Graduate Profiles

   
   

  

Leanne May
Degree: Politics
Graduation year: 2009
Job: HR Management Graduate Trainee

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I loved every minute of my time at Nottingham University and I envy those of you still there. It was a great place to study: so many different people, loads of random activities and friendships that I’m certain will last for a very long time. I was at Lincoln Hall in my first year (unfortunately the year before they bought in the double glazing and mini-fridges!) and joined the Caving Club, soon dragging others underground with me. I learnt how to live with other people, how to budget on a shoe string and the importance of writing your exam times down very, very carefully. It was a learning curve to reach university standards but as the first year doesn’t count (apart from for a few unlucky people) I was happy that I could make mistakes (and I made many) and learn from them without repercussion. Nottingham University provided me with the opportunity to grow whilst providing a fun, bouncy safety net.

Brief description of your current role?

The great thing about the NHS Graduate Scheme is that it looks for potential. My only experience was paying for university through loans and work at the ultimate McJob so I couldn’t quote a long history of managerial work at the job interviews. Luckily this is a scheme that takes the general skills you’ve gained from university, your personal qualities and ambition and turns you into a good manager for the NHS in HR, Finance, General or Informatics. They do this through real life work experience and paying for any further education needed.

I’m currently on my orientation, which means I get to go round all the different parts of healthcare from sitting on reception at A&E to a day with a mid-wife working in the community. Though not quite as exciting as Casualty makes out, I’ve learnt a lot in just my first week. Soon I’ll be experiencing a number of roles from answering queries to implementing innovative projects.

Politics is a useful degree for providing you with a number of general skills: group work, giving presentations and information analysis to name a few. Like many arts subjects it is the experience rather than the knowledge that is most useful, though the research skills have turned out to be handy.

How did you find the job hunt?

My job hunt wasn’t as difficult as it has been for some. I applied to three graduate schemes very early in the year: Boots declined quickly, the civil service gave me an experience of an assessment day and the NHS gave me a job. I found out about the scheme though one of the workshops from the Centre for Career Development and went for curiosities sake more than anything else (the NHS isn’t just for doctors?!) However, I also subscribed to a website that emailed me whenever a new graduate scheme was advertised. Granted I got fed up of filling in the forms and so paid less and less notice to what was being sent, but it was there as a backup.

How did you make yourself stand out?

There is nothing special about me; nothing that anyone of my friends couldn’t or didn’t do. As far as I can tell I just filled in more forms sooner. I was elected to the Nottingham University Caving Club committee every year, but I did nothing spectacular.  On the other hand, the majority of graduate schemes want a 2:1 or above so it’s really about balancing academia with enough of a social life to make you interesting.

Describe a typical day at work

There is no typical day! I think this is because I’m still in training and partly because I am quickly learning that no day is the same in the NHS.

Thinking back to your University experience, would you do anything differently?

I wouldn’t do anything differently if I had the chance to experience university again. On the other hand, if I had known what my final result would have been I would have fought to stay there longer. I would say that (although progress has been made) students still need to find the money themselves in order to continue to master’s level on certain courses. The financial support just isn’t there for people from certain backgrounds to continue their education. I’m certain that I’ll love my job but I’m equally certain that I would have been very happy in research.

What advice would you give to current students?

Getting employed isn’t the be all and end all of university. They are an opportunity provided to a minority to study something that you have chosen, to meet brand new interesting people and to take part in activities that you never knew existed. If you take hold of that opportunity and use the facilities offered to you, such as the odd career talk, then apart from bad luck there is nothing stopping you from getting a job after university.

 

Pasan Fernando
Degree: European Politics
Graduation year: 2009
Job: Economics Teacher (AS & A’Levels)

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My name is Pasan Fernando, I come from Sri Lanka, and studied European Politics from 2006, and graduated in 2009. Whilst at university I ran for several elections, including hall elections, student union officer elections and other student union positions. In my second year I was elected the president of Southwell Hall in Jubilee Campus. I also took part in music shows and other activities of the university. Nottingham was for me an exceptional university, such greenery which brightens up any gloomy day. The fusion of the classical and modern ambience of the university should also be accredited. It gave you the feeling that you are at a good university whilst preparing you for what is yet to come; that of modernity and change.

Brief description of your current role?

I am currently teaching Economics at a sixth form college. In addition I am also a form tutor and the teacher in charge of the public speaking and debating club. I also help around with the students interests, and encourage them to take part in activities at school. I am also hoping to start the school magazine, as the school has just recently been established and is the only sixth form college in Sri Lanka. Whilst at university I did some Economics modules and this helped me to an extent in getting this job.

How did you find the job hunt?

