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contents Editor’s letter p3 What is Employability? p4-5 Education Research p6-7 Informed Choices p8-9 Is your Choice of University Halls Important? p10-11 Spotlight on Law p12-13 Student Experience of the AGR p14-15 The Best Thing about Uni is? p16-17 Be an Active Member of the Bright Futures Society p18-19 Considering a Placement Year Whilst at Uni? p20 Step up to the Challenge p21 The Apps Review Room p22 Oundle School - Bright Futures Society p23

The important thing is never to stop questioning Albert Einstein


Company Profiles p24 p25-26: National Grid p23-24: PwC (Price Waterhouse Cooper)

editor's letter Welcome to our 2nd edition of ‘HirEd Schools’, the Bright Futures termly ezine for secondary schools. Now that Halloween and Bonfire Night are out the way it’s time to dedicate a bit of focus on thinking about your future! This term we have lots of great hints, tips and facts about what you can do to help yourself get to where you want in life. Check out our features from employers with their views on what makes someone employable, plus an insider’s view on what it’s like doing a placement year as part of a degree course. Not sure what subjects to do after GCSEs? Find our article on page 8-9 which gives you a link to a really useful resource to help you decide. Plus fantastic tips on how to make the most of becoming a Bright Futures Society member, along with a feature from one of our Presidents about their day at the Association of Graduate Recruiters’ Annual Conference. At Bright Futures we’ve had a really busy time increasing the network of schools we work with across the UK to help more and more students decide the best route for them as a school leaver. We are also really pleased to be increasing our reach by branching into 6th Form Colleges as well. Another thing we have been focusing our time on is creating and launching our brand new website – we think it’s a huge improvement and includes a careers advice section and a useful new committee resource bank, so please have a look and let us know what you think! We hope you enjoy this term’s issue and I look forward to seeing, hearing and sharing your hopes, aspirations, events and successes! So if you want to get in touch and feature in our next edition (out next term) please contact me below!

Ruth School Society Manager Telephone: 01242 236415

*If you don’t have a society at your school then set up your own! Contact me at and we can get you started right away!



At Centrica, we see employability as having the skills needed to secure and be successful in a job. These skills are more important than ever in the current economic climate as in order to be well prepared for the upturn, we need to ensure that we are equipping young people with the required management and leadership skills


which employers value in order to support the economy and meet the needs of business. Employability skills can also include application of IT skills and communication and literacy.


We also like to feature recent evidence about employability so that you can be more certain about

91% Attitude

what are the best things to prioritise. Addecco Group conducted some research in 2012 with 500 employers

entitled Unlocking Britain’s Potential. When asked what employers rate future potential on, these were:

55% 35% Work experience


Increasing employability through volunteering A survey carried out by TimeBank reveals that out of the 200 UK businesses they interviewed:

73% of employers would employ a candidate with volunteering experience over one without



of employers believe that volunteering can add to skills

of employees who volunteered to learn new skills had benefited either by getting their first job, improving their salary, or being promoted.


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We like to pass on any interesting education research in each edition of HirEd to help you make decisions about your future. If you are wondering whether continuing with your education after school is worth it, getting a degree either at university or in the work place is definitely a bonus according to this research:

A global survey by the Organisation for Economic Co-operate and Development (OECD) revealed that in 2010, an average graduate in a developed country such as the UK can expect to earn

59% more than those that did not go to university. This is compared to 44% in 2001.


Warwick Business School Dean Professor Mark Taylor says:


These figures from the OECD back up what we have always known that a good education is vital to starting and sustaining a good career. The worldwide recession has emphasised this even more. Those with high skills and higher education will be able to survive an economic downturn much better than those without.



For those of you who are aspiring to go to one of the leading UK universities you need to make sure you choose the right A level subjects (or equivalent) for the course you want to do. For example if you are thinking about doing an Art based degree subject most students will do a one year Art Foundation course after their A levels and if you want to do Computer Science you will do subjects like Maths, Further Maths, ICT, Computing, Philosophy and Physics A levels. Don’t fall into the trap of being at a disadvantage because you have chosen a combination of subjects that will not give you the right skills and knowledge. it’s a good idea to choose at least two traditional subjects (otherwise known as facilitating subjects) such as English, Maths, Sciences, Languages, History or Geography. These are all well respected subjects which will enable you to keep your options open regardless of your final decisions The Russell Group of universities, who represent some of the leading universities in the UK, teamed up with the Institute of Careers Guidance last year to produce ‘Informed Choices’ which is a guide aimed at all students considering A-level and equivalent options. It includes advice on the best subject combinations for a wide range of university courses as well as advice on the best choices if you don’t know what you want to study after school and need to keep your options open.

