What have you done in addition to your degree to enhance your employability and what do you feel you’ve gained from this?
I joined some sports clubs and societies to enhance my all-round personal development. I joined the cheerleading club as I was already a member of a community cheerleading team and so had previous experience of the sport and wanted to build on it. I also joined the Queen’s PEC to partake in ‘zumba’ and various dance classes as I found sport to be helpful in stress-relief during university life.
I have previously volunteered in many different places, such as Marie Curie Cancer Care Charity Shop for a number of years, Macmillan Cancer Care and volunteered for places such as my local nursing home and Girls’ Brigade. All of these experiences helped to develop my confidence and skillset such as money handling, manual handling and completion of certificates such as child protection and first aid.
Most recently, I got a part-time job working with children with special needs and I found I really thrived in this setting - especially as I have a younger brother with special needs - and so when I was informed by my university about ‘Project Children’ and the internships they run throughout the summer, I was highly interested. They offered certain internships dealing with special needs adults and others that were in vets surgeries and so offered more clinical experience but I just found myself drawn more and more to the idea of working with special needs adults rather than children and so I decided to apply, and was thankfully accepted, onto an internship with a company called ‘Employment Horizons’ in the state of New Jersey that provides jobs for adults with disabilities. I was working there for 2 months after completion of a week of work with Habitat for Humanity in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Over the past year or so, I had been contemplating what I wanted to do after I completed my degree course as it was becoming more and more clear that a job in the biomedical science industry just was not for me. However, after completing this internship I feel as though I have finally discovered what I want to do after completing my final year of biomedical science – and although it may not be highly related to my course, I feel finally happy in my decisions and I cannot thank Project Children enough for all they did for me and the opportunities they create year in and year out for everyone who takes part. I cannot recommend these internships enough and there are plenty to choose between – from law to business to psychology etc.
Making use of Careers, Employability and Skills at Queen’s
I attended a career guidance appointment last year as I was unsure of where I wanted to take my degree once it was completed. We discussed options such as youth work and doing possible postgraduate degrees in social work/special needs.
I also attended the career fairs and made some connections with companies such as Alzheimer’s NI and Autism NI who I have previously worked with before due to my brother’s ASD condition. The careers fair didn’t have a huge amount that was relevant for biomedical sciences but I was still able to find some areas of interest and make some connections.
Any advice for other QUB students?
I would highly suggest getting involved in as much as possible – without putting pressure on your studies of course!
Volunteer somewhere if you can’t get a job and you can use everything to your advantage then when it comes to applying for jobs.
Also, don’t just sit around all summer! If you can, get involved in an internship such as the ones run by Project Children as it truly is an eye-opening experience and it will help solidify whether you truly want to work in that industry in later life.
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