Charlotte Ogden – Graphic Communication and Illustration

What made you decide to do the Enterprise and Employability Award?

I first heard about this award at a school-wide lecture at the beginning of the academic year. As I was aiming to move into a career as quickly as possible once finishing this final year of my degree, I realised I needed to get as many skills, qualities and qualifications as possible to be more employable. I had not joined many societies or done a huge amount of work experience to add to my CV ready for job applications, so I decided this would be the perfect way to enhance my CV and suggest to more employers that I am as good as my degree suggests. I also thought it would be a good way to find out myself if I was employable and ready for a career. I began the Bronze Award from my own home, and happened to later in the year complete the Silver Award during a module. I had intended anyway to try to get the Gold Award, and felt it would be silly to get this far and not finish only three more tasks to get the best Award possible.

How easy was it to get started on the Award?

It was very easy to get started on the Award, so easy that not completing at least the Bronze Award would have been a complete waste! The introductory talk about the Award was simple and informative, with straight-forward details showing how to get started and what you would need to do. I followed clear advice from the speaker and straight away was able to find the starting link online and get on with the first online quizzes. Beginning the other courses after this required only a simple email asking for advice or feedback on the tasks I had already completed – careers staff were so helpful and available for critique sessions.

What did you enjoy most about the Award?

The most enjoyable part of this award was the written application and career action plan, as I found I could learn a lot about my skills and assets that would be most likely to get me hired, and it really helped me to focus on my career goals and plan ahead to get where I wanted. I thought I would dread this part of the tasks, as I am not a fan of writing or talking about myself, but actually found it incredibly useful and inspiring to do.

What was the most useful thing you produced or learnt?

The most useful outcome of the award was the feeling that I was worthy of my dream career – that I had worked hard for it, could prove I had all the necessary skills to get that job, and had improved on the things I felt were holding me back, such as talking about myself, giving a presentation and showing an employer or interviewer that I deserve the role.

How has the Award helped you with your career planning and development?

Before I began the award I had a general direction I wanted to head in for my career, but did not know exactly what I wanted or how I would even get there. This helped me to focus on my skills, hobbies and personality to find what I really wanted from a career and where I would be happiest working, and thus solidified my choice of job. Once I had this final goal, it was almost too easy to direct myself and begin to head in the right direction!

If you have secured a job since completing it, how did the award help with this process?

Although I have not yet secured a job, this Award has helped me figure out how to present myself to potential employers and show them what they are looking for, thus leading to some very promising responses to job applications, sincere regrets when a workplace is too small to take on new talent, and proposals of future work together.

What advice would you give to others considering the award?

Go for it! There is absolutely nothing stopping anyone from getting this award! If you’re a little unsure, just start the Bronze Award from the comforts of your own home, and see if the higher awards strike your fancy afterwards! Any effort I put in to completing this Award has benefitted me hugely in the long run. I have so much more confidence, have applied to and been considered for so many more jobs because of this addition to my CV and this career plan, and have become much more sure of my skills and what I need to do next.

I would honestly say it’s a wasted opportunity not to take part in the Award! Staff are very helpful and constantly available to look at your work or provide advice in person or via email, and there is no pressure at all – if you only feel capable of the Bronze Award then that’s your decision, or if you have a lot of other uni work on then it’s your choice when the Award deadline is! Definitely a valuable asset to add to any CV!