Case Studies 

 

Past Student Profiles - Video 

Watch the below videos to find out how past students have enjoyed doing the Career Development Module:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGHXmdlOgFw#t=13

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bo7x4PulN7c

 

 >Past Student Profiles – Interview 

Aimee Philipson, Stage 3, Combined Honours

St. Oswald's Hospice

 

Describe your placement
My volunteer placement was in the Communications Office at St Oswald's Hospice, in Gosforth, which provides specialist care for local adults, young people and children. I was initially attracted to the placement as I wanted to gain some experience in PR and communications and I thought that St Oswald's was a fantastic charity and although it was great for my professional development, it was also a rewarding experience personally as I got to meet some wonderful people and make a real difference. At first I volunteered for one morning a week, doing internal communications jobs such as designing and distributing leaflets and posters, photocopying and writing press releases but as the placement continued I was given my own projects such as being responsible for monitoring press coverage of the Hospice and keeping a detailed file of its value each week. I have also got involved in the publicity and management of fundraising events and look forward to continue doing so in the future as I loved it so much I continued volunteering after my placement had ended!

 

What skills did you develop?

I developed my communication skills as I learned new writing styles such as press release writing and effectual leaflet design, however I also improved my range of oral communication styles too as I needed to understand how to communicate with a range of stakeholders. It was great to work in a small team too as everyone had different responsibilities, including me, and it was interesting to see different styles of working. My teamworking skills have definitely developed through working on the fundraising events as I have been able to observe effective delegation, management and communication which will be useful for my future career aspirations.

 

What advice would you give to other students?

Do something you're interested in and you will get more out of it!

 

 

 Frances Geale, Stage 3, Psychology 

 Oxfam Finance

 

Describe your placement

For my placement, I chose to take the volunteer route and so I took on the role of a financial volunteer at Oxfam's Newcastle Finance Office. This office deals with the administration, both income and expenditure, of all of the Oxfam shops within the UK. It also works with Oxfam in other countries worldwide.  My role within Oxfam was to help with the processing of income, to ensure that money and supplies reach where they are most needed. Although I will be helping myself, I will also be providing volunteer assistance to a huge charity which I have always admired, to be able to work under Oxfam

 

What skills did you develop?

My placement at Oxfam UK for the Careers Development Module enabled me to enter the workplace and experience what it will be like once I graduate and enter the world of work. Through working with a team of approximately 100 volunteers I was able to experience working as a large team, as well as recognising my own individual worth to an organisation. The Career Development Module has enabled me to improve my personal skills, I have learnt a lot about myself throughout my placement and have recognised that not only does the University provide you with an education, but that it also helps to support and nurture students to enable them to forge the best possible future they can.

 

What advice would you give to other students?

I believe that the knowledge and understanding that has come from undertaking the Career Development module will provide me with confidence and ability when having to compete for a graduate job. I feel confident that when I have left the comfort of the University campus and enter the real world of work, I possess traits which employers today look for in graduates. I would therefore recommend it to any student, especially for those who are soon to graduate. Take the route you want, be confident in your abilities and success is sure to follow.

 

 

 Henriikka Juntunen, Stage 3, Combined Honours
 Handbook for International Students

 

Describe your placement
My role in the union was to contribute to the internationalization by designing a booklet to be handed out to international students during the welcome week 2012. Therefore I had to do a lot of independent research and meet many new people to find out about the current problems international students face. For example I organised a few focus groups to discuss different issues with international students and met up with a range of people to get a complete picture of what is needed for the international student to feel welcomed and prepared for their life in the new university and a new country. My independent research involved finding out about different issues with being an international student, such as working opportunities, visa problems and adjustment in the community. Putting all this information together in an understandable, informative and interesting way was also another challenge.

What skills did you develop?
All these different tasks and situations offered many opportunities to develop graduate skills. Communication was obviously one of the important aspects in making a booklet that represents all students with different backgrounds and interests. Teamwork is always important when working with other people but team leadership was quite new to me so far. In the focus groups I got to improve this skill too. Time management had never been my strongest point but this module made me better in planning ahead and organising my academic year as even though my project was often very independent, it involved taking many other people and the union as an organisation into an account.

