level transferable skills. Take a look at 10 Career Paths for PhDs to see how the different aspects of your academic research experience demonstrates relevant skills.

 

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The Entry Routes

  • The PhD Stream

In a small number of cases it may be via a PhD specific stream such as at the Bank of England or GSK – PhD streams likes this often pay a bit more than they do to graduates with first degrees or Masters degrees.

  • Experienced Professional

More commonly you could apply as an ‘experienced professional’ due to your 3 or 4+ years’ work experience as an academic researcher. This is often the case in many technical areas of work and other competitive areas such as policy work, medical writing or science publishing (to name but a few). Bear in mind that there may still be some training in the early stages of this route.

  • Graduate Schemes

In many other cases the route in for all levels of graduates is via a graduate scheme. This could be the case for both new PhD graduates and experienced postdoctoral researchers. This is perhaps the established route for all new recruits to professional level jobs in certain organisations – especially when they take people from a range of disciplines. It may be that you have to go in via a structured graduate scheme because you will have to through professional exams before you are fully qualified. This would be the case in areas such as accountancy or actuarial careers.

How do I find out which entry route?

You have to speak to the employers to find out. This could be at a careers event on campus where you can ask them face to face or via their recruitment website, or by connecting with them via a networking platform such as The Network or LinkedIn.

You may find out that some employers in industry and the public sector such as the Civil Service would employ you via either the second or third route so it may be a case of which comes up first.

Networking at Careers events

I know sometimes that your experience at Careers Fairs has been that not all representatives at an employer’s stand have been able to answer your questions about entry routes. Some representatives may be new graduate recruits who can tell you lots  of useful info about their experience of the recruitment process but have no knowledge of PhD entry routes. Most employers will send senior staff who should be able to answer this question or at the very least find out for you. We do remind employers that students attending the Fairs will be not just undergraduates but also at taught and research postgraduate level too.

Bear in mind that there are many careers events aimed specifically at PhD and post-doctoral researchers. Each year in Spring/early Summer I run 4 employer networking events on campus  – one for researchers in each of the colleges. I invite employers who recruit academic researchers and are therefore very keen to meet you. Look out for more details in the New Year when dates and venues have been confirmed.

There will be lots of other events organised specifically for researchers where you can meet employers – via university-wide researcher development training, in your institute or graduate school’s training programme. External organisations such as Vitae and Nature organise excellent careers events for researchers as do many professional bodies and learned societies so follow them on social media to keep updated.

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Katrina Gardner, Careers Manager for PGRs and ECRs

 

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Intern insight: Delivering Doors Open Day

Gender History Masters student Amanda Gavin interned with the Scottish Civic Trust this summer following the completion of her History undergraduate degree


Working from the historic Tobacco Merchant’s House is any history graduate’s dream and it was certainly mine. When I found out I had been offered an internship with the Scottish Civic Trust I could barely contain my excitement with Martin from the Internship Hub replying ‘I assume by that reaction that you accept’. I did accept and I started in July where the countdown was on to the launch of Doors Open Days 2017.

Having spent the majority of my student years waiting tables the prospect of working in heritage and at a desk (with weekends off!) was almost too good to be true. At first I poured over previous Doors Open Days leaflets, got to grips with the website and vowed to improve my geography. The co-ordinators meeting is where we heard from each region and suddenly such a huge programme of events coming together seemed possible. I heard about Inverclyde’s trial of Cinderella’s wicked stepmother and Edinburgh’s recreation of the medieval city using virtual reality and felt really excited to be a part of Doors Open Days.

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In celebration of SCT’s 50 years for the 50 days leading up to Doors Open Days we opened up nominations for 50 favourite Scottish doors. I had great fun helping to collate the campaign with nominations from people I personally admire; Sir TM Devine, Adele Patrick and a poem from Magi Gibson. Molly and I even got to nominate our own favourite Scottish door which was none other than the door to the Tobacco Merchant’s House.

It was so rewarding to watch all of our hard work come together; seeing the programmes in print, the tweets from visitors exploring buildings and visiting new places. I even got to coordinate a programme including my hometown for East Renfrewshire.

