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Contents On the cover


cover STORY 06 Boot up No longer confined to the realms of reality TV, boot camps are part of a growing trend in graduate recruitment, as Catherine Quinn reports. z



05 Editor’s letter

brainfood 10 Are you commercially aware? An increasing number of recruiters are asking for graduates with commercial awareness, but what is it and how do you get it? 12 T  hings you should know How can you decipher recruiter ‘marketing speak’? Plus CV booster Why learning a foreign language could pay dividends. 13 O  ne big question We solve your career dilemmas. 14 T  est drive Maria McCarthy’s tips on learning to drive. 15 C  ompetition Win a Nintendo Wii console! z



16 Test of character Aptitude tests feature regularly  as part of recruitment processes, but did you know they can also help determine the right career path for you. 20 S  how me the money! Should you be looking for more than just a fat pay cheque in your first job? z 24 Master plan Postgraduate study can be an excellent option for those passionate about their degree subject. z 36 B  ack to school Teaching can be a hugely rewarding career and there are many paths you can take to become a teacher. z 48 B  uilding your future You could help to shape the landscape with a career in the built environment. z 58 CV clinic A student gets a makeover of his resumes. 


in the next issue >> Job-hopping Moving quickly from one job to another seems to be a growing trend among graduates. But how will it look on your CV and what will recruiters think? >> M  ind the gap We bring you a comprehensive guide on how to spend your year out.



For all the latest vacancies and news of employers currently hiring graduates, turn to this invaluable guide. Also online at z


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Image by Stock.xchng


list of advertisers Atkins 52 Bath Spa University 38 British Council 40 Bunac 23 Chartered Institute of Marketing 19 Cheshire CC 47 CHP Consulting 19 College of Estate Management 56 College of Law 26 Costain 56 Dublin Institute of Technology 33 Ernst & Young 64 ESCP – EAP 09 Essex CC 40 Gleeds 54 Grad 2 Business 56 Heriot-Watt University 50 Hilti 50 Imperial College London 30 Institute of Education UOL 44 Kent CC 38 Kingston Business School 32  RW WWW.REALWORLDMAGAZINE.COM

Lancaster University 33 Liverpool John Moores University 45 London Borough of Hillingdon 44 Loughborough University 46 Nova Group 45 Persimmon PLC 54 Professional Association of Teachers 44 PricewaterhouseCoopers 62 Skillfast-UK 26 Stoke on Trent CC 45 Student Discount Card 23 University of Birmingham 35 University of Brighton 46 University College for the Creative Arts 33 University of Kent 34 University of Leicester 30 University of Leeds 35 University of Warwick 47 University of Wolverhampton 42 Warwick Business School 28


Photograph: Alex Kalmbach,

Editorial: 020 7735 2111 Editor Catherine Watson Art Director Jennifer van Schoor DESIGNER Yang Ou Sub-Editor Steve Smethurst

SALES: 020 7735 4900 HEAD OF SALES Paul Wade SALES Josh Marshall, Harmesh Sansoa


ADMIN: 020 7735 4900 OFFICE MANAGER Marie Tasle Managing Director Darius Norell

Real World Magazine 22-26 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TJ Tel: Advertising 020 7735 4900 Editorial: 020 7735 2111 Fax: 020 7840 0443 Real World is published in the UK by Cherry Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or stored in a retrieval system without the written permission of the publishers. We cannot accept responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts and photographs or for material lost or damaged in the post.

putting the boot in


etting out of bed in time for a nine o’clock lecture can often feel like a Herculean task, especially when it follows a particular heavy night in the union bar. But regular early starts may not be the only shock to the system that awaits you

when you graduate and enter the world of work… While the thought of military-style training may be anathema to most of you – be warned, as we report in our cover story, “boot camps” are now part of a growing trend in graduate recruitment. Although they’re not as physically demanding as a stint in the Army, you’ll still be expected to work hard for the duration of the camp, which could take place as far away as India. If the thought of an intensive boot camp brings you out in a cold sweat, spare a thought for this country’s teachers, many of whom have to combat disruptive behaviour every day at work. We speak to three new teachers, including one who started his career in one of the most difficult schools in London. While there are many people who would like to see more discipline in schools, our new recruits tell us just getting to know the pupils helps to alleviate bad classroom antics. So while you might not be facing boot camp or a room full of unruly teenagers, there are still plenty of other ways you can be tested. A no-less demanding form of testing comes in the guise of selection tests. We reveal how recruiters use them to sort the wheat from the chaff. We also examine how aptitude tests could hold the key to discovering your perfect career. For those of you not ready to face the world of work just yet, we look at the options available at postgraduate level. Most important of all, we look at how to go about funding further study. Don’t forget that for more features – and even more case studies – you can visit our website If you have any comments on the magazine or website, or if you have any career questions, feel free to drop me a line. Catherine, editor



derry NAIRN

Noha is currently doing a Masters in Medieval Studies at Royal Holloway University, London. She received her undergraduate degree from New York University in Medieval History and Journalism. She has been working at Real World for a little over a month doing data entry, working at fairs, and other jobs around the office.

Derry came to Real World for a short stint of work experience before Christmas. He studied history and politics at University College Dublin and, among other things, he’d like to write for a living. In this issue, he researched and wrote the article on aptitude tests and several other short pieces.


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If you thought graduate employment would preclude you from bootcamp style training, Think again, says Catherine Quinn



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Graduating with honours has always been seen as a fool-proof means of ensuring that you’ll never have to endure a stint at a boot-camp. Well, until recently that is. Increasingly, employers, keen to fast-track graduates, are finding that intensive, armystyle methods are a useful tool. One company offering boot-camp style measures is ThoughtWorks. The IT consultancy boasts a number of offices worldwide, and flies graduates from all over the globe to Bangalore, India, for a six week “boot-camp” introductory course. The programme certainly meets the first criteria for a boot-camp – take recruits out of their familiar surroundings. But trainees on this particular course do find themselves slightly better catered for than their military counterparts. Employees on the programme are put up in apartment blocks compete with gym and swimming pool – although Suzie Prince, a blogger from the “ThoughtWorks University” does remark that the accommodation reminded her of her digs on holiday in Bulgaria… “Part of the point is that the programme is held somewhere a bit less familiar,” says programme trainer John Johnston. “It’s a good selection method early on in the recruitment process. If graduates are less than happy about the idea of going to India for six weeks, then they’re probably not for us.” In all fairness, graduates who’d turn their noses up at a paid trip to India are probably in the minority. And for graduate Jenny Wong, the experience was a positive one. “The course was very intensive, but we got to go out into the city, and travelled down to New Delhi and Agra to see the Taj Mahal. It was amazing,” she says. The intensive part of the experience is not to be underestimated though, with a full day’s tuition followed by project work. And the project work followed by a late night. Suzie notes that the evenings included trips to night clubs until the early hours and then a nice spicy curry for breakfast. The day-time training also allows for tuition other than web-skills. Part

Photograph: iStockphoto

of what ThoughtWorks aims to convey is a sense of cultural identification within the company. “This is a way of getting everyone together from around the world,” says John. “It means we can teach them about our culture as a company. But there is obviously a lot of information we need to impart to our graduates for when they start working with us, because they will need to hit the ground running. We don’t expect them to be ‘the finished article’, but the training really helps them master these fast-paced situations quickly.” Most graduates are only too happy to be given time out for training. After-all, tackling a live project from day one can be daunting even to a seasoned professional. And boot-camp style training offers a “short sharp shock” in the world of corporate business in general. Industry jargon, for example, is fairly endemic in business, and as part of the six-week programme, ThoughtWorks has a “Parking Lot” – a space where attendees can “park” any queries or ask to have any jargon deciphered. For those getting to grips with a new job and a new workload, extra help with business terms are useful to say the least.


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cover story | boot camp

But ThoughtWorks isn’t the only organisation to have coined the term “boot-camp” in relation to pre-work training. IT company Symbian has also launched its own training “boot-camp” for graduate staff. Although not currently based overseas, Symbian does have plans to move the experience to India, partly so new recruits can get to grips with the company’s off-shoring policy. Currently, the course runs for five weeks and aims to provide graduates with a high speed and intensive introduction to their new employer. And for those lacking the necessary programming

ALL WORK AND NO PLAY isn’t an option at Boot Camp. It might be hard work from 9.30 to 5.30, but there’s always time for fun and games. Below left: two graduates of Boot Camp celebrate the end of their five-week stint.

skills, it even offers a “Pre-Boot Camp Summer School”. “Like most companies, we want our graduate recruits to be as productive as possible from day one,” says head of resourcing Greg Allen, who attributes the boot-camp terminology of the

with companies struggling to

training in part to his military background.

complete, could these high-speed

“We found that a lot of managers were treating graduates like professional hires, and driving them too hard for their current

training exercises be one stress too far? Neither company thinks so – in

level,” explains Greg. “So we wanted to introduce some training

fact both are at pains to point out

which taught graduates what we felt they needed to know about the company before they started. What we want is for

they pay out considerable sums to keep new staff in training rather putting them to work

stressed workforce, with a better grounding in the business. Certainly, the drop-out rate for such training so far is zero – contrary to what one might expect at a military-style boot-camp. Both boast a full completion rate among staff who attend – a testimony perhaps, to the fact that the training is often more

them to come out of training, and be able to sit at a desk and know more or less what to do. But we’ve also found that training graduates this way gives them an advantage over other new

enjoyable than work. But critics argue that such fast-paced environments can discriminate against those with different working styles. Ostensibly,

starters. While new recruits are normally trained in one area and stay within it, graduates on the programme get more of a crossfunctional networking ability. So they’ll know people in different

they seem geared towards those who adapt quickly and learn fast. “A lot of people are slow adapters, but become very good employees,” says careers expert John Lees, author of How To Get

departments and they have that network to tap into.” Symbian’s boot-camp kicked off this year, so the first graduates have only just taken up their new roles in the company. One such employee, Samira Abbasnejad, came across Symbian’s stand at a Cambridge University graduate recruitment fair.

a Job You Love. “My concern about training boot-camps is that they select the people who are quick adapters – and in some ways that’s fine. But employers might be missing a trick if they’re overlooking people with different working styles. These are people who might

“I knew they offered this training package and that was part of what attracted me to the job,” says Samira. “It was intensive but I found many friends on the course. There were quite a few nights

take a bit more time to gather information about their environment and where they’re best suited. But once they’ve done that, they are extremely well-adapted to their situation.

out.” Samira has now started her role as a software engineer, and feels the boot-camp has given her plenty of advantages. Like the ThoughtWorks programme, the Symbian scheme the

“There might also be an equal opportunities issue. Is it as easy for a disabled person, for example, to be thrown into an entirely different environment and expected to rapidly adapt?”

covers 9am to 5.30pm hours that are broadly expected of staff on the payroll. With such high-speed learning, it would be difficult to expect any more of employees, and for Greg even the possibility of extending the five-week period could be problematic. “There’s so much to teach that we are thinking about extending it,” he says. “But I think expecting six or seven weeks of intensive learning would be difficult. Instead we’re thinking of having ‘graduate bootcamp days’ which are one-off days further into their careers.” “Intensive” is a term which seems to come-up frequently in the graduate employment market. And

Those fearing they may be slower to adapt in such circumstances do have a solution at hand however – and ironically, it’s another boot-camp. Recent graduates can now apply to take part in a government sponsored boot-camp organised by career developers Graduate Training and Recruitment (GTR). Rather than tutor attendees in a specific company, the course aims to give those new to the working world a solid grounding in general skills. So boot-camp recruits might be learning about databases, typing, or management. In something of an ironic contrast to training camps which take staff out of the workplace, graduate boot-camp recruits are also given structured placements with local employers to teach them reallife skills (see So, before attending an employer funded boot-camp, you might want to put yourself through a state-funded version to prepare yourself. Or just call it quits and join the military. n

Photograph: Jenny Wong


we want our graduate recruits to be as productive as possible from day one

immediately on paid projects. Both hope the result will be a less


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Are You Commercially Aware? Increasingly, recruiters are asking that graduates have “commercial awareness”. But what does that mean and how on earth do you get it? Derry Nairn finds out Can you stomach the Economist? Can you make sense of the Financial Times’ stock prices? Let’s face it; money makes the world go round. And these days the big financial businesses are where much of that money is. If you are one of the many who skip the business pages of the daily newspapers, you are definitely not alone. But a new book warns that a knowledge of how business works and how its professionals operate is the attribute most prized by City employers. The book, Commercial Awareness – what it is and why you need it to

become a successful professional*, maintains that most graduates wanting to enter the business world are dangerously ignorant about how it works, and it is hampering their careers. The author, Christopher Stoakes, a veteran of City institutions with more than 25 years experience, says: “Ask any head of graduate recruitment or HR or training what they want from their young hires and they all say the same thing: ‘commercial awareness’. They want people who are not just technically competent but who are

interested in business, who can relate to clients and – above all – who can put their advice in context.” His book breaks down the mechanics of business into bite-size pieces, explaining things in simple but illuminating language for the uninitiated. It is also split into two sections. The first explains how organisations work and goes into their operations, expansions, mergers and innovations. The second explains how business professionals should interact with clients for profitability and success.


