We are delighted to announce that Careers and Employability’s annual careers fair – Careers Fest will be taking place this year on Tuesday 24 and Wednesday 25 November from 10am to 4pm.
This year Careers Fest will be bigger and bolder than before! In response to COVID-19, Careers Fest will be a two-day, virtual, careers festival offering our students (from all campuses) and graduates a broader range of activities to get involved with.
Hear from our ‘Headline Act’ – Gina Buckney about‘Becoming the Champion in Your Life’
Gina graduated from the University of Chester in 2002 having studied a BSc in Business Information Systems and successfully gaining a 2:1 with Hons. Gina has since gone on to work for some of the biggest UK banks and telecoms companies, has managed budgets of over £500m as well as teams of 450+ people across the globe.
Employer talks and Q&A sessions in one of our themed zones:
Enterprise and Entrepreneurship
Equality and Diversity
NB: resources and videos will also be available to view, during and after the event, related to the above zones.
Visit our Employer Gallery to find out about which employers are recruiting, what opportunities they have, the skills and attributes they’re looking for, how to apply and their tips and hints about making the most of Careers Fest 2020.
Meet the Careers and Employability team and find out about the wide range of employability enhancing experiences available to students and graduates to develop the skills and knowledge employers want.
Career Workshops to develop skills, which include:
Preparing for Careers Fairs Q&A session
Networking Q&A session
The Bounce Factor – gain an insight into maximising resilience when job searching, helping students and graduates to approach it with a confident and positive mindset.
Career Chats with one of our Career Consultants to discuss next steps, or the options available, have a CV review or get help with job applications.
Find out more about the Chester Difference Award and Volunteering opportunities .
And the fun stuff…Celebrity Careers Quiz, CareerHub Virtual Treasure Hunt, Prize draws and much more…
A PhD student at the University is seeking people who follow anti austerity groups on Twitter for his doctoral research – to find out whether there is a link between that and their participation in politics and political matters.
Christopher Robertson, who is also a Visiting Lecturer here, is interested in discovering whether people are becoming increasingly influenced by non-traditional political organisations.
He is looking for people – who fit his research criteria – to take part in a questionnaire, as part of his PhD studies. To take part in the survey, the participant must be over 18, and ‘follow’ an anti-austerity account on Twitter.
Christopher said: “The 21st Century has represented a worrying epoch for liberal-democratic politics. Correlating with global trends, notably in Greece and Spain, the 2007-2008 financial crash and the resulting ‘age of austerity’ in the UK, there has been a shift towards horizontal ‘bottom-up’ participation facilitated by social-networking platforms. Through these means, citizens can express grievances in a time where credence in the ballot box is waning.
“In the age where people are increasingly losing trust in elected representatives, I’m looking at why people ‘follow’ anti-austerity accounts on Twitter to find out what they seek to gain from this, how they come across this information, and whether this alters their political efficacy. In other words, how is this reconfiguring citizens’ political perceptions, behaviour and participatory practices in the UK?”
The deadline for completion is December 31, 2020. For further enquiries about the survey, please contact: email@example.com
Our huge congratulations to Creative Writing PhD student Siân Hughes, whose collection of poetry Sunshine & Nothing Else has just been published!
Siân said: “I’m really happy to see my second collection of poetry, Sunshine and Nothing Else, published by Cinnamon Press. The English Department at the University has made a world of difference to me since I moved home to Cheshire two years ago, welcoming me into their community of writers and encouraging my every step. My tutor Ian Seed has given me the confidence to feel like a real writer again, and to put my work out in public.”
Dr Ian Seed, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing, said: ‘Beginning with a barely perceptible nod to William Carlos Williams’s “This is Just to Say”, Sunshine assumes the voice of a mistress addressing a now-famous film director’s wife. Wielding a feminist knife, the voice slices its way through a series of brilliantly-crafted octaves. It is funny, tender and mocking by turns, yet always earthy and compelling, its many movements never striking a false note. It has the power and depth of Sylvia Plath, combined with all the wit of Rosemary Tonks.