I was lucky enough to attend several events during Doors Open Days this September and to welcome visitors to the Tobacco Merchant’s House where we opened our doors during Glasgow’s week-long festival.

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My highlight was visiting the Cumbernauld Penthouses despite managing to get lost for almost an hour in a shopping centre and attempting to open the doors to the entirely wrong building! It was all worth it in the end when I got to see inside the brutalist penthouses, empty for several years but still retaining all their 1960s charm.

My time with SCT has given me an invaluable insight into working in heritage and what it takes to coordinate and advertise a national programme of events. I started with a great interest in Scotland’s built heritage that has only been strengthened. Armed with my ‘How to Read Buildings’ book, gifted to me on my leaving my internship, I can now sound like an expert when I look up at pretty buildings.

I am now working towards my MSc in History and look forward to exploring more buildings next September – in between writing my dissertation!


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Intern insight: Marketing for “Glasgow’s Leading Attractions”

Final year English Literature student Julianne Smith has been working as a Marketing and Development intern 


Since July, I’ve been interning at Glasgow’s Leading Attractions. It is a part-time role of approximately 10 hours a week which I can work flexibly. I’m currently in my fourth year studying English Literature. I started applying for internships after my third year exams and I was surprised and relieved that there were still lots being advertised by The Internship Hub around May/ June. I was short-listed and invited for interview about half way through June and I was delighted when I got the call to say I’d been successful.

City Sightseeing Tour

Glasgow’s Leading Attractions is a collection of 18 of the best attractions in the city from Glasgow Science Centre to The Willow Tea Rooms to Sea Life at Loch Lomond. They offer themed itineraries; information for getting around; high quality attractions; and vouchers for days out.

I was more excited than nervous to start as the people who interviewed me were lovely and made me feel so at ease. My induction to the role consisted of a City Sightseeing tour around Glasgow to learn as much as possible about the city in a short space of time and then lunch in The Willow Tea Rooms to meet with my supervisor and discuss my duties. Generally, my role is focused on brand awareness which can be broken down into conducting surveys; starting and writing the Glasgow’s Leading Attractions blog; carrying out case studies of other cities to see what lessons we can learn; and working with city partners.

It is difficult to describe an average day because my role is so varied. The first few weeks consisted mostly of visiting each attraction to learn as much as I could about what they offer and what they do; meet key contacts; get material for the blog; and chat to visitors. One amazing aspect of this was that I got to try out everything our attractions had to offer myself! I’ve been zooming along the Clyde in a speed boat; skiing at Snow Factor at Intu Braehead; and done all kinds of tours from Tennent’s Brewery to Celtic Park to Hampden.

Ready to ski!Most of the work I do is home based and I report to Development Meetings once a month. One of the first things I did was carry out a brand survey at the attractions I visited to gauge customer awareness and expectation. Approaching visitors and asking them to complete the surveys was sometimes a little daunting but I think the main thing I learned was just to be as friendly as possible. I have also been involved with creating content such as posters for each attraction and themed maps and condensed information about the attractions to tie in with partner’s websites and projects.

 

Something exciting I coordinated last month was a tour of our attractions for the Glasgow 2018 European Championships’ mascot Bonnie the Seal. I liaised with Glasgow 2018 and all the individual attractions to arrange a 2-day schedule of visits. It involved a lot of planning and communication but it all went extremely well: our visitors were delighted to meet Bonnie and we got lots of excellent social media content. It was also generally just fun hanging around with a seal mascot!

Sealfie

So far, I’ve been most surprised at how much Glasgow’s attractions have to offer that I have never known about (even though I’ve lived here all my life). Not only do they offer amazing days out, they are often involved in community projects such as GalGael at The Tall Ship providing learning activities like ship-building skills to those who have suffered worklessness, depression or addiction or Football Memories League at The Scottish Football Museum (Hampden) supporting people living with dementia.

I’m really enjoying my internship so far and feel like I’ve utilised and developed a lot of skills from communication to time-management to content creation. It has provided me with a whole host of situations and experiences I can draw on in future.

