November 5, 2018, by Matthew Lumley

Engineering my future with the Advantage Award

By Serena Gough, MEng Hons Civil Engineering

When I first heard about the Nottingham Advantage Award I immediately wanted to participate.

Although specialising in Civil Engineering, I was attracted by this free scheme offering opportunities to develop my range of skills to enhance my CV. As it was designed to fit around my studies, I knew that I could complete it without adversely affecting my grades.

Developing myself

Completing the modules allowed me to meet new people and gain confidence – which I now use in every aspect of my life.

During the STEM Outreach Scheme I attended numerous events for local school children such as the Engineering Christmas Lecture – where I facilitated science demonstrations. Interacting with people from various ages and backgrounds developed my skills in effective communication.

Employability Skills for Engineers provided me with an invaluable insight into gaining experience in the Engineering industry. Activities such as the skills audit enabled me to become more aware of my qualities so I felt ready to complete applications more effectively. Mapping out my network encouraged me to think about who I could contact to support me in the future.

It was useful to access the practice video interviews and mock assessment centre as I had not previously completed one. It prepared me for the online tests for the Undergraduate of the Year Award and I successfully moved through to the Assessment Centre stage. This will also be beneficial to me in the graduate job application process as numerous employers utilise these selection techniques.

I was elected to be the 2016/17 Industry Representative for the University of Nottingham Civil Engineering Society – CivSoc. Alongside this I undertook the Sports, Societies and Student Run Services module. The training and self-learning helped me fulfil my role more effectively. These skills assisted me in finding an Industry sponsor as well as giving me the confidence and expertise to organise trips to the Institution of Civil Engineers and a construction site in London.

Helping me achieve more

Since starting the Award I have gained many accolades.

Through my work in the STEM Outreach Scheme I was chosen as a Finalist in the Ford Prize for Women in STEM Study. I was also selected as an Inspirational Student at the University of Nottingham for my continued devotion to the university and my chosen subject.

Using the recruitment skills learnt through the Award I was chosen as a Top 10 Finalist in the Construction, Engineering and Design Undergraduate of the Year 2017. I was also selected as a member of The Tab Future 100 – a list of women at UK universities who are set to achieve incredible things in the future – as voted for by 215,841 students.

Most recently, I was awarded a Vice Chancellor’s Award for all my efforts and achievements during my time at university.

So why should you take part?

The skills learned through the Award are invaluable. I believe they will greatly enhance my career prospects, giving me the edge when applying for positions in a competitive market.

Completing all three modules has enabled me to become a better person both personally and professionally. The Award gave me the skills and confidence in myself that I successfully applied to study abroad for a year at the University of Arizona. It is the ideal tool for raising and achieving goals past your expectations in all aspects of your life.

I would recommend all students, especially those studying Engineering, to complete the Nottingham Advantage Award. The job application process can be complex and challenging with fierce competition so its benefits can be immense.

Engineer your future this spring

Spring term modules have opened for applications.

Find out more and sign up to modules here.

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