Graduate story: SBCS to QTemps success

35127929411_040c522062_zHi! I’m Piriyah and I graduated this year from Queen Mary with a biomedical sciences degree and am currently working in a temporary role as a Data Administrator. At the time of graduation I had decided that I wanted to follow the traditional path of a life sciences graduate and pursue a career in research. Now you may be wondering why I decided to apply for this role….

It was during my final year, that I came to realise that my ideal job would be one in which I could spend the entire day working in the lab. This is because I thoroughly enjoyed carrying out a lab-based research project for my final year dissertation, which unlike most students, I would say was one of the highlights of my 3 years at uni.

Not only was I able to work alongside researchers, who are experts in their fields, but I was also able to get a full experience of all the components that comprise research in academia. Although the project was challenging, I had really enjoyed my time working in the lab, to the extent that I made the decision to pursue a career in research!

By the time that graduation arrived I had an idea of what sort of job I wanted but I hadn’t planned on how I was going to enter into the field of scientific research. My immediate options were to apply for further study, to look for entry-level laboratory based roles or training placements such as in hospitals.

However, these options weren’t straightforward. With applying for a masters, I couldn’t decide on which field of science that I would like to specialise in. I wanted to make sure that the masters I applied for would feed into the sort of subject that I would be interested in possibly carrying out further research in.

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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:

*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?

For further information, contact us at:

International students: What you need to know to work in the UK

Are you an overseas student looking to get some work experience here in the UK?

Follow my 5 tips below to increase your chances of success.

  1. Get an NI number – An NI number is a National Insurance number that identifies you as a UK tax payer. HMRC (HM Revenue & Customs) will then use this number to make sure you are paying the right amount of tax. Without an NI number you could be over taxed and some employers won’t be able to pay you. To get an NI number visit this website:
  2. Get a UK bank account – Most employers will not be able to pay you without a UK bank account. Go to the bank prepared with your NI number, passport and proof of UK address.
  3. Make your CV UK friendly – CV layout and content tends to vary in each country so make sure yours is ‘UK friendly’. A few simple things you can do right now is to: a) remove the photo of yourself from your CV (unless you are applying for a modelling job of course); b) remove any irrelevant personal details such as your date of birth, nationality or religion; c) get your CV down to one or two pages, as this is generally the acceptable length in the UK. If you would like to get further detailed feedback on your CV, why not book a 1-2-1 appointment at the Careers & Enterprise Centre (Queens’ WG3).
  4. Organise your reference – Make sure you have people employers can contact that can provide references in English (not a relative or friend). This is particularly important if registering with any agencies (like QTemps).
  5. Get volunteering experience – UK employers value any kind of experience that demonstrates vital skills like team work, leadership and problem solving. Volunteering is a great way to start building this experience, particularly since it is flexible and you can arrange it around your studies. If you’re not sure where to begin, check out the Students’ Union Volunteering website ( and look out for their Volunteering Fair in October.

Rachael Blundell

QTemps Recruitment Manager

To book a 1-2-1 appointment with a Careers Consultant, call 020 7882 8533. For further information and resources for international students, visit QMPlus.

Opportunity Knocks! QInterns, QProjects & QTemps



School of Hard Knocks (SOHK) is a ground breaking charity that uses sport and other challenging activities to teach life-changing values and lessons. These enable participants to take positive and definite steps towards employment or further education. Their courses also powerfully address issues of physical and emotional health, anti-social behaviour, crime and citizenship.

SOHK is looking to recruit an enthusiastic Graphic Design Lead to work alongside the marketing team to create content for publicity and communications, both for specific projects and on an ad-hoc basis.

Bow Food Bank is offering a unique and exciting opportunity for two Queen Mary students to join the team and review its strategic operations. You’ll research other Food Bank models nationally, review current operations, talk to the various volunteers and students involved and get input from the Management Committee, all with a view to developing a model of best practice and publishing this into a step-by-step guide by which the Food Bank can operate. This is a challenging and rewarding role in a rapidly-growing charity. To succeed in this role, you’ll be a self-starter, a strategic thinker and committed to the Food Bank’s aims to support vulnerable local people.