I’d completely recommend applying for internships with The Internship Hub. They make the application process very clear and support you through the duration. I’m also proof that you aren’t only restricted to degree-specific roles – your skills can be transferred and used in a whole host of different internships.

Hampden Park


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Be SMART and make the most of your internship

goal setting

You’ve managed to secure an internship, work experience or volunteering opportunity congratulations! While you’re figuring out what you might wear on your first day and where the good spots for lunch are, take some time to consider what you want to get out of this experience and set yourself some SMART goals.

BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND

In the bestselling book, the 7 habits of highly effective people, Stephen Covey stated “Begin with the end in mind”.

Visualising what you want to achieve in the end, can help you to take steps in the right direction and get the most out of your internship experience.

So what exactly do you want to achieve by the end of your internship?  What are your aims?

  • Do you want to learn how to develop a marketing plan?
  • Gain some experience interacting with customers?
  • Improve your confidence with public speaking
  • Apply theory from your course to the workplace? or
  • Develop your network in the industry?

Your aims can be personal, work-related or a combination of the two but make sure they are realistic.

BE SMART

Setting SMART goals can help you to consider the practical steps you can take to achieve your aims. It is a process which can help you to set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound goals;

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image credit: Dungdm93, shared under creative commons 

Specific – be clear about what you want to achieve, define your goal as much as you can – think of the who, what where, when and why.

Measurable – how will you know when you’ve achieved this? Is it quantifiable in some way?

Achievable – remember this must fit with the responsibilities of your internship and the time you have available. Discussing your goals in collaboration with your internship supervisor can help to ensure they are achievable.

Relevant – What is the aim behind this goal and will the steps you’ve identified achieve it? how does it fit in with the rest of your goals? Your long term plans? The internship aims?

Time-bound – Set a deadline for your goal, when will it be complete? Depending on the length of your internship project, you may wish to set short term and longer term goals.

You can write your aims in advance but constructing and discussing your SMART goals with your internship supervisor in week 1 can ensure that they are in line with their expectations and realistically achievable. Try to write down at least three SMART goals.

 

REVIEW

You may find it useful to keep a diary, journal or blog to record your progress. This can help you when it comes time to reviewing your goals and articulating what you’ve achieved in your CV, application and at interview.

Throughout your internship, set some time to review your SMART goals. Are you on track? Do you need to adjust anything? Is it still realistically achievable? This can help you to stay on track to ensure you are going to make the most of the experience.

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Intern insight: A week in the life of an EAS Social Programme Intern

Third year French and Spanish student Amy Shimmin is currently interning on-campus with the English for Academic Study department. 


EAS1Since May, I’ve been one of nine Social Programme Interns for the University’s English for Academic Study department. Along with permanent staff, we run the social programme for students, giving them the opportunity to learn about local culture and practise their English skills. Around 800 students undertake pre-sessional English courses to meet requirements for academic programmes, which most students continue to the next academic year. Summer is the busiest time of year, and each week of the internship has been different. Here’s an insight to one week:

Monday – Induction day

It’s the last intake of the year, and we have a beautiful day for it! There are multiple events throughout the day to make arrival as smooth as possible – registering at university, delivering campus tours, and advising to other services when necessary. Responsibilities are split through the intern team: my tasks included guiding students across campus, making sure students were in the right place, some admin tasks, and taking campus tours.  It can be a daunting day, with lots of information to take in. At least the weather was nice, for once…

Tuesday and Thursday – Chat club

Each lunchtime we run an informal English chat club – this allows students the chance to meet classmates, practise speaking English, and to learn about others’ backgrounds and cultures. This week I worked Tuesday and Thursday, which were busier than usual – probably due to the new intake of students. Three or four interns run chat club each day, and we make tea and coffee, facilitate chat between students, and make the environment friendly and welcoming.

Thursday – Film night

We often have some evening events, and this week we had two (more on the second in a moment.) Film night was an idea I suggested, and for this event, I was the ‘trip leader’. This means I had a little bit more responsibility for the event. Luckily, this was a fairly smooth-running evening – students arrived, we watched The King’s Speech together, and then went home. I’ll later write a report detailing the event, and any suggestions for the future.

