Monthly Archives: November 2012

Leeds team through to semi-finals of IBM Universities Business Challenge

We are delighted to announce that a team of Leeds Engineering students we sponsored to take part in the IBM Universities Business Challenge have made it through to the semi-finals!

This is a fantastic achievement – over 300 teams from universities throughout the UK competed in Round 1 of the competition and only the top 2 teams from each group made it through to the semi-finals – so well done and a massive congratulations to “The Engineers”.  Whilst making it through to the semi-finals is an achievement in itself, The Engineers did exceptionally well in that they were ranked 6th overall out of the 310 teams which participated in terms of cumulative profit after the 5 trading periods in Round 1. 


The Engineers are all 2nd year students studying either Mechanical Engineering or Aerospace and Aeronautical Engineering here at Leeds.

The semi-finals take place late next February and we will keep you updated about how the Engineers get on.

We sponsored a further two teams to compete in UBC this year and whilst both teams put in strong performances, they both narrowly missed out on semi-finals places, “The Invisible Hands” finishing 3rd in their group and “Team FAMAS” finishing 4th in their group. Nevertheless, the teams say they have learnt a lot and now have an excellent addition to their CVs.

For more information on all 3 teams from Leeds which participated, see our previous blog post.


Filed under Develop your employability

Fantastic networking events for budding Leeds entrepreneurs

Thursday 15th November saw more than 100 students and business professionals from around Leeds gather together for the first Leeds Enterprise Networking event of this academic year, fittingly falling on Social Enterprise day. The event was a huge success with Leeds University’s Nick Simm from Bold Gorilla and Hannah Gillicker from Break for The Border Records holding stalls to promote their businesses.

The speakers this year were Andy Peers, founder of Social Footprints and Mike Chitty, founder of Realise Development, who both gave interesting talks on different angles within enterprise.

Andy spoke about his experience with the Big Issue being the spark to set up his own social enterprise, Social Footprints, and started his presentation off with this inspirational video:

He pointed out the lack of social enterprises in today’s economy and highlighted his intentions on improving social entrepreneurship.

Dave took a different approach to entrepreneurship and asked a thought inspiring question to start his presentation:

Who are the enterprising generation?

He focused on the qualities of an entrepreneur and pointed out the importance of pursuing goals, both personal and commercial.

The Leeds Enterprise Network brings together Business Start-Up at Leeds Metropolitan University, SPARK at the University of Leeds, QU2 and Inc Enterprise at Leeds City College. The event was kindly sponsored by Finance Yorkshire, who exhibited along with other business supporters and start ups.

The next Leeds Enterprise Network event will take place on 27th February 2013 at Leeds Metropolitan University, providing a great opportunity for business start ups and professionals to come together and promote business success in the region.

To register now for free please go to

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Leeds teams compete in national business competition

This year, the Careers Centre is sponsoring 3 teams from the University of Leeds to participate in UK-wide IBM Universities Business Challenge.

Universities Business Challenge (UBC) is an annual competition in which teams from universities throughout the UK compete against each other for the honour of becoming overall winner (not to mention pocketing a tidy cash sum).  In addition to this, UBC  helps participants improve their knowledge of the business world, put theory into practice and develop team-working, leadership and employability skills. The challenge – and it’s called a ‘challenge’ for good reason –  gives participants the chance to work as a board of directors in a series of realistic, simulated companies, making all the critical business decisions that affect the company’s performance.

We had a great response to our advertisement back in September for teams interested in representing the University of Leeds and, after a number of selection events, we whittled it down to the final 3 teams.  The teams are well into Round 1 of the competition having just completed their fourth trading period and are all doing fantastically well, so we thought it high time to introduce them to you!

“The Invisible Hands”

The Invisible Hands

“The Invisible Hands” – whose team name is inspired by Adam Smith’s invisible hand theory in economics – are a team newly formed for this competition.  Their mission for the business challenge is to become the Apple of the food world (the simulated business which teams are managing for this round of UBC is a food manufacturing business).  They hope that their varied subjects of study will give their team a unique perspective during the challenge.  They are (left to right);

Josh Walker – 3rd year Business & Financial Economics

Tom Beard (Team Leader)  – 3rd year Business Ecomonomics

Kelly Wood – 1st year Business Management with Marketing

Will Higgins – 2nd year Geological Sciences

Vanessa Karsah – 3rd year Psychology

“Team FAMAS”


Team Famas have previously worked well together, having narrowly missed out on first place in the 2012 Leeds Enterprise Business Challenge.  Their team mission is to utilise their diverse experience and skill-set to achieve success.  They are (left to right)

Freddie Fitz-Gibbon – 2nd year Design Management.  He recently started his own company at University, in which he  designed, developed and distributed merchandise to sell at the London Olympic Games.

Olivia Strong – 2nd year Politics & Sociology. Was this year elected as the director of the Leeds University RAG fashion show. During her school career she was acknowledged as the Managing Director of the Year in the Scottish Young Enterprise team. Clearly she will be able to lead, delegate and structure our team effectively throughout this task.