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BY THE TIME I GET HOME “ FROM WORK, I’M USUALLY TIRED AND SOMEWHAT DRUNK… ” Getting a job in the media is notoriously difficult – but not impossible. We caught up with recent graduate John Piccardo, 22, now writing for the NME in Dublin.


How did you find your current position?

I used to write reviews for my university’s newspaper, as the editor of the arts and culture section was a friend of mine. After graduation he got a job with the newly established NME Ireland and then offered me a position.


What tips would you offer students interested in pursuing similar work?

Write whenever you can; even if it’s unpaid. There are lots of publications around, college papers, free papers and magazines. Send in your work no matter what. Even if you get rejected or ignored initially, editors will notice you and accept it eventually. Also, you must keep up to date by reading regularly.

Photograph: Yang Ou

A MINDSET, AN OUTLOOK. ONCE YOU’VE “ IT’S GOT IT, YOUR CAREER WILL TAKE OFF ” Make no mistake, this is not a “How to win friends, influence people and getrich-quick” type of book. It’s more an encyclopaedia of everyday terms that are nevertheless little understood outside the Square Mile. For anyone who has wondered how corporate takeovers actually work or what exactly a hedge fund is, this is the book for you. In one chapter, for example, Stoakes covers how to present information to clients in presentations, emails, reports and newspaper pieces. As with the much

of the book, the author’s treatment of his subject is succinct. He fits in quotes from Richard Branson to George Orwell and manages to cover all angles in only a dozen pages. And, like the rest of the book, this section has useful information even for those of us who are not aspiring merchant bankers. After all, commercial awareness is, as Stoakes says, “a mindset, an outlook, an attitude of mind; once you’ve got it your career will take off”. *Real World has five copies of the book to give away. See page 13 for details


What’s a typical day for you?


What’s the most challenging part of the job?

I work in the evenings so my day is spent doing very little, mostly recovering from the previous night. In the evenings I go to a gig and see a band. Sometimes I might go to two or more. By the time I get home, I’m usually tired and somewhat drunk. But I type up what I’ve written, usually submitting it very early in the morning. Then I sleep until the afternoon.

Writing to deadlines. Even if you’re not happy with what you’ve written you still have to submit it. Also, going out all the time might sound like an attractive lifestyle but it’s not very satisfying. For more information about media careers, visit our website (www.


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Language Think English is the only language needed in the workplace? Think again. Having another language on your CV can seriously improve your employment prospects. “English is a global language, everybody speaks it” Does that sound familiar? It should, as it’s a common misconception among us English speakers. But, in fact, only 6.5 per cent of the world’s population are native speakers of English, according to a recent survey carried out by the Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research, and (contrary to popular belief) only 18.5 per cent of people speak English as a second language. Having knowledge of a foreign language at any level is a considerable asset when entering the world of work. Not only are you likely to be eligible to work abroad, but also domestic employers – particularly multinational organisations – hold foreign language ability in high esteem. The importance placed on language skills by employers is reflected in potential earning power: the survey showed that employers pay on average 8 per cent more for staff with language skills, and in clerical and secretarial roles this rises to 20 per cent. So maybe it is worth learning a language. Easier said than done though, right? Especially if the thought of it triggers flashbacks to the days of cheating on your French spelling tests. But don’t dismiss the possibility; there is more than one way to learn a language – aside from uprooting and living abroad, that is. Many universities have language centres and laboratories that let you use their resources for free – and offer lessons at a discounted rate to students and alumni. If you don’t like the idea of going back into the classroom to learn a language, try checking language department notice boards – often, foreign students on their year abroad offer inexpensive one-to-one tutoring. There are even opportunities to learn a language completely gratuit – that’s French by the way – through taking part in a language exchange. These can be oneto-one or in groups and tend to be advertised on sites such as and craigslist. org. But why not start with your university as you seek out the people in possession of the skills you need. Hannah Dal Pozzo


Thingsyoushouldknow Recruiters use all kinds of language to make a job sound attractive. But how do you decipher what they really mean? Real World investigates

approach when it comes

all too often, the wording is basically marketing speak


to looking for a job after university: “Even if you are put off by an ad, don’t dismiss the job on one piece of evidence – visit the website, see them at a

n increasing number of recruiters

careers fair and ask your careers service for any further

are posting vacancies online.

information,” he says.

Unfortunately, an increasing number of recruiters are also using language in their ads that is at best

And perhaps use common sense. If they want someone “innovative”, they are probably not looking for someone to

amusing and at worst utterly confusing and frustrating for graduates. Karen Barnard, head of UCL careers

sit behind a desk all day making hybrid breeds of origami animals. Then again…

service, believes that the increase in competition within the industry has affected the way jobs are advertised:

Hannah Dal Pozzo

“All too often, the wording is much like that found in other forms of advertising – it’s basically marketing speak,” she says. And many students are baffled by marketing speak. Would you really know whether you fitted the bill for a job demanding a “talented”, “dynamic” and “professional” graduate who takes a “proactive approach…?” The style in which the advert is written also tells you a lot about a potential employer, advises Barnard: “Think about whether the ad is written this way for a reason – does it reflect the ethos of the organisation and, if so, are you comfortable with it?” So ask yourself: are you interested in working for an organisation that advertises its vacancy as “the UK’s #1 sales role”? If it’s not a company you’ve heard of, the chances are it’s a commission-only telesales job where the highlight of the week is dress-down Friday. And Dan Hawes, co-founder of the Graduate Recruitment Bureau, warns organisations that: “All too often an overinflated job ad can lead to unsuitable applicants for the role”. So best to take a common sense

Here are a few of the more amusing job ads Real World has encountered online: “In recruitment your product is never out of stock!” – Shock news, with more than a million people unemployed… “Our clients are in a world of competitiveness and always get to the finishing line.” – Is the British Olympic 100m sprint relay team advertising for new recruits? Erm, no. It’s for telesales. “Currently our focus is on less experienced, and hence less expensive people” – Yes, that’s right, monkeys wanted, salary 10 peanuts a week. “You will be working on sexy technologies such as Chip & PIN, IT Security and Geographical Interfaces” – Proof that sex can’t sell everything.


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I’m in the final year of a joint honours French-Spanish degree at Leeds. I’m passionate about people, travel and art, and I don’t want to be stuck in an office. Do you have any job suggestions for me?

Police inspector

R, Leeds

In terms of a career, your degree opens a number of doors. The first thing that

Other obvious options include working as a translator or an interpreter. The

springs to mind is teaching – you won’t be in an office, and those amazing holidays will give you plenty of time to

travel industry can also offer some great options, particularly as you are keen to travel yourself. If you need more ideas

travel! For more information about a teaching career turn to our feature that begins on page 36.

why not take a look at www. which is a fantastic resource run by CILT, the

Another idea is to become a travel writer. Admittedly it is a hard profession to break into, but not impossible. I would

National Centre for Languages. It also runs a jobsite for people with language skills. You might also find

suggest writing as much as you can while at uni and then doing a postgraduate diploma in journalism.

it useful to visit your careers service and take an aptitude test to find out what other types of jobs might suit you.

Photographs: iStockphoto

ALL YOUR NEED TO KNOW ABOUT COMMERICAL AWARENESS: WHAT IT IS AND WHY YOU NEED IT TO BECOME A SUCCESSFUL PROFESSIONAL 2007/2008 EDITION Longtail Publishing, £14.95 This is a practical guide for anyone considering a career with a corporate or commercial element (see page 11 for more information). It breaks down into simple terminology everything from mergers and acquisitions, to how to make money. Author Christopher Stoakes (pictured) is a management consultant, academic and author – with years of experience in both law and finance. Real World has five copies of the book to give away.

BOO GIV K AWA EY! Email catherine@ to request a copy. As always, it’s first come, first served!

Chris Dreyfus, 27, is a newly promoted inspector with British Transport Police. He reached this position relatively early via the fast track high-potential development (HPD) scheme. “I joined three years ago. For the past month and a half I’ve been in a counterterrorism role, managing three teams with eight police constables and one sergeant in each. It’s a huge challenge as it’s a new role and a new team. We focus primarily on London and we conduct high-profile searches on the transport network and work with the local community to gather information. “I studied Computing and Business at the University of Greenwich and following graduation, I was an IT consultant for a couple of years. During that time I was a special constable with British Transport Police. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to join the force full-time. My career aspirations were to be in police management and HPD was the best way to achieve it. I also chose this route for financial reasons. I took a considerable pay cut when I left my job in IT to join the force. I knew that HPD would enable me to increase my earnings faster. Another attraction was the academic opportunity. I’ve just completed a postgraduate degree in Forensic Science. “The application process was quite tough. When I went through the selection, there was only one other British Transport Police officer who was on the scheme, so not many people knew a great deal about it. “HPD has helped to prepare me for management roles and it also opens up opportunities within the service, as being on the scheme has made others more aware of me and my abilities. “Everyone who wants to become a police officer has to complete a two-year probationary period working on the beat as a patrol constablebefore they can transfer to more specialist areas of work.” For more information on the HPD Scheme and careers with the police visit


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TestDrive Learning to drive can be time-consuming and costly, but having a clean driving licence can pay dividends if it helps you land that perfect job, as Real World discovers You see your dream job advertised and you’re perfect for it apart from one

experience and chances are it’ll be better next time.

minor detail: the “full, clean, driving licence required” one. So how do you remedy this situation and get your licence without getting ridiculously stressed out or insanely overdrawn? Learning-to-drive guru Maria McCarthy, author of The Girls’ Guide to Losing Your L Plates – How to Pass Your Driving Test published by Simon and

Four: Steady nerves on the big day


ositive visualisation, meditation, Rescue

Five: If at first you don’t succeed


on’t despair if you don’t pass first time – the average is 2.1 times for women and 1.8 for men, with some people taking

Remedy and wearing your lucky pants can all

far more tests before they succeed. The best approach is to take it again as

help calm your nerves

soon as possible. However repeated

and have you breezing through your practical test!

failures could mean that you’re with the wrong instructor, so if this happens

Schuster offers the following tips:

consider changing.

One: Get the right instructor

Six: Tearing up your L Plates


his is absolutely vital. First, make sure they’re fully qualified. Some driving schools try to pass


nce you’ve passed your test the biggest favour you can do yourself is to take the Pass Plus course.

off trainee instructors as experienced ones, so watch out. A trainee instructor will have a pink

It covers motorway and night driving and will make you a safer driver. Insurers are so impressed by it that

triangle badge on their car, while a proper one will have a green octagon. It’s also important to have a rapport

they’ll give you a hefty discount off your car insurance afterwards!

with your instructor. If they’re so critical they make you nervous, are always gossiping about their personal life or aren’t helping you overcome problems then shop around for a new one. There are some great instructors out there – it’s just a case of finding them!