“The second section, Nothing Else, equally commands our attention with a collection of beautifully-intertwined elegies, sweeping us into a world of mental illness, ghosts, family ancestry, extended families, hospital wards, filial and romantic love, childhood friendships, abuse, the nature of memory, loss of loved ones, and the changing nature of power in relationships over the years. It is unflinching in its honesty, refusing any kind of false solace, yet also achingly funny, and unfailingly compassionate of the self and others. Nothing Else shines its light on the darkest side of our lives. Ultimately the poetry is celebratory, giving us reasons to live with hope and love.”
Commenting on the collection, Scottish poet Kate Clanchy writes: ‘Siân Hughes’ accounts of her life as the mistress of an artist, and of the deaths of her mother and “not parents” are frank, pithy, and terrifyingly precise, sharp with tender, startling truths, nubbled with bodies and lit with love. I urge you to read them.’
Siân’s first collection, The Missing (Salt, 2009), was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, won the Seamus Heaney award for first collection, was long-listed for The Guardian first book of the year, and was shortlisted for The Forward Prize and Aldeburgh Prize. It contained among others ‘The Send-Off’, the poem that won the Arvon International Poetry Competition in 2006 and ‘Secret Lives’, winner of the TLS / Poems on the Underground competition in 1996.
She lives in her home village Tilston, on the border of England and Wales, along with some of her children. As well as working in a local pub, she teaches creative writing for mental health centres and other charities, and is currently a PhD student at the University of Chester.
You can find out more about Siân’s new collection of poetry here:
Since 2014, The Chester Difference Award (CDA) has been offered at the University of Chester by Careers and Employability to recognise extra-curricular activities that enhance employability. This year, we made some changes. Find out how we brought the original process to a close with some virtual sparkle and launched the updated CDA.
A celebration with a difference
The CDA Team brought the original CDA system to a close by showcasing their first virtual CDA Celebration Event this year to celebrate the achievements of the 2019-20 award recipients.
Compered by Matt Baker, (Music Director for the University Choir) the event went where no CDA celebration event has gone before: touring the beautiful city of Chester, taking students on a journey around a selection of Chester’s landmarks. The event included some inspirational speeches by students, a CDA graduate, staff and an external speaker to reflect on their positive experiences in a very challenging time. With the help of staff in LIS, all sections were compiled into a 44 minute video which premiered for award winners and guests to see in early September. Since the showcase, the event has had over 390 views from award recipients and guests across the world making it the biggest CDA celebration to date. View the event here.
“We were sad that we were not able to celebrate with award recipients face-to-face this year. We were committed to making the virtual event at special as the face to face events of the past and really wanted the event to be a celebration of the achievements of the students involved with a few surprises along the way.” Hannah Perkins, Training and Events Co-ordinator
New CDA Process 2020-21
September also saw the launch of the new CDA process which, in addition to recognising extra-curricular activities, is also designed to help you develop techniques to showcase your skills and experiences to future employers.
You can develop a tailored programme to:
Progress your career thinking
Articulate your skills
Understand the recruitment process
Develop your enterprising skills
And/or build networks
Create your own personalised journey by selecting pathways related to your interests and personal goals.
All current students are eligible to take part. Click here to register and start your CDA journey by getting involved with the exciting extra-curricular activities on offer at the University and beyond, helping you become a Citizen Student.
“We’re really excited to launch the new CDA to students. We know how employers really value seeing what you have achieved outside of your studies and now the process makes it clearer to participants what skills you’re developing and how they prepare you for your future career journey. The CDA offers you a personalised experience throughout the process, with pathways to inspire you and help you to achieve your goals. And we’re here to help you with every step along the way.” – Diane Appleton, Head of Careers and Employability, Student Futures
Be a student with a difference…with the Chester Difference Award!
By Heather Johnson, Sustainability Unit
Over the summer, the Sustainability Unit has been working on creating a new programme called Climate Action. Climate Action has been designed for Departments across the University to improve their sustainability performance. The actions have been designed so that they are relevant and achievable, regardless of whether the team are working from campus, home or a combination of the two.
