Keep updated on Built Environment industry insights and thoughts from UCEM Principal: Ashley Wheaton.
Introducing… Our Careers Service
Posted on: 24 April, 2019
Each month, we profile a different team or service across UCEM through our ‘Introducing…’ blog series.
This month, it’s the turn of our Careers Service, which is led by our Careers and Employability Advisor, Bridget Wells with support from other members of the Student Outreach Team.
Here, Bridget tells us more about her role, the service provided to students and a little about herself as well…
“The job has three parts: I provide careers advice and guidance to current students, prospective students and alumni; I identify and develop initiatives, such as the UCEM Mentoring Programme, support for apprentices and add to the online course resources on the VLE; and I also collect data for HESA [Higher Education Statistics Agency] and ensure our services meet quality and statutory requirements, such as Ofsted [the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills].
“I am supported with help from Phoebe Hughes [Disability and Wellbeing Administrator] and report to Nikki Bulteel [Student Outreach Manager] as part of the new Student Outreach Team.”
Benefits of the Careers Service
“You don’t often get the opportunity to talk about yourself in a non-judgmental, objective way. Talking to a Careers Advisor brings clarity of thought in a structured way. Even if you are clear about what you want to be, the world of work is moving so quickly that it can be hard to know how to make it happen, where to look and how to apply. I can help with this.”
“We have a Job Shop for employers. I talk to employers all the time about what they are looking for. It’s a great way for me to keep in touch with the industry and gain an insight into what employers in the sector are looking for and the latest on the labour market. It’s also about promoting UCEM to employers and challenging them to consider recruiting current students, rather than graduates. I set up the Job Shop in 2016 and so far, we have advertised around 300 different opportunities. It’s been successful, with students securing employment and contacts through it.
“I am fascinated by labour market information and have produced some reports contributing to the development of new products. Through UCEM’s Job Shop, I regularly talk to employers and recruiters about the labour market and trends. Working in HR and in the industry has been a huge advantage, although I still need to do lots of research into industry roles and how they fit together.”
Thoughts on the role
“For me, the best experience is when you have had a conversation with a student, and they tell you what progress they have made. It’s great to see students come back to me having made a positive change and done something different as a result of the conversation they have had with me. It’s such a good feeling!
“It’s great to see students’ progress. It’s rewarding to see someone grow.
“You learn a lot in the role. I am constantly reading around the industry, around developments in careers education and recruitment practices. I’m currently exploring concepts around personal branding and how LinkedIn is being used in recruitment, with recruiters becoming less reliant on CVs and covering letters.”
What next for the Careers Service?
“We are currently working on our new mentoring programme for students, matching students with mentors who can help them visualise and achieve their career goals. We are also working with Programme Leaders, planning relevant online resources to support the new programmes we will be running and I am part of a team working on the graduate attributes project [a project designed to identify what makes UCEM students stand out, employable and ready to make a significant contribution to an employer and the wider industry].
“I am involved with AGCAS [The Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services] and am leading a project to set up a group for careers professionals with a specialist interest in the Built Environment. We launched this with an event at UCEM, bringing together industry bodies, employers and university Careers Advisors to explore trends, opportunities, access and achievement in the Built Environment sector.”
“After university, I worked for the NHS in hospital management, including running Outpatient Services and Medical Records Teams. I have worked in HR, training and talent development roles in the public and private sector including social housing and a firm of chartered surveyors. Going back to university, I completed a PG Diploma in Careers Guidance. Since then I have worked in state and independent schools, and further education before taking up a role with the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) providing careers guidance for creative students.
“I joined UCEM in 2015. It gave me an opportunity to use my careers guidance and education skills in the property and construction industries. I have found it really interesting. I have always liked buildings and structures. It’s an extraordinary industry and incredibly diverse. People in our sector are interesting, excited and passionate about what they do. You don’t want to be in the sector if you don’t have that passion.”