The importance of getting out of your comfort zone and diving into unknown territories.

Bbc radio 2

I had never really given radio a second thought before I got into journalism. Back home, as soon as someone starts speaking on the radio, we change the channel — radio news and talk radio programs aren’t a big thing. So it was a shock to me when I came to the UK and learned of so many radio programs listened to by so many people, like the Today Programme and 5Live to name a couple. It was an even bigger shock to me when I got work experience for the most listened radio program in the country, the Jeremy Vine Show. I had worked in television before, and I’d done some freelancing in PR, online journalism, and writing articles for print — but I didn’t have the slightest idea where to start when it came to radio.

The two weeks I spent at BBC Radio 2 wasn’t like your usual work experience. I didn’t spend the week making tea and photocopies, or sitting around watching others work — I spent my two weeks at the Jeremy Vine Show doing the same kind of work that was expected from producers on the team. I pitched and helped develop stories, did background research on stories and typed up any relevant info for Jeremy to know on the show — including profiles on celebrities like Prue Leith, whose life story I had already googled months prior thanks to my obsession with the Great

British Bake Off. I was in a work environment with people of all ages and from all backgrounds, but all of the like-minded. From the first day, I got along with everyone so well and enjoyed so much of what I was doing that the long, arduous shifts seemed to breeze by. Amidst jokes about Greggs sausage rolls, laughing with a caller who had a blender from the 1950’s, and taking pictures with the Jeremy Corbyn 2018 annual, we were covering serious issues like Mugabe’s resignation in Zimbabwe and the Argentinian submarine that went missing. And not only was I interacting with all the brilliant journalists in the BBC offices but because the Jeremy Vine Show is a phone-in show, I got to speak to a few incredible callers as well. One woman told me her father had served as Mugabe’s lawyer for years. Another man phoned in and told the story of how having to shower after PE in school gave him years of struggling with anxiety.

I learned so much from not only what I did in those two weeks, but from everyone, I spoke to, and I cannot wait to have the opportunity to go back upon graduating this week.

Oh, and I got to meet James Blunt too, so that was a bonus.

The advice I would give to other students? Do not reject an idea only because you haven’t considered it previously. My work experience at the radio, which was by far one of the best professional experiences I have had, illustrates accurately the importance of getting out of your comfort zone and diving into unknown territories.

– Berni Botto is a 3rd year Journalism and the News Industry student

Have you found some unpaid work experience? You could be entitled to the BKEW bursary – apply today!


4 tips for when you’re interning at a startup

Doing an internship at a startup is popular. And rightfully so. However, when interning at a startup, don’t expect a three-week induction programme, but expect to hit the ground running. So here are 4 tips that will help you survive the startup jungle.

1. Learn the startup lingo

CPA, PMF, AMA, OKR, VC, UI/UX, … – any clue what these stand for? If not, make sure you learn the lingo before you set foot into the startup cave, so you can speak startup with your fellow startup workers from day one.

2. Expect to work harder for less money

Startups are typically well-known for demanding a lot of hard work. After all, conquering the world with a small team creates quite the workload. At the same time, startups are perhaps even more well-known for not having a lot of money – especially when they’re in the early stages. In other words, expect to work hard (and late) and don’t expect to get rich during your internship. That said, most startups pay for your pizza and the experience you gain usually overcompensates the lack of financial compensation.

3. Read up before your internship starts

Chances are that you get a ton more responsibility during your startup internship and since the training of interns is less important than surviving the next month, you will probably have to hit the ground running. So make sure you’re prepared. If you’re doing a marketing internship, read the book Traction ahead of your internship. If you’re getting into data, read Lean Analytics beforehand. And no matter what kind of internship you’re about to do, read Eric Ries’ classic The Lean Startup.

4. Ramp up your ping pong- and Mario Kart skills

Finally, most startups have a ping pong table or a Nintendo64 (we have both 😀 ). Now these make for great entertainment in between the hard work, but it is also not uncommon that ping pong- or Mario Kart showdowns determine who has to clean up after lunch. Hence, if you don’t want to waste your time on putting the milk back in the fridge every day, make sure you practise your table tennis backhand and learn how to take the shortcut at Koopa Troopa Beach before you get in.

Not landed an internship at a startup yet? There are plenty of startups that are looking for interns on

Graduate schemes vs graduate jobs

When graduation looms, so does the big question of what the next step to take is. Do you walk straight into a job? Go wandering on a gap year? Or even plan to start your own business? Most students choose the former, and for that reason we want to share the difference between graduate schemes, & graduate jobs so it’s clear for ever and eva.

What is a graduate scheme

Graduate schemes are offered by most large employers and consist of a very structured training period within a company that can last for 1 to possibly 3 years depending on the specific organisation. During this time, you will learn and gain experience working in various sectors of the business allowing you the opportunity to see where you shine. Probably the best thing about grad schemes is they also involve a series of placements – allowing you to improve your skills in different areas. Employers are known to use graduate schemes for finding & recruiting future manager positions.

What is a graduate job

graduate job on the other hand is the entry-level role that requires people with graduate level education. This usually means you begin from the word go in the position you apply for, and the training may not be as varied & structured to that offered on a grad scheme. You will probably have more control over your own development & progression.

Graduate schemes:

  • Allow graduates to experience many aspects of the role and organisation as a whole.
  • Intense training, development and support.
  • Access to various departments and issues faced by each function

Graduate jobs:

  • Training provided, but graduate is expected to be pretty knowledgeable & ready for chosen position.
  • ‘Learn on the job’ approach.
  • Faster progression in role and within the organisation

So there you have it! Both have their perks, the important thing is what works for you.

