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Students are careering towards an inspiring future

Posted: 07 April 2022

Students have built-up their careers portfolios, knowledge base and future aspirations thanks to more than a month’s worth of advice, guidance, masterclasses and industry speakers at West Nottinghamshire College.

Kicking off with the Create Expo at the end of February, students and guests interested in all things music, digital, 3D and graphic design, were able to meet with specialists from these varied industries at the college’s Create centre at the Derby Road campus.

Guests at the expo learnt from industry speakers where they began in their respective jobs, the skills they’ve honed and how they’ve kept up-to-date with the ever-changing technologies related to their roles.

Moving into March, engineering students enjoyed a range of talks from employers and university representatives as well as discovering more about the range of apprenticeships available in the field. The University of Lincoln’s Professor Mini Saaj, global chair of robotic engineering, spoke with students about the areas of technology that they could specialise in, including agricultural engineering, aerospace and robotics.

Sutton-in-Ashfield-based company Abacus Lighting shared the range of careers and roles that exist within the organisation. Students discovered more about how to apply for jobs within the company, which was established over 60 years ago, and the kind of attributes which it seeks from new employees.

Learners could find out more about job vacancies in the area from both the college’s apprenticeship team and Freshstart Recruitment Agency, with representatives sharing information about how individuals can improve their CVs and refine their individual career searches.

Careers in the construction industry were put in the spotlight for students at the Kirkby-in-Ashfield-based centre. Students enjoyed talks from construction companies such as Robert Woodhead Ltd, Persimmon Homes and Willmott Dixon.

Representatives from Willmott Dixon highlighted the company’s 150-year history as well as the variety of large commercial building and residential building projects. They spoke in depth about the importance of sustainability within construction as well as the opportunities for work experience in the range of trades such as brickwork, plumbing, electrical and more.

Matthew Bust, business support manager at Robert Woodhead Ltd, delivered a presentation about the company  and showcased the broad range of exciting projects they have worked on, from highly-sustainable housing schemes to heritage and restoration projects.

He shared the importance of problem-solving when challenges are faced such as unexpected finds when working on historic buildings and how teamwork and collaboration with other business can get projects back on-track to meet important deadlines. This includes waiting for archaeological interventions before work can continue and how the company successfully manages these challenges to keep their clients happy.

Employability and progression manager Maxine Buttery delivered a workshop about apprenticeships to the construction students starting with an apprenticeship quiz to test their knowledge. She covered the varying levels of apprenticeships available to study as well as signposted students towards applying for roles they are interested in.

The support at the construction centre concluded with a visit from Dan Fenton, the partnership manager at Reed Partnership. Dan specialises in getting candidates into employment covering Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

Dan’s CV writing session helped students to understand the best way to present at CV. Dan highlighted the importance of including a covering letter with a CV, as a way to highlight details which may not be on the main CV. He pointed out that the average time employers spend viewing CVs is approximately seven seconds.

Students who are based at the Derby Road campus enjoyed a range of careers-related workshops on labour market information, apprenticeships and university. This included talks from students themselves in the uniformed protective services (UPS) curriculum. This session, which was delivered to fellow health and social care learners, explained the job roles available in the UPS sector, while answering questions about these jobs, the lifestyles which come with such roles and what kind of characteristics individuals need to fulfil these careers.

Representatives from Nottingham Trent University, the University of Lincoln and the University of Derby provided students with advice on their respective institutions, helping them to understand the UCAS system, the clearing system after exam results and the financial side of university life.

The college’s career development professional Edina Baines-Krawczyk delivered progression sessions to foundation studies students, including Stepping Stones course looking at their next steps and pathways to progression. This was supported with individual one-to-one careers meetings, and all students when asked fed back/commented that their knowledge of progression options were improved as a result.

Computer scientists welcomed ex-students to the team, to speak about their experience in employment since leaving the college. These included Brandon Louth, who completed his Level 3 qualifications in coding and logic, cloud services and business processes in 2021, how works as a client support specialist at Kappture IT.

Ashley Bradbury, who completed his studies at the college 2017 on the BA (Hons) Applied Studies (creative digital media), went on to work at the college. He then moved to work for the Times Educational Supplement in Sheffield and is now an e-learner designer at Remit Training in Nottingham.

Brandon and Ashley spoke more about their roles in these creative areas and students were able to ask them questions on their studies and careers. Students then welcomed creatives from Linney Group who specialise in software solutions, digital signage and IT development, as well as representatives from Farnsfield-based Custard Technical Services.

More than 30 students from the business, sport and health and social care areas enjoyed a visit to the University of Derby to speak with current students and lecturers and took part in masterclasses about careers in health, sport and business. They toured an exhibitor showcase at the university, where they were able to speak to employers such as Nuffield Health, Rolls Royce, JCB, Derby City Council and more.

More than 70 A-Level and animal care students attended the UCAS Expo, attended by over 140 universities based in the UK giving them an opportunity to research the range of degree courses available to choose from.

A-Level students at the college’s Chesterfield Road campus welcomed staff and students from the University of Lincoln. They learnt more about university life from a student’s perspective, the entry requirements for a range of degree courses and the benefits of higher education.

Employability and progression manager Maxine Buttery said: “This year’s careers and employability events really have exceeded our expectations. The huge range of careers sessions, guest speakers and workshops that we were able to provide students over more than a month, has ensured that our students have the very best and most up-to-date advice about so many industries, progression options and the latest labour market information.

“Above all, the purpose of these activities was to help students to develop skills in managing their careers, not just during their time at the college, but in the future.”

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Why choose West Notts?

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100% A Level pass rate in 2020.

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One of the top colleges in the UK for student satisfaction.**Learner Exit Survey 2019/20

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