"A philosopher once wrote you need three things to have a good life. One, a meaningful relationship, two, a decent job of work, and three, to make a difference." David Brent

Friday, 6 June 2014

Jobs you can do with a fashion degree

Jobs you can do with a fashion degree

With more and more people graduating from university with creative degrees, competition for the best entry-level jobs can be fierce, especially as the country is still in recovery from the credit crunch.

The best way to get your career started is to think about the other kinds of jobs for which your degree and your skills are relevant.

If you’ve got a degree in fashion there are a huge amount of options out there to choose from, any one of which can lead onto a successful and satisfying creative career.

1. Designer

For most students starting out on a fashion foundation degree, their dream will most likely be to see their creations walking down the catwalk in Paris, London or Milan.

Though you may not see your name up in lights just yet, there are a lot of fashion designer jobs out there waiting for you.

The easiest way to find a job as a designer is to apply to a large organisation with big design department. That way you’ll get the experience and the contacts you need to launch you career in fashion.

2. Stylist

Being a stylist can involve working in a number of environments from photo shoots and TV sets to boutique shops and private homes.

Although being a stylist gives you an outlet for your creativity, it’s generally not as intense as design so makes the ideal choice for graduates who are looking for a more even career-life balance.
3. Buyer

Responsible for the stock of a shop, buyers have a huge hand in creating the look and identity of a clothes store.

Whether you work in a small boutique or a large department store, becoming a buyer is the perfect choice for those who want to shape high street fashion and change the way the world dresses.

4. Costume designer

An exciting option for any fashion graduate with an interest in theatre, TV or film, costume designers can have a big impact on the final look of a production.
There are generally fewer jobs in this field, so do consider that costume design can be a difficult areas to get into.

By thinking a little bit more broadly about the fashion industry,  and spreading your net a little wider, you should be able to find a career path that gives you the perfect mix of fun, creativity, and fashion.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

The importance of graduate training

The importance of graduate training

Qualifications are important as they show a prospective employer your level of academic achievement, your desire for success and allows them to assess your competence for a particular role. You may also be offered opportunities for further training once you’ve been awarded a job.

A complex workplace for graduates
Obviously, a degree is important but with an ever-increasing number of graduates stacking shelves in a local supermarket, or working for nothing as an intern, it might be a good idea for graduates to look at employment opportunities in a different way. Local colleges offer a diverse array of training courses and have close links with employers. Staff training courses with West Suffolk Collegewill give you the opportunity to progress along your chosen career path and develop the skills required in the modern workplace.

Training on the job

If you show initiative and competence and want to progress into management, you might like to consider further training. Your employer should be able to help you find a course that allows you to work and study at the same time. Courses run by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) in conjunction with a local college are an excellent option. If you’re concerned about finance you may be eligible for a 24+ Learning Loan. Some employers may offer help towards course costs, as your training will benefit their company.

Course costs

If you are between the ages of 19-23 and in receipt of Jobs Seekers Allowance, you may not have to pay your tuition fees. It’s always a good idea to ask your local college what financial aid schemes exist. With 881,000 unemployed between the ages of 18-24 it’s worth exploring all potential opportunities in order to avoid that weekly visit to the Job Centre.  

The range of courses

A degree is important, but workplace training is even more relevant in the modern employment market. When you are looking for a job, try to ensure that you will receive training once you are employed. Some professions, including accountancy and the law, expect their graduates to engage with practical training schemes. Other less obvious companies also offer graduate training programmes, which can lead to jobs in management, customer service or finance.  The European Social Fund finances a wide range of opportunities across the UK in order to help graduates hone their business skills. It’s never too late to add value to your degree.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Some career paths you might not have considered

Some career paths you might not have considered

It’s no secret that the jobs market is a tough nut to crack, especially when the country is still clawing its way out of an economic downturn. If you're struggling to find a job, or are simply looking for something different, exciting or challenging, here are three options you might not have considered:

1.      Freelancing

There are many areas in which you can freelance, from journalism and marketing to television production or even fitness coaching. Many people like the idea of being self-employed but you should also be prepared for the realities.

