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Leigh Green – Student Success – My Story

Leigh Green

Leigh Green, BA (Hons) Business


I entered the UWS Business Enterprise competition in April 2015 and was the winning recipient of a Renfrewshire Incube space (a prize worth £11k!) with my friend for her business idea, Knit Knax. I am currently providing business advice and administrative support for the business, juggling this role with my Honours and duties as a mum and domestic goddess!

Overcoming challenges…

I lacked confidence that our idea was genuinely any good. The business idea had been discussed for a few years but we had no idea where to start. I entered the competition not expecting to achieve a place in the final let alone win a prize – if anything we just wanted some feedback on our idea. We were amazed at the positivity and encouragement received from our presentation.
I have changed considerably during my time at UWS and my close friends and family have all commented on this. My self-awareness, confidence in my own abilities and my new found openness to ideas have meant I am now far more likely to jump in and give things a go. I used to be quite shy, a bit of a wallflower and unwilling to instigate change. I now realise that if I want things to change in my life, I can’t sit back and wait for them to happen. I am now far more willing to push boundaries and work outside my comfort zone to overcome challenges. Through the support of my friends, family and UWS staff, I have embraced the fact that I am a naturally academic, intelligent, erudite woman who is capable of so much more that I previously thought.

Improving my employment prospects…

I look back at what I have achieved so far with an awareness of the difficulties and struggles that I had to overcome to get to where I am today. I have a new found respect for myself, a new and improved inner confidence as well as a greater self-belief in my skill set; these attributes can only improve my employability. Winning the Incube award and being part of a joint business venture will enhance my CV considerably. The experience will be invaluable to future employers.

My advice to students…
Just do it. Don’t hold back, embrace it and get involved. Take a risk because you don’t know where it will lead. Only dead fish go with the flow!!


Careers & Employability; Celebrates Employment Project of the Year for Mentoring

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The UWS Employer Mentoring Programme has been awarded Employment Project of the Year by the Scottish Mentoring Network. The programme matches final year students with a mentor in industry over the academic year. Since its pilot in 2012, a total of 104 students have participated with 78 mentors trained to date. Employers range from small to medium enterprises to larger organisations including Hewlett-Packard, Clydesdale Bank, Luddon Construction and BBC Scotland.

Lynsey McMahon, Coordinator and Karen Shearer, Programme Administrator attended SMN’s National Event & Recognition Awards held at St Pauls’ Church in Edinburgh last Wednesday to receive the award. The award recognises successes and achievements over the past year including outcomes for mentees, training and applying good practice.

UWS were asked to host a table at the event discussing the impact of mentoring with other projects. Gavin Paterson, Development Officer with Scotland Alliance was also awarded with Highly Commended Mentor for his exceptional contribution to the UWS Employer Mentoring Programme.

Recruitment for our 2015/16 intake is currently underway and if you would like to know more about our programme please contact

scottish mentoring network

A Day in the Life of a Graduate Consultant, Callum Brown, ARUP

Name: Callum Brown
Profession: Operations Consulting
Current Position: Graduate Consultant
Joined Arup: 2014
Group :Consulting South

Hitting the ground running working on interesting projects with actual responsibility and client interface is why I love my job.

What happened at your assessment session and what advice would you give to potential grads?

The assessment day was testing but everyone was helpful and genuinely very friendly. The day included an individual case study, a group exercise and a competency based interview; there are lots of chances to show your strongest qualities. I would advise someone to have a good understanding of the competencies Arup looks for, as well as a strong knowledge of the role you are applying for. To summarise, I would say tosimply be yourself, and ask lots of questions whenever you can.

What projects have you been involved with?

Since starting at Arup I have had the opportunity to work on many interesting projects. My first project saw me working alongside another consultant for several prominent London museums to produce a strategy that would allow them to efficiently transport their artefacts and collections.
More recently I have been involved with a major pharmaceutical company; detailing end to end supply chain options and providing logistics input to detailed designs for their new research facility.
From the outset of this project I have been given plenty of responsibility and have been trusted to present to clients and conduct stakeholder interviews. It has also involved travel across
the UK which is also something I have enjoyed.

What is the office like?

The office has a really open and welcoming feel, the atmosphere is very friendly and people are always happy to have a chat or help you out. Overall, the office is a genuinely enjoyable environment to work in.

