Welcome to the Employability and Careers Centre.
Discover the career that is right for you. Develop the skills you need to succeed. Dive in with work experience and professional training.
Surrey Pathfinder is a digital hub with 24/7 access; careers appointments and event bookings, jobs, placements and interactive development tools.
During the Autumn and Spring terms Employability and Careers Centre offers Surrey students a wide range of employer-led skills workshops and careers fairs. The sessions cover key employability skills such as interview techniques, video interviews, assessment centre workshops, networking practice, CV writing and using social media apps such as LinkedIn to find graduate roles. For a full listing of our events see here.
Professional training is an integral part of life at the University of Surrey and is a fantastic opportunity for all Surrey students allowing them to experience life after university. The experience, maturity and confidence our students gain whilst out on placement either in the UK or abroad sets them a cut above the rest when they graduate, which shows in our consistently low unemployment rate after graduation, another reason to choose Professional Training at the University of Surrey.
GoinGlobal offers country-specific career information developed by local career specialists. The information is updated annualy and features recommenced websites and detailed resource descriptions on employment topics.
With more than 2,300 professional partners, and a score of more than 95 per cent graduate employability for the past five years, the University has been ranked second for its partnerships and as one of the top universities for its graduate employment rate. Overall the University was ranked 121-130 in the world for the employability of its students.
Maddie Thomas, the Volunteering and Engagement Coordinator for The University of Surrey Students’ Union talks about the benefits of volunteering for Nightline
What is Nightline?
Nightline is a listening service, run by students for students. Open at night, when other university support services may be closed, Nightline gives students an anonymous and confidential space to talk about anything that may be troubling them, from exam stress, relationship worries to mental health concerns. Volunteers are trained to support and listen to callers, without giving advice or passing judgement. The Nightline Association is a volunteer-run charity that supports the running of university Nightlines across the country. All Nightlines are run by a committee of student volunteers, similar to a sports club or society.
While a core aspect of Nightline has always been its support over the phone, Nightlines are now able to provide support via text, email and instant messaging, as methods of communication have changed over the years. Otherwise, the principles of Nightline have remained the same.
How can students become involved in volunteering?
Nightline services are run by students for students; we are currently recruiting for Listening Volunteers to join the team and help support Surrey students. Nightline Listeners answer calls, offering a friendly ear to listen, support and information on a range of issues. It’s a challenging but hugely rewarding role that will have a big impact on the people you support.
If you’re not sure that being a Nightline listener is for you, there are other ways you can get involved in the service. We’re also looking for Nightline Ambassadors who will play a key role in promoting and marketing the service, running the Freshers Fair stall, library stall, distributing posters, flyers and other promo material to help publicise the service. This is a great way to learn about how Nightline works and help support the service if you can’t commit to being a Listening Volunteer.
What skills do you need to be a volunteer?
Other than being a current Surrey student and being a proficient English speaker, there are no experience requirements as you will learn the skills needed to be a Listener during training. Just being open minded, empathetic and interested in people is a good place to start.
Can you tell me about the training programme?
Volunteers all undergo a rigorous training programme before they can start taking calls. Training covers all of the skills needed to be a successful Listener, as well as giving an in-depth understanding of our policies and procedures. There’s plenty of opportunity to practise your skills through role plays, practice phone calls and other tasks and activities which will help you develop the active listening skills needed. The exact format can vary, but will generally consist of an information ‘taster’ session, followed by an intense weekend training programme. Volunteers are under no obligation to continue training if they feel that it isn’t right for them and are welcome to chat to the Coordinators at any time if they have any concerns.
Ongoing training will take place during the academic year, to keep you up to date with any changes to the way we run Nightline, give you a chance to brush up on your skills and have some more opportunities to learn more about mental health issues and other issues that may affect students at Surrey.
Apart from the training what ongoing support do you give your volunteers?
Being a Nightline volunteer is hugely rewarding but it can be challenging – the welfare of volunteers is of huge importance to us and so there are many support structures in place to make sure that all volunteers feel content in their roles. All volunteers will attend monthly reflective practice sessions at the Centre for Wellbeing on campus; we have a sister Nightline, Northumbria, who are there to listen to anyone who is in need of support. The Nightline Coordinators are also on hand to talk to at any time.
What transferrable skills can students develop by working for Nightline?
The transferable skills you can gain from being a Nightline volunteer will be a valuable asset to any CV. Communication, team work, active listening, organisation, professionalism and discretion are just some of the skills you will develop as a Nightline listener. Being a Nightline volunteer requires dedication– something that is important to potential employers and examples of your commitment to activities outside your degree will help you to stand out during recruitment.
Can you give me any examples of how working for Nightline has influenced volunteers’ career paths?
Volunteers come from a range of backgrounds and degree courses, from Psychology to Politics, and while the transferable skills are valuable for any career path, some volunteers have expressed an interest in moving in to a counselling or therapy-based role after completing their studies.
Do you have any current deadlines for volunteer application?
Interested students are welcome to apply now, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for the application form and for more information. Applications for the semester two training programmes will close on Monday 5th March, but interested students are urged to apply as soon as possible as numbers are limited. Unfortunately we are not able to train students in their final semester to be Listeners but they are welcome to apply to be Ambassadors.
Upon my first look at Surrey Pathfinder I was enthusiastic to explore all the new resources I’d been hearing about in the build-up over previous weeks! There are boundless resources which are essentially split into two main areas – bookings and interactive learning tools.
At first, the amount of information available felt almost overwhelming, however, within 5 minutes of exploring the hub I felt comfortable browsing at my leisure. The further I explored the more curious I was to try the different sections.