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Friday – Pot luck

To celebrate the end of the first week, we met at Murano Street Village for a ‘pot luck’ dinner. If you’ve not heard of this before, it’s basically a dinner where each person brings a dish, and then everybody shares the food! I made a dish from my hometown, and we ended up with a wide range of dishes – Chinese meat, Italian pastries, and of course, haggis. The main responsibilities here were to make sure the event ran well, that students were engaged, and to eat food. Not a bad night at the office…

Saturday – Linlithgow Palace and the Kelpies

Each Saturday, the programme co-ordinates at least one trip to a site of cultural relevance. This week students could choose between Loch Lomond or Linlithgow Palace. As staff, we attend each trip to ensure the itinerary runs as planned, to coordinate the transport and any booked events during the trip, and to deal with any problems should they arise. We arrived at Linlithgow Palace for a tour of the site, where students learned a little about Scottish history, too. There was time after to explore the town – we even saw a wedding! – and then we headed to the Kelpies on the way back home. While the trips are a great chance to unwind after an intense week in class, they also encourage the students to use their English skills further, to learn about local culture and history, and to explore the country.

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My internship only lasts four more weeks, which is the only downside! It’s definitely been a highlight of my summer, as it’s been a great way to earn money, develop new and old skills, and visit some wonderful places. It’d be easy to say the best part is the tea and biscuits, but it’s great to see the students develop their confidence and skills throughout the programme.  It’s been a valuable insight into the ‘behind the scenes’ in a busy university department, as well as events planning and organisation, and teaching English as a second language.


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Intern Insight: A crash course on feasibility testing with OBASHI

IH Intern and recent MSci Computing Science graduate Tom Wallis is currently interning with OBASHI Technology


“OBASHI — the company I’ve spent my summer with as a software engineer doing feasibility testing — are currently working out the different technologies they’ll require for a new product. Today, the CTO put a diagram on the office wall, with a myriad of different technologies which they’ll need to find new recruits to develop with.

The list came as a surprise: not because there was anything unknown on the list, but because there wasn’t. As a part of the feasibility testing effort at OBASHI this summer, I have had to learn and test every one of the technologies they are considering — and that list was both large and familiar.

Feasibility testing is the process of working out what we can and can’t accomplish. In different industries, this might take different forms: some industries have to focus on what’s possible within certain legal bounds; others might explore financially viable avenues; my work at OBASHI focuses on what’s technologically possible. As a result, I’ve been required to learn about the entirety of the architecture of the product they’re building, and understand how every different technology can work in concert with others to make the best possible whole.

tom Wallis

Developing that understanding requires first knowing what the nuances of the product’s different components are. The website technologies, network architectures, programming languages, communication systems, databases and more are all elements which must be chosen based on which technologies in each category pair well with others. Each category has its own nuances and complications; performing feasibility testing at OBASHI means developing an understanding of this entire collection of technologies, and how they relate.

While the work has proven complex, it is also incredibly rewarding. Every day, the team produce tests for an exciting new technology, and see how far it can be pushed until it finally breaks — pushed in performance, pushed in its relationship with other technologies already tested, and pushed in its capabilities as a web server, database, etcetera. The scope of the work means I rely on knowledge from all sorts of computing science courses, and the practical work helps to understand how the different courses tie together, both in theory and in the real world.

Software development internships often involve building a component of a component of a large product. At OBASHI, the internship has involved constructing and testing many small components of an emerging product. Our ability to research those components, and for that research to have a material influence on the final product, is incredibly rewarding; I’m enjoying my last few weeks, in what has become a crash course on feasibility testing.”


Tom is one of two interns that OBASHI hired via the Internship Hub this year. Here is what CEO Fergus Cloughley had to say about the experience:

“This experience has been of great benefit to OBASHI Technology Ltd. It has brought highly capable and motivated individuals into the work place with fresh thinking and added new perspectives to our project.

They have been keen to learn then latest technologies and push themselves to the limit. The enthusiasm to learn from both interns has been fantastic.”