Endorsed by the Government Minister for Universities the resource is an excellent source of help for students to enable them to make the right choices early on. To access the full guide use this link or look at a recently made short film on YouTube

PDF brochure (click here) youtube video (click here)


Is your choice of university halls important? The first year of university is both daunting and incredibly exciting in equal measure. You’ll meet so many people from so many different backgrounds and share some fantastic experiences. However, this still begs the question of where you will be living during your first year at university? ‘University halls’ is usually the simple answer. The thing is though, there are a variety of options at most universities, which all present their own advantages and disadvantages. We’ll be taking a look at the things to consider when selecting your university halls below. With our help, you’ll hopefully make the right decision and have a whale of a time.

Format & Size… University halls can be a collection of dorms along a corridor, a number of shared self-contained flats or a complex of shared houses. Toilets and showers also tend to play a big part in making a decision. It’s common for a number of people to share the same lavatory and washing facilities, so if this sounds like a nightmare to you, make sure you check it out before you go! A growing number of halls built over the last


ten years, however, have rooms that all come complete with en-suite bathrooms. If you’re a social animal, it’s generally better to choose halls where lots of people are going to be about all the time. Dormitories with long corridors and loads of rooms make for a great social experience. Meeting 20 or 30 people in the first few weeks of university is literally unavoidable; even if you just choose to hang out around your room. Self-contained flats offer a similar experience, but on a smaller scale. You’ll still meet a great mix of people, just not as many. If you’re keen on your own personal quiet time though, living in this kind of environment can have its advantages; self-contained flats offer more opportunity for hiding away (to do work or watch a film) than the long corridor option. The ‘shared-house’ variety of halls, although a lot less common, is also a good option to consider. You’re more likely to have communal space here, usually a living room or a common room of some sort. However, it’s highly likely that a lot less people will be kicking around on a regular basis.

Location… Whether you’re at a campus university or one with various sites dotted around a city, halls can largely be viewed as either being in the thick of the action or not. Most universities have epicentres where the majority of the action takes place. Firstly, your job is

to find out where it is and which halls place you the closest. Your second mission is to figure out what you would prefer: Being right in the thick of it? Or living in the quieter areas of the university?

Food… That’s right, we’ve all got to eat! Generally speaking though, halls will present you with two options: catered or self-catered. One obviously allows you to rock up and eat regular meals from a select menu without the hassle of using a hob. The other option gives you the freedom to eat what you like, bolster those culinary skills and go it alone! Most catered situations will have set times which you’ll need to adhere to in order to keep hunger at bay. Consequently, if you’re not an early bird or a champion time-keeper, you’re likely to play truant with your breakfast, lunch and dinner. Catered halls also tend to be slightly more expensive, because the university has to factor the food cost into your rent. Despite this added expense, the food at university halls tends to be reasonably-priced, filling and not bad quality. Some catered halls allow you to pay for what you eat, so this could be a pretty useful option. Most catered halls are also likely to have a few kitchens dotted around, so if you’re desperate for a midnight snack, you can also rustle yourself something up whenever you please!

Although self-catering affords you the choice of eating when and what you like, you’re also entrusted with the budget and the task of trudging back and forth with your ten shopping bags in tow. If you do go for this option, it’s wise to plan carefully for each week’s shopping budget.

Cost… Stating the obvious really, but when it comes to choosing university halls, costs are a big consideration. At most universities there can be quite a significant difference between the costs of different halls, so make sure you’re up to speed with the options at your prospective university. We would highly recommend establishing a budget of some sort. If you’re receiving help from your parents in addition to a student loan, or you’re planning to get a part-time job, put some figures down and assess how much you’ve got to play with. The first year of university is both daunting and incredibly exciting in equal measure. You’ll meet so many people from so many different backgrounds and share some fantastic experiences. However, this still begs the question of where you will be living during your first year at university?


Although there are no essential subjects you need to study at A level, you will need to get very good grades to study Law at university. It’s a good idea to choose something like English, History and other facilitating subjects like maths, the sciences, languages and Geography. Note that you do NOT need to study law at A level to do Law at university. Once you have graduated you need to get a training vacancy to work towards becoming professionally qualified and it is very competitive with nearly three times as many applicants for each place (Law Society Annual Statistical report, 2010).


There are lots of different areas of law for you to think about getting into and generally there are opportunities in private practice, the public sector and in-house in industry and commerce. These are just some:

The next thing to think about is what type of job you want to do in the legal profession and here are just a few. Note, you don’t always have to go to university to enter the legal profession such as being a Legal Executive.