For more check out her website at

Two: Practice makes perfect f possible, get other driving practice besides your lessons. This will probably involve being a “named driver” on your parents’ or a friend’s car – not to mention patience and steady nerves on their part! However it’s worth the hassle as the more hours behind the wheel you can clock up the better.


Three: Keep the faith


lmost every learner has days when they feel like throwing in the towel. But if you have a bad lesson put it down to


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Wii’veGotone, YouWantone??



Photographs: iStockphoto

Real World is giving you a chance to win this awesome console. All you have to do is register online at before 30th March 2007 to be entered into our free prize draw. The Nintendo Wii console and its revolutionary motion-sensitive controller, the Wii Remote, have been designed so that anyone can enjoy games, whatever their ability or experience. The winner will receive: 1 Wii console, 1 Wii remote, 1 Nunchuk controller, and 1 Wii Sports Game.

Wii is also much more than a mere games console. With the built-in Wii Channels you can surf the internet, edit

your digital photos, check the news and weather, and much more. Whether you‘re an experienced gamer, haven‘t played for years, or have never played in your life, Wii has what you‘re looking for: fun! Good luck!


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What will I do with my future? How can I better apply my skills? These are the questions on the lips of graduates and final year students everywhere. Thankfully, resorting to tarot cards and fortune-tellers is not the only answer. Derry Nairn finds that more scientific approaches exist.

Test of charac


ersonality-testing determines a person’s career motivations and suggests how that person

Finding your path Rob Stringer, 24, runs his own eventmanagement company in Ireland. He

Being assessed Robin Blandford, 23, is a graduate technology trainee working for Reuters in

might react in certain professional and social situations. Many graduates opt to take this type of test to focus their career ambitions. Aptitude and selection tests,

took a career-focused aptitude test while still in university. “I took it around two-and-a-half years ago. The reason was that I was coming to the end of my course and still didn’t know what to do

London. He sat several tests as part of the selection process for his current position. He says, “Mine were all timed. There was only time to do half the questions, so they were checking for accuracy, rather than if you

meanwhile, are used as an evaluation system for employees and would-be employees. Organisations use them to

with my life,” he explains. “My degree was in manufacturing engineering but it didn’t interest me

could complete them all. “I took a spatial one and a language one,” he adds, “They were booklets that

filter candidates for entry-level positions, usually before interviews in a specialised assessment centre.

much. I couldn’t see where it was taking me. The pressure was building. I knew that I had to start doing something, but

were put on our tables like in a school exam. The spatial exam was a series of patterns and you had to pick the next in

The use of both types is widespread and growing. Because of this, graduates are increasingly likely to encounter testing in some form. Here are few words of wisdom from people who have both designed and passed the real thing.

couldn’t see where to start. Then my aunt advised me to consult her friend who ran a careers advisory service.” There were three stages to Rob’s motivational test: “At a preliminary session I told the tester why I had come and what my motivations were. It was very informal: just a chat in her living room. Then came the actual tests, three in all. They were quite simple and covered various subjects. But they were very long. It took three to four hours per day and the period of testing lasted three days. On the last day, we compared the results and wrote up a plan for my future.”

the series. The language one had exercises such as ‘pick a word that fits the gap’.” Giles Wilkes, 34, both sat and helped to oversee selection testing while working for a spread-betting firm in the City of

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London. A mature student, he is now studying for an MSc in Global History at the London School of Economics. Giles recounts, “When I began, the process was rudimentary, but the company was growing and soon we had a personnel department and proper tests. As well as arithmetic tests, we threw in verbal reasoning and numerical tests such as graphs and ‘if it takes one man three days to dig six holes…’ type problems.”

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aptitude | Overview



which below comes next?

acter More than words Aptitude tests make up the written part of what is known as psychometric

who struggled with basic arithmetic. On a dealing floor it really gums up the wheels if people need calculators to

He adds: “The tests were useful for sorting out different personality types for teamwork – learning in advance

testing. This can also include practical exercises such as role-play scenarios. Large corporations tend to employ psychometric testing as a means of gaining a more complete picture of their

add three-digit numbers together.” If, however, you are assessing your own strengths in preparation for a job application, then there can really be no wrong answers. As long as you are honest

which people were structure-addicts, which people were introverts.” Being relaxed and informed is the most important way to prepare for aptitude tests. As Robin says, “I went at it

prospective job candidates. It’s natural to be a little nervous about having your mind tested. This is

with yourself, then you will gain a clearer picture of where you stand. Many who take a personality-based aptitude test

not caring. I’d have liked the job but had ages to find one so viewed it as a test run. My scores weren’t wonderful but

especially true where the result might have a direct result on your career and future. But it’s important to remember

report that the results were just as they expected, but nonetheless gave them the confidence to pursue their objectives

perhaps this attitude helped me to relax and perform well.” However, Giles, like many people,

that it’s impossible to “fail” an aptitude test like you can with an academic exam. What you get from its results depends largely on the reasons for you sitting it. If an employer has set you the test, they are looking for specific qualities. For example, a job in journalism that revolves around literacy skills will not go to someone with below-par performance in this area. “I was head of desk from 1999 and interviewing trainees,” reveals Giles. “I introduced an automated testing system – basically, a lot of quick maths questions. This was to screen out people

with renewed confidence.

didn’t need a test to determine the direction of his career: ”No test I have ever taken has helped me choose a career. Blind luck is the only technique that has worked so far,” he says. There are many books published that will both help you self-assess and advise you on what to expect. Read our interview with the author of one such book on the following page. You can also read about and practise for aptitude tests online as many large organisations are open about their selection processes. Also, check out the tips on the Real World website:

But do they work? Rob says, “I recommend it to people all the time. It’s really difficult coming out of college. Lots of people have no idea what to do. The testing turned out to be one of the best things I’ve ever done. It allowed me to focus and gave me some peace of mind.” For Giles, filtering out those who struggle with maths made a huge difference to the business. Likewise, many people taking the test are nervous and how they perform can indicate how they will cope under pressure.


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aptitude | interview

others, but that is their purpose – to assess where people’s strengths lie. Work as quickly and as accurately as you can. Don’t try to get to the end and don’t guess answers unless you think it will benefit you. Ask yourself if the company is looking for a risktaker or someone who’s going to make sure they get every answer right?

Jim Barrett is the author of Career, Aptitude and Selection Tests, a new book designed to help people in their choice of career path or those facing Selection tests at work. He is a chartered psychologist who has helped to develop testing methods for a variety of large organisations. How reliable are aptitude tests as a selection method? Well, a growing number of organisations certainly seem to think they’re useful. All any test can do is approximate what people generally do, think, or how they behave. We all have abilities and aptitudes and personality characteristics and emotions in common. It’s simply a question of how we use them, depending upon our past experience and our genetic make-up. Your test might not be bang-on for you, but it might tell you a lot about yourself and enable you to know yourself that much better. Then it’s up to the individual to deal with it as they will, and like any advice; it’s either good or bad, relevant or irrelevant. On that subject, I was quite surprised to find that a test in your book recommended that I should become, among other things, a thatcher, a shepherd or even a gun-maker… The test you took has obviously picked up on a natural ability for creativity allied with a practical awareness. A test result such as this might force someone to go to a careers library and discover something perfect for them they hadn’t previously been aware of. Alternatively, they might reject it. But at least they explored the possibility.

Isn’t there a danger for organisations overly reliant on aptitude testing that groups who excel will be too similar? Any two people will do a job in different ways. If you look at a job like being ‘prime minister’ – no two people have done that job in the same way. They’ve applied their characteristics to it differently. It’s wrong for an organisation to say: ‘We want this profile and nothing else.’ Modern organisations need to be flexible and adaptable. They need to ask ‘who is the person who will ask questions and offer something different?’ How does the personality section of the test account for people with skewed opinions of themselves and of how others see them? We all see the world, and see ourselves, through our own lenses. Where one person thinks they’re studied and thorough, another might regard them as slow and boring. How people relate to themselves and to each

So being yourself is the most important thing to remember? Many people, having passed the tests, find they have serious problems with the organisation. It’s sometimes the case that organisations don’t know how to interpret aptitude tests properly. They want a quick answer and sometimes that’s not possible. I heard a sad story recently where an organisation got it wrong. A young person passed through two interviews only to be handed an aptitude test, which he failed. What information could the test have given the company, at that stage, which they didn’t know from two interviews? It was the wrong way around and hopelessly inefficient! Your field of occupational psychology is quite specialised. What has your own career path been like? My careers guidance was appalling. It took me a long time to sort out what I wanted to


Where one person thinks they’re studied and thorough, another might regard them as boring…

other speaks volumes about how their personalities will act in professional situations. An increasing number of my tests use what is called ‘oblique’ methods, such as these, to move closer to ‘the truth’. What’s the best way to prepare for an aptitude test set by an employer? Always seek as much information from the firm testing you in advance. They owe it to you to tell you what sort of test you’ll take and what will be expected of you on the day. Let them give you every chance to just be yourself. If they don’t test you in a sensible and supportive way, they’re going to get the wrong results and the wrong person. Most tests are timed. Naturally, some people will get further with some types of tests than

do and to find a niche where I could earn a living. I didn’t get into occupational psychology until well into my late twenties. Perhaps because of this, I’m a great believer in people’s potential. Most people don’t know themselves that well. They are also let down by schooling that values uniformity. I always felt that organisations and individuals would benefit from having a structured approach to selecting and developing people. There’s nothing like getting experience of things. However, personality and aptitude tests can help you narrow down what it is you’ll get the most value from. It helps to provide a structure, but it’s not the whole story. In the end it comes down to an individual having to discover their talents for themselves.



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COLLECT SALARY Last year, the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) polled 235 of the UK’s leading employers for its

bi-annual graduate recruitment survey. It found that graduate vacancies rose for the third year running. It also examined starting salaries and it

DO NOT PASS GO Careers advisers and

found that the highest median salaries were paid at investment banks, with graduates taking home an average of £36,000 a year. See the box on the right for details of more graduate starting salaries.


PROCEED TO MAYFAIR According to the AGR’s research, accountancy and professional service firms provided almost a quarter of graduate vacancies in 2006, followed by investment banks or fund managers (19 per cent) and engineering (8 per cent). Fast-moving consumer goods companies received the highest number of applications with an average of 93 applications per post, followed by the oil industry which received 66 applications per vacancy.


recruitment agencies warn students not to be too blinded by the thought of sizeable pay packets. Although it is something of a cliché there is more to life than money. While a good salary is obviously important, there are other factors to consider such as work/life balance, job satisfaction and career progression.

TAKE A CHANCE For certain jobs you may find that for your first job you will be paid considerably less than your peers. “Some career areas require a period of quite low level work in order to gain adequate experience prior to gaining professional status or entry to further vocational


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work,” explains Elspeth Farrar, director of the careers advisory service at Imperial College London. “A good example of this might be clinical psychologist where it is essential to have experience of working with the client group before you can apply for the PhD in Clinical Psychology.” INCOME TAX Don’t get too hung up on the figure of your basic salary. The difference between a £20,000 annual salary and receiving £26,000 a year, only amounts to £335 a month difference once you take into account income tax and national insurance payments. Also remember there may be other benefits on top of your basic salary. Companies sometimes offer company cars and bonus

time to enjoy it, does that negate the

schemes, which mean the advertised salary is actually different to what is taken home.

benefits?” Bear in mind that although investment bankers take home whopping


salaries, they are expected to put in considerable PAY YOUR RENT When you graduate you will probably want to start earning straight away, but don’t rush into the first job offer that comes your way. “It is a common need for graduates to enter the working world with

a headstrong desire to repay their student debt and leave the ‘Pot Noodle lifestyle’ far behind,” asserts Sarah Evans at Discovery Recruitment and Training. “This can often mean that pound signs distort a graduate’s view on a role, a company and even an area of the country. There is a warning, however, for those ready to make such hasty decisions because once the position has been accepted the graduate has to actually do the job day in, day out.”