On the “Dashboard” page you can monitor your progress/use of the hub in 4 key sections; learning modules activity, career tools activity, jobs searches run and jobs viewed. This gives a more interactive feel within the hub and encourages motivation to use the resources fully.
Currently, my favourite section of the hub is “Career Assessments” where you can find 14 different assessments, covering a wide range of different topics, including; “Personal Resilience”, “Stress Management” and “Motivation at Work”. Each assessment is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). Upon completion of the assessments you receive a personal report with practical, tailored recommendations which can be applied in the workplace. I found there were just the right amount of questions per assessment, so it didn’t take too much time but also provided an informative response which I could apply to my personal needs. The progress indicator for this section encouraged me to try even more of the modules.
Since hearing about the development of Surrey Pathfinder, the “Interview Simulator” was a resource I was particularly excited to try! This can be found under the “Tools” tab. When browsing the questions I found them extremely insightful alongside the guidance for how to answer each question, providing suggestions I hadn’t even thought of. There are various mock interview questions which cover the full interview process in 8 topic areas. Whilst the hub provides tips, do’s and don’ts and videos on answering these questions there is also a notes section where you can write and edit your own responses, saving to your online account as you go. As everything is saved in one place, documents can easily be accessed at your convenience. You can also practise a mock interview with three options: Pre-Built, Custom, Watch; the choice of having automatically selected questions, choosing your own questions or skipping straight to watching employer advice.
Another feature I found really helpful is the LinkedIn Networking, which can be found under the “Jobs Research” tab. This resource was a hidden gem, a resource I wasn’t expecting when first hearing about Surrey Pathfinder! Previously, when searching for specific companies or people on LinkedIn I have found it difficult to find exactly what I’m searching for. This feature allows what seems to be a wider search.
As a student, booking appointments and events online makes it a lot easier to organise your time! When choosing an appointment you’re able to see the available dates and times, which you can book 24/7. There’s also a “My Appointments” section to easily manage bookings, make amendments or cancellations outside office hours. I found the process to be quick and easy! Regarding the events, you’re able to view all the career events well in advance on the online calendar. Additionally, in this area you can also search for job opportunities and placements.
Overall, I found the Surrey Pathfinder hub extremely insightful, user friendly and somewhat fun to use. Filled with tonnes of knowledge, all in one place, I feel that Surrey Pathfinder will be extremely beneficial to the use of all current students and recent graduates.
Congratulations on your recent selection as a board member for the newly formed Office for Students. This is a huge achievement!
The OfS (Office for Students) is the new Higher education regulatory body for England. The OfS’s functions will include regulation, allocation of funding, teaching quality and widening participation to higher education. It’s all about providing a more level playing field, to promote student choice and value for money.
I’m excited to meet the other board members and learn their views. There are some very impressive people on the board and I am privileged to have the opportunity to work with them. The OfS have been very supportive and they know this is my first experience on such a high level board.
I think working for Mott MacDonald has developed my confidence in different areas. At university, you have time to grow intellectual confidence as you revise and prepare for hours. At work, it’s not necessarily the case. You learn how to be confident when your brain is telling you you’re not ready. You are ready, you know your stuff, and you’ve just got to go for it!
I am privileged in the fact I am on the Surrey ICE Scholarship scheme. I had interviews before I came to University to be a part of the scheme and in first year I had about eight interviews in one day and by the end of it I was matched up with Mott MacDonald. I was chuffed, I’ve wanted to work for them for a very long time.
When I was younger I held various positions in pizza shops, cafés and leisure centres and I was also a Young social action ambassador for the National Citizenship scheme. Between year 12 and 13 I had one week work experience at an engineering consultancy firm which gave me a flavour for what to expect. As I didn’t have any family or connections in the industry I was panicking about getting work experience. I decided to go to a talk run by UCL for women looking to start their careers in engineering. At the end of the day I chased one of the speakers and asked for work experience. She gave me her email address and I got the work experience.
I love placement. I like having responsibility and working towards something bigger. I am working for the task information management team for our contract with HS2. Working on one of the biggest projects in the UK is the reason I became an engineer. My highlight came last week. I was asked to run and lead a training session to 30+ people, teaching them how to use 3D modelling software. I wasn’t confident and hadn’t felt ready at the start of the week, but it was a success.
I have always had a ‘can do’ attitude, but I’ve learnt how to apply that attitude to everything in life, even the things I don’t think I am good at. I’ve learnt some of the processes behind some of the world’s biggest projects. I’ve also learnt that I can wake up at 6:30am every day and still survive.
It’s opened my eyes to more project/ information management roles. I don’t see myself being a leading technical expert, but growing into the digital world of engineering and that’s exciting to me. I have seen first-hand how you can have the most cutting edge design or perfect hand calculation, but if that cannot be communicated to the team in an effective way, you lose your hard work. I’ve learnt some key software and I’ve been exposed to the processes behind projects. The way the project is managed has a huge impact on the profit and productivity, which I now see as a path I would like to pursue.
I can’t deny, my life is a bit hectic. It’s a good thing I’m organised! I sometimes struggle to switch off, there’s always the tendency to do something rather than nothing. To relax; I go to the gym and play sport, cook. I also play the guitar, so do that when I have spare time and I love watching documentaries – especially ones that show how things are made.
I’d say keep going. Nothing worth having is easy, and it is so true to this scenario. This may seem like the perfect time to give up, but carry on. Don’t be put off by job titles or be worried it’s not exactly what you wanted to do. On paper, you might think it won’t suit you, but this is your year to gain the skills that other graduates will not have. Be confident and keep going, hard work will always pay off.
If you are a University of Surrey student currently on placement and would like to publish a blog with us, please contact us via email on email@example.com where we can provide you with further details.