Kate Reynolds, 3rd Year History student
This year I am taking part in the Three Faiths Forum’s Parliamentors scheme, which is a UN award-winning leadership programme. As a Parliamentor I work with a team of 5 students from Queen Mary who all have different faith and cultural backgrounds. We are working on a social action project centred in our local community, whilst being mentored by a local MP, Stephen Timms.
I applied for the programme because I was excited by the prospect of creating change in my local community and building my team work and leadership skills. I was also interested to be mentored by an MP as I have a keen interest in politics. Alongside being a Parliamentor, I am the co-chair of Queen Mary Labour Society, and a Beaver Scout Leader at my local Scout group. Parliamentors has offered me the opportunity to work with people of varying faiths and political alignments.
Parliamentors kicks off with a training residential in September, which gives you the chance to meet the other Parliamentors both from your university and from across the country. It was a massive learning opportunity as we received training in everything from public speaking, engaging with your community and an introduction to Westminster politics. The range of people and faiths represented meant that everybody could to learn from each other. But the training doesn’t stop there – the Parliamentors team offer continued training and support throughout the year.
My team decided we wanted our social action project to focus on building interfaith relations on campus at Queen Mary. We felt that there are tensions that exist between different faiths on campus, and we wanted to do a project that would address this and bring about greater interfaith dialogue. My team are in the process of planning an interfaith gardening project focused on an onsite allotment. We believe that by bringing people of different faiths together through this allotment, we can break down barriers and challenge student’s assumptions about people of different faiths.
In September 2016, I quit my grad scheme and ‘job for life’ with the Civil Service to try 25 careers through short-term work experience and internships, in a year – before my 25th birthday. I realised that, aged 24, I still had absolutely no idea what I really wanted to do.
It was a gamble, possibly the biggest gamble of my career. Except, to me it didn’t feel like a risk at all, it felt like the most natural career step I could take.
Let me back up and give some context. Whilst at university I studied History and International Relation, and did several internships in journalism, politics and with the civil service. The natural next step during my last year was to apply for grad schemes, and I was incredibly fortunate to be accepted to the Civil Service’s scheme – the Fast Stream. It never once occurred to me that this traditional and ambitious path might not be for me at this stage of my life.
But within a few weeks of starting my first placement, I began to realise that perhaps this wasn’t for me as I had started to feel unfulfilled and increasingly unhappy, despite on paper ‘having it all.’
I resolved to do something about it and see if there was another way.
So, after a year, I decided to start a blog about my search for career happiness. I wrote a list of jobs I’d always dreamed of trying, and got to 25 surprisingly quickly. I handed my notice in on my 24th birthday, and 25before25 was born.
QChallenge London will offer successful applicants the chance to develop their problem solving skills, their leadership skills and their cultural intelligence.
Apply for QChallenge London here.
Watch the video below to see Andy Coxall, CEO of Common Purpose Student Experience, give an intro into this brand new programme.
This is your opportunity to test yourself, your creative thinking and your ability to work with different people. You’ll develop leadership skills and your ability to innovate. You’ll also develop your networks across a wide variety of organisations across the city. Who knows where your challenge could take you?
Applications for QChallenge London close on Sunday 3rd December, and the programme will run from 5 February to 18 April 2018.
Please visit our website for further details and to apply.
Applications are now open for QConsult Spring 2018 – click here for further information and the application form. The deadline to apply is 10am on 27th November. Please see below to read about Eve’s experience on the programme earlier this year.
My name is Eve Frayling and I have just completed the penultimate year of my English undergraduate degree at QMUL. I have recently participated in the summer round of QConsult, and decided to do so in order to hone my teamwork skills in a corporate environment.
The QConsult programme entails a week’s worth of work for a business or charity based in East London, usually in a team of 5, although my team had 4 members. Your team is given a project to complete within this week, after which you are responsible for presenting your findings and recommendations to your client. The skill set you will gain is invaluable, and the pay is an added bonus!
My assigned project centred on marketing and communications work; a field which I am keen to pursue after graduation. Our task was to propose an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) or, in simpler terms, a website landing page to boost interest for our client’s prospective event. My team and I were responsible for tasks such as competitor analysis, as well as creating engaging website content and surveys for our client’s target audience. This differed slightly from the other teams also participating in the programme; another team’s work which we became familiar with dealt mainly with data analysis and customer satisfaction.
Applications are now open for QConsult Spring 2018 – click here for further information and to apply. The deadline for applications is 10am on 27th November. Please see below to read about Mats’ experience on the programme this time last year…
My name is Mats Syversen, and this summer I graduated with a BEng degree in Materials Science and Engineering at Queen Mary. Last autumn, I applied to take part in a programme called QConsult run by Careers & Enterprise at QMUL. This is a paid scheme where you, as a student, get an opportunity to work closely with working professionals, as a consultant, to solve realistic business challenges as a part of a team.
If you are successful, you will be split into project teams consisting of 5 people, with whom you will be solving the project brief together with. In my group I was assigned the role of Project Coordinator, which meant I would be working closely with the client, making sure the deadlines were met, and, most importantly, making sure all the team members were being included and heard.
No prior experience of consultancy is needed, as training will be given before the start of the project, which is why this project is suitable for anyone who’s interested in gaining relevant work experience as well as networking with professionals and other students. During the project, you will receive frequent feedback, advice and support from the Careers & Enterprise team, to make sure you are always on the right track.
Are you interested in building your CV and professional networks by leading real change in a top London organisation?
QChallenge London is a brand new employability programme exclusive to QMUL undergraduates in partnership with Common Purpose, and applications are open now.
Successful candidates will work in a team to explore a major challenge for a London organisation with a focus on health, housing and transport.
This opportunity is ideal for students who are:
- Interested in developing their skills in the working world
- Keen to put their mind to a real life business challenge
- Looking to network with leaders from business, government and NFPs
Participants will be offered the chance to present their findings to their organisation as well as receiving a £50 voucher for submitting a reflective essay.
The programme will run from 5 February – 13 April 2018. Applications are open until 3rd December for all QMUL undergraduates. Postgraduates may not apply.
Apply online here
If you’re looking for a unique challenge, which will not only expose you to an exciting range of networks and experiences but test your creative thinking, then apply for QChallenge London.
So why is work experience so important?
- It means you can earn money during your studies
- You’ll gain skills valued by future employers (e.g. commercial awareness, initiative, team work)
- You can build relevant experience for your future career
- You’ll find out what an industry / job role is like in reality
- It helps to build your network / contacts
What can I do?
It can be challenging to find part-time work that is linked to your degree or the sector you would like to work in after graduation. Many students combine their part time job with some volunteering and work experience (e.g. internships and work shadowing) to earn money as well as gain valuable relevant work experience.
For a wide range of part-time, internship and work experience vacancies visit careers.qmul.ac.uk/jobs
Roles on campus and in the local area
There are many part-time opportunities on campus, from Student Ambassadors and Library Shelvers, to residential, café, and bar staff. See the work experience hub to explore the variety of ways (paid and voluntary) you can develop your experience on campus. For jobs within the Student’s Union see: www.qmsu.org/jobs/