Since 2013, Departments have taken part in SOS-UK Green Impact programme. There have been many highlights from the programme; Seaborne Library’s Caring Cups, Student Futures 12 Days of Kindness, Estates and Facilities Swap Shop, these are just a few of the many achievements! When it came to planning for 2020/21, we looked through feedback and discussed the adaptations we would need to make as a result of many of us now working from home. After doing so, we made the decision to take a step back from Green Impact for this year and create our own programme, Climate Action. We wanted to create a new programme that was personal to the University of Chester and reflects the needs of different departments across different campuses, but continue to have something that brings together teams, more so now that teams are physically separated.
How will it work?
Each Climate Action team will be set up with their own channel on Microsoft Teams. From here, they can access their workbook and choose which actions they want to complete. Each action is worth between one to five points and they cover different themes of sustainability: biodiversity, community, education, energy, health and wellbeing, transport, water and waste.
How can students get involved?
Students can volunteer to be involved with the Climate Action programme throughout the year. As this is a new programme, we will be running mid-year reviews in January/February 2021. Students can volunteer to attend a short training session, during which they will find out more about the programme and how it is run, before talking to different teams and seeing how they are getting on with the programme and if they have any feedback. More formal audits will then take place later in the academic year, once workbooks have been submitted. There will be an opportunity for students to take part in an auditor training session before auditing teams. This will include going through their workbooks and looking at which actions they have completed as well as looking through any evidence they have uploaded. Once the workbooks have been reviewed, you will talk with teams about the actions you have completed and ask any questions. Students can also volunteer to help teams run the programme in their Department. This may be assisting with uploading evidence or coming up with ideas for how you may implement certain actions.
“Starting University is always a little stressful and this year we were acutely aware of providing opportunities for students to get to know each other safely and to really feel part of Creative Campus Kingsway. We’re delighted with how they embraced this challenge and produced some imaginative and inventive responses while having fun. Their individual efforts have contributed to the creation of an impressive, collaborative artwork, and they can be very proud of their achievement.”
Head of the Department of Art and Design, Associate Professor Bernadine Murray, added: “Students told us how much they enjoyed the opportunity to meet others in the Department and to walk through the amazing city that they’ll be calling home for the next three years. “The work they’ve produced, in such a short space of time, is incredibly diverse and shows the inventiveness of our new students. We have tiny paintings, drawings of sound, candid street photography, surface rubbings – all evidencing their great observational skills.”
Congratulations to four of our students and graduates, who have been recognised at the National Association of Student Employment Services (NASES) Student Employee of the Year Awards.
International Business Management graduate Cieron McAllister, who is 24 and from Ipswich in Suffolk, has won the Student of the Year Regional Award for the ‘Commercial Impact Off Campus’ category, having previously won the University of Chester Institutional Award. Business Management graduate Sophie Bailey, aged 23, from Chester, is also a Regional winner, having won the ‘Step up to Leadership Off Campus’ category. (Both were still students at the time of their nominations.)
For the first time in the history of the Awards, NASES has selected Highly Commended nominees at the regional level of the competition and two of our students have received this accolade. They are final year Business Management student Melanie Smith, from Whitby, who was Highly Commended in the ‘Above And Beyond Off Campus’ category, for her work as Office Co-ordinator with Welocalize. Psychology Master’s student Katherine Saxby, from Wrexham, was also chosen as Highly Commended in the ‘Freelancer’ category, for her work as a Freelance Complementary Healthcare Practitioner.
The Awards recognise and promote the outstanding contributions and achievements of students, who effectively combine part-time work with their study commitments.
Cieron McAllister was nominated by Lynne McKie, Director of Global Sales Strategy and Operations at Welocalize. He was selected by an impartial panel as the regional winner in the ‘Commercial Impact Off Campus’ category, for his work as Assistant Manager of Global Sales Strategy and Operations.