I wrote to many schools in Sri Lanka informing them that I had just graduated from university and was looking for a job. Initially I was looking to teach A Level Government and Politics, but unfortunately no school in Sri Lanka does it. Therefore I had to broaden my options and ask for any teaching vacancies in the commerce line. I started looking for jobs as soon as I finished my last exam, and was informed of the job end of June. I had to go through five stages of interviews as well as a mock lesson. I then got a call back saying they would like to have me as the new Economics teacher. The whole process was very laid back but formal at the same time.

How did you make yourself stand out?

The fact that I went to Nottingham University made a big impact as the previous Economics teacher was also from Nottingham. During the summer of 2008, I taught at another international school in Sri Lanka, and got a good reference from there. Another more important factor could be that I had done the same exam a couple of years ago and so knew what the students were going through. The school thought I could benefit them in that manner as well.

Describe a typical day at work

All is going brilliantly. On a typical day, I would make my lesson plan the previous day. Then come to school go through it again and print any additional resources. In the classroom, I go through the lesson and make sure everyone has understood what we have done so far. At the end of the lesson I would give them an assessment form for homework so they don’t forget the lesson once they go home. So far both forms have had their first exams and the majority have done brilliantly.

Thinking back to your University experience, would you do anything differently?

In university I wanted to do many things, such as sports and other extra curricular activities (other than running for every other election). But decided not to as I thought it might interfere with my studies. So i would get more involved, but other than that I don’t think anything else would need changing.

What advice would you give to current students?

Don’t go to university just for your degree, get the experience and make a lot of friends. There would be no other opportunity to meet so many people from around the world in one place. In order to improve your chances of employment, make sure you get sufficient work experience in the summer. A nice holiday in Spain might seem enticing in the short run, but a hard worked summer would definitely be more rewarding in the long run, and would allow you to have better holidays in the future.

 

Ann Moorhouse
Degree: French Studies
Graduation year: 2009
Job: Language Resources Assistant

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I loved my four years as a student at the University of Nottingham. And not just because I met my now husband on night one in the hall bar! Studying French at Nottingham allowed me to develop my interest in French and French culture. I spent my third year abroad in a small village near the Alps as a Foreign Language Assistant which was an invaluable experience for the workplace and also in terms of life experience. I was ready to move on at the end of university and to explore other things. But of course I really miss it and am feeling nostalgic about not being there this year when it has been the norm for the last four years! I was really involved in a local church called Trent Vineyard throughout my time at university and helped out with Club Outreach (handing out water to thirsty clubbers) and the soup run.

Brief description of your current role?

My official title is Languages Resources Assistant. It is at Nottingham High School which is a prestigious Independent School for boys based close to the city centre. My day-to-day role includes managing and organising the schools language resources as well as overseeing the digital language suites, both assisting teachers and working with pupils to enhance language learning within the school. Although this isn’t a graduate position per se, having the grasp on French that I do is very useful and also having been through the full languages education too. I was particularly interested in the role as I am very passionate about the need to use and learn foreign languages so supporting pupils in this is something that holds merit with me. Also, I am interested in education as a career path so this job enables me to gain necessary experience to help me decide if the classroom is the place for me.

How did you find the job hunt?

I started applying for jobs in April and had a pause to do finals in May. I got my job at the beginning of July and have to say that the job search for me was not that difficult. I applied to various different jobs and had three interviews, the third being my current job. I mainly looked on Nottingham Evening Posts website and received their daily email job updates. I found all of the interviews to be nerve wracking in the run up to them but in reality a comfortable experience. I took them as a chance to be me and if the job was right, I would get the job. If not, it would be clear to me and to them that someone else would better fit the role.

How did you make yourself stand out?

I think my year abroad as well as other educational work experience would have been prominent on my job application. I also undertook the Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme in my final year at university which meant that the classroom environment was a fresh experience for me. As mentioned earlier, I think having a degree in French was a bonus because although it isn’t a requirement it does mean that I understand the requirements of my day-to-day job better. 

Describe a typical day at work

It is still early days in my role at Nottingham High School. Since the digital language suites and my role are new to the school it is taking a while to develop my job. I have mainly been organising the existing resources that the school offers and assisting staff with technical issues and teething problems within the labs! I am hoping to undertake some IT training to further my knowledge and enable me to be more efficient in my job. 

Thinking back to your University experience, would you do anything differently?

I would have worried less and enjoyed it more! Final year in particular (especially with the doom and gloom of the job market) was a tough year and now that it’s all over I do miss it more than I thought I would! People always say how much time students have and it’s only when you get through the other side that you realise how right they were!

What advice would you give to current students?

Add to your CV as much as possible! If you have the opportunity to work abroad or have a study semester abroad then do it! I think that living abroad in a different culture and having the opportunity to broaden life experience is the most invaluable thing that you could bring out of university. You need something that will make you stand out from the rest in the job market – a 2.1 and three years watching Neighbours at university may not be sufficient!

 

 

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