Internships that Click

Anna Gibbon is a recent Exeter graduate. She talked to us about how her internship with The Click Hub led to a graduate role in the same company.

Last month, I was lucky enough to meet with Santander’s CEO, Nathan Bostock, at an event hosted by the University of Exeter. I graduated in the summer, and in my final year Exeter created and supported an incredible 60 internships, which wouldn’t have been possible without the £82,000 backing from Santander Universities.

The Click Hub’s Anna, Santander CEO Nathan Bostock, and Exeter’s Employer Liaison Officer Jo McCreedie
The Click Hub’s Anna, Santander CEO Nathan Bostock, and Exeter’s Employer Liaison Officer Jo McCreedie

Over the course of my studies, I undertook a long-term internship with The Click Hub, a digital marketing agency based in Exeter and London. The company has taken on several interns through the scheme, all of who have gone on to work in similar fields.

I heard about The Click Hub from another student. She told me how they were a small company looking to take on another intern. This was over 3 years ago, and I hadn’t heard of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), and didn’t know much about digital marketing, but they were looking for content writers and I thought that my skills as an English Literature student would put me in good stead.

“Not only was my internship a fantastic opportunity to apply my academic abilities in a professional environment, build my confidence and develop my employability skills, but without the internship I probably wouldn’t have ended up working for the company after I graduated too.”

For me it was the ideal kind of internship. Many people use the Vacations as an opportunity to take part in an internship but being a big lover of travel I wasn’t quite ready to give up my holiday time just yet. My long-term internship with The Click Hub allowed me to undertake an internship alongside my studies, during Term time.

Over the years I learned a great deal, not just about digital marketing but about a whole range of industries as I wrote regular content and website copy for miscellaneous clients. From web designers to interior designers, builders, dentists, and accountants – you name the industry, I probably wrote a blog about it. The role taught me to be flexible as well as self-motivated since much of the work was carried out at home. However, during the time spent in the office I had the opportunity to learn about digital marketing. I became more interested in the workings behind SEO, and watching our clients progress up the Google rankings, eventually taking my Adwords exam to become Google certified.

Not only was my internship a fantastic opportunity to apply my academic abilities in a professional environment, build my confidence and develop my employability skills, but without the internship I probably wouldn’t have ended up working for the company after I graduated too.

Halfway through my final year of study, the company director offered me a full-time position after graduation. I’d seen the company grow from 5 to around 15 people and take on a great number of new clients over the years. I knew they were about to open an office in London, with plans to expand to New York, and I knew that if I worked there I would be genuinely valued as an employee. That’s one of the best things about working for an SME; you know you’ll never just fade into the background. It means that when I began my full-time position as Marketing Executive I was thrown in at the deep and expected to stay afloat because an SME won’t have the same resources as a larger firm when it comes to training. This has the potential to feel overwhelming but it also allows you to develop in other ways. What’s more, you’re in a company you know has invested in you.

I’ve been lucky enough to benefit from both Santander’s financial support and the huge amount of dedicated work carried out by the University’s Career Zone first-hand, so the event was a fantastic way to say thank you to all involved and let them know the result of their great work. And, working for a digital marketing agency, I just couldn’t leave without taking a quick selfie with both parties (on my boss’s orders)…

Loved my Degree, Love my Job

Simon Brooker is Head of Loans at giffgaff money. He graduated from Exeter with a BA in History and Politics. He talked to us about how his time at Exeter has influenced his career.

How was your university experience at Exeter?

The university experience was fantastic, both from a social and academic perspective. Being part of a campus-based university in a small city meant that you got to know a range of people, some of whom became great friends.

Simon Brooker
Simon Brooker

What did you study at university and what impact did it have on your career path?

I studied a BA Combined Honours degree in History and Politics, which of course is a natural precursor to any career in financial services! During my time at university, I didn’t really know where my career would lead, but I’ve found that my degree gave me the ability to digest and critique information and structure rational arguments based on that information so it has served me very well.

How did your experience at Exeter shape your career and you as a person?

It definitely made me a more confident person, with greater belief in my own abilities. It also shaped my way of thinking as well as presenting structured points of view.

Did you take part in any extracurricular activities or societies whilst at university? If so, did you learn any valuable skills from them?

I played rugby for the three years with University of Exeter Rugby Club, so I gained all the teamwork and comradery experience that university sports clubs help develop.