Cieron said: “Honestly, I’m quite surprised, as I never win anything! Although I feel proud of myself now that I have been chosen as a winner and I am appreciative of my employer for putting me forward for the award – it’s really encouraging. Working part-time during my studies helped me become more organised and to develop my prioritising skills. It was hard work at times, especially during my final year at University, but being able to manage my time effectively was really rewarding and proved to myself that all it comes down to is determination and effort.”
Sophie Bailey was also nominated by Lynne McKie of Welocalize. She was chosen as the regional winner in the ‘Step up to Leadership Off Campus’ category for her work in the same role of Assistant Manager of Global Sales Strategy and Operations. Sophie said: “I’m so incredibly pleased to have won! After completing my internship, I asked to take the lead on training sessions for the new interns and be their mentor throughout their internship. This was a huge step up for me and I am so happy that my efforts in this role have been recognised in such a way! I have benefitted from working part-time whilst studying, as I have gained a wide range of invaluable, industry-relevant experience which has helped with assignments and prepared me for life after university.”
Lynne McKie, from Welocalize, said: “We are so pleased that both Cieron and Sophie are regional winners.
“This is in recognition of the outstanding performance Cieron has made in always going the extra mile, showing excellent levels of work, coming up with and delivering on innovative ideas, managing taxing projects and his overall commitment to Welocalize while based in Barcelona and, latterly, in Chester. Efficiency is one of the most powerful skills Cieron has been able to bring to the team. His contribution in the design and improvement of the various sales reports he has been assigned to has been critical to the Welocalize Sales and Marketing Teams.”
She added: “Similarly with Sophie, there is no question that she has shown initiative and demonstrated her growing leadership skills. Sophie has set up her own processes to gather information and ensure accuracy of figures, working fully independently. Additionally, she wanted to be involved in delivering the induction sessions, with new students. The sessions went very smoothly and allowed us to transition work to new interns on time. Sophie is a strong team player and project ownership, showing initiative and leadership of juniors are growing strengths, that come naturally to her.”
As regional winners, both students were awarded with a certificate and £60 in online shopping vouchers.
Melanie Smith and Katherine Saxby were also awarded with certificates and £30 in online shopping vouchers.
Another first for the University is having an award winner at institutional level in the ‘Best Employer’ category of the SEOTY awards. Claire Hastewell, Business Service Manager with Custerian, was nominated for providing outstanding support and development opportunities for a part-time student employee. Final year student Marketing Management student, Brenda Martinez, who made the nomination, has worked as an Outcome Support Assistant for Custerian during her studies. Claire said: “What an honour and delight it was to not only be nominated for the SEOTY award, but to win at institutional level! We at Custerian believe that the most important part of your business is your people. Investing time in development and training ensures that they deliver the best outcome, whilst having that passion and drive to constantly improve and grow their skills. Brenda came to us initially through the Santander Internship programme and then approached us for part-time work, whilst continuing with her studies the following year. She was a great asset to the team and in return we ensured that we were able to cover elements of her course and provide guidance where needed. We look forward to watching her career develop over the coming years.”
Head of Careers and Employability, Diane Appleton, said: “Our winners, Cieron, Sophie, Melanie and Katherine should be extremely proud of their amazing achievements. Putting this into context, they saw off competition from almost 400 student nominations from around the country which is no small feat! This is a real testament to the hard work, commitment and dedication demonstrated by all of them in their roles and we congratulate them all and wish them the very best for their future.
“We are also delighted for Claire and for Custerian that the quality of the experience and the support given to Brenda on her internship and subsequent part-time role has been rewarded in this way. We really value the partnership we have with employers in the local area and it is clear to see that both students and employers hugely benefit from our internship programme. Congratulations to Claire and many thanks for offering such a great opportunity to our students.”
As winners at the regional level of the SEOTY awards, Cieron McAllister and Sophie Bailey’s nominations will be considered at the national finals stage (the date for which is yet to be announced), where they stand to win £100 in prize money.
Master’s graduate Rachel Sinden – Director of the 5* rated arts education company Play Pizzazz and author of the popular children’s picture book ‘Daisy’s Fuzzy Tummy’ faced a panel of judges and pitched her way to success at the Venture Pitch 2020.