• • • • • •

• • • • •

Personal Injury Law Comparative and International Law Insurance Law Maritime Law Entertainment Law Will Writers

Barrister Barrister’s Clerk Legal Executive Licensed Conveyancer Solicitor

Although the legal sector has been affected by the economic recession particularly in banking, finance and property law, graduate vacancies in 2011 were predicted to rise by 4% compared to 2010 rates (High Fliers Graduate Market Survey, 2011). Growth areas are energy and environmental law, international law, alternative dispute resolution, insolvency, shipping, insurance and employment law. There has been a rise in niche law firms and emergence of virtual law firms operating on a consultancy basis. We asked some students studying law now for some top tips for anyone considering a career in law

“Do some general reading on the English legal system and any other areas that they’re interested in.”

“Don’t be money orientated (don’t choose law for the potential to earn a lot as it’s not always the case, you get out what you put in!) Get as much work experience as you can and network with those professionals who you aspire to be, they will give you the best tips and may be the ones who open that door you have your foot in! Most of all enjoy it as a subject and don’t forget a law degree is great to have for most careers, you don’t need to want to be a solicitor/ barrister!”

“Keep up to date with legal news. I’m subscribed to the guardian law newsletter, which sends you articles about interesting worldwide points of law.” “Try to get some work experience, in a local solicitors office would probably be easier as big firms don’t usually do work experience. Just a day a week would be useful for a real life insight.” “Do debating and look at a Uni that offers more than just the degree, extra curricular opportunities are a must.”

For more information about careers in law take a look at here you can find out all about different careers in law, courses, non university routes and lots more. Also take a look at


14 15

The best th about going to uni Aasiya, Cardiff University

...meeting people from all different and walks of life!

Mayuresh, Coventry University


Chris, University of Strathclyde

Shaping yourself and becoming the person you want to be through learning and experiencing new things!


... that sense of independence, individuality, freedom, that you will definitely not get anywhere else. Not to forget parties and Bright Futures! :P

Viju, De Montfort University

...knowing that you’ve been in edu

past 15 years and its finally that

cation for the

last stint!!

hing i is...

...that everyone’s experience is unique! Stuart, University of York

Natalie, Middlesex University

...coming into uni a teenager and

leaving a adult.

Salman, University of Leicester

....opening the doors to a life and career you want for yourself.

Anisa, University of Leeds

...making the most of opportunities available to you i.e. bright futures and developing your skills so you enter the working world as a rounded person.

Greg, University of Exeter

lasting friend...that mixture of great experiences; course and gaining ships, social events, enjoying your more employable! new skills, and ultimately becoming



• Watch out for new events happening in school and attend as many as possible – that way you will find out as much as you can about what your options after school are. • When you go to events know what you want to get out of it and prepare any questions to ask on the day. • Don’t be scared to ask employers about what opportunities there might be to get work experience or gap year placements etc. • If you have some fun ideas about events the committee could run in school – let them know about them! • If there are any employers you really want to meet, tell your committee and they will see what they can do to get them in school with help from us. • Help the committee by responding to any surveys and research about what events you want them to run. • Tell all your friends how good it is being a member and get them to join! • Challenge yourself by putting into practice all the skills employers tell you about – e.g doing a presentation or try out your leadership skills in group work at school. • Write an article about your part time job or things you have done at school that will inspire others to start preparing for the world of work or university. Send it to your committee and it may appear in the next edition of HirEd! • If you are an active member you may even decide you would like to apply for a position on the committee when the time comes to hand over to a new bunch of students!

We like to provide you with food for thought when thinking about what type of degree to choose. If you are considering doing a vocational degree it’s a good idea to think about choosing a course that will give you the vital experience you need. We are featuring one student’s view on just that!

When I chose to do a Public Relations degree at Bournemouth University, one of the influencing factors was that it included a placement year. I was very aware that securing a quality job (especially in the media industry) would be extremely challenging and competitive, therefore a sandwich course seemed like a good idea, making me stand out against others who had little experience. My degree entails two years of studying, before a year out working for at least forty weeks undertaking a public relations role, then returning to university for a fourth, final year. My first year was spent gaining a general understanding of media and communications, whereas the second year applied a stronger focus on public relations, with lecturers encouraging us to apply for placements more or less at the start of the first term. Tutorials, seminars and lectures were arranged to let us know how to go about finding a placement and we were regularly sent emails with any job positions that had become available.