OLD KENT ROAD OR PARK LANE? When deciding between job offers, find out how often your pay will be reviewed, rather than just focusing on your first pay packet. “It might be just as important to check to see what is likely to

happen in terms of salary progression,” suggests Imperial’s Elspeth. “Some jobs may have a high starting salary to attract people in but then the progression is slow, where as some areas the opposite might be the case, low entry salary but fast progression after say six months.”


COMMUNITY CHEST Increasingly, graduates are taking into consideration a company’s values when deciding if they want to work with them. For example, corporate social responsibility is working its way up graduates’ agendas. “The company’s values and ethics should also be considered,” advises Sarah at Discovery. “If the graduate appreciates these and shares similar goals and views, their motivation and enthusiasm for the role will be better.”


GET OUT OF JAIL FREE CARD Another question worth asking, says Elspeth, is ‘how is the work/life balance?’ “It is one thing to earn a high salary,” she says. “But if you have no free salary,”

hours to justify the pay, with working at weekends common practice.


BEAUTY CONTEST Finally, there’s more to a job than free parking, warns Discovery’s Sarah. “Hopefully the graduate is looking for career not just a job and their passion to

succeed is not derived solely from the material benefits. There are many other rewarding factors to a job that graduates need to consider, otherwise their role is likely to be short-lived.” n

2006 MEDIAN STARTING SALARIES BY JOB TYPES Investment banking – £36,000 Legal work – £29,000 Consulting – £28,500 Actuarial work – £25,750 IT – £25,000 Financial management – £25,000 Manufacturing engineering – £24,000 Science – £23,000 Research and development – £23,000 Electrical/electronic engineering – £23,000 Accountancy – £22,500

Marketing – £22,500 Civil engineering – £22,000 Mechanical engineering – £22,000 Purchasing – £21,500 Human resources – £21,500 Retail management – £20,000 Logistics – £19,500 Sales – £17,000 General management – £16,500 Source: The AGR Recruitment Survey 2006 Summer Review

2006 MEDIAN STARTING SALARIES BY GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION London – £26,880 South East – £23,000 South West – £21,500 The Midlands – £20,500 North West – £20,000 Scotland – £20,000 Yorkshire – £20,000

East Anglia – £20,000 North East – £19,625 Wales – £19,500 Northern Ireland – £17,000 Source: The AGR Recruitment Survey 2006 Summer Review


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postgraduate | Overview


Postgraduate study can be an excellent option for those passionate about their area of study. But it is not a decision that should be taken lightly, as Real World reveals

master plan

Opting to further your studies is a big decision. For starters, without sponsorship it can be prohibitively expensive and, despite the cachet of having extra letters after your name, it is not an automatic ticket to a high-flying career. But that’s not to say that postgraduate study is a bad thing, as it can enhance your career prospects. For example, it is estimated that those with an MBA (Master of Business Administration) have an average UK salary of more than £60,000. However, those considering extending the life of their NUS membership should think carefully before signing up for postgrad study. There are several questions you should ask yourself before you take the plunge (see next page). There are many types of course: MAs, MBAs, MScs, LLMs, PhDs… But broadly speaking, postgraduate study will either be research-based or taught. A postgraduate research degree lets you undertake in-depth study in a specific area. On the other hand with a taught course you will study set modules, then be assessed through exams, essays or projects. Either way you


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will find that you are left to your own

sources. For example, the Research

point in forking out upwards of £3,000 for

devices far more than you ever were at undergraduate level.

Councils UK support more than 30,000 researchers at any one time which

extra study unless you are truly passionate about the subject. Nor should

includes a staggering 15,500 doctoral

students undertake postgraduate study

everything out for yourself and you need to structure your time more carefully,” says

“I found that you need to work

students. The Research Councils are eight different councils, covering research into

in an attempt to detract from failings at undergraduate level. For example, in the

Prasanna Sooriakumaran who holds a

everything from arts and humanities to

legal world, opting to study for an LLM is

PhD from Surrey University. One of the most important things to

particle physics. And if you don’t manage to obtain sponsorship in this way, you can

unlikely to make up for a low classification in your first degree.

consider is funding. Although it’s not

always speak to your bank about a

always possible, sponsorship is usually the preferred method of paying for your

career-development loan. But above all, make sure you are

speaks to three people who have all obtained different methods of funding

further study. There are many different

doing it for the right reasons. There’s no

to pay for their postgraduate study…

through working in Hong Kong and Taiwan, but I thought an MBA would help my career to progress. Because of the MBA I got an increased salary and I find that people can’t bamboozle me now as I understand what they’re talking about!

running a project and travelling a lot to Taiwan. Fortunately, when I was jetlagged my company was quite supportive about my MBA commitments.


On the following pages, Real World


Do your homework For more information, check out these sources of information: • Research CouncilsUK: • Association of MBAs: • Career development loans: • PhD studentships and scholarships:

Think carefully Deciding whether or not to do postgraduate study is about far more than whether your bank manager will extend your overdraft facility. Before signing up for one (or more) year’s study consider the following carefully: • Will further study actually enhance your career prospects? • Do you really enjoy the subject enough to want to study it further? • Is the course research-led or taught? Which would suit you better? • Do the institution and the course have good reputations?

Company-funded study Name: Nicola Redman Age: 35 First degree: Mechanical Engineering, Sheffield University Postgraduate: MBA, Kingston University. She is now doing a PhD at Kingston in strategic human resource management. Currently: Programme manager of rolling stock and systems for Docklands Light Railway, working on a new fleet of trains for the London 2012 Olympics. Why did you choose your first degree? Because engineering has a role in the real world. I’m actually a chartered engineer.

How did it differ from undergraduate study? It is much broader in scope and you are left more to your own devices. I studied part-time, spending weekends at university. It was a massive commitment, but all the people studying were in the same position. I was juggling study with my job, and I was travelling a lot which was difficult, but worth it.

Did postgraduate study meet your expectations? It did! One of reasons I wanted to do an MBA was to broaden my skills. I’d done this a bit

How did you fund your postgraduate study? It was fully funded by my company. My boss was happy to pay for the course and give me some time to study. At the time I was

What skills did you acquire from the study? Understanding the business world as a whole. It put projects into perspective and I now understand the finance side of things. You also get the opportunity to network. Do you have any advice for students considering postgraduate study? It is hard work and takes a big commitment, but it develops you as a person. At the time I was studying I was living in Derby and travelling to London and Taiwan, but it was definitely worth it. Everyone who’s done an MBA is glad they’ve done it. For employers it sets you above other people.


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Charity-funded study Name: Prasanna Sooriakumaran Age: 30 First degree: Bachelor and Master of Medicine (plus surgical exams) at Nottingham University Postgraduate: PhD in prostate cancer, Surrey University Currently: Specialist registrar in urology at Royal Surrey County Hospital Why did you choose your first degree? Some of my relatives are in medicine and I’d had some exposure to their lives. I enjoyed the science, but I didn’t want to sit in a lab. I wanted to help people and use my brain. Did postgraduate study meet your expectations? It was very frustrating at times. There are many times when you have to do research and you are left alone. At undergraduate

level you are often spoon-fed lectures. The PhD was uncharted territory. But Surrey was very supportive and I got good supervision. How did it differ from undergraduate study? The main thing is working independently. If you choose not to get up until 10am no one will say anything. But if you do that for three years you’ll have nothing to show for your time. You have to be more self-motivated. How did you fund your postgraduate study? Mine was funded by a charity called Prostate Project. They had a vacancy for a research fellow, and I applied the same way as anyone else would. What skills did you acquire from the study? Technical skills – such as lab techniques. In terms of knowledge gained, I gained generic skills such as time management, motivation,

organisation, setting my own deadlines, and presentation skills. I also wrote papers – so I also picked up writing skills, critical analysis, and research methodology. Did your PhD help you to gain employment? It will probably help in the future. I hope to go down the line of academic surgeon. It also helped in other ways: in my current job if I do some research on a clinical matter I have a good grounding in analysis. Do you have any advice for students considering postgraduate study? You need to be self-motivated. You are pretty much left to your own devices. The other thing is funding: you should try to get something where funding is already in place rather than having to apply for grants. I have friends who spent their time applying for funding, rather than researching.


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Research Council-funded study Name: Jeff Temblay Age: 24 First degree: Biochemistry, UMIST (now University of Manchester) Postgraduate: In third year of PhD validated by the University of East Anglia on the role of endritic cells in food allergy. Currently: Working at the Institute of Food Research in Norwich. Why did you choose your first degree? I was interested in biology and chemistry so I decided to study biochemistry. Did postgraduate study meet your expectations? It did, but it’s very different to studying at university. It can be a shock to the system. How did it differ from undergraduate study? The main difference is that undergraduate

work is very prescriptive. You have lectures, and pre-defined practicals (that’s to say at undergraduate level someone has done the practical before and there are already results). At postgrad level it’s more unpredictable. You have to organise your own time; the pressure is on yourself rather than having a timetable with university exams. How did you fund your postgraduate study? I am funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). You fill in application with your ‘research interest’ – a mixture of your CV, why you what to study at postgraduate level, and what you’ve done before. What skills did you acquire from the study? Independence is the main one. You will already have a skills set before you start the course, but you have to learn things very

quickly and you need to apply those skills to different situations. Also, you get to understand more about the science community. You get to help write research papers, go to conferences, and see the backstage of science. Communication is another skill – I’ve had encouragement to engage with as many different audiences as possible – and I’ve done some teaching. Do you have any advice for students considering postgraduate study? The first thing you need is enthusiasm, you need much more interest in the subject. Second, there are many different careers you can go into. If anyone’s thinking of doing research it’s a good idea to get experience first. A course can be one year or three years after university, so you really need to have a liking for more academic work to stay the course.



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Real World Guide to Diversity aims to help you build a career based on your merits. While many employers increasingly recognise the benefits of recruiting a diverse workforce, some students still face barriers to employment. Packed with invaluable advice from graduates, experts and employers Real World Guide to Diversity gives you the best tools to get you the job you want, whatever you want to do.

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You make the choice There is more than one way to build your career in management. Enhance your chances for employment. Create yourself more options. Find out how at MSc in General Management with specialist pathways in Marketing, International Business, Tourism or e-Business MSc in Management Science MSc in Management Science with Computing MSc in Agricultural Economics MSc in Applied Environmental Economics MSc in Food Chain Management PhD and Research degrees in Business and Management

Tel: ++44 (0)1227 827726 Email:

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E T* a * H E D

Real World Guide to Work Experience, your guide to staying ahead of the competition. Welcome to the Real World Guide to everything you need to know about work experience and internships. The articles here are for anyone looking to stand out from the crowd, whether it’s through volunteering, finding a holiday placement or getting some top-notch work experience.

