#EmpFest17 – Christie’s Education

As student recruitment officer at Christie’s Education, I travel internationally meeting students all over the world to explain some of the work and educational opportunities that are available.

Post – graduate study may be something to consider to fine polish your skills set, whilst enjoying one more year as a student. Employers and education providers like Christie’s come to university campuses to engage with the next generation of bright minds. Universities such as Kent offer stellar programmes and are highly ranked in university tables, and are, therefore, an extra lure for organisations such as ours, to attract the best students and employees.

Students should come to career development events in order to better inform themselves as to the range of opportunities available to them after university. The graduate world can be a daunting place and a minefield of online resources, but connecting with experts in their chosen field in person is an essential part of a graduate’s career search.

Our recommendations for undergraduates include visiting the right career development sessions offered by their universities and connecting with organisations that are relevant to them. Careful selection of particular institutions is a better option than overwhelming oneself with attending too many information sessions. Starting this research early whilst still a student a good idea, rather than waiting until just before graduation.

Christie’s Education welcomes you to join us at our presentation on the 23rd October – “Master’s study in Art, Law and Business and Art Industry career pathways”. @ChristiesEdu www.christies.edu


Kent Alumni: Startup Stories @unikentalumni

About you: Monifa Walters-Thompson graduated from Kent in 2013 with a  first class degree in Law. She spoke to BrighterBox, a graduate recruitment platform working with high growth startups, about her time at Kent and how it was the perfect springboard for kick-starting her career.

What were your first impressions of Kent?

I was apprehensive before arriving at Kent in 2010, but from my first day, and the Keynes College Pub crawl, I was hooked. That’s when I met my first friends at university, some of whom even studied law, like I did and those relationships continue today.

Law must have been an intensive course. What did you enjoy most about it?

I really enjoyed course work and had the freedom in third year to do two dissertations. The tutors were supportive and of course, the opportunity of working in the Kent Law Clinic was invaluable.

How much of a factor was your time at Kent in your career?

A huge factor. I am a barrister now, so without my education at Kent I’d be nowhere. I got a 1:1 in my degree, giving me that springboard as a BME student trying to get to the bar.  I don’t know if I would have achieved as much anywhere else.

You have also had experience working at an innovative background-checking startup called Onfido – what was that like? What was the best thing you did there?

Onfido was a big start up (3 countries, 100-120 employees). Everyone was kind and friendly and I had a lot of opportunities to take on different work. The best thing I did on a personal development level was travelling to the US and working with the team out there; helping to set up compliance in that office; and assisting Onfido in inter-country office communications. I had the chance to do and see so many new things during that time because I was given that opportunity. For Onfido, I think the best thing I did was honing in on communication between the customer success team to ensure everyone knew how to access information they needed to perform the role effectively. I worked with other team members to create a knowledge base of foreign documents which I hope is still in use today (!)

Sounds like a varied role! Can you tell us a bit about what you’re doing right now?

I’m now a self employed barrister working in family law. It’s pretty busy, lots of reading and taking on board new information. Each day is definitely a challenge!

As someone with a range of experience, what advice would you give to a graduate looking to get into the startup world?

Just make applications and be ready to start from the bottom and work your way up. Use what you know and what you’re interested in to take you that step further and make yourself stand out. Creating a niche for yourself is really how to progress in a startup so always look for opportunities.

BrighterBox helps ambitious graduates kick-start their careers at exciting start-ups like Onfido.

The Arts can really make a difference

Kimberley Griffin, People United’s work placement student reflects on recent pieces of work that illustrate the value of the arts. Kimberley has just completed her BSc in Psychology at the University of Kent.

I recently came across the newest report published by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Arts, Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing, which indicates all of the beneficial effects of the arts. It is a really informative and interesting read of the evidence found from 2 years’ worth of research that has a great synergy with the work of People United. The report claims that by engaging in any one of the visual or performing arts it can lead to improvements in a range of areas, including: depression, anxiety, loneliness, workplace stress, the management of long-term conditions, and the quality of life for stroke and dementia patients.