What does a typical day look like?

A typical day in operations can vary depending on the project you are working on. Many projects involve working closely with clients or stakeholders and responding to emails or other queries
from them is important. If you are involved in bid writing then there is project research to do and progress meetings to attend. Depending on individual projects client meetings and site visits
can also be a part of everyday life. Arup also hold frequent lunchtime sessions which is a great way to learn what other parts of the company do and allows you to talk collaboratively with other teams.

What is the social side of Arup like?

There are plenty of ways to meet people at Arup. Groups such as Connect Cultures present lunch time and evening talks, both in the office and around London, which provide a great opportunity to increase your network.

Sport is also a great way to socialise with colleagues. There are many sports that meet to play across London in the evening, often with a trip to the pub afterwards. I’ve also been involved in charity work; I volunteer for the Arup charity RedR. We compete against other consultancy firms to raise money.

What is your favourite project to date?

Dubai World Expo has been my favourite. Arup’s role was to provide the logistics strategy for the development.

I was involved in this project from my very first day and was tasked with estimating the size of the facilities that would be required to service the site. I was given responsibility to get on and work on my own and to produce reports and calculations that would be fed to the architects.

Enterprise Rent A Car – Come Alive -Graduate Opportunities…and Beyond

Enterprise Image

In Brief
With the largest fleet on the planet, we’re the biggest rental car organisation in the world and
operate out of more than 8,200 neighbourhood and airport locations, and are expanding all the time.
Better still, we have over 400 offices in the UK, so we can offer you real freedom as to where
you’d like to start your career.

The Facts
In as little as two years, you could be ready to run a branch yourself. That’s because our training
and your entrepreneurial approach are an incredible combination. After a classroom-based induction you’ll be assigned to a branch office where the real business training begins. It includes business management, marketing, sales, customer service and fleet control. With brilliant mentors to help you, and tests and evaluations that lead to pay rises and other rewards, you’ll be well on your way. Your first promotion will be to Management Assistant, setting you on the right career path for a role as Branch Manager, Area Manager and beyond!

About You
Diversity is a huge goal in all areas of our business, and our commitment extends to every employee,
customer and business partner. We strive to celebrate the many differences that make us unique
as they help make our business a successful one. Whatever your background we’re certain you can
bring us all the qualities we’re looking for. You’re passionate, hard-working and have bags of
initiative – not least when it comes to grabbing the huge number of opportunities there are at Enterprise. You’ll be a good leader too, and sufficiently savvy to make the most of what comes your way.

Rewards & Apply
You’ll start on a competitive salary and be in line for bonus plans and promotion. There are many
other rewards on offer too, from employee referral bonuses to fun, company-sponsored events.
So apply online at

The Role of a UWS SIE Intern – Angela Castellano

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This month we asked UWS SIE intern to tell us about her role with SIE and how it is helping her gain key employability skills for the future…

I am a first year Web and Mobile Development student at UWS. Right after starting my university experience I learnt that good grades alone are not enough. What an employer wants is someone bold, able to handle responsibilities and step out from their comfort zone.

Soon after starting classes in September, I started to look for an opportunity to develop my transferable skills. Being a first year student I didn’t expect to find a great internship in my field right away, therefore volunteering for different organisations looked like the best option. This is how I came across The Scottish Institute for Enterprise. SIE is a charity organisation that gives free business advice to students and also helps them develop employability skills through workshops, events and competitions – both locally and all around Scotland.

I first got involved with SIE as a volunteer ambassador after my module coordinator forwarded to his students the flyer promoting the ambassador position. After a couple of months, the SIE paid intern position at UWS became available and I decided to apply. SIE employs one student in every Scottish university and this role is to promote the organisation through stalls, lecture shout-outs, social media and events. I got the role and I had the chance to engage with a large number of students coming from all different backgrounds. It inspired me so much to witness how brave some of them were to challenge themselves by opening their own business in their early 20’s while still studying.

I am aware that I still have a long way ahead of me before graduating, but after this experience with SIE I feel more confident and inspired by my own ideas and possibilities.

There are many ways to get involved with SIE:

• Participate to the monthly competitions. All a student needs to do it is to have an idea that they believe could evolve into a business.