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School of Education

The School of Education offers one year PGCE courses in: Primary (5 - 11) Secondary: English, Mathematics, Geography, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Modern Foreign Languages (French, Spanish and German)

For further information visit our website: Enquiries for PGCE Initial Teacher Training Courses (please quote RW1): Admissions Office, School of Education, University of Leeds, LS2 9JT Telephone: 0113 343 4524 Email:

School of Education PGCE courses for graduates

Tempted to teach? ?\oekWh[beea_d]\ehh[ifedi_X_b_jo"_dj[bb[YjkWbY^Wbb[d][WdZ_dj[hWYj_edm_j^oekd] f[efb[oekm_bbX[_dj[h[ij[Z_dj[WY^_d]$J^[Feij]hWZkWj[9[hj_\_YWj[_d;ZkYWj_ed F=9;fhe]hWcc[i"m^_Y^b[WZjeGkWb_\_[ZJ[WY^[hIjWjkiGJI"^[bfijkZ[dji jejhWdibWj[j^ei[_dj[h[iji_djefhWYj_YWb[nf[hj_i[$ JhW_d_d]iWbWh_[i JhW_d_d]iWbWh_[iWh[fW_ZjeWbb^ec[% ;KjhW_d[[i$ M[m[bYec[Wffb_YWj_edi\hecWbb [j^d_Y]hekfim^eWh[Ykhh[djbokdZ[h# h[fh[i[dj[Z_dj^[j[WY^_d]fhe\[ii_ed$ Fb[Wi[j[b[f^ed[&'('*'**.,, eh[cW_b[ZkYWj_ed6X^Wc$WY$ka J[WY^_d]_d\ehcWj_edb_d[0&.*+,&&&//'$ OekcWom_i^jeYedikbjj^[\ebbem_d] m[Xi_j[iWij^[ofhel_Z[kf#je#ZWj[ _d\ehcWj_ededijkZ[dj\_dWdY[0 mmm$ijkZi[hl$X^Wc$WY$ka%\e\\_Y[ ^jjf0%%mmm$YWdj[WY^$]el$ka%

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19/1/07 14:50:45 22/1/07 17:25:46

back to sch

Does the thought of school bring back traumatic memories, or we of your life? If it’s the latter, then maybe a career in the teaching pr For many, school was the happiest time of their lives, relishing the different challenges every day, interacting with friends (not to mention enjoying those glorious summer holidays). It’s little wonder then that teaching is such a popular career choice for graduates. To become a teacher you need to gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). This can be obtained through a number of ways. The first, most popular, route for graduates is to obtain a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE). The PGCE usually lasts for one year full-time, or up to two years part-time. Your degree should relate to the subject you want to teach (if you want to teach at primary level your degree should be in

Alternatively, you can take part in the Teach First scheme. Initially, it’s a two-year commitment to teach in a tough school in London, Manchester or the Midlands. Six weeks’ training is given at Canterbury Christ Church University; then you go straight in the classroom and begin to teach. The schools that qualify for Teach First have very demanding working environments, with difficult pupils. Be warned though, after the two years, only around 50 per cent of graduates on the Teach First programme decide they want to stay in teaching.

one of the core subjects of the national curriculum). Eligible trainees completing PGCE courses in England are entitled to receive a tax-free training bursary of £6,000£9,000. In Wales, similar bursaries are available, where eligible trainees receive £6,000-£7,000, depending on the chosen subject. The PGCE is not the only route into the teaching profession. For example, you can undertake the Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP) which involves on-the-job training so that graduates can qualify as a teacher while they work. Training takes from three months to one school year (or longer), but this depends on previous teaching experience and the school.


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TEACHING | Overview


or were your school days the best ng profession is for you… Once you have obtained QTS, your career development doesn’t end there. For example, Fast Track Teaching is a programme supported by the National College for School Leadership. The scheme targets teachers in the early years of their careers. It provides a personalised programme of coaching, mentoring and development activities to support teachers in developing


Portraits by Yang Ou either. If you undertake a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) course you will have a passport to teach abroad. For example, the British Council takes on graduates who have two year’s EFL experience. Jonathan Wix of the British Council explains the attraction of such a career move: “The obvious appeal for most graduates is the opportunity to

skills required to take on a senior leadership role in education, such as assistant or

fund your travel virtually anywhere in the world, even English speaking territories.” So, if the lure of school dinners or, more likely, the thought of

deputy head. Opportunities for teaching are not limited to this country

those long holidays is calling you then perhaps you should consider qualifying as a teacher. But beware: the hours can be long; even if a school finishes at 2.35pm, you may not finish until 7pm or later. On the other hand, you will have the chance to work with gifted colleagues, not to mention a diverse range of pupils. Read on to hear about three graduates who have taken different routes into the teaching profession.

Next steps

Illustration: iStockphoto

Training and Development Agency for Schools: Teach First: Fast Track: Contact the British Council for more advice about teaching abroad: See our website for more teaching case studies:


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Kent offers teachers a wide range of experiences and an opportunity to work in a varied and exciting environment.To learn more about teaching careers in Kent, visit


Make a difference

Teach. Study to become a teacher at Bath Spa University

There are many opportunities open to you when you study for one of our Professional Certificates in Education. You’ll find a wide choice of subjects, for both the Middle years (7–14) and Secondary (11–16) age groups. The location is excellent – and so are the financial incentives! Enjoy the difference at Bath Spa University. Call today! Tel: 01225 875516 Email:

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22/1/07 14:56:32

teaching | case study



i made a mistake at 18 with the law degree, but it wasn’t a waste of time, it has been useful

School-Centred Training Vicky Forster, 31, is a newly qualified maths teacher at Notley High School in Braintree, Essex. She has been there for three years, starting off on a voluntary basis, shadowing maths lessons. After A-levels, she did a degree in law, but decided not to go into the profession. After marrying and having two children, she did a maths degree through the Open University. Rather than doing a PGCE, with one year studying, she did schoolcentred training known as the Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP). She was employed by the school, and worked there four days a week, with one day training. The idea is to build up teaching over the year, with a few hours at first; then ending up doing what is expected of a full-time teacher. With the PGCE you get a training grant, but the GTP appealed because you earn while training with an annual salary of £13,500. What was the training like? It was a bit different for me, because I had been at the school for a year before I started GTP. While I was training I had my own classes. The support I received was excellent. On my

training days we would have general training in the morning and then subject-specific training in the afternoon. I also have two mentors at the school, including a mentor within my department. They are there to provide support and to check I am meeting the standards required. Why did you want to go into teaching? I’d always considered it. For years I wanted to be a PE teacher. I made a mistake at 18 with the law degree, but it wasn’t a waste of time. It has proved quite useful. And then when my baby was small, teaching seemed like an excellent option. You do get a lot of time off even though you work through the holidays. Friends of mine have difficulties with childcare through holidays, so from that point of view it made sense. How do you cope with negative classroom behaviour? Fortunately, there are not many behavioural issues at our school. But I know things can be very different at inner-city schools – you often get pupils carrying knives, for example. That kind of thing doesn’t happen here. Usually, the worst you get is a bit of

name calling. But that’s no skin off my nose, most teachers can cope with name calling. What are the best parts of teaching? Definitely when somebody says: “Oh! I get it!” That’s the best; someone can come into the classroom not understanding something, then leaves feeling like they have achieved something. Also, teenagers are good fun; some of the conversations we have are good, we often go off on a tangent, and discuss aspects of life. If you’re the sort of person who loved school, you’ll enjoy it because it’s like being at school again. What are the worst parts? Frustration – when you’ve put a lot of work into teaching something, then after a test it seems like they haven’t learned a thing. I always get excited when I get test papers back, but sometimes I have unrealistic expectations of people’s ability to retain information. What advice would you have to someone considering becoming a teacher? The best thing you can do is go into school, shadowing somebody for two or three days to get a feel for whether you’re cut out for it.


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imagine There can be few more exciting places to begin your teaching career or look for a new challenge than Essex, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock. Their size, diversity of landscape and history – all combine to make this area one of the most special in the UK. Get in touch and we’ll tell you all about the schools – all kinds, every size. We’ll give you information on some unrivalled support in your first year and reassure you that you won’t be forgotten whether you’ve been a teacher here for one year or thirty years. And of course we’ll tell you about the things we all want to know about, like the extra benefits and incentives that are on offer. Contact the School Workforce Development Team on 01245 436252 or email us at quoting reference RW.


Reward yourself. The British Council takes an active interest in the welfare and careers of its teachers and there are many other rewards for teaching English abroad. Discovering and engaging with other cultures makes all our teachers richer people. If you would like more information about a rewarding career teaching English as a Foreign Language, please e-mail us on telephone 020 7389 4931 or visit our website at

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22/1/07 14:59:08

teaching | case study



The first time in the class room is really nervewracking. you are just trying to survive

“Teach First” Scheme Steve Adcock, 25, teaches at Burlington Danes Academy, in Hammersmith, London. He has a 2.1 in history from Warwick, and now teaches history and is also a director of learning (like an assistant head position), so teaches half timetable. He was in his third year at university when he received an email about Teach First. Initially it’s a two-year commitment to teach in a tough school. He liked the sound of the challenge and the fact you learn on the job. After six weeks’ training you go straight in the classroom, teaching pretty much full-time. The schools that qualify for Teach First have to be quite needy, with low results, and lots of pupils on free school meals. His current job includes observing other teachers. He also has lots of meetings with parents, and encourages teachers to work together. What was the training like? It was good; just enough to start off with. After six weeks we didn’t have the complete set of knowledge, but we knew where the gaps were. The first time in classroom was really nerve-wracking, you are just trying to survive. Then, as the year progresses, you

expect to be able to do more than just survive and you feel more confident.

hectic, but it will gradually get more manageable with time.

Why did you want to go into teaching? Teaching is something I’d always half-thought about, but it seemed a bit middle of the road, and I wanted to earn straight after graduation. Teach First made teaching an attractive option. I knew that whether I stayed in teaching or not, I could use the skills, such as communication and leadership, elsewhere.

What are the best parts of teaching? Working with so many different young people is very entertaining. Every day you see such a range of characters; you’ll always laugh and smile at something. I enjoy the challenge too; after a tough day I feel more energised than after an ordinary day. The best times are when you make a breakthrough with a tough class.

How do you cope with negative classroom behaviour? With persistence. There’s no secret really, you just try to get pupils on side. You have to try to find a connection. There’s always a reason for disruptive behaviour, you have to talk to them to find out what that is.

What are the worst parts? You have around 30 pupils in a class, and there is so much energy and so many issues you can’t really control, occasionally you do feel a bit helpless. Sometimes you will have planned a lesson but because one pupil has had a bad night’s sleep or drunk some Coke on the way into school they cause chaos.

Do you have a problem with the workload? Yes, for example this week I’ve been setting the alarm clock for very early to do some work before school. Work management is one of the biggest challenges. Previously, I was in same school for three years and over time the workload got more manageable, but I’m in a new school now, so this term has been very

What advice would you have to someone considering becoming a teacher? You shouldn’t do it for altruistic reasons, thinking you can change lives. Maybe you will have an influence but the pupils will never tell you that. If you have an interest in people and sharing ideas you will really enjoy teaching.


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Enhance your future in education ITE and CPD programmes for education professionals The School of Education is one of Britain’s largest and most established education providers: � OfSTED ranking of top four out of 76 UK universities for Initial Teacher Education (ITE) overall � CEER ranking of second out of 76 UK universities for teacher trainee employment success � The region’s only provider of Mathematics Enhancement for aspiring mathematics teachers � Innovative and varied profile CPD programmes and short-courses of education professionals, offered at bespoke locations

throughout the UK � Dedicated to the concepts of Lifelong Learning and widening participation, and encourage recruitment from under-represented

groups in higher education

Undergraduate teacher training programmes:

BEd (Hons) Early Primary Education and BEd (Hons) Primary Teaching – 3 yrs F/T:

BA (Hons) Education Studies and English – 3 yrs F/T:

Covers all aspects of the UK Primary National Curriculum and leads to a double award of an Honours degree and qualified teacher status (QTS). Entry requirements include 180-260 UCAS points (or equivalent), GCSEs grade C or above in English, maths and science (or equivalent) and work experience within a primary school setting.

This innovative degree gives students an international perspective on teaching and learning, and is delivered in partnership with Educatieve Hogeschool van Amsterdam (EHvA) in the Netherlands. It leads to triple award of an Honours degree, a recognised TESOL award (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and a Dutch Grade 2 teaching diploma – equivalent to British Secondary Qualified Teacher Status.

Postgraduate teacher training programmes: Available to anyone with an appropriate undergraduate degree and GCSEs grade C or above (or equivalent) in English, Maths (and Science for Primary Education), our postgraduate courses are ideal for ambitious individuals with the desire to teach and make a difference.

PGCE Primary Education

PGCE Secondary School Teaching

This one-year course provides the student with QTS and develops the broad subject knowledge required for teaching ages 5-11. It is required that applicants have work experience within this age range of children prior to their application.

Delivered in a variety of subject areas, these full-time courses specialise in the Secondary teaching of: Business Education; Design and Technology; English; ICT; Mathematics; Modern Foreign Languages; Physical Education; Science. Work placements within Secondary Schools are part of the course, so prior work experience is not essential. If you do have experience however, it may help you to qualify more quickly.

Flexible PGCE Secondary School Teaching These flexible part-time courses are designed for people who, for whatever reason, cannot commit to full-time study. There are three possible start dates – October, January and April – and an individual training programme is developed for every student on the programme, tailoring the length and structure of training to individual needs. Subjects offered are Business Education, Design and Technology, ICT, Mathematics, Modern Foreign Languages and Science.