Whilst reading the report I kept thinking about how much People United’s work supports this and what has been inspiring to see recently is the documentary on Channel 4 that provides further practical support in line with the APPG report (which I can only hope will reach and inspire a wider population). The documentary called Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds follows a 6-week experiment investigating whether contact between pre-schoolers and pensioners can improve the physical and mental wellbeing of the pensioners through play, sport activities, and the arts. This relatively short period of intergenerational contact not only provided the pensioners and the pre-school children with a lot of enjoyment and enrichment in their lives, but it also led to improvements in the pensioners’ mood, strength, and mobility.

This documentary was fantastic to watch and I highly recommend it. It also got me thinking of the work People United did with Lunsford Primary School and the community care homes in their Treasure (Role Model) project. Similarly to the Channel 4 documentary, it involved connecting the younger generation with the older generation by encouraging them to think about people they treasure in their life and create related art pieces to share. The results from this project were very encouraging; both the care home residents and the children thoroughly enjoyed the experience and it increased the children’s kindness towards older people. From this, People United created their Hunting for Treasure resource, which I think is a fantastic and valuable source for schools to use. It provides inspirational and practical ideas to create a more kind and caring society through the arts.

So, if reading this blog, the report, or watching the documentary has left you feeling inspired download – for free – the People United resources here, to help make a difference and promote the importance of engaging in the arts!

– Find out more about People United at www.peopleunited.org.uk

(Photo by Hope Fitzgerald.)

Beer for breakfast?

During my work at Shepherd Neame’s Faversham brewery I was assigned to their laboratory. In the Analytical section of the lab, my tasks were to analyse beer samples to be sure they were in spec in terms of Co2, OG, PG, Bitterness, and polyphenol levels. Additional tests included carrying out head retention tests and VDKs to measure diacetyl and pentose levels in beer. In order to effectively determine these levels I had to become adept in the use of a number of machines, and the method of different analysis. The week I spent in the analysis section of the lab allowed me to gain the confidence of the operators and became proficient enough to be left to my own devices while taking samples around all areas of the brewery, conducting analysis of samples during different points in production, and carrying out my own projects within the lab. These projects included a joint venture with operators to measure effectiveness of yeast cultivation through use of different methods, and the making of my own homebrew using brewery supplies. I can say that the final result of this added to my experience several times over.

The second section I worked in was the microbiology section of the lab. During the week, I conducted yeast counts, cultivated different yeast strains through different methods, worked with different yeast agar mediums, and applied plating techniques using nanomembrane filters.

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Don’t rock the boat, baby

This June, I took part in a two week internship with Library and Archives Team at Chatham Historic Dockyard. Here is a short account of my experiences, and how they will definitely help me in the future…

The main skill that I gained from my work experience at Chatham Historic Dockyard was an in-depth understanding of the heritage sector. On my first day, I was given a “behind-the-scenes” site tour, allowing me to understand the day-to-day operations of an internationally renowned museum. As a History student who is interested in a career in the heritage sector, the knowledge I gained was invaluable, and will certainly be useful when applying for full-time positions at museums and other heritage sites.


A photograph of me completing collections records audits – transferring paper copies into electronic copies

Another skill which I developed at the Dockyard was my project delivery skills. When I arrived at the Dockyard, I was assigned my own project as part of the wider project to refurbish the Library and Archives building. During my work experience, I drove my own project, learning how to organise my work and time effectively. Whilst working independently, I also communicated orally and in writing to other members of staff in an effective and professional manner. My project management and delivery skills are hugely transferable to many sectors, and will be sure to interest prospective employers.

Given the bulk of my work took place in the library and archives of the Dockyard, it is also unsurprising that I gained an understanding of archival work. Whilst I had visited a number of archives during my studies at Kent, I had little understanding of how they operated, and the work that goes into their upkeep. During my work experience I learned how archives store and organise their artefacts. I was able to get hands on in this work, by compiling databases and auditing library collections. I also learned how to the use the museum’s specialist collections software – Vernon CMI, and was able to input new artefacts to great success. This experience gave me great insight into libraries and archives, which will be useful when applying for jobs in the sector. My increased understanding of databases and office work is hugely transferable and will no doubt come in handy in whatever career I pursue.


