What is the Cardiff Met Award and why should you care? Final year Software Engineering student Sam explains…
I decided to do the Cardiff Met Award as a challenge for my third year – I wanted to get as much out of university as possible, and to make sure I didn’t just get a degree, but something extra too.
The award offers students a chance to improve their employability by completing a short course of work. This involves carrying out 100 hours of work experience, 5 workshops of your choice, a self-analysis and a final presentation of what you have achieved.
The application process was nice and straight forward – it just involved sending in a recently updated CV. I submitted it and soon had an email saying that I had been accepted on the award. Then the hard work began!
The 100 hours of work experience sounds like a lot, but if you have a part time job you can use this provided you can show evidence – you can get your employer to write a note confirming you have worked 100 hours for their company or show your online timecard if you have one.
Volunteering also counts, and I would encourage anyone who wants to do the work experience to volunteer if they have the time and the money, because it does make you feel good.
I was lucky enough to get a place volunteering at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as an event services member – I had to give people information on various sports and where they were taking place. It was lots of fun, and the Brazilian people are so jolly!
The workshops were the most useful part of the Cardiff Met Award for me; they helped to restructure the way I worked, especially towards the end of my course where I had two assignments and a poster all due in on the same day. The Cardiff Met Award makes it compulsory to attend five of them, but you can choose any five you like.
The five I did were:
- Equality and Diversity
- Perfect Presentations
- Time Management
- Social Media for Employability
- Securing a job
They’re good fun – they’re nice and relaxed, and a good way to improve yourself. They don’t usually run over time, and if they do it’s only because the group is interesting!
You also have to write a couple of reflective reports – one about your work experience and one about how attending the workshops has changed the way you work. The reports don’t have to be very long (about 500-700 words) and you don’t have to reference. These didn’t take very long, but it’s worth putting some thought into them – you might need to look back on them when preparing for the last part of the process – your presentation!
With 100 hours work experience, 5 workshops, 2 reflective reports and 1 self-analysis all completed, it was presentation time. Doing the presentation was actually really good fun. I always see a presentation as a chance to show off what you know. I always get myself pumped up and ready just before a presentation to get rid of the anxiety – I even went on a 2 mile run just before doing mine!
I explained about how the way I structure my work had changed, the difference the award has made and how it benefitted me.
The Cardiff Met Award does sound like a lot of work, but it’s about you and your career at the end of the day. Give it a go – you never know where it could take you in the future!