“Believe in your own abilities and keep your mind open to new and sometimes scary but exciting opportunities.”

Did you undertake any work experience before starting your career? If so, what was it and has it benefitted you in your career?

Nothing notable apart from the usual work to earn money while studying. What was more beneficial was that I worked while travelling, so arriving in different countries and finding work opened me up to a number of contrasting experiences. Going through the 2008 financial crisis was certainly challenging but I managed to develop the skills and ability needed to move forward in my career.

How did you get into your current role?

After travelling and living in Australia I got a job with Legal & General Bank in my home city of Cardiff, this was my first introduction to financial services. From then I’ve worked in a range of roles, primarily in the lending and insurance industry, in both operational and development roles. Recently I have focussed in start-up enterprises, looking at ways to broaden the depth of lending to individuals and businesses as well as supporting the growth of brands into financial services.

“I’ve found that my degree gave me the ability to digest and critique information and structure rational arguments.”

What are your main responsibilities?

Product pricing, credit risk, managing third-party relationships, and compliance, along with the common day-to-day operations of working in an office.

What is the most challenging part of your current role?

Dealing with multiple challenges of building a brand, day-to-day trading and developing long-term strategies. There can be conflicts between these goals at times and balancing them can give rise to several challenges, both big and small.

What advice would you give current Exeter students, whether it be career advice or life advice?

Don’t get too stressed about your career when you’re at university. It’s easy to get caught up in the stories of friends and acquaintances getting fantastic jobs and careers; invariably you will find your own way. Believe in your own abilities and keep your mind open to new and sometimes scary but exciting opportunities.

What was the best part about being at Exeter university?

The community feel to the university, knowing lots of people around campus, developing life-long friendships, going to Timepiece after a good rugby win, and the Lemmy on a Saturday night!

Entrepreneurial Skills in the Workplace and Beyond

When we talk about skills like creative planning, sustainability, project management and corporate social responsibility it’s easy to think that these skills are only needed if you’re starting your own business. However, evidence has proven that this isn’t the case and that more and more market-leading businesses are employing graduates that can demonstrate these skills in the workplace; we call this ‘intrapreneurship’. Tom Crosswell, Enterprise GBP tells us more.

Think Try Do
Think Try Do

The Think, Try, Do programme is there to help you develop these essential skills. Through workshops, guest speakers, panel discussions and more, the programme helps guide you through our three stages: Think – what are these skills and how do we put them into practice within the workplace and outside of it? Try – One to one meetings with advisors to help you develop a start-up idea and competitions that allow you to try out the skills developed in the previous stage. Do – meet other budding entrepreneurs, bespoke in-house business support and access to funding to fuel your start up. Think, Try, Do sessions also count towards your Exeter Award so you really do get the most out of every session. You can find out more about Think, Try, Do and book yourself onto a session by visiting our microsite at http://ex.ac.uk/thinktrydo.

This week is Global Entrepreneurship Week, thousands of events and competitions will be run across over one hundred countries, the sheer scale of the week really goes to show just how important these skills are to universities and businesses. Think, Try, Do will be running numerous sessions, workshops and a panel discussion throughout the week and there’s something on offer for everyone.

Ever thought about starting your own website? Join us on Tuesday and Wednesday evening when we will be hosting Dan Wiseman of Webwise media, an expert in web design and e-commerce. Want to hear about how entrepreneurial skills have impacted our alumni in their start-up journeys or their work with businesses? Come along to our panel discussion with speakers including General Manager of Deliveroo, Jeremey Rawlinson, Venture Capitalist Richard Blakesley plus more to be confirmed. The talk will be followed by a Q&A and the opportunity to network. You can check out the full list of events by clicking here.

The week culminates with the second Exeter Start-up Weekend and Global Battle. Over 54 hours you have the chance to pitch and work on your start-up idea alongside technologists, entrepreneurs, designers, developers and other experts to work on providing real solutions to the world’s problems. There are a wealth of prizes on offer and expert help at hand to make sure that you can make the most of this exciting opportunity. Interested? Click on the here to find out more and book your place.

Getting into the charity sector as a journalist – Five things I’ve learnt

Trina Wallace
Trina Wallace

Trina Wallace is a freelance charity copywriter and journalist, and an Exeter alum. 

