By Katie Lewis
I hadn’t heard of the Cardiff Award until my second year. And when I did, I thought it sounded like a lot of work- and it is, but you’ll feel all the rewards. I chose to start the Cardiff Award in my second year, mainly because I had done very poorly in my first-year modules and I thought “Well, if I do the award at least I’ll have something to look good on my CV”. Luckily, I improved academically in my second year, and I credit this partially to the Cardiff Award.
The Cardiff Award invites students to identify their weaknesses and improve not only their employability prospects but also their personal skills. I’d advise anyone who wants to better their job prospects after university to take this opportunity. If you’re currently in your final year and fear it’s too late- don’t fret, the award can be done at any time during your degree up to the April before you graduate if you have the dedication.
Beginning with some self-awareness exercises, you gain an insight into how you operate or handle certain situations. These will help to identify areas where you can improve, with the help of the award’s further activities. One of the sections of the award requires you to complete sessions all relating to employability. This is a good opportunity to refine skills such as LinkedIn, interview techniques and perfecting your CV.
For those of you who might already do volunteering, work experience, or any other extra-curricular activities- it’s so worthwhile to take part in the Cardiff Award. A key portion of the award is the essential 70 hours of extra-curricular activities, which can be made up of various undertakings. I would advise participants to choose a varied selection of activities because when it comes to reflecting- you’ll have lots of evidence of your hard work and dedication.
And if it seems like a lot of work, you’ll be glad to know there are multiple opportunities to get help and support. There is a Cardiff Award Facebook page, where you can post any questions or message the page direct. There are also various events like the coffee and cake afternoons where you can meet up with the team and talk to students who have completed the award already.
I went to a meet up recently and spoke to Lauren Thornell, who has completed the Cardiff Award with a Distinction and since been appointed Cardiff Award Student of the Year 2018. Lauren said ‘I would wholeheartedly recommend the Cardiff Award to other students as it’s a fantastic opportunity to develop and recognise key employability skills and gain expert advice on your career journey. Through the Cardiff Award, you can reflect on workshops and extra-curricular activities, learning how to identify personal strengths and areas for further development’.
And to top it off, at the end you get a certificate and the Cardiff Award appears on your Higher Education Achievement record when you graduate. If you have any queries about the Cardiff Award there is a designated page on the Students Union website under the ‘Jobs and Skills’ section with more information.