Student story: The benefits of volunteering

Thinking about getting some work experience this summer? QProjects Summer has 12 positions in charities open for application now.

jessJess Weeks got involved with QProjects earlier this year, as a Collections Project Leader at the Royal Academy of Arts. Jess wanted to gain some experience in the heritage sector and loved the idea of working for an independent charity – so applied for QProjects. Now that she’s finished her placement, we caught up with her to see how she got on…

What did you enjoy about your placement?

“The Royal Academy was a great place to be in general. One of my favourite tasks, however, was working on the opening of the Anthony Green exhibition. I had to transcribe one of his pieces of work and it was so nice knowing that my opinion was valued. On opening night I met the artist himself! The team were so lovely and really made me feel welcome; I was sad to leave, but I felt very lucky to have had the opportunity to do such a wonderful placement.”

Do you think that doing a QProject has helped your employability?

Benefits-of-volunteering1_(002)“Having the QProject on my CV is really going to help me with further applications. I have learned many transferable skills, had to deal with and overcome certain challenges within the role, and have also gained valuable experience within the sector. In interviews I will draw on my experiences at the RA to provide support for statements of character and experience. I have also made valuable connections within the sector. Networking is crucial and QProjects provides a great platform to start this process.”

What would you say to a student who was considering doing a QProject?

“I would wholly recommend it! It’s a fantastic way to meet people and make connections, as well as allowing you to learn crucial skills within a sector. Although it is unpaid, I feel that this looks better on your CV as it shows how dedicated you are and good at time-management! Do it sooner rather than later – don’t (like I did) wait until your third year to start looking for experience. These projects are a great way to start gaining experience and learn what you like and don’t like, so for me this project has allowed me to understand that I might be best suited in a more educational role rather than curatorial.”

If you fancy doing something similar, further details on how to apply for QProjects summer can be found here. The programme is open to all students and the deadline is 1st June.

Looking for work experience? QProjects Summer applications open now

  • Are you looking to gain some work experience this summer?
  • QProjects Summer places QMUL students in local charities completing challenging projects which are flexible around your other commitments.
  • Looking to build your CV? This is a great way to get some experience while giving back to your community.

Amrin Nahar applied for a QProject in 2016 and was appointed Digital Marketing and Comms Project Leader at St Joseph’s Hospice:

amrin“The reason why I got involved with QProjects was that I saw it to be a fantastic opportunity to enhance my work experience. I was able to apply for the role of Digital Marketing Assistant at St Joseph’s Hospice. My main responsibility was to aid the Head of Marketing and Communications to deliver a new intranet for the hospice. What I really enjoyed was being able to provide insight and suggestions to the team regarding the project. This made me feel incredibly involved in the team as well as allowed me to gain experience in working in an office environment. QProjects has helped me gain interviews for jobs as the skills I have acquired have been valuable and transferable for other roles. I believe that if students are looking to gain first hand work experience and enhance their employability prospects, QProjects is a fantastic opportunity to take advantage of. As many employers want to see that potential candidates have engaged in practical work experience.” 

Since her project, Amrin has carried on volunteering taking on extra responsibilities, as well as securing a permanent role here at QMUL whilst she completes her MA.

Applications for QProject Summer are open now until 1st June to all QMUL students.  For more information about the roles and how to apply, check out our application form here.

QConsult Community: where groups of QMUL students take on strategic projects in the charity sector.

Are you interested in working on a unique project that will not only change lives, but
enrich your career prospects?

Developed from QMUL’s award-winning QProject programme, QConsult Community is an excellent opportunity to develop key skills in a real-life setting. Successful candidates will consult on a project within a not-for-profit organisation in our local, East London community.27157443600_99340d162c_o

Working in groups of 3-5, students will be given the opportunity to work with professionals in the voluntary sector, acquiring the essential skills that employers are want to see. It’ll be up to you and your team to provide solutions to the needs of the charity you’re consulting on.

So, if you…

-Are looking to put your academic work into practice
-Would like professional training in project management and consultancy
-Are keen to maximise your work experience during your degree

… then QConsult Community could be exactly what you’re looking for. Students from all subjects and years of study are encouraged to apply. For more information, see our website.

Opportunities to gain work experience

Being at university is not just about studying: your time at QMUL is the perfect opportunity to build up relevant work experience, enabling you to secure your dream job beyond your degree. The reality is that simply having a degree is not enough. You need to go that extra mile to land a job; a CV showing only a BA degree does not stand out to recruiters.

Recruiters want to employ those who stand out from the crowd; those who have made an effort to show passion, initiative and commitment towards their future. Here at Careers & Enterprise, we cannot stress enough how important it is for you to make the most out of your time at university. Whilst here, you have the freedom to try out career options and confirm whether they are right for you (or if they’re not); build a network of contacts; and even get your foot in the door of a business.