From small PR agencies to large corporate firms including Disney and Warner Bros, there was a huge selection of placements on offer. The recruitment process wasn’t easy though, if you were lucky enough to hear back from a company after sending a cover letter and CV or completing a lengthy online application form, a job was still a long way off. There were phone interviews, recruitment days and face-to-face interviews.


After several interviews and a couple of recruitment days, I successfully secured a placement at a small PR agency in my hometown. Initially, I was slightly unconvinced as not only had I wanted to work in London, but I also had envisaged working in a large team; however working in a small firm has its perks. Since I started work in June, the quality of experience that I’ve gained has been very good - I’ve met journalists from national newspapers, generated media coverage for product launches and have been involved in creating campaign ideas. I would definitely recommend choosing a degree with a placement year to anyone who is interested in working in the media industry - I’ve even been offered a job when I’ve finished my degree through some contacts I’ve made whilst networking!

STEP UP to the 12121212 Challenge Youth Employment UK invited some young people who have experience of youth unemployment to write the lyrics to a song for our Step Up 12121212 Challenge. The lyrics were then taken on by a group of young people still in education who composed and produced the song Step Up. This sound track to youth employment is now available as a free download and we are asking everyone who supports young people in the UK to STOP at 12pm on the 12.12.2012 wherever they are and play the song,making some noise and showing their support for young people in the UK.

Will you pledge publically to support the 12121212 Challenge? Could you get a commitment from your own network to download the song? Will you stop at 12pm on the 12.12.2012 whatever you are doing and play the song? Keep up to date with our campaign and who is supporting us through our Facebook page

You can watch the making of the song and download the track at





Quora is all about utilising a community to ask and therefore get answers to your burning questions. So if you want to know more about something of interest or even something you are studying, you can pose a question and get first-hand knowledge from real people like doctors, businessmen and women, police officers, other students, economists, advertisers... the list is endless! You can build a feed of interests and see what questions other people are asking and help them by offering your opinion.

Getting organised is one of the biggest challenges for students from school, to university and into the world of work. This handy app uses voice add, fun reminders, and lists to help you keep on top of your to-do wherever you are with automatic syncing across your phone and

This app allows you to take photos of any documents and convert them into a prim and proper PDF file. Its great for taking good quality snippets from your library books or newspaper articles that you don’t want to haul around school with you. The app auto-crops it, clearing any unnecessary background and enhances the image quality so that you can save, print, share and utilise as much as you want!

Price: Free Website: Platform: Android, iPhone, Online

Price: Free Website: Platforms: iPhone, Android, Online

Price: Free Website: Click here Platforms: Android and iPhone


Oundle School Bright Futures Society: Science and Engineering Careers Event The Oundle School Bright Futures Society is one of the first societies to join the network and was pleased to put on its first event in November by hosting recruitment representatives from three leading scientific and technological companies: Caterpillar, Rolls Royce, and Thales, and also from Macmillan Cancer Support. The evening started off with giving the companies a tour of our science facilities and having an informal supper before the main event. Then each organisation gave a 15 minute presentation on qualities they look for in future employees as well as possible career opportunities in STEM subjects. Bright Futures made the initial contact with the organisations attending our event and then it was over to us to start liaising with each company and make sure they were fully briefed on all the details of the event. Pupils listened enthusiastically as each company explained its particular sector of industry as well as the hiring process for school leavers and university graduates. Among the programmes mentioned were six and twelve month work placements, apprenticeships, school-leaver schemes and graduate schemes. A common theme throughout the evening was the desirability of STEM qualifications to meet current and future industry demand. An applicant’s CV must show his or her interest in working for the company, including transferable skills from extra-curricular activities and projects completed while at school / university. All of the representatives agreed that employment in Science and Technology is rapidly growing and one of the most reliable (and profitable) sectors for university graduates. They also noted a continuing lack of female applicants in this sector, with one representative describing them as being ‘like gold-dust’ - so girls with STEM qualifications are almost guaranteed employment. The representative from Macmillan Cancer Support described how charities work with companies in all sectors, which have charitable obligations to discharge. Graduate employment in the charitable sector can give young people the opportunity to build a network of contacts and enhance their managerial, communication and leadership skills. The Oundle School Bright Futures Society will host another event in the Easter Quarter and details will be published shortly.