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Develop your global mindset

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International employers consistently tell us that they value graduates who have global awareness, particularly those who can demonstrate that they took the initiative to study or work overseas as part of their degree. The reason for this is clear – graduates who have studied or worked abroad tend to be culturally aware, able to work in multicultural teams and to move around the world as part of their career.

Gaining international experience while studying can significantly enhance your employability while also being a fantastic, life-changing experience. It’s not simply the experience that is of value, it’s the impact that it has on developing your “global mindset”. This quality is defined as the ability to adjust to different environments and cultures internationally.

As an influential report stated back in 2008,

Graduates who have international experience are highly employable because they have demonstrated that they have drive, resilience and inter-cultural sensitivities, as well as language skills.”  (Global Horizons & the Role of Employers, 2008).

The same report noted differing employer perceptions of “mobile and non-mobile graduates”. “Mobile” graduates with international experience scored more highly in each of following:

  • planning, co-ordinating & organising
  • problem-solving ability
  • analytical competences
  • assertiveness, decisiveness & persistence
  • getting personally involved
  • taking the initiative
  • adaptability
  • professional knowledge of other countries
  • ability to work with people from different cultural backgrounds
  • knowledge/understanding of international business
  • foreign language proficiency

The good news is that there are many opportunities to gain the experiences that can help you to develop your global mindset while studying at the University of Glasgow. You will find these on the Go Abroad webpages.

You can also access many international opportunities provided by external agencies.  Make sure that you are signed up for international vacancy alerts on our online vacancy system. Also, remember to check relevant employer web-sites and to attend Careers Fairs and Employer Presentations on campus to find out about international opportunities.

Developing a global mindset is a journey that will enable you to develop your adaptability and resilience. Ultimately it will help you to stand out when applying for graduate jobs. Start your journey today!

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Intern Insights: Lewis writes his way to a new career

 

IH Intern and recent graduate, Lewis Barrack is halfway through his internship with Glasgow-based copywriting agency, Copylab.


I’ve just finished my 4th full week of my internship at Copylab in Glasgow, and so far, the experience has been excellent.

Coming in on the first week was a mixture of nerves and excitement; I was moving into an unknown environment, but really looking forward to meeting new people, testing my abilities, and gaining useful experience that can help me going forward.

Any nerves I had quickly dissipated within the first day, as everyone made me feel really welcome and part of the team, and even being so kind as to treat me to a Paesano’s lunch.

But now onto the actual work- Copylab is “the world’s leading investment writing and communications agency”, specialising in fund reporting and market commentary for major asset management firms throughout the world, as well as helping those firms’ creative communications.

With that in mind, the work I’ve been doing since starting the internship has been quite varied, as each client has different requirements. This has allowed me to work on different tasks every day and really improve my overall skillset.

So far, under the guidance of my mentor, I’ve worked on a project to create a white paper for the company, which has entailed creating a survey and contacting market research companies to help with distributing the survey. I’ve written two blogs: a research blog for a client and a blog about my economics degree. I’ve been given training in editing fund reports, and in the last week, I’ve been involved in market commentary – helping to write monthly and quarterly reports for several asset management clients. Finally, I’ve been helping a client simplify the language of its investment product documentation.

Feedback so far for all these tasks has been positive, which has really benefited my work confidence, and my writing and editing skills are already improving. In addition, my understanding of finance and investing, and how best to write about these topics, is developing with each new task I’m given. I’ve also used the theoretical knowledge gained during my degree to complete the work at hand, in fact some of the knowledge has been essential to getting through the first month.

Although it’s been a great experience so far, it has been a bit of a culture shock getting used to the routine of 9-5 every day. When your earliest lecture is usually 10, it takes time to adjust to being in the office by 9 every morning, ready to be productive. But luckily, working in an office with great people around you, who are always willing to help you out, and where you look forward to going into the office every morning, has made this adjustment easy.

So, anyone thinking about applying for an internship, I would highly recommend it. Getting experience in a field that you’re interested in is invaluable and can really help you stand out when applying for jobs after graduation. Or you might be lucky enough to get offered a full-time position once your internship is over.


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Intern Insight: Nathan introduces Brett Nicholls Associates to the digital age

IH intern, Nathan Stilwell is spending his summer as a Marketing & Digital Content Intern with Brett Nicholls Associates. 


