Why you should complete the RED Award

University is the perfect time to not only get a degree, but to take on opportunities which will strengthen your CV and help you to stand out from other graduates.

And at the University of Reading you don’t need to search hard before finding a scheme which will help you do just that.

The RED Award (Reading Experience and Development Award) is the UoR’s independent employability skills certificate which recognises the efforts of students who go the extra mile during their time at the university.

The scheme is organised into three sections: Core Activity, Volunteering, and Training and Development all of which require different time scales to complete them.

Firstly, the Core Activity section asks students to complete 35 hours of commitments such as paid work, internships, work experience, insight days, or additional volunteering (on top of that completed for the Volunteering section). This section, although the longest requirement, is arguably the easiest to do as if you have a part-time job or carry out work experience or a placement as part of one of your university modules, you are certain to complete this within a week. For the Core Activity section of my RED Award I combined my hours at my part-time job with Tesco and volunteering in my role as Editor of UoR’s student newspaper, The Spark.

Secondly, the Volunteering section requires a minimum of 10 hours which can be completed either on or off of campus. Examples of on-campus volunteering opportunities include the Students in Schools, STAR Mentor and PAL schemes, while you can also record any volunteering that you do with RUSU (such as being a course rep, committee member of a society, or a JCR) as part of the section. I used my involvement in the Students in Schools scheme.

The last section requires you to complete 5 hours of training. Three of these hours can be from any training you’ve done as part of a volunteer role, while the other two need to come from Careers Workshops run by the university. An extensive list of these can be found here. For the Training and Development section of my RED Award I combined my committee training for The Spark Newspaper with my participation in the Careers Departments’ publishing course.

I highly recommend completing your RED Award whilst at UoR as it is very easily completed and something which, if in your second or third year, you may have completed without realising. The RED Award is a valuable method of recording your extra-curricular commitment and offers a sense of accomplishment on completion of the scheme. You can sign up on RISIS.

Additionally, if you get ahead of the game and complete your RED Award within your first or second year, there is also the option to do the Advanced RED Award which requires a more independent approach to improving a skill such as Commercial Awareness, Communication and Presentation; Digital and IT skills. To complete the award, you will need to create a personal development plan around your chosen skill and then log your progression in this skill and attend an employability event. You can also sign up for this on RISIS.

Written by Taz Usher

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