What advice would you give to other students?
Especially for an EU or international student, the CDM offers a great way to gain some work experience in the UK. By volunteering in the union I gained a lot of information and confidence about working in the UK. I met many great people and learned a lot about a field I had not previously been familiar with. The CDM is a great way to gain some skills in addition to a lot of knowledge whilst studying in the university. It made me realise what it is that the employers are looking for and how I can demonstrate what I can do in an interview and in the job later. With the help of CDM you do not only learn how to do something better but you will also understand how to demonstrate it in the future. It also enables you to realise your weaknesses as well as strengths and that if anything is important before stepping into the working life. It is definitely not too late to develop skills and improve.


I would highly recommend the CDM to anyone who is already volunteering or wants to volunteer. The module can bring something extra in volunteering and makes you see working from a different aspect. The best advice I can give is to choose an option that will definitely keep you interested for the entire academic year because you can really get a lot out of it if you just want to.

 

 Phil Whittington, Stage 3, English Language

 Head of Marketing, NSR

 

Describe your placement

My placement was Head of Marketing for Newcastle Student Radio (NSR) in Newcastle University Student Union. I had already applied for this position before I knew about CDM, so finding out I could use something I was passionate about towards my degree was a massive help in allowing me to commit the time I wanted to NSR. Throughout the year, I have overseen the creation of an entirely new student radio. A lot of reputation was lost during the refurbishment of the Student Union and so a new logo, new website and new links have allowed NSR’s profile to be raised dramatically. Promoting different NSR events and gigs throughout the year was really fun too!

 

What skills did you develop?

I certainly developed my leadership skills during the placement; when it came to promoting events I assigned people tasks which was a position that I enjoyed. I wasn’t used to being a team leader before but having taken a leadership course in the previous summer; I went into it with confidence.

This is a rather strange skill to have developed from a placement in marketing but I have definitely developed a technical knowledge over the past year. After being in the studio quite frequently, I have come to learn what different things do. Before this placement I only knew how to play a song or how to talk into the microphone!

 

One of the greater skills that I have enhanced over the past year is communication. As I mentioned before, new links have allowed the station to grow and I have learnt how to initialise and maintain relationships with different parties, for the greater good of the station.

 

Finally, teamwork is an employable skill that I have developed as a result of my placement. There are a few other NSR committee members who have taken the CDM module, and so we have worked together as a team, not only with radio issues, but also towards any CDM related matters. As we all have the same goals, working together made everything a lot easier.

 

What advice would you give to other students?

I believe the key to having a successful CDM is communication; whether it’s volunteering or working elsewhere, continuous dialogue between all parties involved will help you learn and adjust the things you are doing right and wrong. It also shows your desire and commitments to the placement, which may not come across if you don’t talk to people and look to improve.

 

I would definitely recommend you take this as one of your options for next year; even if you don’t have a role lined up, CDM will help you find one. You get to have a much more hands on approach towards something you are interested in, and it familiarises yourself to a working environment that is awaiting you in the future. It sounds quite cheesy but as you have just read, it has definitely helped me!

 

 Sarah Hodgson, Stage 3, Media, Communication and Cultural Studies

 PTO-Community Officer

 

Describe your placement

Towards the end of my second year of study, I was elected as Newcastle University Students’ Union Community Officer, which is a part-time officer role that any student can nominate them self for. I officially began working in this role at the start of my final year of study, bearing in mind the workload of both my academic work and volunteer work at the Student Union, I decided that to get the best out of both these experiences I would use this as my placement for the Career Development module; not only did this allow me to gain academic credit for all my work, it also allowed me to dedicate more of my time to my position. Personally, I feel that the CDM allowed me to put extra time and effort into being the Community Officer, whilst at the same time ensuring that I still had time to commit to my university workload.

 

What skills did you develop?

Throughout the CDM and my role as Community Officer, I have gained and increased several vital skills, such as organisation, communication, teamwork and leadership. I believe that not only have these skills enhanced the quality of my work for the Student Union, but I have also been able to transfer these skills to other elements of my life, particularly in my academic work, predominately my dissertation, but also in my part-time job. As well as this, I have more confidence in myself, and along with my new set of skills, I believe this will stand me in good stead when applying for graduate jobs and attending interviews. Already, I am seeing the benefits, as recently I gained a place on a BBC Journalism mentor scheme, and one of the main reasons I was successful in this was because of my work as Community Officer.

 

What advice would you give to other students?
The best advice that I can offer to students either taking the career development module, or considering it, is to put everything you have into the module. Whilst at first it may seem easy, you will only get what you put into it, so in order to be successful it is important to really work hard and to be passionate about what you are doing.