Erasmus+ Funding for Graduate Traineeships – 2018 Application open, deadline 1st June

ErasmusPlus-KA1_traineeships_1Erasmus+ is the EU’s programme for boosting skills and employability through education, training, youth and sport. Queen Mary University of London participates in the Erasmus+ Programme and will supply funding to a limited number of students for a traineeship in Europe.

Students in their final year who are planning on doing a traineeship (internship/work placement) outside the UK but in Europe (see list of Programme Countries) after they finished their studies can now apply for an Erasmus+ grant to help towards their living cost.

This is an excellent opportunity to gain international experience and to give your CV a competitive edge!

Why take part?

There are many reasons and some of them will be personal to you:

  • Gaining and improving a range of skills that are desirable to employers, including communication across cultural boundaries, self-management, independence, confidence, adaptability and self-reliance
  • Developing a global and cultural outlook, a quality highly sought-after by current employers
  • Building up a network of valuable contacts
  • Improving your (existing) language skills

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What it is like studying for a masters

When choosing whether to peruse a masters or not, we recommend that as well as attending an open day at the university, that you also speak to people who have done postgraduate study to find out what the reality is. Finding out as much as you can from a range of people will help you to make an informed decision. If you are thinking about starting a masters course next year, find out what one of our student bloggers thought about staying on at QMUL to do a masters. following her  Read on to find out what further study was really like.

How its going…

The first day (induction) felt really strange because I was back at uni just like I was in the past years but only this time…my friends weren’t there! However in some way I preferred not knowing anyone because when I saw new faces- that’s when it felt more like a new chapter or fresh start which made things more exciting!

I was surprised to see that the staff members and lecturers for masters are mostly different from the ones I had during my undergraduate years. Another thing I was not expecting was that most of my classmates were quite a bit older than me and most had worked or done postgraduate studies before. Also to my surprise, the majority of students (about 90% I’d say) are either International or European non UK students. All of this was completely different to what I was expecting and what I was used to as an undergrad.  It’s interesting how I wanted to stay at QMUL to avoid change however thinking about it now…there has been immense change from my undergrad years to now even though I am at the same university studying in the same department! Small things like the conversations I have with my peers and how my day is structured is now completely different!

Strangely I had expected to have a similar social life to what I did in my previous years as a student…this was definitely not the case at all! I was surprised by the number of students that just attend lectures then go back home or to the library and that is it. The lack of social interaction could be because of the workload or that most of the students are older and settled so do not see the point of socialising with their peers, either way I was not prepared for this and honestly, I didn’t like it!

I do however love the course I am studying. I find most modules very interesting and I really enjoy the way in which there is a lot more application of what we learn to the ‘real world’ and world of work. I find that the lecturers are more engaging and the lectures are more interactive which is helpful given the huge workload!

In conclusion I am glad I chose to do my masters now because at the end of the year- I know I have finally completed my educational years! Knowing this I think will also help me move on and focus better on the next step I need to take. If you are thinking of postgraduate study and are unsure, I would suggest that you speak to a postgraduate student to find out about their experience and know what it is really like.

An uncertain future – finishing your degree and not sure what to do?

If you are approaching the end of your degree and you don’t have a clear idea about your future career, then here are a few words of advice and reassurance.

You are not alone.

Your friends may all be sorted with jobs or be going on to postgrad courses, but it is very common for graduates to take quite a while to establish themselves. Even when the economic climate is not as tough as it is at the moment, a significant proportion of graduates find themselves unemployed or under-employed in non-graduate level jobs. Quite a few of those who do get graduate jobs will end up feeling dissatisfied with their career choice and may seek to change their career.

Research on people who graduated in previous recessions shows that they often have a lot more difficulty at the start of their careers, but that they catch up eventually if they take the right approach.


Resist the ‘lazy’ options.

Many graduates slip into postgraduate study almost by default. Doing a masters can be a great idea if you are passionate about the subject or you know that it will definitely open access to particular career areas. However, if you undertake further study as a delaying tactic, you could be sending a message to future employers that you lack motivation to work.

Similarly, just carrying on with the same job you have had through your studies can be a bit of a trap. Unless you are taking on new responsibilities, you might be better off trying to find something different. Varied experience will give you opportunities to develop a range of different skills.

It’s very easy to take a less than ideal job as a temporary measure and then find that you are still doing the same thing two years later. Keep reviewing your development. If you are not expanding your skills, move on. Changing jobs more frequently is one way in which those who have graduated in previous recessions have caught up more quickly.

This principle applies particularly to job hunting. Any method which seems to make things very easy is probably not that effective. Good job hunting requires persistence, adaptability and creativity.

Don’t worry about false starts.

Changing career direction is increasingly common for graduates in their first few years of working. It is even possible much later on in your career. If you’re not sure what to do with your life right now, don’t hang around waiting for a magic answer. Be ready to seize whatever opportunities come your way, even if they are not your first choice of career direction.

Whatever you do, put effort into it. Show initiative. Show an interest in the work. Look for ways in which you can add value to the organisation you are working for. Make suggestions. Volunteer for extra responsibility. Even if you decide to change direction at some point, you will have learnt a lot of valuable skills and will have gained some concrete achievements to put on your CV.

Treat everything you do as a learning experience.

People who eventually end up with successful and satisfying careers tend to be quite optimistic. That doesn’t mean that they assume everything will go smoothly. Instead, they take the attitude that whatever happens — even if things go wrong — it’s an opportunity to learn.

If you don’t get the job or the promotion you want, work out what went wrong and do something different next time. If you’re unhappy in your work, figure out what would make you happier and try to move in that direction. Whatever you do, ask yourself the question ‘What have I learnt from this that might be useful in the future?’

If you treat your work in this way, you will be more curious. You will ask more questions, meet more people and uncover more opportunities.

Not everyone has to have a ‘plan’.

Many successful people didn’t have a clue at the start of their careers where they would end up. Real careers are a mixture of luck and effort. Taking the right attitude can increase the likelihood that you notice the lucky breaks when they arrive.

Keep an eye on our events calendar and blog posts for more advice for finalists graduating this summer.

Panicked about your career

“Scary”: the word heard most often right now as graduates with no job or no firm career ideas confess their concerns…..

Mythbuster #1:  You are not alone

Think that most graduates go into professional level employment as soon as they leave university? Think again. The majority take several months to find their niche.

The road ahead may seem unclear, but the path is well travelled and, if you follow the steps below, well charted.

Step 1: Remuneration

Keeping body and soul together usually means a stop-gap job, possibly humble in character, modest in salary. This is very much the norm for new graduates just finding their feet.  It won’t affect your chances of a professional job and may even enhance these. Need I whisper the words “transferable skills”?

Step 2: Research

Investigate your own preferences, aptitudes and interests: essential if you haven’t decided on a career, insightful if you have.

This step is your sat nav. Omit it and risk veering off course or hitting a dead end.

Dig deeper still: case studies, links, vacancies, voluntary work, internships, post-grad courses are all present and correct on those same websites.

Mythbuster #2 Graduate employment does not = graduate schemes

Less than 15% of university leavers go into training schemes with major companies. If you set your compass for this type of work, remember there are alternatives if you encounter the choppy waters of competition and the rocks of rejection.

Step 3: Regroup

Use this information to plot your course, either alone or with assistance from QM. Join Gradclub for free or heavily discounted access to the careers service here. Registration costs nothing until New Year.  Use it or lose it.

The future is yours. Daunting yes, dangerous no. It’s your next big adventure.

Gill Sharp
Careers Consultant
QM Careers