Be prepared! YES and PDP

October’s Feature asked students to tell Aber Student Media about any advice, work experience, years in employment and years abroad they may have had as part of their course.

Employability is of course one of the main reasons we are all at university. We’ve all read the leaflets, heard the talks from the Careers office and possibly looked up options on line, but we thought it best to let you hear from people who’ve been there and done it.   

WONDERING what you can do after finishing your degree? Or are you just curious to explore different paths before you settle on one main goal? Well then maybe doing some work experience, or a year in employment, is the path to go down! From recent interviews with second years (Zoology student Sioned Snowden and Computer Science student Connor Goddard) having a year out in employment might be a valuable asset to your university life and to your CV.

The YES program’s plan is to provide all students with a way to get vital experience in your chosen field. The program assists you in finding and securing a placement and makes sure you have all the information you need to make you feel settled in for your year out of education. The year is usually taken after your 2nd year, so it does mean finishing your degree in four years rather than three, but many employers appreciate the commitment to learning applicable skills.

From speaking to Sioned, the Zoology department seems to offer a full range of help. Many lecturers are there to offer advice and help get students started with looking for some kind of work experience or placement. All Zoology students can access the IBERS section on Blackboard which has most of the information students need – like how to actually plan a year in employment.

According to Connor, the Computer Science department seems to take work experience to the next level. It’s near enough compulsory to get some kind of experience before finishing your degree. From planning weekends away for intense interview workshops, to training exercises, to full time support from lecturers; preparation for the world of work seems to be top of the list.

Although some departments don’t push students to have a year out to work in industry or even to take a short work placement, it might be worth having a good long think about what you could do to stand out from the crowd. A lot of jobs seem to expect you to have some kind of industry experience these days, so it can’t hurt to use the university’s resources.

It is thoroughly recommended that you continue to write your PDP folder – you may moan now but I promise that it’ll be worth it in the end! Having it ready will put you ahead in the interviewing process, especially once you’re out of university. Even if your department doesn’t mention PDP folders, doing them off your own back is a good idea. Documenting everything you do, for example, the places you visit or the work experience you do, will help you in the future to write a CV or an application form. (Rather than staring at a blank form trying to remember what that project from first year!)

Aberystwyth University, in general, offers a lot of guidance and the individual departments can also be a valuable asset, especially when you go out of your way to find information from them. If you think that your department doesn’t have a careers service, then there is always the Careers Office in the Union building. They can often help you with something as simple as tweaking your CV or helping you find and secure your work placement, so just go in and have a chat, or book an appointment!