Excitement. Fear. Curiosity. Apprehension. These were just some of the feelings I had when I graduated from Exeter University in 2001 with a degree in English studies. My university years were fantastic. I made new friends, gained amazing memories and learnt so much about life. After graduation, I wondered what lay ahead.

I knew I wanted to be a journalist, but how would I get there – and what would I write about? More than 15 years on, I work as a freelance journalist and copywriter in the charity sector, which I love. Here are some of the things I’ve learnt in my career since I graduated.

Vocational training is fun and makes you stand out. When you’ve finished three or four years of undergraduate study, you might not be up for more education. But if you want to be a journalist, I really recommend doing further training. Journalism is a craft and getting a good grounding in solid journalistic news and feature writing principles is crucial.

I did a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism at Cardiff University, a great course. The training is more practical than academic, so I felt like I was moving forward. If I need help with work these days, I always look for people who have a journalism qualification.

“There are challenges but being your own boss means you get to choose who you work with and when, and you can fit your job around your life rather than the other way around.”

Work out what you don’t want to write about. I did some shifts at a popular woman’s weekly which involved interviewing people and telling their ‘real life’ stories. For me, that felt uncomfortable. Vulnerable people were paid to tell their heart-wrenching stories and I didn’t think they were supported enough before or after sharing them.

This experience helped me to figure out that I wanted to work in the charity sector. I enjoy interviewing and helping people tell their stories to make change happen. So in the charity sector, I specialise in interviewing the people charities support.

Charities need staff who come from outside the sector. It’s lovely working in the charity sector where people really care about what they do. Often, staff move from one charity to another which is brilliant as it means expertise is shared in the sector. But I do think charities benefit from employing staff with experience of the commercial sector because they have a different perspective. Journalists can bring that eye for finding a story to charities which helps them to reach more people.

Being your own boss is possible. I have worked as a features writer for business and lifestyle magazines and as an editor for a copywriting agency. At the agency, I was also an account manager for charity clients. It taught me about business as well as writing and helped me to return to the idea I’d had when I was younger about being my own boss. I always admired the freedom my dad had being self-employed, ­yet careers advisers never mentioned the option of being your own boss. But it really is an option and journalism is a perfect freelance career. There are challenges but being your own boss means you get to choose who you work with and when, and you can fit your job around your life rather than the other way around.

Journalism is evolving and journalists need to too. Many printed newspapers and magazines have closed which is sad. Now, more people are reading content online. So journalists have to keep their training up to date so they know about everything from search engine optimisation to creating videos. It’s a move to creating content, not just words. If you want to go into journalism, I’d bear this in mind when you’re considering work placements, training and jobs.

Find out more about me on my website www.trinawallace.com

Start Your Career with Sprint

Last year, the Career Zone was pleased to launch Sprint – personal and professional development programme for women. The course is aimed at supporting women to achieve their aims and aspirations, develop confidence and networks. To find out more about the programme we asked two previous participants to share their experiences with us.

Alexandra (3rd Year Flexible Combined Honours with Study Abroad) 

Alexandra McLeod
Alexandra McLeod

‘I found the Sprint course to be completely different to any area of academic study or society event I have participated in at university. It didn’t feel like a lesson or lecture but more of a group discussion on issues we were interested in. I did not contribute that much at first but soon became the most confident member of my group and thoroughly enjoyed the presentation that we did to a friendly panel that were not there to judge us, but were genuinely interested in our career aspirations.

One of my favourite activities was when we had to talk for 2 minutes on an ‘unimportant’ or ‘boring’ subject. Some people went with the weather, I chose the Kardashians. The group had to then become disinterested within 30 seconds and completely ignore you after 1 minute, whilst you kept talking – it’s a lot harder than it sounds! This provided me with a new skill in learning to keep to a concise topic, as well as knowing when to change the subject, especially in interview situations.

I learnt so many new skills such as breathing exercises and relaxation techniques before an exam or interview. It was also liberating to talk freely about things that you were passionate about, or in contrast things that really annoyed you, without being judged as it was accepted that everyone has different opinions.

It was such a friendly and positive atmosphere and I believe is the type of session we should be doing at a much younger age in order to develop confidence.’

“A small change of perspective has made a great impact on my future. I hope other young women benefit from the same opportunity to participate in this life-changing program.”

