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Guest blog: Why I chose to take a Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology (DPsych) by Kiran Bains

Kiran Bains is taking a professional Doctorate in Health Psychology (DPsych) and she also works for City’s Careers Service as an Applications Adviser. 

About me:

Like most people, it turns out, on my undergraduate psychology course I started off wanting to be a clinical psychologist. Then I went into my final year, where we got to choose which modules we want to take and I took one in health psychology, and it grabbed my interest. I wouldn’t say that going into the DPsych Health was like a romance novel, this is ‘the one’ for me, but health psychology was a field that interested me a great deal. It seemed to be ‘global’; the interplay of physical, social and to a point, mental health. It’s also relatively newer, so I felt a greater sense of opportunity to put my stamp on it in a wider context and make an impact. And finally, I was introduced to critical health psychology, which helped me think about how health and identities are constructed, and how the way we make meaning of these topics can feed into social inequalities.

My career journey

I did not rush into this career choice, but my path has been like a series of stepping stones where I decided on each move as it came. I volunteered at university for the Epilepsy Society and , then worked with them as support worker after graduation. I then moved laterally to work with people with learning disabilities (there was an overlap with my clients). I found myself rethinking a lot of what I took for granted, around topics such as their communication and understanding, as this varied so widely. This helped me think critically when I did my masters in health psychology, and have an end purpose in using and applying my knowledge. After my masters I worked as a research assistant in a diabetes screening and prevention project aimed at adults with learning disabilities. I also did some work in LGBT research, and both of these areas informed parts of my training for my doctorate. It’s easier to understand social inequalities when you work with disadvantaged minority groups. Before I applied for my doctorate, however, I went back to the social care organisation I spent a significant amount of time working for on and off for several years, Continue Reading

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Guest blog: Working at a tech startup with an economics degree

Many UK university graduates struggle to find their first job after getting their degree. The competitive landscape makes it hard to stand out, especially if you aren’t from a target university. In many ways I think the system is flawed, but this post is not the place to talk about it. I will rather explain how widening my job search scope brought unexpected results.

As an economics student I was constantly pressured by my peers to do consulting or investment banking. However, I realised that it’s not all about these two choices, one never has to confine himself to such boundaries. There are a bunch of amazing opportunities out there which have nothing to do with consulting or investment banking. I would even argue that trying out something which is not “in your field” teaches you a lot about life.

After I got my economics degree in July I decided to apply for a program which supports startups in Hungary: Bridge Budapest. I was given a chance to learn how to build a business from Samebug, a tech startup which aims to change the way programmers solve errors in their code. In October I was put in charge of Customer Relations. Notice that this is very different from what I studied before. I had some sales experience from volunteering at AIESEC, a not for profit youth-driven leadership platform but nothing else. Speaking with programmers and building a product for them was completely new to me.

My first week was quite difficult as I had to get used to the terminology. On my very first day I was given a task to go through a list of speakers at an upcoming conference. As the founders of the company planned to attend the event, I was left with the task to choose the people worth talking to. I honestly had no idea what I was doing but asking questions from colleagues was very useful to get started. The week went by fast and my knowledge about the industry kept growing at a really high rate. Last week the conference ran its course and I managed to arrange meetings with a couple of speakers.

After a month I can still say that there’s a lot more to learn. However, I learnt as much to be able to devise strategies for going forward. I picked up ownership of a number of tasks and contributed to a lot more. This has made me appreciate how much responsibility I can take up since now I see how much impact certain actions can have.

Samebug is a startup, which has its pros and cons. There’s not much hierarchy so we have a friendly atmosphere where employers and employees work together at the same table. Whenever I have a question or need some input, I can ask anyone (including my boss) in my vicinity. This brings together the people at the organisation because we can see everyone working hard for the same goal and that’s very inspiring. We have regular meetings to plan ahead and talk through processes, everyone’s input matters. We usually have lunch together and there are teambuilding sessions as well (last time we went to an escape room and got out in time).

The downside is that there is a lot of uncertainty. To demonstrate this, let me give an example: on the second week we conducted a series of interviews, both with individuals and teams at companies, to understand behaviours and how we could build the right product. At the end of the week we sat down to talk through our learnings and the immediate learning was that the problem does exist, but the solution we are presenting does not apply yet. Developers are solving this issue somehow and it takes a lot more to “convince” them to change the behaviour. The meeting had a very negative tone and I went home with a really bad feeling. However, on Monday we came back, everyone had new ideas on how to proceed and address the learnings and we once again knew how to proceed.