Benjamin Alldis (Team Leader) 2nd year Geography and Economics, and he demonstrates his interest for Business innovation through his participation in the Enterprise Society. His Enterprise skill was acknowledged when he came second in the Big Business Challenge 2011.

Megan Armour – 2nd year Management and Economics. As the head of one of the Leeds Cheerleading teams, she highlights her creativity through music and dance. Megan’s internship with DDB China this Summer has given her an insight into how different economies operate and how to successfully brand and market different business ventures. Her work with clients such as Unilever and Adidas will enable us to strategically plan solid marketing concepts.

Eddie Cummings – 2nd year Spanish and has a central role in the Leeds Student Newspaper. He will enhance the team’s structuring of reports and communication of ideas. Moreover, Eddie has undertaken two marketing placements and was also involved with a Young Enterprise team in London during sixth form.

The Engineers

3/5s of the Engineers team

“The Engineers” are five second-year students studying Mechanical, Aerospace and Aeronautical Engineering.  They have previous experience of working well together as a team, notably last year when they designed a glider, which after competitive testing was ranked second in their year.  In addition to their technical skills they have a shared interest in business and business strategy.

Pictured above are three of the five team members. They are (left to right)

Matthew Clarke – 2nd year Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering

David Penny – 2nd year Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering

Saad Ali (Team Leader) – 2nd year Mechanical Engineering

Not pictured are;

Alistair Rodgers – 2nd year Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering

Robert Tuton – 2nd year Mechanical Engineering

With only one more trading period remaining in round 1, we are looking forward to seeing if the Leeds teams can maintain their form and make it through to the semi-finals!

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Maximising your work experience – tips from a Graduate

Jade Simpson graduated from the University of Leeds in 2011 with a 2:1 in Geography and Transport Planning.  Jade was successful in gaining one of two Graduate Intern Roles with us in the Careers Centre and worked (excellently!) with us from October 2011 until July 2012.  Here she outlines her experience, how she feels this benefitted her as well as sharing top tips for making the most of your experience. Following her internship with us, Jade secured a permanent position with the Faculty of Arts at the University of Leeds where she now works as a Marketing Assistant.  If you like the sound of Jade’s internship, why not apply to be our next Graduate Intern? We are recruiting now for a 2012 University of Leeds Graduate to join us for an 8-month internship.

Having graduated in 2011 with no fixed career route, I felt that, being just 21, I really wanted a job that I enjoyed, rather than having a fixed ‘career  plan’ as such.  I saw the advert for the Careers Centre internship on the Careers Centre vacancy database, thought it sounded interesting and applied.  I was invited for interview, which consisted of a group session, formal interview and ten minute PowerPoint presentation, and successfully got the job!

Next stop: An office, staff card, name badge, fellow graduate intern and my name on the door!  The first couple of weeks helped me find my feet and gave me the opportunity to try and remember all the names of the people I had met during my tour of the office.  First point to note from this post: try and remember the names of your colleagues, even the guy who you think you will never work with because you probably will at some point!

When I started telling family and friends about the job they made all the usual jokes of about me becoming the tea lady and how much photocopying had I done that day. But the joke is on them. It is hard to put into words the experiences I have gained from my internship but I do know it has made a massive difference to how I feel about entering the graduate job market. Second point to note from this post: take up all the opportunities you are offered, because you will learn from them. Also, tell people that you want to work with them, speak with your mentor or manager and express your interest in projects or everyday tasks and it will show that you are a real member of the team, not just an ‘intern’.

One of the major projects I was involved in was the launch of the Careers Centre social media presence. The Careers Centre didn’t have a Twitter or Facebook account when I started so one of the first tasks I was given was to was to carry out market research on other Careers Services across the UK and overseas and find out how they were embracing and using social media. Straight away I knew this would be interesting and would make use of my market research skills from my dissertation. I found out a lot about different Careers Services and audited how they were using social media, then fed back the results to my colleagues in a report for the social media team. After this, our Twitter and Facebook accounts were born and we now have a dedicated team at the Careers Centre keeping it up to date. I also supplied the social media team with tweets for upcoming events and interesting news for our followers.

I was lucky that 2011/12 was a huge year for the Careers Centre in terms of development and I managed to get right in there and share my ideas, assist with developments and make a valued contribution to these. If your work experience is only going to be over the summer or Christmas holidays then I would honestly say the same applies, get stuck in and really make the most of it. Go out of your way to chat with everyone, it’s all about networking and it’s natural and completely acceptable to speak to colleagues and ask them how they got to where they are today in their career. Plus, you are much more likely to get a valuable insight this way rather than sending off an email to Joe Bloggs on a company website and hoping that he responds! Point three: network, network and network!

