The Cardiff Award- First Impressions by Andy Love

November 2nd, 2012 by

Today’s post is a guest post from Cardiff Award student Andy Love. This is Andy’s first impressions of the Cardiff Award.

The Cardiff Award so far…

After what it seemed like a long wait, the Cardiff Award was finally starting. We were briefed about our first compulsory activity – an introduction to the Award and what it planned to achieve. My first imminent worry was the dress code. As I prefer to dress casually I asked Kathryn Foot what we were supposed to wear, and I was surprised when she said that a nice t-shirt and jeans would be okay (“smart-casual”, this was great as it made me feel more relaxed). Upon arrival, the Award Staff were quite prepared, with paperwork ready for those who forgot their forms!   We also were given a nice goody-bag with pens,a water bottle for Dwr Cymru,  a nice notebook, some sponsor leaflets telling us about graduate jobs and lemon sweets by Ernst & Young!

We were then guided on all the procedures relating to the Award which assisted my anxiety on how the whole process would work.  There were previous Award students presenting offering advice, some nice words from Ernst & Young, and then an opportunity to meet the many of the sponsors afterwards.

“The following day, I had my first Student Development Skills session. The SDS classes are meant to help students develop professional skills during their studies. Some are compulsory through the award, and some are not but will get you new certifications in different areas after they are all completed.. The time flew by and we had fun during training! There were some exercises that allowed me to notice how people can solve the same problem in different ways, which I know will be helpful for all kinds of situations.   During one of our conversations, the group of people I was working with mentioned that just like me – they had decided to go for all other certifications as well.

Overall it doesn’t seem like the Award will be particularly difficult, but at the same time it will probably take time and practice. I am dreading the numeracy test, as I have always struggled with numbers, I’ll let you know how I get on!

Introducing the Cardiff Award…

September 18th, 2012 by

I’ve not written a blog before, but in the spirit of the Cardiff Award (where participants are expected to get involved in new experiences, develop new skills and build their confidence), I thought as Award Manager I should lead by example and give it a go!

For those of you unaware of the Award it’s the University’s employability award.  It rewards students involved in extra-curricular activities and develops participants’ professionalism, self-confidence and self awareness.  It also builds transferable skills and ultimately makes students more employable!  The Award requires those involved to undertake 70 hours of extra-curricular activities.  In addition, students attend a series of employer-led skills sessions, complete a numeracy test and submit a CV and application form at the end of the process.  Not only that, participants must also deliver a presentation on their learning to an Employer panel!  It’s hard work but hugely rewarding.

The Award is highly regarded by industry; prestigious sponsors include Ernst and Young, Rate My Placement, Endsleigh Insurance, Cardiff Council, Dwr Cymru, Champions, Microsoft, Petersens PR, E-Academy and AIESEC Cardiff.  We also work in partnership with the Student Union and could not run it without them.

To introduce the Award team:

I’m Kathryn Foot, the Award Manager.  I have developed this programme and now manage it.  I have been working in the Careers Service for a long time – 11 years on October 15th to be exact!  I haven’t always worked on the Award, I was the University’s Work Experience Adviser for 7 years and placed students into small businesses prior to that.  Pre-Cardiff University I worked for Asda, I was accepted onto their graduate scheme in the summer of ’97 after graduating from Cardiff University – as you can see I have not strayed far. At Asda I worked in HR, based in the Head Office in Leeds; I also worked in just about every store in South East Wales, sometimes venturing towards the West when asked.  But that was a long time ago, I now live and breathe employability and put every effort into making the Cardiff Award the best employability Award in Higher Education and ensuring the students make the most of this unique opportunity.

My working partner is Helen Lloyd.  Helen is the Award Administrator and another long serving Careers and Employability employee.  Without Helen the University would not have the Award!  I am sure she dreams about Award paperwork, Campus Groups and Learning Central.

This year we run the Award programme with nearly 170 students and I am really looking forward to delivering this unique programme and meeting the new cohort!.

The students from last year’s pilot have been busy completing the evaluation survey and have provided brilliant feedback, hugely constructive and very positive!  100% would recommend the Award to peers!  75% of those who found vocational work experience felt the Award assisted them in their success.  Furthermore, quote after quote stated how the Award developed skills, confidence, opened new social circles, provided new opportunities, presented networking opportunities with employers – I could go on.  Their comments have helped to shape this year’s programme.

Applications for the Award 2013-2014 open in October so if this interests you it might be worth checking out our regular blogs for updates and information.  This year we have 5 participants blogging about their experiences.  You will be introduced to them in October, once the programme is underway.

That’s it for today!  I look forward to speaking to you all again very soon…


The Cardiff Award



   Post By Kathryn Foot- Award Manager