Bristol PLUS and Outstanding Award case studies

‌Sean Francos

Business Analyst, London Stock Exchange Group. Studied Mathematics BSc. Graduated 2013.

More than anything else – the most dramatic change I found when moving from university to working in industry was the change in mind-set required. Anything you can do to prepare for that and to force yourself out of the comfort zone of the "student bubble" can only be a good thing. For me, part of that preparation was completing the Bristol PLUS Award and I cannot recommend the experience enough.

Whilst I found all aspects of the Award very helpful, for me the most useful part was completing the “reflective report”. The art of reflection and self-consideration was not something I was familiar with, but is a skill I have found more and more important to success in my career and in my personal and professional development.

Not only that, but having experienced graduate recruitment as both an applicant and attending university Careers Fairs representing my employer, I have seen how competitive the process can be. The PLUS Award is a great way to stand out from the crowd and evidence the “above and beyond attitude” that employers love.

Finally – completing the Award was a lot of fun! For me, university was a time to learn and to meet new people: the Bristol PLUS Award is a great opportunity for both, whether that is during the work experience, workshops or the intensive skills activity. I would advise all current students to take this opportunity and to make the most of it!

Madeleine Dwyer

Environment Officer, Environment Agency. Studied Experimental Psychology BSc. Graduated 2015.

Taking part in the PLUS award helped me to develop skills that are crucial to gaining employment. The workshops I had attended increased my confidence in interviews and gave me the knowledge I needed to write successful applications and cover letters. Aside from this, the PLUS Award gave me the opportunity to evaluate what career path I wanted to take after graduation. This has led to my current career working in the environment sector, first working in conservation as a Nature Reserve Warden and now working in environmental protection. I am very glad I took part in the PLUS Award!

The PLUS Award introduced me to the recruitment processes used by large companies which I had previously not experienced including panel interviews and assessment centres. If I had not taken part in the PLUS Award I do not think I would have been as confident during interviews or been able to structure my answers to fully demonstrate my skills or experience. I feel the skills I gained from the PLUS Award were crucial in gaining my first job and set me on a positive path of employment and skills development.

Make the most out of your PLUS Award by taking part in workshops and work experience that will give you the skills and experience you think will be most useful to you in the future. Just do it. It is crucial to build confidence for interviews, and develop other skills like project and time management for employment. Alongside work experience you're probably doing anyway, the PLUS Award has great workshops, it doesn't take that long to complete and every second is worth it.