Amongst the judges were some of the county’s most notable businesses, including Ellis and Co Accountants and Business Advisors; the West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce; Santander Universities UK and RTC North, to name a few. Battling it out against eight other new businesses, Rachel won an ‘Excellence in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Scholarship Fund Award’ and membership to the Chamber of Commerce.
Rachel said: “I was graduating from my Master’s Degree in Creativity in Education from the University when I saw an email about the programme. I had arranged for a sabbatical year from my job as a Performing Arts Teacher for a local secondary school and was planning to start my own mindful arts education and consultation company, so it came at the perfect moment.”
Play Pizzazz launched in May of this year and supports schools, families and agencies to create accessible and fun education projects for children and young people. It has gained over 500 followers on social media and helped many children overcome the ‘return to school anxiety’ by using Daisy’s Fuzzy Tummy. This illustrated picture book acts as an enabler to allow children to articulate their anxious feelings to those around them, thus helping them settle back into the school routine.
In addition, Rachel has already directly supported over 30 families and schools to help children navigate the pandemic through a mixture of arts led educational activities and storytelling sessions.
“It’s been an amazing few months and I’ve had some fantastic feedback from families that I’ve helped during lockdown. Winning this has just allowed me to move from strength to strength and I am absolutely thrilled with the outcome”, adds Rachel.
Kirsty Badrock, Entrepreneurship Coordinator for the Venture Pitch Programme, said: “Starting a business can be overwhelming! Venture has been designed to give students and graduates the skills, knowledge, confidence and connections for their entrepreneurial journey, through a series of webinars and one-to-one support delivered by entrepreneurs, business coaches, industry experts and professional services. As a candidate, Rachel has proven that with passion, a great idea and the right mindset, you can achieve your goals.”
Kirsty worked closely on the event with Robert Simmonds, Deputy Relationship Director for Santander Universities UK. Robert explains more about the programme and reflects on Rachel’s success. “Santander is committed to supporting higher education as well as local communities across the UK so we’re pleased that our funding is able to support initiatives like the Venture Pitch providing opportunities to entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.Businesses like Play Pizazz are a great example of where our funding can make a difference in helping Rachel and her business to move forwards quickly. The judging panel were impressed with Rachel as a founder; in particular, her knowledge and enthusiasm for the business, as well as the societal need the business fulfils.”
Fellow judge at the event and Membership Director for West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce, Jennifer Kennedy, said: “As a well-deserved winner of Venture Pitch 2020, we are delighted to be able to support Rachel with Chamber membership for the year and look forward to seeing how her business progresses.”
Also on the judging panel was Leon Stowell from Ellis and Co Chartered Accountants, who added: “Rachel was given the unenviable task of pitching first and she certainly did not disappoint, setting the bar high for the rest. As judges, we only hope that the prizes awarded to Rachel will help her to achieve her goals and push the business forward. Ellis and Co has supported the Venture programme for nearly 10 years and we have seen entrepreneurs go on to further success. We are sure that Rachel will follow suit!”
Motivational speaker Louise Hope also praised Rachel and her new business, saying: “Rachel shows great commitment to her profession and is highly qualified. She’s a strong entrepreneur with an excellent knowledge of her specialism.”
Rachel added: “I am so grateful for the prizes and the award. I has enabled me to really move the business forward, as I will soon be training to become a Special Education Needs Co-ordinator. This will not only enable me to help children with specific needs, but it’s also a really exciting new strand for the business. To hear a panel of experts say that you are ‘an authentic and charismatic entrepreneur with a clear hard work ethic and a passion for what you do’ is some feedback I will never forget!”
Rachel’s book, Daisy’s Fuzzy Tummy, is available as an ebook on amazon and in a hard copy from www.playpizzazz.com
Rachel is available for consultations and workshops via the contact us section of the website or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow Rachel on social media for regular updates and tips on Facebook @playpizzazz or Instagram @pizzazzplay.