The main library and archives room. Many collections are boxed up and ready to be moved to the soon-to-be-built new library.

Another skill which I was able to develop was events management. . As part of my work experience, I was part of a team which delivered a large scale educational event for several hundred school age children. My role included ushering groups around and communicating effectively with senior staff.

Arguably the most significant skill I gained from my work experience was confidence in networking.  During my work experience I was able to discuss my ambitions and career prospects with staff, gaining some useful advice along the way. I also gained a number of connections on my LinkedIn profile through my work experience, which will be useful in expanding my working network. My contact’s offer to provide me with a reference for job applications was also hugely helpful.

– George Croft is a recent University of Kent History graduate. Featured photo: The H.M.S. Gannet – A Royal Navy sloop built in 1878, one of three ships on site.

Get ready for #EmpFest17!

The annual University of Kent Employability Festival starts soon across the Canterbury and Medway campuses. It is free to all University of Kent students and staff!

  • Medway campus: 9 October – 20 October
  • Canterbury campus: 23 October – 3 November

With more than 150 organisations taking part in over 140 events this is your chance to meet graduate employers, industry experts, Kent alumni and academics. Take part in competitions, get expert advice on CVs and skills development, interviews, assessment centre tips and much more …

EmpFest programmes will be available to download or collect from the Careers and Employability Service or student helpers on campus. Look out for the Kent Bunny who will be popping up across campus during the Festival! Events take place at venues all over campus and the great news is that the majority are open to students from all stages and schools. However, it is best to check the specific event for more information. Some have limited spaces so check out the programme and book your place ASAP.

Highlights include:

  • The Employability Fair: Wednesday 18th October, 12-3pm, Pilkington Open Space, Medway campus
  • The Careers Fair: Tuesday 31 October, 11-12 (Access Hour) and 12-3pm, Sports Centre, Canterbury campus

Plus four Keynes Atrium Mini Fairs!

  • Work and Study Abroad Fair Tuesday 24 October, 12-3pm
  • Kent Union Volunteering Fair Wednesday 25 October, 12-3pm
  • JobShop Part-Time Recruitment Fair            Thursday 2 November, 12-3pm
  • Language Jobs Fair Friday 3 November, 12-3pm

Check out the exhibitors attending the Fairs at www.kent.ac.uk/ces/empfest

Follow us at: www.facebook.com/ukces @unikentemploy
www.facebook.com/ukmemployability/ @ukmemploy

Join the conversation at #EmpFest17

On this side of the law

The University of Kent Work Experience Bursary made it possible for me to commute to London and back for the duration of my placement. Without it I would have undoubtedly struggled more financially and perhaps would have only been able to attend my placement for a shorter period of time.


Working at Darlingtons was extremely insightful. Initially carrying out tasks on the conveyancing floor of the firm was enjoyable as I have worked in this sector before and this furthered my understanding of the legal procedure and what the solicitors do on a day-to-day basis. After being introduced to all the members of the property team I assisted with various admin tasks as well as drafting letters and assessing freehold property sale files. Further to this I made phone calls to banks and the council, as well as clients. I was also tasked with proof reading a case by one of the solicitors from litigation during my first week. Other experience involved taking an appeal to court. Initially scheduled in for a week of work, I managed to gain a second week after my first day.

My second week was more focused on litigation, as the partner 3on that floor, David Rosen gave me numerous research tasks after briefing me on the cases he was working. I was able to listen to client calls, read through cases, listen to a police interview and carry out other jobs which were given to me. I organised case documents for a witness statement, created a case bundle and accompanying index for court, was asked to read through a case and defend my opinion on it, as well as assisting in the creation of a letter with the litigation partner, where my ideas and suggestions were included on a number of occasions.


Overall I felt that I truly gained valuable experience as well as great connections in the legal sphere which will prove helpful in the future. My second week specifically provided me with an inclination that litigation may well be the field I specialise in in the future as I enjoyed it so thoroughly. The whole team was friendly, approachable and keen to give me tasks to complete. I was given challenges which ultimately made me feel more confident in my abilities as I received positive feedback at the end of my time there.

– Alexandra Lima is a 3rd year Law student at the University of Kent