Nathan Stilwell

I’m close to half way through my internship with Brett Nicholls Associates and it’s going great. They are a brilliant and small family accounting company that specialises in the Third Sector. Launching their social media has been fun but difficult. All my previous work experience has been aimed at students and academics, a demographic that does cross over much with charity and small business owners. While it is not easy to drive people to Like, Share and Retweet chartered accountants, their work with charities and social enterprises is a brilliant thing to publicise online and we should be breaking over 100 followers each on Facebook and Twitter by the end of the week.

The daily working life has been a good experience too. After four years of study I am more than happy to get away from lectures and seminars and enter the 9 to 5 world. The workspace is a small office and it’s a tiny but lovely team. One of the great parts of the job is getting out and grabbing content from BNA’s clients; I had no idea about the amount of community and social work that is done in Glasgow. Charities like Bridging the Gap do incredible community work to tackle sectarianism and help asylum seekers and you never hear about it in the West-End bubble. I’m searching for new ways to publicise their work on social media and I will be recommending many of them back to the QMU’s C&C committee and the SRC’s RAG committee.

Overall its has so far been a great working experience. I’m glad I have the chance to experience working life like this. It has helped me learn new skills and point me closer to the direction I want to follow for my career. I would thoroughly recommend BNA and would also greatly encourage students to look towards Glasgow’s third sector.


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Selling your international experience to employers

Use-Your-International-Experience-to-Your-Advantage

If you are an international student studying in Glasgow or a home student who has studied abroad, you will be able to reflect on how gaining an international experience has enabled you to develop in a range of ways. There are so many ways in which gaining this experience is enriching for those who do it.

When we ask returning students to reflect on how the experience changed them, we find that students sometimes find it hard to articulate this to potential employers – either in their home country or elsewhere.

Global employers value the experience and qualities that graduates with international experiences can bring to the workplace. They tell us that these graduates tend to be more culturally diverse, better prepared for global employment and able to demonstrate a wider range of personal qualities then those without this experience.

In addition to cultural awareness and language skills, qualities that you can demonstrate as a result of your international experience may include maturity, resilience, the ability to solve problems and to operate outside your comfort zone, determination & persistence, confidence and adaptability.

In other words, your international perspective can provide some very rich sources of evidence of your employability! You will be able to reflect on the fact you opted to study abroad, the situations you found yourself in and the situations you sought out.

Before expressing this experience in the context of a job application, consider what you learnt:

  • About yourself
  • About other people
  • About the UK / your home country

Hopefully you will find this is a helpful way to build your evidence of how your international experience makes you stand out.

And remember, you can always speak to one of our Careers Managers about this by booking an appointment through Glasgow Careers.

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Diversity in the Workplace

Diversity is a wide ranging subject and only some of it, but a good bit of it, comes under the nine protected characteristics within the Equality Act 2010: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

To me, diversity is about inclusion and about making everyone feel strongly valued. It is also about benefiting from a group mind which is informed by the widest possible mix of viewpoints, backgrounds and experience. I’ll get on to that topic again later.

Equalities legislation has come a long way since I first got involved in the disability world in the late 1980s. A number of equalities strands have come together in joined up legislation and protection and despite the barriers, diversity as a whole is progressing.

It is great too that by using some reasonably objective measures, it is possible to see who at least some of the best graduate recruiters are across all nine protected characteristics and at every level of recruitment and retention of staff. See for example the Inclusive Top 50 UK Employers List.

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How do you find an inclusive employer? There are various kite marks and schemes which all have a value such as the RICS Inclusive Employer kite mark and the “disability confident” symbol which recently replaced the two ticks symbol and which moves employers through three levels of commitment to benefiting from the skills and experience offered by disabled people.  But beyond these, there is ongoing cultural change. As students and graduates you will often find that employers welcome diversity both in relation to protected characteristics and other equality matters such as  social class which lie beyond the legislation.

A couple of weeks ago, the Careers Managers took some time trying out a peer group reflective practice approach to problem solving.

