Class of 2020: Becoming Leeds’ First Black Female Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Graduate

Gina Baker graduated this year in Chemical and Nuclear Engineering from the University of Leeds – she is the first black female to graduate from the course. In this piece, Gina highlights her experience of studying a STEM subject at Leeds and offers advice for those interested in pursuing a career in STEM.

As an 18-year-old, going to university was one of the things I looked forward to the most. Five years later upon graduating, I can definitely say this is one of the best decisions I made. University made me grow in so many different ways; socially, academically as well as gaining experience in the working world.

As the first black woman to have attained a Master’s (MEng) and Bachelor’s (BEng) degree in Chemical and Nuclear Engineering from the University of Leeds, my experience in studying a STEM subject was no easy journey. However, it was a valuable experience I will never forget especially in my last three years.

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Careers by the book: A guide to Skills@Library’s employability resources

The library is the starting point for your studies. It is a fountain of knowledge and resources that will flow throughout your work. But it also can offer something else: skills and experiences that will be beneficial beyond your university course. 

Housed in the Laidlaw Library, Skills@Library runs a busy calendar of events and workshops all currently available online, aimed at giving you study skills that will support your dissertations, group presentations and more. Importantly, these tools can be transferred into your working and professional life after your graduate, and help you to formulate a CV. 

Here, we have highlighted some of their most useful employability-related online resources.

Digital Skills 

“Employers are increasingly looking for graduates with excellent digital skills…” 

You will find links to FutureLearn courses on Searching and Researching and Managing Your Identity, plus other Library pages on research. 

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Taking a step into the unknown: a placement year in policy and public affairs

Ollie George is a Biotechnology with Enterprise student who is returning to final year following a placement year in Policy and Public Affairs at the global pharmaceutical company Pfizer. He shares his reflections on his year, tips on applying and perspectives on a non-lab based placement for science students.

As a science student, it can sometimes be hard to know what career options are possible outside of the lab. For me, although I enjoy learning the science, I’m most interested in how the science can be applied to solve real world problems and improve people’s lives.

I found my placement year to be a great opportunity to experience work in an area I had little prior experience to broaden my perspectives and inform my future career choice.

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Discomfort in Disabilities: Employability, Access and Privilege

Georgie is sat in a coffee shop holding a mug near her face. In the background is the counter with some cakes sat on top.

Georgie Fuhri is a final year Museum & Art Gallery Studies student at the University of Leeds. She has a declared disability. What barriers does she face in society and the job market due to her condition, and does it affect her employability?

In this piece she explores identity, intersectionality and discrimination from her perspective as a soon-to-be-graduate, ultimately making a plea to powerful employers: listen and change.

If you are affected by any of the issues in the article, see the bottom of the page for useful resources and support signposting.

I would like to preface this article by saying that the disabled experience cannot be, nor should be summarised by just one person and their understanding of it. The life of a disabled person is as multifaceted and diverse as any able bodied persons, and is in so many ways, inexplicable.

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Class of 2020: From lockdown blues to launching a not-for-profit


University of Leeds, BA Management and Marketing student Rebecca Moy had plans after graduation but COVID-19 meant she had to rethink everything.  Learn how her proactive approach opened up new opportunities & secured her a graduate job.

When the rumours of lockdown became a reality and COVID-19 halted my post-university plans, I was unsettled by fears of unemployment.

My plans to go travelling then start a graduate scheme were cancelled, with headlines reading “9 million sign up for UK furlough scheme”. Could I secure a job in the current climate? Could my classmates?

After a few weeks of endlessly scrolling job sites, my fears were seemingly confirmed. Like everyone, I’d worked so hard over the past 4 years including a 12 month undergraduate placement, but my dream graduate job was nowhere to be found. On top of this was a feeling of helplessness. I felt so grateful for the country’s key workers and wondered if I could positively impact society differently.

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Leeds Internship Programme- working at a Swiss private equity firm


Lyrique 5

Shakeel Kathrada is a 2019 University of Leeds Graduate who achieved a first class degree in BSc Mathematics with Finance. After graduation Shakeel applied for a 6 month internship at Lyrique, a private equity firm based in Nyon, Switzerland advertised through the Leeds Internship Programme.

Here he talks about his time in Switzerland at the firm, and how the experience gained from his internship led him to securing a role at Deutsche Bank in Luxembourg.

The Leeds Internship Programme offers exclusive, paid opportunities to University of Leeds students and recent graduates-  register interest to be the first to hear about new opportunities.

