A Fund for Student Opportunities

If you follow my blog posts here on Inside Edge, you know that I’m currently in the United States of America, on a sandwich placement at the Morton Arboretum. I was fortunate when arranging up this work placement that Edge Hill University had just set up its Student Opportunity Fund (SOF) – a fund that students can apply for to help them make the most of career enhancing opportunities. The fund’s goal is to make sure that no student at EHU passes up a potentially life-changing experience because of the financial burden it might impose.

When I was in the midst of applying for my placement as a Research Affiliate at the Morton Arboretum, I realised quickly that costs would add up. An updated passport, a visa, flights and insurance would quickly put a hefty dent in my finances, leaving my maintenance loan severely lacking for the year abroad. Thankfully, my personal tutor, Paul Ashton, and the Money Advice Team (for whom I was working for at the time as a Money Buddy) informed me about the Student Opportunity Fund and that I could potentially be successful in acquiring additional funding.

Any student on an undergraduate or PGCE course attending EHU can apply for the fund, which will supply them with up to £2000 to support the proposed activity. The projects can be near or far, large or small, requiring the maximum amount available or a portion. Applications could cover travel and accommodation expenses, for example, for unpaid work experience or volunteering; interviews or assessments not covered by the employer; or conferences, festivals, or events where you’re showcasing your work. The fund could also cover costs of developing and making creative material.

Many students have already made use of this amazing fund to enable them to experience some wonderful opportunities that improve both their transferable and career-focused skills:

Applications are judged by a panel and must be submitted over ten working days before the panel convenes. For this academic year, 2017-2018, the remaining dates of convention are:

  • Friday 13th April 2018
  • Thursday 3rd May 2018
  • Wednesday 6th June 2018

Improving Your CV at EHU

As I’m sure you’ve been told many times before, your CV is an important document, and making sure it is well fleshed out is part of what makes a good CV. Any volunteering or part time work will show commitment, as well as any skills you’ve picked up along the way. These could be specialised (relating to your job, like for instance, waiting tables) or generalised (things such as teamwork and responsibility). In any case, you should have numerous opportunities to further bolster your CV throughout your time at Edge Hill University.

The Careers Centre on campus, currently located in the Student Information Centre (SIC), can provide assistance in acquiring a part-time job in the surrounding areas whilst at university, through the use of lists of availabilities; insight into the best places and websites to check for openings; and interview tips. Additionally, they can also help with finding volunteer work. For example, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust have a centre called the Martin Mere Wetland Centre that accepts volunteers to assist with various aspects of their conservation work, from helping in the visitor centre to maintaining the grounds.

To make sure you get some basic help with CVs and future prospects, someone from the Careers Centre comes into a lecture once or twice a year, to provide that vital information. Then you can, of course, book an appointment with a Careers Advisers for a one to one, more personal, conversation about where your future is headed.

Accompanying the campus Careers Centre, there is the careers centre website. The website has many features, from “ask a question” where you can get feedback on your CV, amongst other things, to the lists of resources and opportunities – some of which are at Edge Hill themselves.

There are numerous opportunities at Edge Hill for part time work, I myself have worked for both the Money Advice Team and the Student Recruitment Team, as well as being part of the Student Casual Bank. Then there is also the chance to work on open days, applicant visit days, and giving campus tours to prospective students throughout the year.

In short, Edge Hill provides many ways to better yourself and have that show on your CV, whilst providing you with the tools to make sure your career is heading in the direction that you want it to.

 

Finding a Job

Now that I’ve finished my studies it’s time to find a job. Right now pretty much every single relative I have feels the need to remind me of this fact whenever they see or speak to me, in fact I’m thinking about getting ‘still unemployed’ tattooed on my forehead to save time… But luckily I have a really handy resource at my fingertips, and that is the Edge Hill Careers Centre. They are able to help me with my job search for up to three years after I graduate, which is definitely useful. They also help you find any part-time work that you may be looking for alongside your studies, any volunteer work, or a summer job to keep you entertained over the holidays. I actually used their online vacancy system to find this job a few years ago!

Pretty much me right now
Me at graduation, probably

So how can they help? Well, they have a big database of jobs that they update all the time, and you are free to browse it at your leisure. They also offer a CV checking service where they will look over your CV and let you know if there is anything you can do to improve it. I used this service and it was definitely reassuring to know that my CV wasn’t a complete disaster! The Careers Centre also offer interview advice, and you are able to book a meeting with them and they will do their best to help you prepare for anything the interviewer might throw at you.

They also offer careers advise which can also be really useful. If you’re not sure what careers your degree can open up doors for, or if you’re unsure that you’ve chosen the right course, it’s definitely worth having a chat with them, which is of course confidential. I definitely got to a point in my degree where I felt like I wasn’t really sure what I was working towards any more, and I think this would have been a lot of help.

sad-grad_new_large

The Careers Centre can also help you meet employers, as they are always holding events, such as careers fairs and arranging for visiting speakers to come in. These really give you the opportunity to make connections that may one day lead to employment.

If you want to find out more, you can do so on the Edge Hill website here.