PGCE Post-Compulsory Education This full-time course takes one year to complete and qualifies trainees to teach in further education (FE) – working with learners aged 16 and above. This nationally recognised FENTO endorsed award is offered in a variety of subject areas, and is suitable for those with a degree (in the subject you want to teach) and a desire to teach adults. Prior work experience in a FE environment is beneficial.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for Education Professionals: Visit for a current list of training opportunities. Tel: 01902 322821. E-Mail:



19/1/07 11:56:01

TEACHING| case study


It can be daunting at times; you can be working six or seven days a week, but you do have the holidays to catch up

“Small-Steps” Approach Deidre Stains, 44, is a primary school teacher at Maple Tree Lower School in Sandy, Bedfordshire. She holds a Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) qualification. She also has a BA in Education Studies which she did in two parts – first at University College Northampton, with further study at University of Luton (now the University of Bedfordshire). The opportunity to undertake the HLTA qualification came about at the end of her foundation degree at Northampton. It was part of the pilot scheme that gave students the chance to undertake the assessment free of charge. She did a basic three-day assessment route, with three training days, putting together evidence from school, and was then visited by HLTA assessor. She then obtained qualified teacher status. Why did you want to go into teaching? My first career was at a high street bank. Then, once I had my own children, I

developed more of an interest in childcare and became a child minder. Then, I began helping out at a nursery. I started off as unqualified assistant, then took small steps to qualification. How do you cope with negative classroom behaviour? Most schools do have some behavioural problems – and you won’t find any with none at all. The whole-school approach is to work with children, and try to get them see the positive side of good behaviour. There is nearly always an underlying cause to negative behaviour, so we do our best to help them work through the issues. What are the best parts of teaching? Undoubtedly it’s seeing the children you work with make progress – particularly younger children who seem to take on board things at an amazing rate. I like seeing them develop through the year, knowing that I have helped them along the road to learning. Another enjoyable factor is that no two days are ever the same,


children are such individuals it makes every day different. A child might do something they couldn’t do the day before. Of course, it might not always be something good, so you may be despairing at times, but then something else falls into place and it’s good again. What are the worst parts? The workload is pretty hefty, so you really need to have good time-management skills. It can be a bit daunting at times; you can be working six or seven days a week, but you do have the holidays and you can use them to catch up with work. What advice would you have to someone considering becoming a teacher? Getting qualified status is not easy but it is worth it. Anyone interested should go into a school. And, if possible, more than one to see different age groups. There really is no substitute for experience. You also need to pace yourself and don’t expect it to be easy. But the rewards more than make up for any down sides.



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e e r F Membership includes: Access to first-class advice

Qualifying in 2007?

Protection during your teaching practice

Teach in Hillingdon where

Continued free full membership for Autumn term after qualification

every teacher matters

Significantly reduced membership fees for your first 2 years in teaching. Realworld07-1

Institute of Education2.pdf


11:47:41 am

Would you like: ■ the possibility of being paid in July? ■ a highly acclaimed fully supported ■ ■ ■ ■ ■

first year induction programme? assistance with finding rented accommodation also with affordable housing available? loans available interest free? easy access (40 min by tube) to Central London? to be next to open countryside yet near to airports and main road links? exciting opportunities for career development?

Spend your life doing something you love h ac te ry e v .e w w w t vacancies tion and the lates

rms, informa for application fo

Contact us for more information on courses, training bursaries, scholarships and fee refunds:

Then don’t miss out, call 01895 250592 or 250 431 for an application pack

Telephone: 020 7612 6043 Course info: Fees and Funding:

London Borough of Hillingdon, Personnel Services to Schools, 4E/06 Civic Centre, Uxbridge, Middx UB8 1UW Email or visit

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18/1/07 16:58:26

A recent Teaching Development Agency (TDA) survey of 2000 graduates showed teaching was the least boring of all careers ("The Boredom Index", TDA). An enjoyable career ahead of you, training bursaries for most courses, and fee refunds for University of London graduates. Tempting, isn't it? Then study with the best. The Institute of Education is London's highest rated multidisciplinary teacher training provider (Teacher Training Profiles 2006). We offer you: • full-time and part-time PGCE courses in primary education, 14 secondary subject areas and postcompulsory (16-19) education • credit towards a master's degree on completion of our M-level PGCEs, giving your continuing professional development a head start • practical experience with over 500 partnership schools and colleges in the London area.

23/1/07 11:48:35

Faculty of Education, Community and Leisure Liverpool John Moores University’s Faculty of Education, Community and Leisure offers a range of quality programmes including undergraduate teaching degrees, PGCEs and taught masters. PGCE Art and Design (flexible option available)

PGCE Applied ICT

MA in Educational Management

PGCE Applied Art and Design

PGCE Information Technology (2 year conversion)

MA in Leadership in Physical Education

PGCE Applied Science

PGCE Physical Education

PGCE Food and Textile Technology

PGCE Dance

MA in Outdoor and Environmental Education Management Development

PGCE Design and Technology

Early Years (3-7)

PGCE Engineering

MA Artist Teacher

PGCE Physics

MA in Applied Human Nutrition

PGCE Biology

MA in Consumer Science

PGCE Chemistry

MA in Dance Studies

PGCE Modern Languages (French, Spanish and German)

MA in Education

PGCE Leisure and Tourism


MA Sport Development Management MA in Special Educational Needs MA in Special Educational Needs (Dyslexia) MA in Tourism and Leisure Management Development

MA in Education (Therapeutic Approaches)

MA in Tourism and Hospitality MA in Urban Tourism and Culture

For further details and enquiries about any of these programmes 0151 231 5340 (quote Real World) or email: fax: 0151 231 5379




Raising Aspirations & Achievement

Follow us to a year in Japan!

Building schools for the future

Japan’s largest private language school is looking for motivated and enthusiastic individuals to join our international team as English teachers in 2007

Play your part in our regeneration and begin your teaching career in Stoke-on-Trent Stoke on Trent is looking to the future and building on its successes. We wish to recruit NQTs who want to help us achieve our aims. We: U are committed to the Every Child Matters agenda U support high quality teaching and learning to raise the attainment of Stoke-on-Trent’s young people and prepare them for the future U believe strongly in our continuing professional development for all staff U have been commended by Ofsted for our NQT support programme U annually recruit NQTs across primary and secondary education U operate an Open NQT Pool U are rebuilding or refurbishing all of our 17 High Schools, in our ‘Building Schools for the Future’ initiative U have below average housing costs and are centrally located with good transport links

BE PART OF OUR SUCCESS: Apply to the Teacher Recruitment Team on (01782) 236909 (Minicom (01782) 236919) or email: Visit our web sites: or or visit the links for teaching vacancies or click on the link for SCORE

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Competitive salary Accommodation, flight, & visa arranged Training & support No prior experience required Small class sizes

To apply email your CV and covering letter (quoting RWM-0107) to Questions? call 020 7734 2727

22/1/07 16:20:17













Teacher Education Unit

We need good teachers You need the best training Loughborough University provides the professional expertise and specialist support you deserve. If you have a degree or equivalent and wish to qualify as a secondary teacher in one of these: Â&#x201E; Design and Technology Â&#x201E; Physical Education Â&#x201E; Science

Apply for our PGCE one year full-time course. You receive a training salary of at least £6,000. Tel: 01509 222762 E-mail: TDA website: Ref: TEU/4523

cheshire ad 2.1.07



Page 1


YOUR FUTURE IN CHESHIRE Cheshire’s key priorities - developing its teachers and improving its schools - are accompanied by a national reputation for success in tests, examinations, the arts and participation in international projects. We have:-

• a county which is an excellent authority (Audit Commission) • above average standards • dynamic, confident schools • rich, varied and thriving places to live

We are actively seeking committed teachers for the 21st Century including Newly Qualified Teachers and those returning to teaching. Enjoy the challenge of educating young people in any of our 350 schools and reap the benefits of working with children and other committed professionals. We welcome applications from teachers who will help to enhance the diversity and richness of our workforce.


Warwick Institute of Education

Learn To Teach

shapingfutures shaping your career

at Warwick Institute of Education and The Warwick Institute of Education offers a variety of ITE courses Early Years (3-7), Primary (511), Secondary (11-19) PGCE and the Graduate Teacher Programme (employment based route). The Secondary PGCE is offered in ten subjects: Business Education, English with Drama, Drama with English, History, ICT, Mathematics, MFL, MFL with Business Education, Religious Education and Science. The GTP route offers the same subjects as the PGCE with addition of Art, Design and Technology, Physical Education and Music. From September 2007 all Warwick PGCE courses will be offered at Masters level. Entry qualifications: • an honours degree at 2:2 or above • English and Maths GCSE at grade C or above; or equivalent • For Primary/Early Years candidates Science GCSE at grade C or above; or equivalent • Experience in the classroom and commitment to teaching

For further details on PGCE courses please call the Student Recruitment and Admissions Office on 024-7652 8148 or go to our website at http:// or e-mail: and for GTP enquiries please email:

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H 19/1/07 3:30:43 pm 22/1/07 15:07:05


The built environment touches our lives every day. But what the heck is it? and what opportunities does it offer students?



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BUILDING YOUR FUTURE Are you looking for a career that will have a beneficial effect on people’s lives every single day? Well, look no further than a job shaping the built environment. Put simply, this means working within the UK’s construction industry – but it is not limited to building houses. It also includes the construction of bridges, rail

Real World finds out

industries, and it is estimated that it generates revenues of more than £1bn a year. To understand the importance of this sector you only need to look at the headlines in the national newspapers: green-space preservation; brownfields redevelopment; the creation of new runways at Heathrow and Stansted airports, and rocketing house prices. All this mean more work for graduates. Raft of possibilities There are positions available for graduates in wide range of disciplines. Some of the jobs in the built environment include:

Photograph: iStockphoto


networks, ports, and chemical-process plants to name but a few. it even encompasses chartered surveying and estate agency. The built environment is one of the UK’s biggest export

architects, civil engineers, structural engineers, mechanical engineers, urban planners, land managers, chartered surveyors, estate agents and environmental consultants. There has never been a better time to take up a career in construction according to Paul Sykes, ConstructionSkills’ recruitment manager: “The industry as a whole is booming and choosing a future in construction is a very smart move. Projects like London Olympics 2012 will shape the landscapes of the future and it’s great to see green issues at the forefront of design and build,” he says. So what are recruiters looking for in prospective builtenvironment employees? “Flexibility and mobility are crucial qualities in candidates who wish to work in the construction sector,” a spokesperson for leading infrastructure company, Carillion, says. “It’s a diverse and dynamic discipline and you’ll work on a variety of projects in different sector areas, moving


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MSc/Diploma Programmes for Built Environment Professionals We’ve got it all – learning opportunities spanning the full spectrum of professions involved in the engineering, planning, design, construction, management and conservation of our environment and infrastructure. With a top reputation for teaching and research in Scotland, and one of the best in the UK, we’ve pioneered innovative educational methods, including distance-learning opportunities for postgraduate students. All our courses are designed to meet the demands of the construction industry and built environment professions, both nationally and globally. MSc/Diploma courses are available by flexible attendance-free study, along with the traditional full-time and day-release part-time options. Modes of study can also be mixed over the duration of the course, to suit your needs. There are also a number of scholarships available from SAAS, EPSRC, ESF and ODPM. Find out more from the Postgraduate Senior Administrator. E: T: 0131 451 8364 F: 0131 451 3161

Civil & Structural Engineering • • • • • • • •

Flood Risk Management

• • •

Geotechnical Engineering

Architectural Engineering

Safety & Risk Management

• • •

Civil Engineering

Safety, Risk and Reliability Engineering Structural Engineering Structural Rehabilitation, Repair & Maintenance Water Resources Engineering Management

Construction Management • • • •

Architectural Project Management Construction Financial Management Construction Management (Project Management) Construction Project Management

Facilities Management Property Investment & Finance Built Environment Architectural Engineering Architectural Engineering with Management Environmental Services

Conservation •

Building Conservation (Technology & Management)

Urban Studies • • •

Urban & Regional Planning Housing Urban Real Estate Management & Development Hilti. Outperform. Outlast.

