At Rise we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?
This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you.
Bournemouth University Student
We asked Josh a few questions about moving on to full time employment after universities and the things that set graduates apart.
Rise: As a student coming to the end of your placement year, how are you now feeling about stepping into the world of work when you graduate?
Josh: Placement has been a fantastic opportunity for me because it opened my eyes to the student “bubble” of safety, and how when working in a full time job with real responsibilities and consequences there is a large amount of responsibility on your shoulders, and everything you do has an impact on the job and the industry you work in. Now that I’ve had a chance to push myself to my limits and really sink my teeth into challenging and diverse briefs, it’s given me a massive confidence boost to know that with some intuition and research there’s always a different perspective you can approach work in your career.
Rise: For those that haven’t had placement years, do you think trying to get a job after university is a growing battle?
Josh: I think the growing need for qualifications and experience as a base standard of work in many industries has made it very difficult to get a job straight out of university. Many companies offer entry level roles with a requirement of at least 3 – 4 years of industry experience, and this creates a difficult situation for a student fresh out of university that even with a sandwich year in their course would have 1 year of industry experience to their name. On the positive side, the rapid growth of the tech industry provides us with many options for specialisation, which can help give us a leg up in getting a job more tailored to individual skill even if we didn’t have a placement, especially in the marketing industry where Data and AI are so huge right now and in demand.
Rise: When speaking to employers have you found that they are more looking for people with experience over a degree?
Josh: I find it really depends on the employer, when I’ve been job-hunting on the more corporate side a degree is almost a “minimum requirement” like having A levels, but the level of experience is what sets you apart from the other candidates. On the other hand on agency side many agencies weren’t really preoccupied with what Degree I had or what grade I achieved it to, but more on my level of experience and portfolio of work. Generally it seems in the current job landscape the degree is more of a “right to participate” than any guarantee of a job or certification of skill.
Rise: Do you think part of the problem is that students don’t always take the opportunities that are on offer at university/college? Or do you think universities should be doing more to support students?
Josh: University is a very tricky balance to achieve for many people. Everyone comes to university with a different level of maturity both mentally and emotionally, and university is the place where you “find your feet” as an adult and learn to be independent and self-sufficient, I’ve seen friends learning to cook fantastic meals by second year and friends still having their parents deliver frozen meals weekly. University is definitely what you make of it, and there are a plethora of opportunities out there that if you get involved with can be a ton of fun and also great CV foundations.
For the student that gives his all to making the most of university, a million doors open for them and the sky is the limit, but it would be nice to see that the students that perhaps have had to spend more time learning their life skills and preparing themselves for the rest of adult life, would get a bit more support from the universities in tackling such a huge task.
Rise: Could the business communities local to universities be doing more to connect and collaborate with students?
Josh: I think that students are one of the most vastly untapped resources available to local businesses. Students are often desperate for experience, and I have seen many fantastically talented students going to waste because local businesses have had very little interaction to try and find students or engage with them to see what skill set they could offer. I also think that engaging students on this level could actually be massively beneficial in keeping highly talented potential employees in your business, as you may snag a fantastic student grad who may have otherwise applied for a larger or more high profile job elsewhere.
Rise: What skills in particular do you think equip you for the working world?
Josh: I really think that adaptability is one of the most useful skills you can take with you into a job role. The ability to assess each new project objectively and with a positive attitude is invaluable in ensuring whatever role you take on you can lend yourself well to doing it, and most employers find a graduate who can mould themselves to specific tasks is much better than one that can only specialise in a single area. The other core skill that is essential is communication. So many people are afraid to speak out when they feel a little out of their depth, or too shy to challenge a decision or thought process when made by management or upper levels, but businesses find huge value in clear communication, and with a good communication skill set you can find yourself working on some pretty high profile projects thanks to the level of trust built.
Rise: What are your plans post university?
Josh: Right now the plans post uni are to try my best to find a graduate job that helps me work towards my long term goal of being the brand manager or community manager in the games industry, so right now the plan is to try and get some experience overseas as an intern to enjoy a bit of travelling while gaining experience at the same time.