While you are indeed technically self-employed you will usually be working on short-term projects for a series of clients and you might find the deadlines are tight and there are high expectations. It can also be difficult finding enough work, especially at first. You could find yourself spending almost as much time hunting for clients as actually working, or turning to agencies that will take part of your fee. You will also have to sort your own tax and other financial affairs and, while you can often set your own hours and working patterns, you will not usually be eligible for holiday pay.

2.      Working at sea

There is a huge variety of careers waiting for you in the maritime industry. The UK remains a major force in the international shipping industry and commercial shipping is a significant contributor to the country's economy.

A career at sea brings with it a wealth of opportunities, from the rank of captain to chief engineer, electro-technical officer or an on-board hotel operations manager. There are also a host of related shore-based opportunities, such as surveying ships to check seaworthiness, roles in port and harbour management, maritime law and arbitration. For more information on careers and courses, check out Warsash Maritime Academy careers at sea.

3.      Joining a start-up

At the start of 2013, there were an estimated 4.9 million businesses in the UK and the vast majority were small and medium enterprises.* New businesses start up all the time and, if you get in at the ground floor, you might be part of an enterprise that changes the world.

However, you should also be aware of the risks. Around 20% of new businesses fail within the first year and only half will make it beyond their third year. That said, many people prefer being a big fish in a small pond to being a cog in a multinational corporation. If you're filled with the entrepreneurial spirit and have a great idea, you might want to start your own small business.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Good leadership skills

Good leadership skills

While education and training are important in order to be a successful manager, the journey doesn’t stop when you get your qualifications. In reality, the journey is just beginning because being a good manger is largely down to the experience you gain along the way.

It is likely that you have had experience of working for both good and bad managers. If you thing about the characteristics which place effective and poor leaders into different camps, you’ll probably find that they are simple. If you are aiming to reach management level in your career, you want to be the best leader you can be.

After all, a good manager means a happy work place.

Knowing your stuff

How much your work environment changes depends on the sector you are working in. But one thing is certain; your professional terrain will include change at some point or another so you need to have the skills and knowledge which will help you and your team make the transition as painlessly as possible.

Leadership and management courses Suffolk provides valuable training for developing these managerial skills. Study changes in your sector until you know them inside out and assess how they will affect your business in the future.

Once you have done this, take the necessary course of action to be as prepared as possible.

People person

It is not necessary to be friends with members of your team but you will need their respect if you want work to flow as easily as possible. Similarly, being respected does not mean being feared – a mistake that some managers make. If you choose to manage employees through being intimidating, you will only breed resentment and lose team members.

Be sympathetic but firm with staff and make sure that they have a forum for airing their opinions and views on the work environment and projects. They will appreciate you for it.

Clear vision

If you are keen to go into management, one quality you will need is the ability to react to unexpected situations calmly. Change may occur in your workplace or wider sector overnight or from one day to the next. If new ways of dealing with a situation are needed, embrace them with a level head.

Remember, it is easier to follow a calm leader with a clear vision.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Five jobs you can do with a law degree

Five jobs you can do with a law degree

Are you reconsidering a direct career in law? If so, you’re not alone. Many law students decide part way through their course that they’d prefer to take another direction in their career and whatever the reasons for your change of heart, the good news is there are other things you can do that will make use of the law knowledge you have attained.

It might even be that you do want to go into a law career but there simply aren’t any positions when you leave. It’s a competitive field and in some countries more students study law then there are positions available.

Having a back-up plan in case you struggle to find work once you’ve completed your degree is a great idea. The great thing about studying a Southampton Solent University law degree is you’ll pick up quite a range of different skills.

You can use these to get into quite a few different careers and here are five of them.

1. Counselling/advice worker

The communication skills and great analytical skills that you learn via a law degree come in useful within advice worker positions. This could include counselling or customer service advisors as being able to look at a problem and analyse it to find the best outcome is a really useful skill to have when helping people.

2. Legal secretary

Often seen pretty much as the bottom of the ladder in the legal world; being a legal secretary can actually get you a great start in the business. You’ll be in an ideal position to apply for any new legal roles as they come up.

3. Chartered secretary

Another secretarial role, a chartered secretary needs to have a really good understanding of both company law and business. If you’re interested you may want to take a look at the Institute of Chartered secretaries as they offer a qualifying scheme that would be useful to follow.

