July 21, 2014, by Giselle Kennedy

Don’t horse about! Give your skills a check-up and moo-ve up the career ladder

This week we have passed the blog reins over to veterinary science student Tom Large. Tom explains how the Skills for Employability module has helped him to develop his skills and prepare for the journey into the world of work.

What motivated you to take part in the Skills for Employability module?

I always knew that studying veterinary science would be a tough journey. Everybody has preconceptions of what student life will be like, but I must admit, the amount of time I needed to spend on my course came as a bit of a shock.

It took me a while to adjust to student life. Having to all of a sudden juggle an entire new level of study along with an ever present social scene was incomparable to what I had previously experienced! In this situation it’s all too easy to neglect the huge amount of extracurricular opportunities The University of Nottingham has to offer. I realised this when entering my forth year and felt that I should embark on something outside of my course that would benefit me both personally and professionally. I chose to start by joining the Nottingham Advantage Award and began with the Skills for Employability module.

What is the Skills for Employability module?

The module consisted of weekly workshops run by various corporate companies and charities which covered really relevant topics about seeking employment as a new graduate. With so many workshops scheduled throughout the module period, it’s important to think about what you would like to gain from your participation and which workshops would help you the most.

How has the module improved your job prospects?Tom Large 3

I gained a wide variety of skills such as commercial awareness, networking, interview techniques, building a professional identity and CV writing. The module also allowed me to develop and reflect upon my existing skills, such as team building and communication with peers. Additionally, I came away with a fully written CV complete with helpful feedback for the future.

Although discussing interview methods for graduate schemes may seem irrelevant for a veterinary student, I was able to tailor my learning so that it related to the scientific field.

The module was very relevant, as I was able to:

  • reflect on the private veterinary practice business structure
  • keep up to date with current events relating veterinary science
  • find out about interviews in different practice environments such as corporate and privately owned hospitals
  • maximise networking opportunities in my final year and demonstrate that I am a future veterinary professional

I feel the relevance of such sessions applies to absolutely everybody. The core principles underpinning the skills and experience I took away with me will be invaluable when I eventually come to seeking employment.

I feel that the module has massively improved my employability and I could not have done it at a better time, as it followed into my final year. It has put me into a different mindset regarding my transition from student into a professional, and I have already begun using the tools I was provided with in this module to maximise my employability. The skills that I have learned and intend to use may soon give me the edge over other candidates. I am certain that these skills will be one of the reasons I secure a job in future.

What adviceTom Large 2 would you give to other students?

Participating in the Nottingham Advantage Award is just one way students can get involved outside of their course. I strongly feel that
everybody, regardless of their course, location, year, and external commitments, should try to get involved in something. For me this was not just an academic experience, it was a way I could meet lots of new people away from my own course and campus. It was really refreshing and something I always looked forward to, especially coming from a campus where there is very little course variety and is arguably quite secluded from University Park Campus life! I am confident in reassuring other students in a similar situation to myself, that despite being on an intensively timetabled course, I found the module completely accessible.

Overall I found the experience really rewarding. I was able to work towards something non-course related which was not only enjoyable, but it will also directly benefit my future. It really is true that you get out what you put in, and I would recommend any Nottingham Advantage Award student to take the module. My own imminent conversion from a student into a professional is still a daunting prospect, but thanks to the module I feel I am now much more prepared for and far less anxious about this process.

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