DEADLINE EXTENDED: Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme 2016

The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (UROP) is about to launch its summer research placements for 2016.

Applications for the following Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (UROP) projects have been extended until Friday 22nd April, unless otherwise stated.

UROP provides exciting opportunities for undergraduates to work with staff on research projects across the University, contributing directly to the creation of knowledge, building new skills and strengthening the link between teaching and research.  UROP placements are paid a bursary of £1,320 and last six weeks over the summer break, or can be part-time over a longer period. The scheme is only open to University of Reading students in their middle year of study (i.e. not first or final year students).

The University of Reading is one of a select number of UK universities to run its own UROP scheme and there have been over 400 placements funded across the university since 2006. As a student, a UROP placement can make a significant contribution to your transferable skills, employability and understanding of the research environment.

UROP placements and training can be used towards the RED award and further information on the elements of the UROP programme can be found here. Applications should be made directly to the project supervisor and if you have any questions, please contact Daniel Mitchell at

Display Wizard Graphic Design Competition

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Display Wizard Launch New Graphic Design Competition for Students

Display Wizard, one of the UK’s biggest suppliers of exhibition stands, have announced a new competition aimed at helping art and design students gain industry experience and a possible £500 grant alongside their studies.

The competition, running for its first academic year in 2015/2016, asks students to design two exhibition stands and write a short essay which showcases the best aspects of studying their course at their university.

The competition is suitable for any students with knowledge of graphic design and is a great way for students to build up their portfolios and gain experience of working on a real-life marketing project.

The prizes on offer are as follows:


  • 1st: A Wacom Intuous Pro Medium Graphics tablet worth £300
  • 1st : £500 grant; 2nd: £100 grant; 3rd: £50 grant
  • 1st, 2nd, 3rd: Display Wizard certificate and publicity through Blog posts and social media.
  • 1st, 2nd, 3rd: The chance to work on a real-life marketing project and showcase your work to The Design Council, University marketing department, the large-format print industry and the wider design world.
  • Summer internship with Display Wizard (optional)


  • 1st: One 3×3 Curved Pop Up Stand with branding designed by student.
  • 1st, 2nd, 3rd: One Budget Banner Stand with branding designed by student.
  • Deadline: 1st May 2016

Full details of the competition including example stands, graphic templates and entry requirements can be found by following the link below:

Display Wizard Exhibition Stand Design Competition

Creative Industries Showcase 13th April

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Are you from a BAME background and looking to take your first steps into the creative sector? If the answer is yes, Creative Access will be hosting a FREE Creative Industries Showcase, 13th April at Channel 4 in London. This event will be the perfect opportunity to find out about career opportunities in the creative sector and network with a panel of industry professionals.

Creative Access are looking for final year students and graduates from all academic backgrounds who have a genuine interest in pursuing a career in the creative sector.

If this sounds like the perfect event for you, click here for full details of the event:

Creative Access Paid Internships


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For those of you who are not familiar with Creative Access’s work, we are a charity that provides paid internship opportunities in the creative sector for young people from under-represented BAME backgrounds (Black, Asian and non-white Ethnic minorities). We aim to improve diversity within the creative world and address the imbalance in the sector by improving the chances of each of our candidates and helping them secure permanent full-time jobs.

Since launching in 2012 Creative Access has proudly placed 500 talented interns into the creative industries. By adhering to our motto, ‘Media cannot reflect society, if society is not reflected in the media’; we have generated hundreds of internships with more that 200 media partners across the UK in 13 sectors  (advertising, book publishing, film, magazine publishing, marketing, music, newspapers, PR, radio, talent, television and theatre, museums & galleries).

Here at Creative Access, we make sure that our interns are equipped with all the knowledge and skills that are needed to have a successful career in the creative sector. Each of our interns is assigned a senior mentor at the company they are placed with. We also provide comprehensive training through our monthly masterclass sessions where they are encouraged to network with one another and our experienced panel of industry professionals. Our masterclasses have proven to be a huge success and have been hosted by the House of Commons, The Telegraph, the BBC and Google to name a few.