Catherine (4th Year BA International Relations, Chinese & TESOL) 

Catherine Arnold
Catherine Arnold

‘I participated in the Sprint program in my fourth year of studying International Relations, Chinese and TESOL at the University of Exeter.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I signed up to the Sprint programme, but thought it might enhance my employability in an increasingly competitive world of work. The Sprint programme went far beyond that, allowing me to develop personally as well as professionally. Sprint taught me to live my life with confidence and assertiveness, having pride in my achievements and striving for the full extent of my potential.  

I will continue to take the confidence and skills I have gained from Sprint forwards into my Masters study of Water Science, Policy and Management at the University of Oxford, and also in my personal life. A small change of perspective has made a great impact on my future. I hope other young women benefit from the same opportunity to participate in this life-changing program.’

You can find out more about Sprint, including how to apply via our webpage. If you have any questions, please ask the team a question via My Career Zone.

National Insurance Numbers Explained

Shamus Lee, Career Zone staff and current Exeter student
Shamus Lee, Career Zone staff and current Exeter student

Hello, I’m Shamus Lee, International Student UK Employment Adviser in the Career Zone. I’m also a current BSc Economics student at Exeter. 

If you’re a non-home student who wants to work in the United Kingdom (UK), you may have heard the term ‘National Insurance’.

So, what is National Insurance? Everyone who wants to work in the UK will need a National Insurance (NI) number to pay social security contributions. This NI contribution will qualify the contributor to state benefits and pension. So yes – you will need one if you intend to work part-time, do an internship or get a graduate role in the UK. However, you will only start paying contributions if you earn more than £155 a week. For more information on NI numbers, visit: https://www.gov.uk/nationalinsurance/overview

Who needs one? Everyone (home, EEA, international residents) who work in the UK will need a NI number to pay the contribution. If you’re born in the UK, you will automatically receive one. If you’re not born in the UK, then you would need to apply for one.

Is the application for a NI free, and how do I get one? Application for NI number is FREE: You do not need to pay to get a NI number. Follow the instructions on our website to apply for your NI number.

Can I work without one? Yes, you can, but many employers will request it at later stage. You can start employment without one, but it’s always better to have it ready. This number follows through your life, so even if you come back to work in the UK 10 years later, you will still use the same number.

What happens during the telephone interview? Don’t worry; it just involves some basic questions relating to yourself and your visa. At the end of the call, you’ll get a reference number – write it down!

What happens after the telephone interview? You should receive a package in your mailbox within two weeks. Fill in the documents and return to the address shown. After that, you may (or may not) be asked to drop by either of the Job Centres in Taunton or Plymouth to have your Visa or passport verified, and after that you’ll receive your NI number in your mailbox.

How long does the application take? The entire process from the phone call to receiving a NI number can take up to six weeks.

Still need help? Drop by the Career Zone, or one of the Hubs to speak to any of our friendly staff, and we’ll be more than happy to guide you through the process.

Collaborate, Communicate and Conserve

Todd Burlington is a current Physics student at the University of Exeter. He talked to us about his internship at the Met Office, collaborative projects and #TechnoRhino

IMG_1215
Todd and #TechnoRhino in the Career Zone

With the help of the Career Zone I spent this summer on an internship at the Met Office’s Informatics Lab. I took advantage of the Access 2 Internships (A2I) scheme offered by the Career Zone. This scheme helped me with travel costs, which allowed me to easily get to work, and in addition to this the application reviews, interview practice and career planning no doubt helped a lot in securing my internship.

‘The Informatics Lab employs scientists, designers and technologists, all of which leads to a very interesting working environment where collaboration is at the very heart, blurring the lines between technology, design, and science.’

The Informatics Lab is a new and very different team. The lab has eight full-time staff and operates as a rapid prototyping R&D centre. The idea behind the lab is to quickly trial new technologies for the Met Office, and produce prototypes of how they could be used. To achieve this, the lab has everything it needs in-house. It employs scientists, designers and technologists, all of which leads to a very interesting working environment where collaboration is at the very heart. These are the people blurring the lines between technology, design, and science.

You’ve probably seen some rhino sculptures around Exeter; they’re part of Paignton Zoo’s Great Big Rhinos Project. This involves placing rhinos around the South West in a mass public art event. IMG_1210

#TechnoRhino was developed as a collaboration between the Met Office Informatics Lab and Paignton Zoo. The collaboration was born out of the idea that the lines between technology and design are becoming increasingly blurred. With this in mind, what could the Met Office achieve if presented with a rhino? The Met Office is one of the biggest technology companies in the South West, and what goes on here far outstrips just predicting the weather for the TV. This surprised me when I arrived: the scope of their work is much larger than I ever thought.