Think outside the toolbox

Hilti is a market leader in the development, manufacture and sales of fastening systems and power tools to the construction industry. Here at Hilti, we believe you learn more about our company by actually working for us and being part of the team from day one. We don’t lock you into a structured training programme - you’ve just spent the last few years training for your future, so why not put it to use right away?

Are you looking for a graduate training programme?

After a brief introduction to the industry and our products, you’ll be ready to embark on your challenging and rewarding new career with us. And you won’t be alone - we’ll help you carve out a path within the company, making sure that working for Hilti takes you where you want to be. But don’t just take our word for it - ask Kirsty...

of departments in the company and the chance to apply for a proper job when you complete the course? You’re reading the wrong ad then.

Graduating in Mechanical Engineering, I found it hard to secure an engineering position as I didn’t have any practical experience. Joining Hilti as a Customer Services Representative gave me the opportunity to use the knowledge I gained through study, and I soon learned all about the industry from the initial training they put me through. Hilti is an organisation that really values its employees’ personal growth and within 9 months of joining the company, I took up my current position in the Technical department. Kirsty Peate BEng (Hons) Applications Specialist - Installation Systems.

2-3 years’ training, work experience across lots

Please visit our website at

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22/1/07 15:00:04




if you get a buzz from making deals and possess good communication skills, it could be for you

around the country. We also look for planning, organising skills and teamwork, alongside any relevant work experience in the sector as this shows commitment.” Get charter One of the growth areas within the sector is chartered surveying. A chartered surveyor’s main roles include valuing, managing, marketing, and acting as an agent for clients in the purchase, leasing or sale of a property. “A chartered surveyor’s job is one of inspiring business enterprise and efficiency. If you get a buzz from making deals and possess good communication skills it could be the career for you,” says Graham Smith, spokesperson for the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). “Being a chartered surveyor is very much a creative role – surveyors have physical evidence of their achievements and make a visual impact on a cityscape or environment.” You’ll need three good passes at A-levels, or four Scottish Highers to get onto an RICS-accredited surveying degree course. After completing this, and two years in practice as a surveyor, you can then pass your APC (Assessment of Professional Competence), which consists of a certain number

Photograph: iStockphoto

of hours of continuous professional development, as well as a final interview exam. You can also do a postgraduate diploma in surveying, which is a conversion course for students with unrelated or semi-related degrees. “If you’re passionate about things like natural resources, architecture, property, construction, buildings, business and conservation, a good place to find out more about surveying as a career is at,” advises Graham. Engineers also have an important role to play in the built environment. This could be structural engineers concerned with building bridges, or costal engineers helping with the development of ports and harbours. (For detailed information about engineering, see Overall, the built environment offers exciting opportunities for graduates. To do well, you need to be well-organised, with the ability to juggle many tasks. You also need a willingness to travel around, as projects could take you to far-flung corners of the country. But, above all, you need to be able to work in a team, given the scale and complexity of many projects. n


Useful links

• Construction Industry Training Board • Careers in Construction • Engineering Construction Industry Training Board • Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors • Also see our website for more case studies:


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Civil & Structural Engineering Opportunities UK-wide & overseas

A BROADER RANGE OF PROJECTS, A DEEPER COMMITMENT TO LEARNING For the sheer diversity of clients and projects – in sectors from building design and highways to rail, aviation and water – Atkins is without equal. And as a civil or structural engineering graduate, you’ll be involved in these projects from day one as part of a multi-disciplinary team. Graduates are fundamental to our growth, which is why we’ll look after you. We’ll give you an unrivalled breadth of experience, with the opportunity to grow both in the UK and overseas. You’ll be learning alongside true experts in their fields. Support will be given for you to gain Chartered status and you’ll follow a personal development programme to acquire non-technical skills. We’ll also reward your hard work with a competitive salary and benefits that include a £2.5k golden hello and an extra £5k as you continue to make progress. If you’re keen to take the step from graduate to Chartered Civil or Structural Engineer with an organisation that’s as committed to diversity as it is to excellence, find out more and apply online at our website below.



19/1/07 11:49:34




The job can  be demanding. in kuwait, I had to give up a lot of spare time. but it is rewarding  in the end

Glen Sage Job title: Graduate engineer in water projects, Mouchel Parkman Age: 23 University: University Plymouth Degree and classification: BEng (Hons) Civil and Coastal Engineering, 2.1 Graduated: 2005 Why did you choose your degree? It goes back to when I went to a recruitment fair during my A-levels. At the time I didn’t know what to do; I told a woman at the fair what I was interested in and she suggested I look into civil engineering. So I looked at different unis and decided on a degree in coastal engineering at Plymouth. It also offered a scuba diving course that gives you a professional diving qualification, which added to the attraction. What motivated you to apply for the job you’re in? My degree involved a lot of coastal engineering and one of our guest lecturers worked at Mouchel Parkman, so that’s how I heard about the company. And I wanted to take advantage of my training in coastal engineering with a job in water projects. What did the application process involve? It was a straightforward online recruitment process and I got a response within the week. I was called in for an interview and I was

asked about my course and work experience – it was a fairly typical interview really. What does your job involve? It’s a consultant engineering firm and, among other things, we design and manage coastal, port and waterfront developments both nationally and internationally. I deal with ports and harbours. What do you do on a typical day? At the moment, I am working on cruise-liner facility at Liverpool Docks, so they can bring in extra visitors each year. I am based in Surrey, but we have an office in Liverpool and I provide them with technical support. I also provide technical support to a project in Teesport (Middlesbrough). What do you enjoy most about the job? It is very challenging. I like the wide variety of projects internationally and nationally. I am also involved in projects on an international level, for example a cargo facility in the Dominican Republic. I have also just come back from a six-month secondment in Kuwait. What are the most difficult aspects? Mainly when it gets very contractual with clients. Also the work can be demanding when you’ve got to get work out on time. In Kuwait I had to give up a lot of spare time.

The job can be highly demanding, but it is rewarding at the end. What advice do you have for students considering a similar career path? I did a sandwich course, with a year out between the second and third years. It was nice to earn a bit of money! Having a nine-tofive job helps you to focus for your final year. I would advise students to apply early for jobs – when you first start your final year if possible, because after Christmas you have your dissertation and you’ll be focused on exams. The last thing you’ll want to do is apply for jobs. Apply to as many companies as possible to leave your options open, but tailor your CV and covering letter to the company and position.


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How to apply

Send your CV via web at or email: You can also send a CV and a covering letter to Janette Green, Corporate HR, Gleeds, 3 Broadway, Broad Street, Birmingham, B15 1BQ. Contacts: Janette Green or Helen Cleaver tel: 0121 644 5400 Gleeds has over 120 years’ experience in the construction industry and employs over 1,200 people in 14 countries world-wide, making it one of the leading management and construction consultancies.

Culture: Gleeds encompass three-core elements: people, places and spaces

Training & Development: The company view of people is that continuing personal development never stops - the more you know the more it assists clients. The Gleeds training Services and Specialisms: The company is programme is approved by the RICS and is multi disciplinary and offers a range of services including quantity surveying, project management, structured around the APC process with supporting APC doctors, preparation plus building surveying, facilities management, consultancy services, land and mineral surveying, coaching weekends. Day release is offered to those non-cognate graduates who want to join financial services and many more. the profession. Gleeds Recent projects: include Richo Arena The company’s performance management Coventry, West India Quay London, BBC White City London, Temple Quay Bristol, Northern Rock system is one of the most comprehensive and feeds directly into the training requirements of HQ Newcastle. In addition there are a number projects in Atlanta, Sydney, Shanghai, Dubai and the RICS, CIOB, CITB and APM. across Europe.

Work life balance: On the social side there are sailing and racing weekends, half marathons and the annual five-a-side football tournament. There is also an annual summer ball and Christmas Party. Skills: Gleeds is looking for technically competent people who enjoy the challenge. Thorough precision planning skills with special attention to detail will be the biggest challenge for most graduates. Educational Requirements: Preferably A levels or equivalent which would lead to a day release degree course sponsored by Gleeds, or a good first degree, which could lead to a construction related conversion course.

People Places


Graduate Management Development Programme If youÕre a graduate in Surveying, Construction Management or a construction related field, Persimmon plc can offer you a fantastic career opportunity. A FTSE 100 listed company, weÕre now the UKÕs largest house builder, operating under two renowned brands - Persimmon Homes and Charles Church Developments. To help continue this success, weÕre now looking for the very best graduates to join our Management Development Programme. Last year, our Programme won the Best Training/Staff Initiative in the House building Innovation awards. Make no mistake. The year long Programme is challenging and stimulating. But for those graduates with ambition and skill, itÕs an unprecedented fast-track to a senior position in our technical or construction divisions. Successful applicants will hold an HND or degree, be natural communicators and be eligible to work in the UK, but above all, be passionate about the house building industry.

You want a rewarding career. We want quality graduates.

Start by forwarding your CV and a covering letter to: Richard Latham, Group HR Manager Persimmon plc, Persimmon House Fulford York YO19 4FE email: Please quote ref: RW0107 An equal opportunities employer

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i knew i could do more. that’s why i enrolled on a postgrad course

Estate Management. I had to do it via distance learning, outside work hours. By getting the surveying diploma under my belt I found it was a fantastic way to open doors, and as a result as qualifying as a chartered surveyor I got a new job. What motivated you to apply for the job you’re in? Having been in estate agency for more than 10 years, I was in a comfort zone. But I knew I could achieve more, that’s why I enrolled on the postgraduate course to take my ability a bit further.

Hugh Riley Job title: Currently associate partner in the estate-agency department of a chartered surveyors. Now qualified as a chartered surveyor, he will soon be a residential charted surveyor at a different firm. Age: 38 University: Exeter University. Degree and classification: Geology (BSc) Graduated: 1990 Why did you choose your degree? I wanted to do a general science degree. You could call me an all-rounder, so it suited me very well to study the various disciplines. Then recently I took a postgraduate diploma in chartered surveying at the College of

What did the application process involve? I went straight into my existing job after a spell in the Army. I sent my CV to companies in my local town, then when I got a job, worked my way up from trainee to running the department. Then, having been in estate agency, I did another correspondence course. With a certificate in estate agency, I was elected as a fellow of estate agents, which stood me in good stead for 10 years. But I knew I could take things forward. The College of Estate Management course is a fantastic way to go from a non-professional degree into a profession. What does your job involve? At the moment, it involves residential house sales dealing with the public, matching public

with stock, and objection management. My new role will include obtaining professional valuations for banks and building societies. What do you do on a typical day? In my new job I will be visiting about five residential properties a day. Then it’s a case of preparing reports on them and making an assessment of their value. What do you enjoy most about the job? At the moment the two aspects I enjoy most are meeting people and getting to see some extremely interesting houses, of all styles, ages and conditions. What are the most difficult aspects? Definitely dealing with the objections when nursing a sale through. It tends to be a very emotional time for people; you have to guide them through it gently. It can be fraught and tense when relying on other people in the chain. What advice do you have for students considering a similar career path? For chartered surveying, I would strongly recommend the Estate Management diploma as the next step. It is also important to find a placement. For estate agency you can go straight from university; if you want to progress you can gain qualifications while in the job.


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Careers at Costain

in engineering and construction

Graduate Opportunities! Costain Group PLC, one of the UK’s top engineering and construction companies, is looking to recruit graduates who will play an integral part in our growth plans. Our graduate development programme is designed to help you achieve chartered status, or become professionally qualified, in your chosen discipline as quickly as possible. We want to hear from graduates who have a strong desire to become:

� Quantity Surveyors � Engineers (Civil, Mechanical & Electrical) � Site Managers � Safety & Environmental Advisors Graduates who have or are completing construction related degrees are preferred. However, non-cognate degrees will be considered providing you are able to demonstrate a firm commitment to pursuing a career in construction. Candidates should have good communication skills and be team players. Work experience either through industrial placement or vacation work is an advantage, but not essential. If you’ve got ambitions of a challenging and rewarding career in the construction industry and are seeking chartered status, please state this clearly on your application through our website, Contact Costain: Recruitment Team, Costain Limited, Costain House, Nicholsons Walk, Maidenhead, Berkshire SL6 1LN. Working towards equal opportunities.