To date, 80% of our alumni have gone on to secure permanent positions in the creative sector. This fantastic achievement motivates us to continue our mission to ensure that under-represented communities continue to thrive in the creative world.

We are currently advertising a wide range of opportunities with companies such as Sugar Films, Google, The Royal Shakespeare Company, Harlequin UK, Radiocentre and National Theatre

You can take a look at our full range of opportunities here and register with us here to receive regular email updates with our brand new internships.

Finding a job the old-fashioned way

The following article has been posted by Russell Collier, a Biological Sciences graduate from the University of Reading…

After graduating from University I was hit by the bombshell of pressure to find work as soon as possible, stressing myself to find a job and aspire to a long term career. Hearing others who graduated with me this year in Biomedical Science, I can safely say that this feeling is mutual amongst most graduates up and down the country.

So where do you begin? Well in today’s world the first thing you do is grab your laptop, open up Google and search “graduate jobs”, only to scroll through endless job lists on recruitment websites hoping for some inspiration.

It goes without saying, but this process is extremely tedious. I did this for two to three months, going into the science sector on recruitment websites and looking for relevant jobs. I found myself applying to jobs for the sake of it. After just a few days I had applied to dozens of jobs, half hoping I could get some work, half hoping I would be rejected from a job I didn’t really want.

From my experience of doing this I can say that most of the time I was lucky to get a reply. I applied for about 50 jobs, being ignored by 40 and immediately rejected by six. Four employers offered a phone interview, with two subsequently going onto a formal interview.

By this time, however, I had found my inspiration, having found a job in “medical writing” advertised. I quickly read through the details and I felt I had found my future career – now I just needed to get in. I continued to apply online to medical writing jobs, only to find the same result: I was getting nowhere. Someone then suggested that I speak to the careers team at the University of Reading.

So I went in and spoke to a Careers Adviser on Quick Query. The main piece of advice was that I just approach these companies directly, first looking to harvest information on this career. They called this approach “Informational Interviewing”.

At first I was unconfident in this approach, expecting to be ignored like before. It required some effort but I found a few people in the industry and after a couple of polite emails I was talking to these people about medical writing. This helped me gain a network of professionals who could help me get my foot in the door and I also learned a lot about this career path in the process.

After doing this a few times I was offered an interview! They said they liked my pro-activeness and were very impressed; interesting since I hadn’t applied for the vacancy. I have now written to most Science Communications companies near me and have had several phone calls with professionals, including a freelance writer. I now don’t even think I have the time to meet all of the people who have agreed to it!

With this approach, I feel that I have made so much more progress not only in the pursuit of finding a job, but also I have confidence that this career is right for me. After meeting these people, I wrote to thank them for their time and sent a copy of my CV to be considered for any future openings. These conversations have also allowed me to ask “which attributes do I lack,” so I can go out and better myself for subsequent applications.

Don’t get me wrong, many people do still ignore you, but I believe I am moving in the right direction. This approach requires devotion and the faith that eventually you will come across the right person who can get you a job. Patience is key, but if you’re looking for work, don’t waste your time with online applications, be pro-active.



My RED Award Experience

My RED Award Experience

by Arianna Chatzidakis


Although the RED Award may sound like a lot of work, it’s actually super easy and fun to complete! I am currently in the process of doing it for the second time. Yes, fifty hours of extra curricular activities does seem daunting, but once it’s broken down it’s actually really simple. Thirty-five of those hours can be made up from work experience, paid work or an internship.  The remaining hours must be from volunteering and attending training and development courses run by the university.

I really enjoyed volunteering as a Freshers’ Angel to gain my volunteering hours. It felt nice to be able to help new students settle in, as we’ve all experienced moving away from home and being thrust into a new environment. Not only that, but I got free entry into the Union and Fresher’s Ball events as I was helping out on those nights. You also get to meet lots of new people.