WITH COVID-19 causing many sports and physical activities to be restricted and social distancing in place, the Sport and Active Lifestyle Department introduced a number of fun and competitive social distancing sports and activities during Induction Week. ‘Chester Rules’ was the idea of the Vice-Chancellor and the Department continued to develop it, and came up with several social distancing sports and activities to keep student and staff active yet safe.
These activities were organised and run by a new group of Coaching Scholars who are sponsored by the Vice-Chancellor to help deliver these activities. The Coaching Scholars are all current Master’s level students at the University and, as well as coaching their respective sports, they have been charged with leading all the ‘Chester Rules’ sports and activities. Activities include social distance football, hockey, archery, footgolf, foot badminton, badminton, frisbee, urban golf, outdoor fitness classes, cricket, table tennis, tennis, outdoor fitness classes, walk and talk and many more.
Over 250 students got involved across Chester and Warrington and activities will continue through the term. Keep an eye out on our social media sites (Instagram: uocsportactivelifestyle and Facebook: UoC SportandActiveLifestyle) for more information regarding the ‘Chester Rules’ activities over the coming weeks and months.
Francessca Hummel Master’s: Policing, Law Enforcement and Security Sport: Netball
Harrison Barnet Master’s: Sports Coaching and Development Sport: Hockey
Nicole Fisher Course: Chemical Engineering Sport: Cricket and Netball
Gemma Taylor Master’s: Sports Medicine Sport: Lacrosse
James Bethel Master’s: Sports Management and Leadership Sport: Wrestling/MMA
Laura Thomas Master’s: Sports Coaching and Development Sport: Hockey
Meghan Parker Master’s: History Sport: Netball
James Gough Master’s: Sports Science – Performance Analysis Sport: Rugby Union
Hello, my name is Ella Green and I study Psychology here at the University of Chester.
2020 has been a testing time for many people: physically and mentally. During my lockdown experience I knew I had to create a focus, some sort of routine, to help maintain my physical and mental health. Physically, I exercised every day which in return, my body released plenty of endorphins to help keep me going. Mentally, I started to learn about positivity and how I can change my mindset for the better. I slowly started to implement what I had learned into my day-to-day life and now I am here, writing this, to hopefully help you do the same!
I am still on my journey to becoming more positive as occasionally I slip into old habits, but some good advice to live by is to stop constantly searching for all the highs in life and trying to avoid all the lows. Find your inner calm within the middle.
Worrying doesn’t take away tomorrow’s troubles. Worrying can leave you feeling anxious and apprehensive which isn’t very nice. Let go of worrying about things you have no control over, engage in problem solving, acknowledge your fears and reframe unrealistic thoughts.
Diet can also impact your mental health; improving your food will certainly boost your mood. Personally, I find that when I maintain a balanced diet I feel better mentally. It’s like a snowball effect: I eat well, I feel more positive, I efficiently get more daily tasks done, I then feel more accomplished and motivated to carry on the next day.
When was the last time you were alone with your thoughts? Being alone with your thoughts isn’t always a bad thing. Solitude allows your brain to unwind and can help you concentrate. It can help you to discover yourself and help you to determine what you really want from life. An example which I partake in is getting up just 30 minutes earlier most mornings and practicing self-care. Whether this be reading a positive book, stretching, having a little pamper or working out. Schedule time in for yourself.
Perhaps you find you are struggling in life; this does not mean you are failing. Refrain from aiming negative words and thoughts towards yourself and others. You cannot live a positive life with a negative mindset. Take time out from your fast-paced life, be kind to yourself, accept that you are learning and doing well to better yourself. Learning to become more positive does not happen overnight, it’s a process where you have to make a conscious effort in changing the way that you think. Ways in which I started to learn about this process was by following the hashtags on Instagram: #positivity #positivemindset #mindfullness #mindfulliving. There are some great posts/accounts and websites out there which display many useful tips.
Student News is produced every term by Corporate Communications in conjunction with a group of students. Any current students interested in writing for the publication or to find out more can contact Corporate Communications at email@example.com.
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