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In a group of about ten, two of us presented real world issues we were grappling with and then defined the ideal solutions we’d like. It was then over to the group for 30 minutes to talk the issues out while the presenter listened without interrupting and took any notes.  Each of the presenters really benefited from the diversity and creativity in the group and was free to accept or reject anything that was suggested. An optimum way forward emerged from the group working as a collective resource.

It was a really productive time and it underlined for me some of the reasons why employers who embrace diversity and encourage it through recruitment are more productive and successful. There is a real transformative power which comes from a diverse group of thinkers, planners or service providers all collaborating together.

Please go to our website to find advice and sources of in-depth information on employers committed to diversity as well as your rights as a candidate and as an employee.

And don’t forget to check out live vacancies on Glasgow Careers.

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Ten pieces of advice for aspiring journalists from the editor of Press Gazette

This excellent, vocationally focussed advice comes from The Press Gazette’s publication “How to be a journalist 2016/17”. It contains lots of super useful industry advice.

clark kent

1.Practice, practice, practice. I was lucky enough to be able to get high marks in most academic exams through last-minute cramming.

That won’t work in journalism, it is a craft and requires practice to perfect.

Writing a good news story intro is like hitting a good tennis serve, the only way you are going to get it right is by trying and failing a number of times.

Get all the experience you can, particularly on student publications. And be patient. News writing is a precise discipline which is very different from the academic style.

2. Shorthand. It’s the skill that sets the serious journalist apart from the enthusiastic amateur. Like news writing it will only come with a lot of practise so as soon as you have decided to do journalism training buy a shorthand textbook (Teeline) and start learning it. A shorthand speed of 100 words per minute is essential for any general news reporter job because without it you can’t cover court (where tape recorders are banned).

3. Unless you have a bloody good memory you are going to need a voice recorder and a telephone mic. While you are getting your shorthand speed up use an in-ear telephone mic (about £10 on Amazon) to tape phone interviews.

You will also need your smartphone or dictaphone to record face to face interviews. Even when you have 100 words per minute shorthand you will need to record longer interviews as people speak a lot faster than that.

4. Become a geek. There is a debate about whether traditional skills such as shorthand are as important as new skills such as computer coding. It’s not either or, get them all. If you can learn the basics of HTML (the code behind web pages) and other computer languages such as Python you will dramatically improve your employability.

5. Create your own blog and experiment with embedding widgets and other digital whistles and bells. Get on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and any other social media platform you can think of. Social media is all the rage in journalism nowadays.

6. The same goes for data. Data journalism is another buzz phrase in the industry. It basically involves taking large dull-looking groups of numbers and finding stories in them. Again, if you can learn some data skills you are going to put yourself ahead of much of the competition. At its most basic it could just be getting a list of election results, putting them into a spreadhseet and then using a programme such as Datawrapper to create a pretty graph which you cut and paste into your website. Believe it or not, becoming a whizz with Excel is one of the most useful skills you can have as a journalist.

7. Enjoy yourself. Journalism is not the best paid job in the world. People do it because it is fun and maybe because they also want to make a difference. There is a great tradition in this country of controlled anarchy in newsrooms. Keep it up.

8. Oh, and about the money. Journalism can be low paid considering the high level of skills and training which it requires. Starting salaries are typically around £18,000. Even a senior reporter on a local paper might be on £20-25,000. The sky’s the limit earnings-wise for star journalists and the profession can also be a grounding for a more lucrative career in PR, corporate communications, TV presenting or something else entirely. Money may not matter to you so much now, but it may in ten years time. So it is worth considering that typically even teachers and police officers nowadays earn more that journalists (and they probably have better pensions). That said, they probably don’t have nearly as much fun.

9. When it comes to getting your first job treat your covering letter and CV with as much care as a front page story. If you write a covering letter which grabs the reader’s attention, which shows (but doesn’t tell) how you are the most enthusiastic and best suited person for the job you will get an interview. Most people write dull, formulaic covering letters full of stock phrases such as “I have a passion for yada yada”, “I am honest and hard working”, “I’m a good team player”. These go straight in the bin. Show you can write with flair and originality.