Recruitment is open for an IT Service Desk Analyst working at a genetics company near Barbican. Pay is £14.00 per hour lasting approximately 3 months with the possibility of going permanent. The role is full time and is preferable to Queen Mary Graduates.

This is a position that requires a broad understanding of IT Hardware and Software but more importantly is a willingness to learn. The post holder must be an effective self-starter able to work on own initiative to tight deadlines.


Project Assistant, Spark the Difference

Spark the Difference is a new programme to help people feel better about healthcare. We are looking to recruit an Intern to deliver a small scale project in our ‘Inspire’ and/or ‘Support’ programmes, reporting directly to the Company Director.

The placement will run for 3 months – 1 – 2 days a week – starting in November. Pay is £9.15 per hour.

Opportunity Knocks! QProjects, QInterns & QTemps



Finance Project Leader, Stratford Circus

Dynamic contemporary Performing Arts Venue, Stratford Circus, is recruiting for a Finance Project Leader to help out with a range of administrative duties.

This is an excellent opportunity for those interested in a career in the arts or finance, looking to build their CV with some hands-on administrative experience.

Two QProjects available at Providence Row

Providence Row Housing Association (PRHA) is a small, specialist housing association that focuses their attention on the East End of London, in particular Tower Hamlets, Hackney and the City. They help people who are homeless (or at risk of becoming homeless) to help themselves through a wide range of residential and non-residential services.

Providence Row is looking for a Data and Performance Project Leader and a Social Media Project Leader. If you have a knack for data, a knowledge for social media, or even if you’re just interested in a third-sector career, this is the QProject for you.


Personal Assistant / Executive Assistant

We are recruiting for an Executive Assistant for the Principal’s office working full time Monday to Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm for at least 3 months. Pay is £17.39 per hour.

Based in the Office of the Principal at Queen Mary University of London, the Executive Assistant will provide high-level and comprehensive secretarial and administrative support. This role is open to Queen Mary post graduates only.

Biospecimens Assistant

Recruitment is open at The Wolfson Institute for one organised and methodical person to assist in biospecimens operations.

Responsilbiities will include sample sorting, storage, selection and retrieval and help with database maintenance.

The post is full time starting on 2nd November and ending on the 18th December. Pay is £10 per hour.

Part Time Marketing Assistant

Recruitment is open for a part time marketing assistant working two days a week in the School of Law and Centre for Commercial Law Studies.

The pay is £14.10 per hour and the working days should be taken at the same time every week, the hiring manager is flexible so the candidate can choose which two days. Starting ASAP for at least 2 months.

This role is open to Queen Mary students and graduates only.


Earth Observation Data Analyst, Graduate Internship

The SCISYS Group is a leading developer of software and related services. Through building successful and long-term partnerships they serve a broad range of customers spanning the media broadcast, space, government, defence and commercial sectors.

SCISYS Group would like to take on one to two graduate level interns for a full-time and paid duration spanning 4-6 months in our Bristol office to start as soon as possible. The activities in the internship include data processing, data visualisation, verification and validation of the obtained information and reporting formats and structures.
Project Assistant, Spark the Difference

Spark the Difference is a new programme that creates a place for inspiration, support and doing, to help people feel better about healthcare. They are looking to recruit an Intern to deliver a small scale project in their ‘Inspire’ and/or ‘Support’ programmes, reporting directly to the company Director.

The placement will run for 3 months – 1 – 2 days a week – starting in November.

Opportunity Knocks! QInterns, QTemps & QProjects


Participation and Insights Project Lead at Mind

Mind’s equality improvement team is looking for a Project Leader to support the delivery of events and to lead on the collection and analysis of participants’ feedback, experiences and insights.

As Participation & Insights Project Lead you will play a crucial role in ensuring Mind can do this effectively and to the highest standards.

Closing date for applications is Wednesday 7th October at 5pm.


