Written by Louis Sherman
BSc (Hons) Applied Geography
Employability – the key reason most people go to university. By going to university you pick up a degree that usually puts you ahead of many other people, as well as showing your abilities and intelligence. However, there are two things you can add to your degree that put you above anyone else, and they are extra-curricular activities and work experience/placements. These are two things BU excels in across the board, for every course and person.
The range of extra-curricular activities at BU is unbelievable, from SUBU volunteering through societies and onto sports. I personally take part in a wide range of activities that I hope will make me stand out after I leave university and apply for full-time work. Last year I was a green ambassador as well as a student rep. I also helped on many volunteering days and took part in several different societies’ events. This year I have added to that further by becoming a member of the Wildlife Conservation Societies committee and being the communications officer for the SUBU Green Taskforce, as well as a whole bunch of other stuff. The possibilities of things to add to your CV and LinkedIn profile at BU astonishes, with a list that truly goes on and on. BU has a wide range of ‘stuff’ for every person; there are SUBU volunteering days to schools, with a new project being set up by SUBU and the Wildlife Conservation Society to go out to schools for outreach projects, a project I have personally helped to lead. These kinds of ‘add-ons’ to your degree make you stand out so much more; you become more than just another graduate and instead become a skilled and well-experienced person.
Another key element to employability at BU is the placements on offer, which for some courses are compulsory. BU has more students on work placement than any other university in Great Britain and it was a defining reason that I came here. For most courses you now have to do a minimum of two 5-week placements over the summers after your first and second years. Last year for instance I spent two weeks working at my local National Trust property where I learnt a variety of ecological skills as well as a lot of species identification – handy for someone studying geography. I also paired this with another three-week placement at my local sixth form where I helped out as a teacher. I am an aspiring teacher and so to have this opportunity put me ahead of many other people my age with this same aspiration, and in this career every extra day of experience helps a great deal. This summer I am now using the grants offered for international placements by BU to visit Colombia as part of a research trip, an opportunity I may not have gone for if I hadn’t done a placement. This opportunity to take a placement at BU is great and really makes it stand out, especially as it makes every one of its students more experienced than many other undergrads out there.
BU is a great university for furthering anyone’s employability skills and aims, and sets out to make sure every student has the opportunity to make more out of their degree than just assignments and lectures. It is these extra ‘bits-and-bobs’ on offer that make a BU student stand out from the crowd.
By Louis Sherman