October 15, 2012, by Hayley

Gemma Robertson shares her experience after winning the Outstanding Contribution to the Community Prize

Here at the Advantage Award we appreciate the achievements of our students and believe that you should be recognised for your individual development and performance throughout your time with us. That’s why every year we have a fancy shindig at which we present a select few with different prizes, including the Personal Development Prize and Outstanding Contribution to the Community Prize.

But we don’t just give you a standard certificate, oh no! We offer you real experiences with recognised companies which could either open doors to your future career or give you beneficial experience that could enhance your employability and improve your skill-set.

But why take our word for it? Here’s what one of last year’s prize-winners had to say about their experiences…

As part of the Outstanding Contribution to the Community prize Gemma Robertson received a summer placement at Teach First…

It was a great opportunity to learn more about Teach First and as I want to be a teacher it was a great opportunity to meet qualified teachers, who were more than happy to share their experiences in the teaching profession. I also met a group of Teach First student’s who had just qualified as teachers and were doing summer internships at Teach First. The placement involved working with two Teach first employees who were in the process of applying to make a free school in Hackney London. They were proposing to create a music college in East London for 16-19 year olds, at which students would be able to gain a high level vocational qualification in a variety of music based courses, complete English and Maths GCSE and gain experience and advice from people within the music industry through networking events and a highly employer connected curriculum. I learnt a great deal about the application process and structuring of free schools. I assisted with the application to the New Schools Network who offer guidance and advice to the development of free schools. I am now planning on using the information I gained about free schools and the application process in my PGCE course as an area of research on education. I also learnt a great deal about vocational course qualifications and new government proposals in regard to free schools and options for students post 16 who do not pursue a university course.

The highlight of the placement was going into music studios to interview a great deal of people within the music industry. This included going to MTA records and interviewing Will Kennard (Chase and Status) and going to Metropolis studios to interview one of their mastering engineers who has had the pleasure of working with Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse.

The modules I took on the Advantage Award did assist a great deal on the placement. The NUSA module I completed assisted in the research aspects of the placement, as one of my tasks was to consolidate research that had been undertaken for the school project into a ‘readable’ document which I had already done with the NUSA research project. It was also useful to have done the literacy volunteers module as this had given me experience in schools and built my knowledge on the educational system.

I would also just like to say the staff at Teach First, particularly Ed Butcher who I worked closely with, were extremely welcoming and whilst there was alot of work to get done, it was an extremely worthwhile and fulfilling placement that has certainly come in very useful for my PGCE course and in pursuing my career as a teacher. I had a fantastic time in London for the week and it was an amazing opportunity to experience working at Teach First meeting other interns and teachers.

 Sound good to you? The best part is that you get to nominate yourself for our prizes! Don’t miss out on getting recognition for your individual input into the Award and the amazing career opportunities that are available.

Details on how to nominate yourself for one of our wonderful prizes will be available in the Spring term on our workspace site .

 Stay tuned as our next blog post will feature Madeleine Hardie’s story. As part of the Personal Development Prize she was given one-to-one business coaching sessions at Experian…

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