I joined the CEIL in October of 2012, when it was still realistically in its infancy. I’ve seen the programme develop, and am now very proud to be working alongside Marcel and Lynn, and assisting in delivering the programme to students during my gap year. Amidst my time as an Intern, I was assigned a wide range of projects, from assisting in evolving the training programme, to helping to organise the first DT event, plus more in between. All these activities gave me the crucial evidence I needed to apply for Accreditation. Accreditation is an award for students who can prove that they have the skills that set them out from the rest. I can now say on my CV that I am an accredited member of the Centre of Excellence for Industrial Liaison, July 2014. In order to achieve this, I was invited to attend an interview, with both Marcel and an external professional, to answer some questions, and prove that I deserved the award. During the course of this interview, I was asked a wide range of questions, all of which I could answer by referring back to the activities I had been doing while an Intern at the Centre, evidenced by my file. The whole process took about 20 minutes, and I was informed of my success by letter a few weeks later. Accreditation is crucial. We now live in an age where you can’t just have a degree to get a job. Employers want evidence that you are committed outside of your studies, that you have the “soft skills” already, and don’t need time to learn them. You are ready, and committed, to working, and willing to go that extra mile to achieve. The award on my CV is an exemplary entry point to talk about those skills I have developed, without them having to ask me.
Communication is probably one of the most important skills you need to learn, no matter what job/path you decide to take in the future. This is especially important at university, as gone are the days where teachers chase you up about deadlines and submissions, where members of staff are easily found in their classrooms or staff room, and where team work involves working with a member of a class of thirty.
At uni communication is vital, and having the ability to change your discourse in order to interact with members of staff is a very different experience than a typical student will find at school.
This is where the CEIL comes in – nearly every role within the CEIL will involve interaction with at least a few members of staff, and a vast majority of roles will encourage interaction with external and professional members of the public, working for various organisations.
Interacting with such people might seem obvious, but it’s actually a skill in itself. Ok, talking to them might not be so tricky, but, naturally, when we are first introduced to a stranger we begin to form an opinion of them, based upon their mannerisms, presentation etc. Learning how to present yourself and communicate in a professional manner is something that takes experience to properly master, and involvement within the CEIL gives you the time and opportunity to learn this skill, where just attending lessons doesn’t.
This skill allows you to present yourself in a professional yet friendly way, something that goes a long way with regards to earning respect from members of staff, and creating a comfortable interaction between you.
Following on from my previous blog, time-management is another of the key skills that my time with the Centre enabled me to develop. Despite common rumors about the first year at uni being ‘easy’ and ‘all about partying’, my experience has been different. Although there have been loads of parties, socials and events, I have also found the work load a lot heavier than I ever had to deal with at Sixth Form. When combined with socializing and getting involved in clubs and societies (an extremely important factor with regards to making new friends and settling into university comfortably), juggling a new place/city, a long-distance relationship, and keeping in touch with your friends and family from home, uni can seem like a complete juggling act. However, my time spent with the CEIL has absolutely saved me from feeling overwhelmed like many others have, some of my new friends included. My involvement with the CEIL meant I had two years to practice juggling my Sixth Form work load, my work for the CEIL, my family, boyfriend and friends. This taught me the necessity of prioritizing certain pieces of work, and knowing when to stop and take time away from everything else to hang out with your friends and relax. More importantly, it taught me my limits, as well as the fact there are always enough hours in the day to get everything done that you want to, it’s just a matter of managing your time effectively. I would argue that this first hand experience of juggling different aspects of my life has been invaluable in terms of enjoying and succeeded at university, and my involvement within the CEIL was a great way to gain this skill.
Everyone experiences the common fears that surround starting university, from worrying about liking your new flat mates, to fitting in and making new friends, even about liking the degree you’re paying a huge amount for. However, I argue that getting involved with the CEIL during my time at Budmouth 6th Form benefited me greatly with respect to settling in and loving my first few weeks at uni. A huge part of everyone’s time with the CEIL is focused upon communicating with others, whether that be to members of the sixth form, staff, to visitors or even with the younger years. These different types of communication encourage confidence and the ability to adapt, and these are vital traits to have when settling into university and meeting new people for the first time. Hundreds of students will be in the same position as you; anxious, apprehensive, a little excited, however that one person who has the confidence to start up a conversation is the one that, for the most part, ends up making the strongest friendships and enjoying their first term at uni a whole lot more. If it wasn’t for my time with the CEIL I wouldn’t have gained the confidence to approach a stranger and start up a conversation, and without that skill I wouldn’t have made half the friends I have today, nor would I have loved my time at uni as I have so far!
Hello, my name’s Brianna and I’m a first year undergraduate student studying English at The University of Nottingham. During the two years I spent at Budmouth studying my A-Levels, I was also a member of the CEIL, writing and editing reports for the BudMouth Magazine in my first year, and becoming Press Officer for the Centre Launch in my second. I was also able to undertake a Scholarship in the summer of my first year, during which I worked with the Dorset Echo, as well as the Events Team at the Weymouth & Portland Borough Council, writing press releases and gaining experience within those areas of employment/work.
As a result, Marcel has asked me to become a CEIL Alumni Blogger, which entails writing regular blog posts to you guys, focused upon how my time as a member of the CEIL has helped prepare me for the experiences of University. Whilst some experiences have very little to do with the lessons I learnt as a member of the CEIL, such as going out too much or learning how to cook, there are still a huge number of aspects of normal uni life in which the skills I developed from the CEIL have come into play already; from time-management to interviews to group work. Over the next few months I will be writing about many of these connections, so that you can see, from my perspective, the many positive results that becoming involved with the CEIL creates. As well as this, I aim to give you an insight into life as a uni student, so that – hopefully – those of you who are thinking of going can gain some useful information!
Will post again soon,