As well as looking brilliant on your CV and degree transcript, the RED Award provides you with some great life skills. It shows that you have the dedication to complete a task, it provides recognition for your extra-curricular activities, it helps you stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs, and it generally helps you build a wider skills portfolio. It’s definitely something to think about doing before you finish your degree!

Career insight into the fashion industry with Kate Blythe

Kate Blythe is the Editorial and Content Director for MATCHESFASHION.COM. Below she tells us why she decided to work in fashion, and how she got started…


I always wanted to be a fashion journalist from the age of 10 or 11. I collected American and British Vogue magazines for years and fell in love with the beautiful images and inspirational features. From that age onwards I had my heart set on a fashion journalism career and so I focused on English literature and Language as my speciality. I took English, Psychology and History A Levels and then I went to Leeds University to study an English degree. Before university, however, I set up work experience at my local paper and then went to IPC to intern at various magazines such as 19 magazine and Just 17. As a post-graduate, I went to Time Out magazine in London where I worked for 6 months as a freelance writer, and from there I went to ELLE magazine where I worked for 4 years as fashion features writer before moving into the digital world after that.


o   What does a typical day for you look like at

I start work around 8.30am and have 30 minutes before the team arrive to get through my emails and answer any queries. I sign off, approve and commission all content across mens and womens digital and print titles so my day is a constant stream of questions from my team and proofs to sign off. I also oversee all video content, along with marketing emails, social media and all fashion. I can be approving a fashion rail full of clothes for a cover shoot one minute, then sitting in the executive team meetings discussing forward planning the next. It’s non-stop and very varied, which is why I love my job! I leave work at 6pm to get home to my three children before bedtime which is also when the US markets are up and so I then deal with talent agents regarding celebrity cover stories and shoots.


o   What has been the highlight of your career so far?

The highlight of my career has been building a world class team here at and rebranding all of the website and content in a short space of time. It has been an exciting 18 months and the best is yet to come.


o   What do you enjoy the most about working in fashion?

I love all aspects of fashion – from the incredible talent of the designers behind the collection, to the beautiful product that is created to the editorial stories we pull together from the collections we stock. It is fast moving, exciting and inspiring.


o   What made you choose English as your degree, and what was your best experience whilst at Uni?

I have always been passionate about writing and would love writing essays at school and sixth form college. There is something about story telling that is very exciting to me and so there was really no other degree that I would have considered, other than fashion journalism. University was wonderful and I loved meeting great friends, learning new skills and knowing that I was preparing myself for a future in journalism. I couldn’t wait to get started!


o   Do you have any advice for students on how to stay creative and keep coming up with new ideas?

Read as much as possible – the news, websites, blogs, fashion commentary, magazines. Arm yourself with information and never think that you know it all. I am learning new skills every day and that triggers ideas in my mind for new ideas. Never plagiarise, always be original and stick to your passions rather than follow the pack. Then you will have the potential to be hugely successful!


o   Do you have any motivational words for students aspiring to make it in this very competitive industry?

Take on as much work experience as possible and when you are in a company doing a placement or internship, throw yourself into the role and make yourself indispensable. That is what I did and two months later I was offered a full time job. Never say no, always say yes to whatever task is given to you and your positive attitude and can-do nature will go along way in impressing the right people.


o   What key skills do you need to get into fashion?

Great personal taste, passion for the subject you are working on and digital knowledge. Nowhere is purely print these days, so digital skills are a necessity for being a future fashion leader.


o   If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice whilst you were a student, what would it be?

I used to have to read a whole pile of books every week yet I never allowed myself enough time to really enjoy them. I would have told my younger self to enjoy the time I had and to absorb the literature I was reading, rather than racing through it all. I never have any time these days to read a good book, so that was my perfect opportunity.