4. Charity management or administration

Do you have a particular interest in human rights? If so, working as part of the management or administration within a charity could really appeal to you. You’ll be doing something you enjoy while campaigning and raising money for a charity you believe in.

5. Police force

A lot of law students end up going into the police force. This is a fairly obvious career transaction if you’ve studied criminal law and while it is vital you understand the law when practising in the force, there are many other skills you’ll need too.

Monday, 2 December 2013

London Living – Life in London for International UG Students

London Living – Life in London for International UG Students

So you’ve decided to head to London to carry on with your undergraduate studies. You’ve been seduced by the city that has captivated the attention of the world for centuries. 

Your student years are a special time in your life. The world is fun, fresh and exciting. Anything seems possible. You’re surrounded by people who are as desperate as you are to experience everything that life can throw at you, to soak it all up like a sponge. There is no better place than London to do that.

The first thing to remember is not to lose your sense of adventure. To look at picture postcards, you might think that London was just the immediate area around Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace.

It isn’t.

Unlike some other cities, which appear ordered and regimented, built along a grid system, London is a higgledy-piggledy mess of different districts and areas, each with their own distinct charm. Think about them as a series of villages without any fields in between. So visiting some of London's more far-flung areas is very much worth doing, because each is so different to the others.

It must be said that London is the UK's most expensive city, and it can feel like a tough place to enjoy if you haven't got that much cash on the hip – and most students don’t.  

But there is actually a huge amount you can do for free in London. There are a myriad of websites, groups and clubs which will point you towards free activities in the capital, from outdoor film screenings to life drawing classes.

London's cultural scene is second to none, and most of the best museums and galleries (Imperial War Museum, Tate Modern and Tate Britain, Natural History Museum) are completely free for visitors if you fancy a bit of 'brain food'.

For actual food, the markets in Borough, Brick Lane and Portobello Road are definitely worth a visit. If the delicacies on offer are a bit out of your budget, they are still great places to walk around.

For something a bit livelier, try the famous Notting Hill Carnival; a magical time when the streets of West London are filled with the sound of steel drums and the aroma of sizzling jerk chicken. London has a huge number of open-air parties and get togethers going on all over the city. You don't need an invite, just find out where they are and head on down.

Undergraduate student life in London can be amazing. Make the most of it.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

A Look At What Goes Into Making A Perfect Student Home

Whether you're a student embarking upon your first rental adventure or a landlord keen to make the ideal rent-friendly student pad, there are a number of differences worth noting between a great student home and a great family home. The lifestyle of most students varies to most working people and the flow of a student property should differ as a result. Here, we take a look at the most important factors which contribute towards creating the ideal student property.

The Shared House Dynamic

In student accommodation, the shared living areas are arguably the most important. Rather than creating a space which is perfect for relaxing and getting cosy, many students will prefer a living space which lends itself to socialising and making friends.

The furnishing should do all it can to maintain an open plan scheme, avoiding the exclusion of any one seating area. Natural light is as important as ever, as are small house plants which are great ways to bring life into a room.

The Internet Connection

Life for many students revolves around the internet – work, play and socialising. With several occupants and friends likely to need access to the internet at the same time at regular points throughout the day, a high speed and reliable connection is absolutely essential. Whoever is responsible for establishing the internet connection should consider using a reputable supplier such as BT Home Broadband to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible throughout the student year.

Outside Space

The outside areas of student homes are often neglected by landlords, perhaps due to the short tenancy periods. Whether you're a green-fingered student who is keen to create some extra space, or a landlord looking to attract students for the coming academic year, a little work in the garden can go a long way.

A positive outside space will not only provide living space for students, but is also a great way to entertain friends. Working out in the fresh air can also be a great help to your productivity, as can any change of scenery.

Regular Cleaning

As a landlord, there is not really that much you can actually do to ensure that tenants tidy the property on a regular basis. While not all students fit into the stereotype of living in an untidy environment, those who do are probably looking to make a change. A mutual agreement for all tenants to clean as they go is not always easy to establish, but is undoubtedly the most effective way to keep a property clean and relationships stable.