• Come along to one of the free workshops organised in the UWS campuses. These are held by a trainer and are extremely interactive and interesting. They are a great way to develop new skills.

• The intern’s role is also to organise and run small events – in the past months the Paisley campus held a Game Jam competition and a Movie Night organised by the intern and the ambassadors.

• SIE also has a big event open to all students in Scotland: the annual SIE SUMMIT. At this year’s event, the students had the opportunity to listen to business owners that started as entrepreneurs themselves, ask questions to an employability panel and to network with other students.

It is often wrongly assumed that SIE can only be useful for business students! What’s extremely important to understand is how the Scottish Institute for Enterprise welcomes students from every field of study.

By Angela Castellano

International Nurses Day 12th May 2015

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International Nurses Day on May 12th gives everyone in the careers and employability team at UWS a great chance to thank and congratulate our nursing students and graduates for the amazing effort and dedication they put into their studies and career! The event, to commemorate the birth of Florence Nightingale, is an international day to focus on nurses and the role the profession has in every society.

The theme for 2015 is “Nurses: A Force for Change; Cost Effective and Care Effective” and organisations such as the Royal College of Nursing or International Council of Nurses have more information on the theme and the profession.

Of course, if you are a current nursing student the careers staff will work with you as part of your programme to make sure you have as much advice and guidance as possible to compete in the jobs market when you graduate, but if you are currently in the profession remember we also work with graduates up to 2 years after completing. So, if you are considering your nursing career path or need help with that Band 6 application statement, remember we can help!

For now, we wish you every success in your career, and take the time around this International Nursing Day to reflect on the great work you do every day as a nurse. For those non-nurses reading this, have a look at the role and the demands of the job and the amazing work of nurses all over the world – you might just find a possible career path……..!

Women have historically been underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and maths ie STEM fields.

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We asked Jennifer Reid, a UWS School of Engineering student, to tell us about her role as an Interconnect representative:

Interconnect is a programme run by Equate Scotland to encourage women into underrepresented subjects such as the STEM subjects. The programme also forms a support network and various programmes to encourage women already in these areas of work. Interconnect has many representatives spread out over the majority of the universities in Scotland and when I was selected for UWS I was the first one for the University.

My first step was to attend a meeting with the other reps and get an idea and advice on how to set up a group. As I want to be a teacher in the future, I decided that as well as support girls in my university, I wanted to encourage high school children to choose subjects that would allow them to move into STEM subjects at a higher level.

In order to do this effectively I became a STEM Ambassador. To gain members for the group I attended the Freshers Fair on the Hamilton campus and contacted the careers advisor for Engineering (as this is my subject) as well as my head lecturer who were both very helpful and offered any support possible.

I attended as many of the Equate workshops and networking events as possible to make contacts, and these connections led to site visits for the group of about 8 girls to Bridge of Weir Leather and Rolls Royce. During my first trimester being a representative I also went along to a careers fair at a local high school to promote Equates philosophies and offer advice to any potential STEM students.

Through the role I have been able to join the committee who are applying for UWS to gain their Athena Swan award and have been able to discuss continuing Equate’s work within the university with the Manager for Equality and Diversity.

In the future I am planning for two women in the industry to come to the University and give a talk to the group about their experiences. I hope to continue working closely with the university and would like the work done at Hamilton campus to be spread across the other campuses as well and to include more disciplines.

For more information visit:

You can also contact Jennifer via her student email account:

Whether it is about Church or Chocolate for you, the Careers and Employability Team at UWS want to wish you a Happy Easter!

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Happy Easter

Whether it is about Church or Chocolate for you, the Careers and Employability Team at UWS want to wish you a Happy Easter!

This time of year is very appropriate to make use of our service, whether you start to plan ahead to the next year of your course and what you could be involved in, or are approaching the end of your course and are thinking about graduate jobs or postgraduate study. We are on every campus so make use of the help and expertise we offer.

For now though, we couldn’t resist a few intriguing Easter facts (we really are a mine full of information you know…..!)

Easter Fact 1: Every child in the UK receives an average of 8.8 Easter eggs every year – double their recommended calorie intake for a whole week (data was not available for how many eggs a UWS student receives……)

Easter Fact 2: When people munch a chocolate Easter bunny, 76 per cent bite off the ears first, 5 per cent opt for the feet and 4 per cent go straight for the tail. Psychometric analysis of what this says about you can probably be found by a careers adviser…….