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Bizarre interview questions


Preparing for an interview is great practice to get into so you can give a competent, satisfying answer to questions, particularly when applying for graduate jobs. However, sometimes this isn’t as easy as it sounds. It’s tricky to be prepared for any eventuality that might occur in the interview. As a prime example, recently, Currys asked their applicants to have a ‘Dance off’ during the session- something which nobody was prepared for! It’s good to be aware of some of the slightly less unorthodox questions which might be thrown at you and even better to understand why they are asking them and what they expect from your answer. Anna Pitts of the Graduate Recruitment Bureau gives you a taste of the crazy questions out there:

– If you were an animal what would you be and why?

– Would you rather fight a horse-sized duck or 100 duck sized horses?

– How would you explain Facebook to your Grandma?

– If your friend was seriously injured and you had to get him to a hospital, would you speed and go through a red light?

– Explain why you are wearing this outfit.

– How would you fit an elephant in a fridge?


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If this has inspired you to start thinking about preparing for your next interview, come along to see us in the Carrington Building, for one to one advice with a Careers Adviser!

Is a career in digital marketing for you? An employer blog post.


By Heather Baker, Founder & CEO, TopLine Communications.

Henry Ford is considered a pioneer of the automotive industry, Mark Zuckerberg forged the way for social media and Bill Gates is certainly one of the most celebrated innovators in computing. Yet who is the definitive forerunner in the digital marketing sphere? The answer is no one…yet. And that’s because this industry is still emerging, which makes it an exciting career choice for any graduate.

But digital marketing is a very broad term and, from the graduates I’ve spoken to, it’s rather hard to understand what a career in digital marketing entails, what skills they’ll need, and how to land that important first role.

What to expect from a career in digital marketing

The great thing about this industry is that it is still possible to forge your own career path. Digital marketing covers online PR, social media, search engine optimisation, online advertising, video production, copywriting, website and app development and email marketing.

As a digital marketing specialist, you will help companies grow by helping them generate leads and make sales. Your typical day could involve researching target audiences to understand where they hang out online and what they care about; developing ideas for campaigns that will really catch their attention; implementing campaigns by designing online ads, writing blog posts, sending out emails; dealing with the media; analysing the success of each campaign and making adjustments.

It’s a great time to choose this career path – you can be really creative in this industry. While some best practices have been developed, there is huge opportunity to try new things and see if they work, which means you can be genuinely part of the evolution of an entirely new discipline.  And if you can get good enough at digital marketing, you will climb the career ladder quickly. There really is a shortage of good people who understand the principles of digital marketing and if you can generate leads online you will be invaluable to any employer.

What skills will I need?

If you are creative and can write that’s a good start. You’ll also need to love technology, as you’ll be using new software tools as they enter the market. While it’s not a firm requirement, if you can use Excel you will be one step ahead of most people in the industry and the ability to analyse data will be invaluable.

To demonstrate your writing potential, I would recommend you get published. Write a blog, contribute to your university newspaper or offer your services as a writer to a student publication. If you can prove that your writing is good enough to be published, you’ll be one step ahead of most people going for the few digital marketing jobs out there.

Secondly, and this is the fun part, get social – use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat and Instagram. Show that you love social media and are comfortable using social networks.

If you’re really keen, then you can get yourself Google Analytics and Google Adwords certified. These are self-taught courses, and the exams, offered by Google cost $50 each. As an employer, if I saw a graduate had taken the initiative to pass one of these exams, I would immediately be interested! If you’ve taught yourself to code (you can do this for free on Code Academy) you’ll be gold dust!


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The Graduate Foundation College: a career in finance

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Are you interested in a career in finance? The Graduate Foundation College could be your first step into post-university life.

The Graduate Foundation College are looking for graduates to help build the future for financial services firms. They have hand-picked firms who are looking for motivated unemployed graduates for a three-month paid internship placement that could lead to a full time job. You will get help and training along the way to make sure that you have all you need to succeed. The College is looking for the students to start towards the end of August.

There are limited places available for the College, so visit now to find out more,
register and complete the assessment. If you want to find out a bit more about life as a financial adviser, visit