3 tips for utilising your time at QMUL:

  • Check out our QTemps vacancies. QTemps is Queen Mary’s in-house recruitment agency for temporary staff. The roles are specifically for Queen Mary students and graduates, and many of the jobs offered are on campus. QTemps roles range from tutors to administrators, from lab assistants to web content writers. Whether the placement is long or short, applying for one of these roles will really strengthen your CV. Not only that, many of the placements have turned into permanent roles. All QTemp roles can be found on QRecruit and applying for a role couldn’t be more easy – just click the ‘Apply’ button at the end of the advert. Usually, we are just paying attention to CVs, but check the job advert to see whether a cover letter is necessary – you will have the chance to upload this at the same time as your CV.

Continue reading

The QHackney project – a unique volunteering experience!

Catherine Bailey, 2nd year LLB student

Over the past 5 months, QProjects has teamed up with Hackney Volunteer Centre to offer Queen Mary students a unique chance to undertake a 3 month placement at a small but growing Hackney-based charity. The organisations were selected due to their need for a student to come and aid the life-changing work they were doing – these leaders are ones of great enthusiasm and ideas, but in many cases just too much on their plate, many with a staff of only 1!

That’s where we stepped in. Selected through a competitive (but not intimidating) interview process, 10 students were then placed with 10 charities to each complete 12 days of voluntary work, though this could be scheduled as suited both across the 3 months. This flexibility meant this type of placement was ideal for many students with deadlines to consider.

I was tasked with documenting the project to evaluate its success, and I can report they were many. Students had the opportunity to receive valuable training in areas such as writing funding applications from Hackney Centre for Voluntary Services – an area which none had previously encountered, but are now able to teach others about! Students said that this type of training, as well as the other work completed on placement, opened their eyes to the charity sector, with some now considering these careers post-graduation.

Continue reading

QProjects: Meaningful work experience in the charity sector

The great American writer and philosopher Elbert Hubbard once said, ‘the best preparation for good work tomorrow is to do good work today’.

In this day and age it seems his statement remains just as apt; the headlines and the employers continually stress upon us the importance of being as ‘job ready’ and ‘employable’ as possible upon graduation. And they tell us a crucial part of this lies in getting some work experience under our belts before our University days are out.

Sensible, indeed, but perhaps easier said than done. It’s not like we’re short of things to fill our days; lectures, reading, societies, essays, sports, more reading, socialising. Possibly also a few shifts at the local Sainsbury’s to keep us out of the red.

But how the heck does one manage to undertake work experience on top of all of this?

Introducing QProjects; challenging, meaningful and time-efficient work experience placements in local and national charities.

At 8 hours per week over 3 months, QProjects are designed to fit snugly around your studies. You’ll bag yourself an impressive piece of professional experience to boast about on your CV and get that all important ‘employability’ factor, without having to sacrifice your grades or your social life.

Moreover, it’s the chance to break out of the QMUL bubble for a few hours a week and put your highly valuable skills and expertise into practice to help the local community. Now, future employers will be impressed by that, surely.

In the last academic year, we placed 51 students into 30 different charities (mostly in East London), including MIND, Cystic Fibrosis Trust and NSPCC. Past QProject leaders have led marketing campaigns for museums, run focus groups with NHS patients, secured thousands of pounds of funding for small charities through writing bids and planned and delivered arts festivals. And many more.

Continue reading

How to succeed finding part-time work with QTemps

What is QTemps? QTemps is our on-campus recruitment service specifically for QMUL students and graduates, and is a great way of earning money whilst gaining meaningful work experience. Our part-time and one off jobs are mainly for students. As Queen Mary University is a London living wage employer we don’t work on any jobs that pay less than £9.75 per hour.

Where are the jobs located? Most of our roles are internal, working with different academic schools and departments, whilst others are in and around East London. Recently we’ve had a lot of tutoring roles with local schools, which pay around £14.00 per hour.

How many hours a week will I work? We get jobs that are anything from just 1 hour only to other roles that started in 2012 and are still going!

Sounds great, what’s the catch? The only thing to bear in mind is that we get a lot of applicants for our roles (sometimes over 200!), so it’s important to make sure your CV is up to date. To increase your chances of being successful, make sure the education section is updated to say you are studying at QMUL, as the service is specifically for students and graduates at QMUL!

Any other advice? READ THE ADVERT! If the advert says you have to be available every Wednesday, for example, please only apply if you are available, as you will not be successful otherwise.

What have other students said?

”I have gained huge amounts from my placements. It allowed me to build up workplace skills and knowledge while studying.” Christina Govier, BA Politics Student.

”QTemps makes it much easier to get in contact with companies and the recruitment process is very simple. It provides a great opportunity to gain valuable skills and improve your CV for future jobs.“ Rafael Alves Sa, MSc Software Engineering Student.

How do I apply? Start by updating your CV*, then upload it and register on our website: http://tempjobs.london.ac.uk/QueenMary/Login.asp

*Not written a CV before or struggling to update it? Book an appointment with one of our Careers Consultants by calling 020 7882 8533 and see our online resources for further information.

If I’m stuck who do I contact?

Contact Rachael Blundell, QTemps Recruitment Manager: qtemps@qmul.ac.uk