Easter Fact 3: The tallest chocolate Easter egg was made in Italy in 2011. Standing 10.39 metres tall and weighing 7,200 kg, it was taller than a giraffe and heavier than an elephant. We are unsure of the exact approach taken to eat it……..

Easter Fact 4: Before the exchanging of chocolate eggs (in the early 1900’s) gifts consisted of decorated chicken eggs and stuffed hollow cardboard eggs. See kids, you don’t know how lucky you are these days……….!

Easter Fact 5: Different countries celebrate Easter in different ways. In Sweden they do not have an Easter Bunny, they have an Easter Wizard!

And on that magical note, we are off. Happy Easter everybody!


This post was brought to you by Colin Dewar, Careers Team Leader

Hospitality – Not just for Hospitality Graduates – Vivieanne Carr

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Premier Inn

As I look around the room of my colleagues of very successful hotel operation managers one wouldn’t be absurd to assume that we are all a products of years of hospitality experience, hospitality graduates and masters. Fortunately you would be completely wrong! We are all successful professionals but that’s really where the similarities end. We all have various backgrounds, degrees and career paths which have lead us here.

I currently have a BA Hons degree in Business Studies Marketing & Management and have always believed that I would use my degree to go into the marketing world but after a few years of post university “wandering” I wandered into a profession that I never believed would make so much use of my skills and ultimately be something that I really enjoy and passionate about. Although I have a degree in a specific discipline I utilise my skills on a business platform. Here are some of the Types of skills that I use on a daily basis:
-Building & Planning(I have done 2 new openings)
-Food & Beverage
-Education (I have 9 Apprentices)

I have spent the last few years refining any skill gaps that I have identified and attended management development programmes. Everyday I use my knowledge from university and from life experience. I now lead a team of 60+ and run the #1 hotel in Glasgow next to the worlds second busiest concert venue.

Premier Inn is the UK’s biggest hotel chain and we have really identified the need to open hospitality to all disciplines. Premier Inn are opening a new hotel in the UK every 10 days at the moment and 80% of our manager are internally recruited. In Scotland last year we recruited 8 people onto the Operation Manager graduate scheme. Out of 8 graduates only 2 have specific industry related degrees, the others have disciplines including HR, Accounting, English and History. We strongly believe that you will posses all of the behaviours that make you a successful leader by the time you graduate. Any other skill gaps can be addressed through:

• first-class mentoring sessions from senior managers within our Operations and HR teams
• fast track management development programmes
• specialist workshops to develop business management, leadership and key hospitality skills
• high profile networking events with guest speakers and business leaders
• business projects to shape the future of our company
• knowledge from the experts in specialist support centre roles

If you are graduating this year or considering your options I would recommend that you check out hospitality companies- hotel management is one of the most rewarding jobs that I have had- both professionally and personally.

International Women’s Day

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The tagline for this years international women’s day is #makeithappen which I felt connected well to careers and employability as in terms of career planning and fulfilling your potential it really is up to you to ‘make it happen’.

Even in today’s society women all over the world still face lower salaries in comparison to men, and are still not equally represented in the boardroom or politics and globally women face violence and a lack of education compared to their male counterparts.

However, since the inception of international women’s day in 1900, women have won many battles and this fact should be celebrated and women everywhere encouraged to #make it happen.

And to provide some motivation I thought it would be a good chance to take a look at some women who have done just that-

Arianna Huffington is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post and has been voted Forbes most powerful woman in Media. The Huffington Post sold for 300 million to aol in 2011 and Arianna Huffington remained as editor in chief.
Belinda Parmar runs Lady Geek a business which aims at making technology and games more accessible to women. Little Miss Geek aims to get young women to be inspired by a career in the technology and games industry.

Jenny Dawson founded a social enterprise rubies in the rubble her organisation uses unwanted left over fruit and veg from markets and turns them into jams and chutneys while supporting unemployed people to help them gain valuable skills and experience.

These are just a few examples of women who have made a path for themselves and have become successful using their own merits. If they have not been enough to motivate you into action why not watch this Ted Talk and get motivated to take control of your own future and #make it happen for yourself!

By Pamela Smith – Careers Adviser, UWS Careers & Employability Service

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