At Samebug we always knew we will win if we are able to present a solution which is worthy for developers to change their behaviours. We continue to work on that harder than ever. The whole past month was like this: a roller coaster ride of emotions.

At the beginning I wrote that an experience like this teaches you a lot about life. I still uphold this statement. Life is sometimes unfair and difficult, but you alone are responsible for how you react to it. You can have a negative conversation after some talks about how what you are doing is useless but ultimately, it’s up to you to choose whether you’ll be reactive or proactive. We chose to be proactive and changed our assumptions of our product. Was it a good idea? No one knows for sure, however, at least we did something about it.

Written by Istvan Erdo, BSc Economics Graduate

 

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Guest Blog: Top 5 Reasons Why You Should See An Application Adviser, by Carolina Are

Carolina, one of our Application Advisers, has written this fantastic post on why you should come and see one of the team!

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should See An Application Adviser – by Carolina Are

As a former City University BA Journalism student, I was aware of the existence of the Careers Service but never really used it. For two years, I became one of those people who sent the same CV and the same cover letter to every company and then wondered why I wasn’t getting a job. Luckily things changed once I joined a society and started working part-time in recruitment, but I could have used my time here way better and fixed my CV much earlier, and for free. How? By going to see an Application Adviser. Here are five reasons why you should too. Continue Reading

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Guest Blog: Arthur Mwangi writes about his experience of the Police Now Graduate Scheme

Careers consultants at City often go on visits to graduate schemes to keep up to date. Recently, I visited Police Now and was stuck by Arthur’s enthusiasm for his role:

Background: I studied Biomedical Science at the University of Portsmouth and graduated in July 2015. Luckily I got a job in PR shortly after. However I soon noticed that sitting around in an office all day wasn’t what I wanted to spend my working day doing. One day by chance I came across an advertisement for Police Now on Facebook, applied and never looked back!

Daily activities:

Due to the nature of policing you can never really plan what each day will bring you, but you have to try and stay organised. I start each day with bit of admin, checking crime reports and intelligence etc. But my days mainly consist of  patrolling the hotspots in my area where we get the most issues and doing pre planned taskings. Due to this I get to spend a lot of time out in my area engaging with the community and arresting offenders. I also have various meetings every month with partner agencies such as the council and local charities to discuss joint approaches to ongoing problems in my area. In addition to this I run my ward twitter account, so I spend some time distributing content to our followers. Here’s our most successful tweet! Finally, I’m also public order trained, which I can be deployed anywhere in London (or the UK if it’s really bad) to deal with an incident. We recently got sent to Staines on blue lights for the Parsons Green incident, which was exciting!

Highlights: In my very short policing career I’ve had quite a few highlights. I received an award for top student in my met police cohort, for showing good academic and operational skills. Which meant that I got presented an award by the commissioner. However, I managed to mess up the handshake when he presented me with the award much to everyones amusement.

My team were among the first to respond to the tragic Croydon tram crash and were tasked with assisting with one of the hospitals victims were sent to. I felt very proud as a police officer to be there for those in need at such a tough time.

Pros:

The starting pay is reasonably good in compassion to other graduate schemes.

You develop so much as a person and gain so many transferable skills which other recruiters are crying out for if you choose to leave at the end of the two years. Conflict management, active listening resource management, public speaking – just to name a few.

There’s such a variety of things you can do in policing after your probation.

You’ll meet some amazing colleagues, who go above and beyond to help you.

Some of the projects you do for Police Now act as great evidence for transferring to specialisms at the end of your programme.

Cons: 

Occasional extended tour of duty. Due to the nature of police work you can’t always just up and leave as soon as your shift finishes e.g. if you arrest someone 5 minutes before the end of a shift you’re expected to process them.

The shift work sometimes means you miss some social events, however as long as you’re organised this won’t effect you too much.