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the future

is distance learning

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• conversion courses • for careers in property & construction • qualify while gaining work experience

Quote Ref: RW0107 ,iv\Ê}ÓLӇäx

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BUILT ENVIRONMENT | case studies

sub-contractors to find out whether they want to tender for a particular package and schedule preliminary meetings. What do you like most about the job? No two days of any placement have been similar; it’s one of the reasons why I enjoy it so much. I also enjoy the fact that the work creates something tangible: you see the building rise up and then take it through to completion. The people on all the placements have also been really helpful. I don’t have a construction degree but people are always happy to sit down and help me understand things.

Emma Whittington Job title: Graduate trainee manager – working on the Arora Hotel project at Heathrow Age: 24 University: Portsmouth University Degree: Business Information Technology, 2:1, Graduated: 2004 Why did you choose your degree? I chose an IT-related degree because this was the subject I really enjoyed at school. I felt that combing it with business would give the degree more scope.

What are the most difficult aspects? Sometimes you get used to a project and then it’s time to move on. But that’s the nature of construction and starting on a new project is always exhilarating. What advice do you have for students considering a similar career path? If you enjoy variety and a challenge, it’s the perfect career choice. If you have an open mind and mature attitude you’ll fit in fine and thoroughly enjoy it.

What motivated you to apply for the job you’re in? I did a 12-month sandwich placement as part of my degree and worked for De Beers. It was a good placement but it made me realise that I didn’t want to go into an ITsupport role; so I started to explore graduate schemes that offered long-term career prospects. I chose the Graduate Management Programme at Laing O’Rourke because it offered the opportunity to do placements in different business units and departments within the group. What did the application process involve? There was an online application form and soon after I received an invitation to an assessment centre. It was a long day that included psychometric tests, group exercises and an interview. What does your job involve? After placements in planning, estimating and human resources, I am now based in procurement. My job is to identify and coordinate sub-contractors from our supply chain to carry out work within an agreed budget and to a set time-frame. This involves writing scope of works, marking-up drawings and coordinating with the design and construction team to ensure information is available to go out to tender. Once a tender is returned, my job involves comparing results and bringing the successful sub-contractor on board. What do you do on a typical day? There is a range of work packages. It could be starting off a new package or continuing to work within the scope of another. I speak to


What did the application process involve? Having been offered the job on the back of my work placements I didn’t have to go through the normal recruitment process. It really took the pressure off in my final year at university and let me concentrate on my work. What does your job involve? Working for the bridges team means that there are always interesting projects on the go. I’ve been lucky to get to work on a major new bridge across the Thames in east London. The current procurement stage of the project is directly related to my final-year project at university so it’s particularly interesting for me. I’m also spending a lot of time in the client’s office which is giving me a good insight into their way of thinking and working. The job itself can cover all aspects of a project from feasibility stages, through to design and then being on site to oversee the construction. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to experience all of these over the next few years. What do you do on a typical day? Every day is different, which is what I love about the job, but whatever I’m doing it’s usually as part of a team so communicating with other colleagues – if they are on the next desk or on the other side of the world – is vitally important to getting my job done. What do you enjoy most about the job? I enjoy it when I’m busy and the pressure is on. Working in a team can be great and you get the chance to meet different people from different disciplines which can open your eyes to the other aspects of a project beyond the engineering side. I also enjoy telling my friends and family about what I do – everyone seems to find bridges interesting! The fact that every job is different also means that the work is always fresh and new in some way or other.

Steve Richings Job title: Graduate engineer, Halcrow Age: 24 University: Cardiff University Degree and classification: MEng Civil Engineering (Hons), First Class Graduated: June 2006 Why did you choose your degree? I liked the idea of being able to contribute to major projects and having something real to show for it at the end. I’m really looking forward to the day when I can drive over the first bridge that I’ve been involved with. What motivated you to apply for the job you’re in? I had already worked for Halcrow for some summer placements and for an industrial placement year while I was at university. I was lucky enough that they offered me a job before I returned for my final year. And I knew that the bridges team here is very good, so I pretty much bit their hand off at the offer!

What are the most difficult aspects? When things get hectic it can sometimes be a struggle to juggle all the jobs that you’ve got to do and still meet all the deadlines. You need to be sensible with how much work you take on. It can also be frustrating when the general public really has no idea about what we do. I don’t think civil engineers get enough good press – people only seem hear about the things that go wrong. We’ve got so much to shout about as an industry, we need to make people more aware of the successful projects we’re involved with. What advice do you have for students considering a similar career path? Try to get some work experience as soon as you can. It’ll help you decide what type of career you want to go for eventually. Try to vary it though – have a go at a little bit of everything, you might be surprised what you end up enjoying the most. And always ask any questions you’ve got, people are usually glad to help so don’t be afraid. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!



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   THE CANDIDATE Peter Morey is a second-year student at Warwick University, studying philosophy. He is interested in a career in journalism, which at this stage means applying for competitive internships and work experience at newspapers, magazines and publishers. This will stand him in good stead for job-hunting after uni but like many first- and second-year students he’s caught in the trap of needing to show skills and experience on his application in order to secure a placement. To maximise his chances of landing some work experience, Peter needs to focus his CV and highlight skills learned, along with performing a general re-format. As Mario Lucio, of careers advisers Chromis Consulting, states: “the most important thing is to tailor your CV to each individual role. At the moment, it is difficult for an employer to see why Peter has chosen to apply for work experience in media or publishing, let alone their company.”

 

 If you are targeting a specific job-type, as Peter is, there has to be a main focus on relevant work experience. Helen Stringer, careers adviser at Warwick University, recommends separating the work experience section into two headings: ‘relevant experience’ and ‘other experience’. In Peter’s case, most of what is in the ‘positions of authority’ section can be put into ‘relevant experience’, given that his main career aspiration is in journalism and publishing. More routine or casual work, while still valuable, should be relegated to an ‘other experience’ section.


 Details on a CV should be  Helen recommends stating the dates more precisely. They should be accurate down to the month.

 This information is fairly irrelevant. Changing linen and carrying furniture are not valuable experiences in this instance. It takes up valuable space where more relevant experiences can be mentioned.

conveyed as clearly and concisely as possible. “You don’t have to write paragraphs of prose. Instead, short, snappy sentences should be used, with as many action words as possible, giving a dynamic feel,” says Helen.

* Peter’s details have been changed


 This section is far too long, taking up almost a quarter of the CV. Maria points out that “having a creative and sporting hobby is great on a CV, just don’t let it overshadow experience in other relevant areas.” There is no doubt that a CV should focus on education and employment. Furthermore, this section, like the others, should consist of bullet points and short, snappy sentences rather than waffly prose.

 Much more  Peter’s name would have greater impact if highlighted in bold and put in a larger font. The same can be said for section headings. Hairlines can be used to separate sections clearly and neatly.

information should be given for this, especially as it is so relevant to Peter’s career aspirations.

 There is too much space

 The same goes for this.

 And this.

given to contact details. One address is enough, says Mario. “Your home address is best as you can have mail forwarded to you. You are more likely to be contacted by e-mail or phone.” Also, your date of birth and gender are irrelevant.

  


 Peter should consider putting a brief


mission statement here. It is not essential, but given that he is applying to a specific sector, it will give his CV a greater focus, clearly demonstrating a commitment to the sector.

 Bold text can be used to highlight job titles and core facts, to mark them out from further details. This will make the CV easier to read at a glance, which is what employers will do.

 There should be a focus here on core skills taken from the job, and a mention of any important roles assumed. The same goes for all the work experience on Peter’s CV.

 The experience in this section is great for an application for journalism or publishing. Much more can be made of it. Figures and statistics relating to the magazines Peter set up should be mentioned where they can to provide hard evidence of any success. Once again, action words should be used to convince the employer of dynamism.

 ‘Keep the word ‘I’ to a minimum on your CV’, warns Helen. ‘Use bullet points to outline what you have done. And the stated interest in philosophy and literature is unnecessary’, it is already apparent by Peter’s choice of degree.





AFTER...  Peter’s name stands out a lot more, and his details take up a lot less space, allowing more space for him to demonstrate his worth. As Fiona Kent of Warwick University careers service states, “this CV looks more professional, and is easier to read. The layout is clear and it emphasises Peter’s experience and interest.”

 The mission statement gives a good sense of commitment to the industry, and highlights relevant aspects of the CV. If it does not do this; if it does not “add anything to the CV” as Fiona remarks, “don’t bother with it.” Furthermore, don’t be afraid to boast a bit, if it serves this purpose, although you will need to back it up. Try to forget modesty when it comes to CV writing, as Peter has done here.

 

 This fits much better in this section.

 Splitting ‘Experience’ into ‘Relevant experience’ and ‘Other experience’ has made the far more useful experience much more noticeable.

 This is much better. Peter’s initiative in setting up the project really shines through. The extra detail, such as including the name of the project and its budget, gives some concrete evidence of achievement.


 In the rest of this section, the detail really sells Peter’s skills, as do action words and phrases such as ‘implemented’, ‘assumed an active role’ and ‘injected some creativity’.


 The bold text works

 Putting this towards

wonders for presentation. It splits the CV into further manageable chunks as well as highlighting essential information.

the end of the CV is far better; as ‘Relevant experience’ is given more priority.

 Peter is no longer simply stating brute facts about his jobs. There is a focus on skills gained and roles of responsibility, which is a vast improvement. Irrelevant material that adds nothing of value to the CV is scrapped, such as Peter’s wonderful experiences changing linen and arranging furniture.



 Shortening this section diminishes its importance, allowing more space for, and emphasis on, his really valuable experiences setting up, editing and writing for student magazines. A ‘hobbies’ section is still useful; it “sells personality” as Maria from Chromis points out, but it must be kept short and to-the-point.

When writing a CV, put yourself in the reader’s position. As Fiona Kent of Warwick University Career’s service states, “the reader is not neutral.” He/she is your prospective employer… So Fiona recommends the following: 1. Ask yourself ‘what will they consider important?’ This will require you to tailor your CV to different employers and industry sectors. 2. Always bear in mind key skills and roles that you can bring out of both work experience and education, and don’t hesitate to mention them in your CV. You should convince your employer that you have already started honing the skills required for work in their sector. 3. Never underestimate the importance of action words for a more dynamic appearance.





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© 2007 PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. All rights reserved. “PricewaterhouseCoopers” refers to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (a limited liability partnership in the United Kingdom) or, as the context requires, the PricewaterhouseCoopers global network or other member firms of the network, each of which is a separate and independent legal entity.


19/1/07 11:43:29

W SHFUL Graduate Opportunities Nationwide 2007 Assurance Tax Advisory Actuarial Strategy

Everyone dreams of something different from their career. At PricewaterhouseCoopers, that’s fine by us. With our scale and scope, we’ve room for all sorts of ambitions. And all sorts of educational backgrounds. You see, whilst we look for at least 280 UCAS points or equivalent and a 2.1, your degree needn’t be finance or business related. More important is that you possess the drive to make the most of all we have to offer. We’re the one firm for all aspirational graduates.

We are an equal opportunities employer.


19/1/07 11:43:42

Getinsidebusiness Graduate and Undergraduate Programmes 2007

Your Opportunity to see if weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re right for each other. Internship opportunities:

6 week Summer Internship 12 month Industrial Placement 2 week Work Experience Programme

Ernst & Young is an equal opportunities employer and welcomes applications from all sections of the community. The UK firm Ernst & Young LLP is a limited liability partnership and a member practice of Ernst & Young Global.


19/1/07 11:46:47

February 2007  

Real World Magazine February 2007