J. Williamson

Secretary | Oundle School Bright Futures Society

It has been great getting involved with the Bright Futures Society. It has taught me key skills and lessons that I will need later on. It has also given me more confidence through getting such positive responses from my work. What I have particularly enjoyed is coming away from our event knowing that all our hard work had paid off and that we had managed to help numerous people get that step closer to their future

Charlotte O’Dea

Client Liaison | Oundle School Bright Futures Society


National Grid

Wanted: Smart Students and Connected Graduates

The power we deliver touches the lives of almost everyone. Very few businesses operate on such a scale and can offer ambitious individuals the chance to gain an overview of this vital industry. At National Grid we’re passionate about our “entry level talent programmes” and its little wonder that they are recognised for excellence and innovation – after all, we’ve been running some for well over 20 years - so they are among the best you’ll find anywhere. Each programme offers you a fantastic opportunity to develop

your specialism combined with crucial behavioural development that will drive your career quickly to ensure you have the skills and capability to help shape the future of the energy market.

Development Programme • Engineer Training Programme (fully funded earn while you learn degree programme)

We have a programme for everyone, whether you are finishing your GCSEs, A2 levels, at University or have graduated.

For 2013 we will have 270 Vacancies.

• 12 month Year in Industry Programme (prior to going to University) • 12-14 week Summer Internship programme • 12 month Industrial Placement Programme • 18 month Graduate

company profile

National Grid is one of the world’s largest investor-owned energy companies and we play a vital role in connecting energy generation and delivering gas and electricity to many millions of people across Great Britain and North-Eastern US.

to name just a few……….

Apply on-line through Development-Opportunities Join us and be at the heart of one of the greatest engineering challenges facing society; the creation of new sustainable energy solutions for the future.


School and college leaver opportuniti PwC

Right now you’re at a critical stage in your life. There are lots of different options Do you take some time out and have a gap year? Or do you explore your opportu opportunities available to you, so that you can make the choice that’s right for yo

company profile

Whatever decision you make, we want you to consider joining us. And if you do we’ll need you to be bright, talented and enthusiastic to learn. If you want to work in business, we’re the best place to start your career. As we know that your career is just that. Yours. You choose it. You live it. You make it happen. To get the best from it, you need the best opportunities. And opportunities are at the heart of what we do.

• Provide an environment where you’ll be able to explore new opportunities, to help you grow and find your niche. • Give you access to the best learning and development around. Enjoy a structured career programme, with many career paths involving study towards a professional qualification.

Earn while you learn

Make the most of your good Our offer to you... A-Levels, or equivalent academic achievement, by starting work • To be part of the world’s leading straight away. On one of our professional services network and Higher Apprenticeships in enjoy the benefits that come with Assurance, Consulting, that. Financial Advisory or Tax, you’ll • Work directly with big name earn a competitive salary while clients where you’ll get to grips you study towards a professional with the value they’re looking for qualification. You’ll be part of a by getting into the detail. team, working on client projects, which means you’ll be learning 26

on the job, building the in-depth business knowledge you’ll need to progress through our business. You can find out more information about our opportunities for school and college leavers and more about the firm by attending one of our Career Information Days. We’ll be running them all year at our offices UK-wide. Find out more at

Fast track your accounting career If you want to go to university, and know you want to ultimately have a career as an accountant, then our PwC-endorsed degree offers the best of both worlds. It could set you on your path to qualify more quickly as a Chartered Accountant, and means you could even secure a job offer with us once you

ties with PwC

for you to consider. Do you go into further education? Do you go to university? unities for starting work now? We think it’s important that you know the full range of ou.

graduate. That’s why we call it our Flying Start Degree Programme. You get a traditional university experience as a full-time student, alongside paid work placements with our Assurance practice, and exposure to our world-class clients. Find out more at

Undergraduates and graduates If you’re going to university and want to study a subject you’re passionate about, this still could lead you to join one of our graduate trainee programmes. It may seem a long way off now, but if you’re serious about a career in business you should

consider finding out about our work experience programmes for undergraduates. We have some aimed at first years – with our Insight day or Talent Academy. We have other programmes too. We’ve designed different experiences for each year you’re at university. Each of them gives you an opportunity to meet us, and find out what we do. As well as gain work experience, which will help with your job applications. Find out more at

What you need to bring to us Your intellect, willingness to learn, ability to build relationships, put yourself in others’ shoes, while always making a positive impact with our clients and each other. • A UCAS tariff of at least 280 (or equivalent) for our school and college leaver programmes If you’re looking to join one of our work experience programmes or full time after University, you’ll need a UCAS tariff of at least 300 (or equivalent) and to be on course for a 2.1 or above in any degree discipline.

It’s the opportunity of a lifetime.


Schools HirEd - Autumn 2012  

Our aim in life is to help you to make the right decisions for your future and your career. In this term's ezine we help you to explore your...

Schools HirEd - Autumn 2012  

Our aim in life is to help you to make the right decisions for your future and your career. In this term's ezine we help you to explore your...