10. Remember with stories, finding a job, getting on a course and many other asects of journalism every no gets you closer to a yes.You have to fail in this game in order to succeed.

Don’t get disheartened because everyone has been there.

If you want to talk about your journalism ideas feel free to come and talk to a Careers Manager.

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Intern insight: Glasgow University Environmental Sustainability Team (GUEST)

The IH has been supporting GUEST to recruit paid student interns for a number of years now. This year’s GUEST Coordinators Callum, Lucy and Kate were from a range of year groups across the Colleges of Arts and Social Sciences.


Working for the Glasgow University Environmental Sustainability Team (GUEST) is the best job you could wish for as a student alongside your studies! It is part-time with very flexible hours and most of the work is done on campus. As well as being a student, you become a staff member at the university, and get to work alongside like-minded people on something that you are really passionate about.

As coordinators, we worked closely with the Internship Hub for the recruitment process of promoters. Coordinating a team of eight promoters meant that we independently managed our own budget, ran and facilitated team training and meetings and learnt how to supervise and support the work of others.

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We have worked on a wide range of projects and campaigns aimed at improving environmental practice across campus and further afield and providing a more inclusive, resilient and sustainable space for the student and local community. As one of our main roles is to influence the University’s policies around sustainability, we worked closely with other governing bodies of the University, such as the Carbon Management Committee, the University Court and the Environmental Sustainability Partnership Board, and were also regularly in contact with local governments and NGOs.

Knowing you are influencing and changing the University’s environmental practice is something really rewarding. Being part of a student-led team and having the ability to see the impact of your work at University is also really exciting. Being a small team also meant that we were all able to contribute our ideas and to really develop our skills in-depth through experiences that we were able to run and conduct ourselves, whether it be coordinating a team, managing a budget, facilitating meetings or writing reports and recommendations for the University governing bodies. Everything we learnt through this internship will be extremely valuable for future career prospects as all these skills are transferable and can be practiced in any workplace or context.


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“Commercial awareness” – What is it and how do you show you have it?

Worried about demonstrating “commercial awareness” at an interview?

Most employers want to know that you have “commercial awareness”. Whether you are looking to work for a multinational or a small business, a charity or in the arts, potential employers will all expect you to demonstrate this.

Students are often anxious that if they don’t read the Financial Times FT_Web_App_on_iPad-_Home_Screen_(5814585356).jpgevery day they won’t be able to demonstrate this. In fact, commercial awareness means many things to different people but usually refers to an interest in business generally and in the wider environment that a specific business operates in .

The good news if that you will almost certainly already have it, at least to some degree.

Your experience of part-time jobs can be a great source of commercial awareness. You may be able to use retail or hospitality experience to show that you understand the importance of effective stock management, reducing wastage, “selling-up” etc. Understanding that this contributes to the profitability of any business demonstrates your commercial awareness.

Every employer wants to know that you understand their business and sector. They are looking for a real understanding of what they do, who their key competitors are, future trends in their industry  etc. Doing your homework on this prior to an interview is another measure of your commercial awareness.

So what should you research prior to an interview?

The following are just a few ideas:images.png

  • press releases from the employer
  • LinkedIn and social media pages
  • industry news in the (reputable) business media
  • websites of key competitors in the sector

What might I be asked on this at interview?

Questions could include the following:

  • What do you know about our products / services?
  • Who are our main competitors and what differentiates them from us?
  • What makes a business successful?
  • Describe a company you think is doing well and explain why you think this is so.
  • Tell me about a recent news item on the economy or about a specific business that interested you. What interested you about this?
  • What is the current Bank of England base rate?
  • What is the FTSE 100? Did the FTSE go up or down yesterday?

These questions are looking for evidence of your curiosity about business generally, your awareness of why businesses succeed (or fail) and your motivation to work for that employer.

Finally back to the F.T.

It IS important to have a good general awareness of what’s going on in the global economy so getting into good habits such as regularly looking at reputable business news websites will certainly help you to develop your commercial awareness without it seeming like a last-minute panic prior to an interview!

For more advice on getting ready for interviews, don’t forget our website is full of hints, tips, example questions and lots more.

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