It makes sense that the Informatics Lab would be the right people to push the edge of what is possible in a public art event. The way they thought they would do this is by using LEDs. My involvement in this project extended from the very start to finish, developing the software to power the LEDs as well as constructing the hardware required to operate them, all in addition to organising visit days with external organisations for #TechnoRhino’s tour. I then oversaw these days, interacting with the public in places such as the RAMM and Exeter Library.

Visiting these different locations allows #TechnoRhino to showcase the Great Big Rhino Project. Hopefully, due to how different the Met Office’s rhino is to what has been produced before, a lot of interest would be generated for the Great Big Rhinos Project. The project aims to raise awareness of the endangered species of the Javan and Sumatran rhinos, of which there are only 60 left in the wild. With this in mind, any way to generate interest is very welcome.

‘The Access to Internship (A2I) scheme is a wonderful opportunity which you should wholeheartedly take advantage of.’

Not only was this a cool project to work on, but it was for a very important cause. Hopefully, whilst #TechnoRhino has been on tour, a more people have gotten interested and donated to an excellent cause.

Working here has fundamentally changed my outlook on my future career plans. It has made me more eager than ever to dive into the world of work, but it has also changed my outlook on where I see myself ending up. I now expect more from my future career than I did before. I cannot see myself working somewhere with a ‘traditional’ working culture – I just loved the freedom and learning that came from a place like the Informatics Lab.

Luckily, our University has enabled me to really benefit from the experiences that come from working at such a world leading organisation. The Access to Internship (A2I) scheme is a wonderful opportunity which you should wholeheartedly take advantage of.

Getting a Part-Time Job

Having a part-time while you study doesn’t just help pay the rent; it can really boost your professional skills, and make your CV stand out to graduate recruiters. Finding a job in Exeter can feel daunting, but Jen Hardwick, Student Employment Co-ordinator tells us how it’s done.

What’s out there?

Everything really! We’ve advertised jobs from working on a mushroom farm in Exeter to stewarding opportunities with BBC’s ‘Flog It’. The opportunities are varied, local and paid. Some of the jobs we advertise only employ you for one day, some exist only during Term time, and others expect you to commit a few hours each week all year round. However, the University recommends not working more than 15 hours a week, and you may have to be more flexible than you thought about your shift pattern.

Study to be a barrister, work as a barista (sorry)
Study to be a barrister, work as a barista (sorry)

What should I go for?

Most of the jobs we advertise are retail and catering positions in the city centre. During the Autumn Term many shops are recruiting for part-time staff for the busy Christmas period. This means they want you to stay and work throughout December and January. These jobs are ideal for International students* and anyone staying near Exeter during vacation periods.

*If you’re planning on working here for the first time and are not from the UK you will probably need a National Insurance number

Term-time jobs on campus are the most popular positions, so expect these to be very competitive: An easy way to search for these is to type ‘University of Exeter’ as a keyword to MyCareerZone and select the ‘casual term time work’ option in the ‘type of work’ category. These roles include working in the Ram, Marketplace or in various departments at the University, but can also include Brand Ambassador roles which can give you great experience in sales and networking.

If you already have a skill or business StudentTraders can connect you to local employers in the community, and can give your free stall at our annual craft fair to sell your products, boost your entrepreneurial skills, and earn income. Working in the community as tutor, childminder or gardener shows the ability to build positive relationships and are usually minimal hours but well paid.

How do I find these jobs?

We have a team who source local part-time work, and we also receive requests from employers on campus and in the local area to promote their opportunities. Each day we add these new jobs to MyCareerZone. For this reason alone, it’s the best place to start your search.

Other great places to find work include our Casual Jobs and Internships Fair, we run one in October, and one in February. These events enable employers from the local area to come onto campus and advertise their roles face to face with students. All these employers are looking for students to work for them either immediately over the vacation periods or are recruiting for bank staff.

Can you help me find a job, or help with my job application?

Absolutely. If you’d like some support please come and ask for a ‘Job Search’ appointment in the Career Zone. We’ll spend 15 minutes helping you to find the most relevant opportunities for your situation, and we can check your CV too.

We hope this helps

Check out our tips on finding part time work and don’t forget that we’re here to help. Email or book a Job Search appointment if you have any questions.