Range of QProjects available at Cystic Fibrosis Trust

The Cystic Fibrosis Trust is the only UK-wide national charity making a daily difference to the lives of people with cystic fibrosis, and those who care for them. They fund research to treat and one day beat cystic fibrosis, work to drive up standards of clinical care and offer support for everyone affected by cystic fibrosis.

There are a number of QProject roles available, from Media to Strategic Partnerships to Finance. For a list of roles and job descriptions, please click here.



PA/Office Assistant

Recruitment is open for a PA/Office Assistant for a Life Science company based in Barbican. The company is part of a government lead project currently doing research into rare diseases and cancers.

Pay is £30,000-£35,000 per annum dependent on experience, working 35 hours per week Monday to Friday, 9:00 – 5:30. The role would be fixed term until the end of 2017.

Preferable applicants will be Queen Mary Graduates.


clock tower


Business Liaison and Marketing Intern

We are looking to recruit a Business Liaison and Marketing intern for our friendly and popular co-working spaces in east London: Winkley Studios and Cooks Yard.

This would be a really valuable professional experience for someone interested in the world of start-ups, co-working and social media.

This internship opportunity is 10-12 hours per week (hours will be flexible to work alongside your studies and the needs of the business) paying £9.15 per hour.


How the Careers Centre helped me develop my skills

The Queen Mary Careers & Enterprise Centre, based at the Mile End Campus, was started as a way of providing a gateway for students in need of work. As well as providing support with anything to do with your future career or setting up a business, the QMUL Careers & Enterprise also has three dedicated ways of helping students gain work experience and valuable skills:

  • QProjects: meaningful work experience opportunities in local charities.
  • QInterns: high-quality internships specifically sourced for students/graduates.
  • QTemps: paid part-time and temporary work.

Having been an avid user of all three, I am well-versed in the benefits of utilising the QMUL Careers service.

Starting out as a fresh-faced, inexperienced Law undergraduate, I soon realised that I had no clue what I wanted to do, but did not want to feel left behind. While many others were busy creating a formidable CV to start applying for training contracts, I found the strain of coursework time-consuming enough. But, being faced with the longest summer I had ever had, I had a stark realisation – I needed a job.

I had already had an interest in human rights and so applying for a QProject during the summer at a human rights organisation was a great start for me. It helped me develop in key areas such as my research and writing skills. I also gained valuable knowledge of working within a charity, a prospect I had started to consider during my first year.

sosa headI also used other services offered by the Careers & Enterprise Centre. Students can book appointments for practice interviews with a Careers Consultant, introducing me to the STAR (Situation, Task, Action and Result) method of answering questions. I also learnt how to polish up my CV to show my skills in the best possible light. I found myself being more confident at interviews and finding it easier to get noticed.

Towards the end of my degree, and having a slightly better idea of what I wanted to do, I applied for a QInternship at a start-up based in London. The start-up was a PR agency that offered tailored marketing strategies. The small team meant that I could get hands on experience whereas in other, larger agencies I would have to wait years before I would get the chance. I was initially there for six months but they extended my contract for a further four months! It was fun and interesting, and I built up a network of trustworthy colleagues.

Then, having done both a QProject and QInternship role, I was able to progress easily into a QTemps position. I found myself working in the very place that helped me – as a Careers Administrative Assistant! I now help Rachael, the Senior Recruitment Office, with the administrative tasks that surround setting up a student/graduate in a temp position. So I’m developing my skills even further and learning more about careers work which is helping me to think about what I want to do.

QMUL Careers also provides a fantastic support service for recent graduates which meant even though I had graduated from Queen Mary, I could get some advice on what to do next. For example, I was directed to the JobOnline website, which has vacancies from all University of London affiliates. I could also set up email alerts for jobs which fit my specific criteria so I could take time over my applications.

Overall, the careers service played a very vital role in developing my careers prospects and supported me throughout my degree!

Aseosa Uwagboe

Administrative Assistant, Careers & Enterprise Centre