I know that working in a professional environment has not only meant I have something to add to my CV, it has developed me personally (cheesy I know, but true), and opened my eyes to the real world of work. I really can’t stress to you how important it is to be proactive in your internship, summer job or part time work, you never know how it might pay off but at least you’ll be able to know you made the most of the opportunity. Never be afraid to say, “Let me know if I can help.”

Summary of Jade’s tips:

  1. Make an effort to remember everyone’s names – you never know when you may work with them!
  2. Seize all opportunities you are offered and be proactive in seeking out new opportunities
  3. Use the opportunity to speak to a wide range of people and network, network, network!

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Filed under How I got my job, Work Experience

“Schools out for summer” or is it? Top tips for getting into teaching

Teaching is a popular career path for new graduates – the opportunity to nurture young minds and the lure of an annual 6 week holiday is enough to tempt many, but is teaching really for you? Here are a few things to think about before taking that leap back into the classroom.

Do your homework

Like any other career route, research is key. This can start by checking out the useful resources below, read what a day in the life of a teacher is actually like – can you see yourself in that role? Try and talk to teachers that you know, whether family, friends or previous school teachers and ask them about their job – what are the good and bad points? What kind of skills do they think a good teacher needs? How did they get into the profession?

Still interested?  Your next step is to get some school based experience.

Getting school-based experience

School based experience is vital for teacher training applications, whichever route you decide to take. It shows that you are really aware of what teaching involves, understand the curriculum and enables you to see how a classroom works. Aim to get experience over an extended period, rather than trying to cram it all in before you apply for your teacher training. Here are a few ways to get back into school:

  • Students into Schools’ modules several schools and departments at the University of Leeds recognise the skills gained from school experience so offer accredited modules that give you classroom experience whilst counting towards your degree.
  • Access and Community Engagement offer you the chance to volunteer in a range of educational establishments. Consider tutoring for some great insight into the classroom and to build a relationship with a local school.
  • School Experience Programme secondary school experience available for those wanting to teach shortage subjects (maths, chemistry, physics, modern foreign languages, history, english, geography, computer science or biology) and are in the final year of their degree expecting at least a 2:1.
  • Use your contacts do you know any teachers? Ask them if you could go into their school to work shadow or contact your old school. Schools are much more likely to give you the chance to get some experience if they know you in some way. Alternatively you can try contacting local schools, Edubase allows you to search for schools in your area.

Teacher Training – your options

There are lots of different routes you can take to train to be a teacher so it is worthwhile considering which option is right for you. For example, are you someone who likes to learn on the job? Or do you like to understand the theory behind something before you put it into practice? Where do you want to be based? What level of support would you like whilst you are training? All of these things will affect which route you choose. Here is a breakdown of the different teacher training routes and where to find out more:

  • PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate of Education) is university led teacher training which normally takes 1 year to complete, although there are options to undertake it part time or through distance learning. The course is split between time in the classroom with a cohort of other trainee teachers and out on placement in schools.
  • SCITT (School Centred Initial Teacher Training) is ideal for those with some prior teaching experience and who want to learn on the job. SCITT is normally run by a school or a consortium of schools and taught by experienced teachers. Many, but not all, have a PGCE attached which is accredited by a local Higher Education Institution.  The courses generally last one academic year – September to June.
  • School Direct Training Programme is similar to a SCITT in that the training is schools based but successful applicants will be taken on by a school that have a job in mind just for them. Again, courses last one year and are applied for through the teaching agency website
  • Teach First are an independent charity aiming to address educational disadvantage through their leadership development programme. This programme fast-tracks you through a PGCE through their summer institute before placing you in a challenging school to complete the two year programme. During this time you will be paid by your schools and are also offered the chance to carry out leadership and management training, undertake internships and take a Masters degree in Education.

Key dates and deadlines:

  • 6th November 2012 – ‘PGCE Secondary Talk To Potential Students’ run by the UoL School of Education. 1pm at the Careers Centre. Book here
  •  15th November 2012 – PGCE Primary Talk To Potential Students’ run by the UoL School of Education. 1pm at the Careers Centre. Book here
  • 1st December 2012 – Deadline for all primary PGCE applications through GTTR.
  • 20th March 2013 – Teach First application deadline, however it is open now and early submission is advised.
  • 30th June 2013 – Deadline for all secondary PGCE applications through GTTR although it is open now and early submission is advised.

Useful Resources

We have included links to relevant sites as we’ve gone along but here are some overarching useful sites if you want to get into teaching:

  • The Teaching Agency are responsible for all initial teacher training in England and Wales. Great information on the different routes, the application process and who you need to register with if you want to apply for a School Direct route or for the School Experience Programme.
  • Graduate Teacher Training Registry (GTTR) Course search and application submission for PGCE and SCITT courses.
  • AGCAS – Teaching Frequently Asked Questions Useful and thorough resource, bear in mind this was last updated in 2010 so some things (i.e. the introduction of the School Direct programme) may have changed since then.

If you want to discuss your options in more depth, or want help with the application process pop in to see us, we run our drop in service 9-4pm Monday to Friday and we’d love to help you.

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