My Story

In my final year at the University of Leeds, I applied to numerous internship opportunities with the Leeds Internship Programme. All of the internships advertised through this scheme are only open to students at Leeds, which gave me so much more confidence to apply! Shortly after graduating I was offered the unique opportunity to work as an intern at a private equity asset management firm in Switzerland for 6 months.

A little bit about Lyrique Private Equity

Lyrique Private Equity is a boutique private equity firm based in Nyon, Switzerland which provides advisory services to clients such as family offices and pension funds.  Lyrique’s main strategy is to focus on buyout, secondaries and impact funds in niche markets along with occasional investments in private debt and venture capital funds.

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Class of 2020: How to include LinkedIn Learning on your CV


One of the most common questions students ask about LinkedIn Learning is: ‘should I put it on my CV?’ In this post Alex Noble, one of the Careers Centre’s Employability and Progression Assistants, will look at how and where to include a LinkedIn Learning course on your CV.

Why should I use LinkedIn Learning?

LinkedIn Learning courses are great for expanding your knowledge in a certain sector, developing your soft skills or acting as the starting point to learn something new.

If a job spec lists a required skill set or desirable skills and you don’t have experience LinkedIn Learning could help with this! As the platform focuses on professional development, the interactive learning method enables you to complete courses quickly and on the go.

How relevant is the course?

First, think about the job you might be applying for. What are the requirements for that job? Is the completed LinkedIn Learning course relevant to the position? If it is, contemplate what you learnt from it and the transferable skills you developed.

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Effective remote working during the Covid-19 global pandemic



Matt Wheeler and Sam Taylor University of Leeds Graphic & Communication Design graduates founded in 2019, a creative and digital design studio based in Leeds city centre- with the help of Spark, the University’s business start up support team.

Under lockdown we hear how Matt and Sam made the change to working effectively from the comfort of their own homes.


We became good friends during a final year brief for our degree, Graphic & Communication Design at the University of Leeds. With joint aspirations of combining digital design practice with strong business values, was born.

We now collaborate in a range of sectors from healthcare to construction, delivering progressive digital design solutions to help businesses thrive on an international scale.

Help from Spark

With the help from the University’s Spark team, we’ve been able to access business mentors, funding and facilities which have given us an incredible platform to build on. Spark has given us a great pool of contacts, from direct mentors to everyday friendships, which have been pivotal in the start-up phase of the business.

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How to survive and succeed in a new online role

cookie-the-pom-SNf-hZz6zOY-unsplashJust as you got used to and mastered studying remotely online, many of you will be embarking on new careers and roles from home. In this blog, Kate Wortley, Frontline Careers Team member, and Suzie Bullock, Frontline Careers Team Leader, outline how to survive and succeed when joining an organisation virtually.

Working from home can be tricky, the main thing to remember is you are not alone in this. The coronavirus is presenting new and unique challenges across the world. Embarking on external roles and virtual internships may seem daunting, but we have outlined a few top tips for you to consider on your journey to embracing new ideas and change.

1. Be kind to yourself

Starting a new job or role can be stressful at the best of times, let alone when joining an organisation remotely. Here are some ideas for you to consider when starting out.

  • Focus on all your good qualities. It’s too easy to be self-critical. Allow yourself to feel positive. You have a lot to offer.
  • Take regular screen breaks and move around your work area – a walk, a jog, a dance around the kitchen! Exercise is known to release “feel-good” chemicals (endorphins) and we all want those in our lives!
  • Remember to nourish your brain and your body – shopping may be more difficult and comfort food may be calling but try to maintain a healthy diet and drink plenty of water. Your immune system needs you!

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Inspiration from innovation


Photo: Yamchild, Flickr

Inspiration can come from many areas of life, for Marc Steward, Careers Consultant at the University of Leeds music is his passion and the recent passing of Florian Schneider got him thinking about Kraftwerk the trailblazing band from Germany.

Marc outlines how these pioneers have had a massive influence on the music scene and in this time of change-and the ‘new normal’- how innovation and taking a chance can help you.

Now, I have a real issue when “celebrities” are picked out for obituaries by terrestrial news channels or social media feeds at a time when we are losing so many people to the terrible Covid-19 virus. I feel like it belittles the lives of people who, in their own ways, have contributed a great deal to the people they live and work with.

After all, much of my work is explaining to students what great experiences and skills they have and how to articulate these for application forms, CVs and mock interviews. It is not just “celebrities” who are “successful”. So, why break my own “rule” for this blog? And for who?!

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