Embarking on your RED Award

RED Awards logo

The chance to enhance your employability and personal skills, before undertaking any job search, is an invaluable asset to students from all backgrounds. Whether you’re looking to secure a small weekend job, or discover your dream career after university, it’s never too early to start preparing.

The Reading Experience and Development (RED) Award is designed to help you do exactly that, by accrediting any extra-curriculars you do outside of lectures, part time work you’ve completed since enrolment and volunteering activities. While any student at any stage of their academic programme can complete it, it may be wise to complete it within your first year, in order to accumulate as many experiences as possible and explore the opportunities on offer in the Reading community.

The award is comprised of 40 hours, of which 35 hours are dedicated to ‘Experience’ (in essence, any part time paid work, work experience, job shadowing, internships, plus a minimum of 1 hour spent volunteering). 5 hours are used for ‘Training and Development’ (workshops and/or webinars, including at least 2 hours run by the Careers Team).

Contrary to popular belief, 40 hours’ worth of activity is very achievable within the duration of your academic programme  – think of it as an average working week spread across a whole year.

Still need convincing? Consider this: employers will applaud your display of initiative for taking some simple steps to show you’ve had more out of university than just a diploma, saving you a great deal of stress later down the line.

To help you with this, we’ve included some tips on how to get the most out of your award…

Attending an introductory session

These are run by the RED Awards team, and are a great way to get an introduction to how the awards work, find inspiration for how you want to spend your activity hours, or get answers to your burning questions. Handily, they also count as one of your ‘Training and Development’ hours!

Tailoring your activity choices

Pay special attention to the skills you want to learn or develop further, and adapt your choices accordingly. Want to improve your public speaking and communication skills? Look into student ambassador roles offered by the Campus Jobs team. Want to take on a position of responsibility to show off on your CV? Consider applying to be a Course Representative or become a society committee member.

Keeping your activity log up to date

A simple, but important, house-keeping point is to upload activity onto your pathway as soon as you have completed it – this is a good way of record-keeping as you go along, saving you the hassle of rummaging through paperwork and emails when it comes to submitting your pathway. A stress-free experience is a positive experience!

New to Reading?

It can be daunting to move away from home and start making new connections from scratch – use your award as a way of exploring the different societies, groups, and communities in and around campus.

These are just a few ways to make your experience of the award is as smooth as possible. A key takeaway to bear in mind, if nothing else, is this: the best way to approach your RED Award is to showcase the staple skills that could make or break an interview. Found out how to get started here!


Isla Bailey, Microbiology Student at the University of Reading