In summary, I know policing does get a lot of stick in the media, but I’ve loved the majority of it (every job has it’s bad days) and I urge anyone to give it a go even if you do not see it as a long term career. If anyone has any questions feel free to email my personal email arthur.m@live.co.uk 

 

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Correct email address to book a place on the National Probation Service Open Day/Briefing Event in London on Thursday 9 November 2017

 

If any of you have been trying to book a place for the National Probation Service Open Day coming up in London this Thursday 9 November 2017, this is because I was sent the wrong email address. Here is the correct email address:  In the subject box put PQiP Open Day. There are still places available for the event. It is a full day event and will include question time and advice about the application process. Even if you are just considering if this is the right thing for you – go along – it will help you to decide!

 

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National Probation Service Open Day for students in London. Thursday 9 November 2017, 10am

 

 

National Probation Service Briefing Event: Train to become a Probation Officer and Take the Professional Qualification In Probation (PQiP)

Graduates of any discipline can train to become a Probation Officer and you earn as you learn. So, you get paid to study and work at the same time! If you would like to train as  a Probation Officer in London after you graduate next year, be aware that applications for the next intake of PQiP Learners will go live on 13th November 2018 , with successful candidates appointed to commence in May 2018. PQiP =professional Qualification in Probation. All that is required to apply is:

  • Experience of working with people exhibiting challenging behaviour •  Any Honours or Foundation Degree or other level 5 qualification

The National Probation Service Divisional Training Team will be hosting an Open Day on Thursday 9th November at 10.00am at Mitre House, 223- 227 Borough High St, London, SE1 1JD (just by Borough tube station). This event will provide potential applicants with an opportunity to find out more about Community Justice Learning, including the pathways to becoming a probation officer, and to help gain an understanding of the application process for PQiP Learner and Probation Service Officer roles. If you would like to attend this Open Day, please email: LondonLearning&Development/LondonNPS/NPS, with PQiP Open Day in the subject box.

For further information please visit the Train to be a Probation Officer website http://www.traintobeaprobationofficer.com/ 

This is a great website where you can read about cases, make your own decision about what the sentence should be and then read about the actual decision!

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Extra Activities Outside the Law Lecture Hall

In an era of intense competition to get into the top law firms, you need to prove yourself as an all-rounder with a wealth of experience. Recruiters look for students who have practical experience in the real world, not just academic merit alone. Here are a few activities law students should get involved to boost their prospects.

Marshalling: this is a great way to learn about the inner workings of a court. Magistrate courts and Crown courts normally offer marshalling and you should approach them by sending an email to enquire about any availability. The experience allows you to see the court in action and if you are lucky enough to shadow a judge you can ask them questions about how they reach their judgments or what cases are the most memorable?

Open Days and First-year Springboard Scheme: many firms will offer first-year law students a chance to visit their firms. It allows you to learn about the firm, their environment and atmosphere. However, it works both ways, firstly it allows you to see if the firm appeals to you, and the firms can assess whether you are the candidate they want. If you are lucky and impress them enough you may secure a vacation scheme or a training contract. Attending these open days is beneficial when you want to later apply for a job at these firms as it shows them you have already taken the initiative to learn about their firm and is a good talking point in an interview.

Citizen Advice Bureau (CAB): volunteering at the CAB is a great way of learning how to deal with clients. You learn the techniques of interviewing them and extracting the relevant information. You confront the realities of the clients’ hardships and there is a deep sense of satisfaction when you are able to support them. The CAB thrives on the help of volunteers and there is a great sense of giving back to your community.

University Societies: joining your university society is a great way to interact and meet new people. You learn to network by attending various events hosted by the society. In addition, you can apply to be a president, vice president or various other roles to gain experience in taking on projects and show law firms your proven record of being responsible and having leadership qualities.

Local Law Firms: working at local firms are a great starting point for law students, although far from the glitz and glamour of city firms, they have the ability to give you great experience and skills that city firms are looking for. The local firms are normally focused on niche areas of law such as immigration and personal injury but their lawyers spend a lot of time training you. These lawyers have years of expertise and they really nurture you to bring out the best of your skills.

These are some of the many opportunities law students needs to take advantage of. Starting early is always beneficial and gives you more time to develop and hone your skills. So, expand your horizon and look for as many opportunities as you can!

Written By: RABIYA KHAWAJA

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Need some business cards now that you are starting to network with employers?

The university has organized a link where you can order business cards for £25.00.00 +VAT here. Employers are impressed when students have a business card and this includes all sorts of organizations not just the world of business. You can give one to someone to help them to remember your name, especially if you plan to contact them to remind them of your meeting further down the line to ask them for advice, etc!