If you want to have experience in various areas of an organisation with more structure, then a grad scheme is the way to go. Instead if you’d prefer to jump straight into the job and get stuck-in and learn as you work a graduate job is what you are looking for. Check out which companies are currently offering graduate schemes or which companies are currently offering graduate jobs in the UK.

– Originally posted by at

Here comes the Judge

In February, I attended a two-day mini-pupillage with the prestigious commercial set Enterprise Chambers. I enjoyed an insightful experience into the law of property, insolvency and professional negligence and visited court each day. The Monday morning was particularly interesting, as I attended the ‘winding up’ sessions which included over 30 barristers each representing their clients, either to have their businesses closed, or to suspend orders in order to pay off debts. Before this experience, I had not realised that these orders had existed, but was informed this was classed as the ‘bread and butter’ hearings for junior barristers.

I also attended a pre-trial disclosure hearing where my supervising barrister argued that certain documents should be released to his clients in order to review whether a claim could be put forward. Commercial trials are very different to criminal trials – much smaller, with no jury involved and a lot more technical in terms of legal principles. I enjoyed listening to the language and different methods of presenting arguments and was surprised by how easily I followed the arguments.

There was a young team of barristers at Enterprise Chambers, and on the Tuesday afternoon they bought me lunch in the prestigious Inner Temple dining hall which was very generous, and a fantastic opportunity to ask more specific questions about their experiences as new barristers. I felt at ease and very welcome at Enterprise Chambers, and thoroughly enjoyed my time there.

Without the University Bursary, it is unlikely I would have had the means to travel to London and back for the experience, as for two days alone, the cost was £100. I am very grateful for the financial support, and believe this experience will further aid my future career as a Barrister.

Searching for Clues….


My mini-pupillage at Five Paper Chambers in London has been extremely insightful in terms of the Chambers’ practice areas. From day one, I was sent out to court with different barristers specialising in property and commercial law. As a result, I gained a greater understanding of Property law and Commercial law matters. For instance, I attended repossession hearings, bankruptcy, financial dispute resolution (FDR) hearings in relation to divorce financial settlements, and injunctions’ hearings. I gained a practical understanding of civil procedure rules and court etiquette. Being able to shadow different barristers also enabled me to observe a variety of advocacy styles and therefore become more confident about my own style. 

Therefore being able to spend a week within this set of chambers I am now better informed about the nature of work involved and the realities of the job. For instance, barristers often receive large amounts of work in the last minute and therefore being able to pick it up and present the case in the court effectively and diligently is an expectation that must be met.

Thanks to the University of Kent Work Experience Bursary, I have been able to attend this work experience and gain an invaluable insight which has been ever motivating and educating.

Ibtisam El Jeaaidi (Law Student)

Searching for an Internship (in STEM)

Guest post by

Internships are a good route to take to gain invaluable experience within a professional setting, such as a lab based environment. It is a great opportunity to work closely alongside individuals with extensive knowledge in the subject area and to develop your lab based skills, awareness and ability. Many lab internships, however, are very competitive and it is important to make yourself stand out as a desirable candidate. Here are a few steps you can take in preparation for finding a lab-based apprenticeship most suited to you:

Be Organised and Use resources available to you:
Internships commonly start at the beginning of the year, so it’s best to start looking through the summer to ensure a start date in September. Many, however, are available throughout the year, so it’s important to be pro-active and make the most of the free resources around you, either from your university or the internet. You can access specific apprenticeship/ internship websites which will allow you to browse through the vacancies available. Remember to look for a vacancy according to your interests – the experience will be more enjoyable and valuable if it revolves around a topic that interests you! The careers service is also on hand to offer any extra help needed in choosing or finding a suitable internship.

Tailor your CV and Cover Letter:

Before applying to a lab directly, make your CV and cover letter specific to the role you want to apply for. General CVs will not be effective as they imply that you have not done your research into the role/company. Your CV is the perfect opportunity to make yourself stand out from others applying and showcase your relevant skillset. In addition to this, mention any relevant work experience if you have any, particularly if it is science related. This shows your potential recruiter that you display commitment to the field of your chosen subject area. Again, utilize your university’s careers hub– they may offer to review your CV and give constructive advice to help improve it.

Take a Professional Approach:

After these steps, there if only one thing left to do: you need to start actively approaching organizations that may offer experience. Many online vacancies just require an application form to be filled in or a CV to be sent through email. Ensure you take a professional approach and double check for any minor spelling or grammar errors!

There are many other ways to contact faculties, such as through networking on websites like LinkedIn or Facebook. On LinkedIn, find your university on there and use the Alumni Connections tool which could offer you a list of organizations your university works closely with. You can also set up connections with faculty members, campus speakers and past supervisors that may offer advice which laboratories to approach and the best way to do so.

You can also directly email faculties to see if they are offering any internships. Compile a list of few labs and email the tutor/professor in charge. Create a short but compelling message that outlines your interest in partaking in an internship, your availability and relevant skills. Taking this direct approach could mean a higher chance of getting noticed personally by your potential employer, rather than your CV getting lost in a sea of other online applications.

Despite the competitive nature of internships, attempts in finding a lab based one using initiative and good organization should be successful. Remember, do not be put down if one faculty rejects your application – persistence is key!


Let’s do cleaning – the heritage way!

This spring, I had been fortunate to be accepted as a South London Conservation Cleaning volunteer under English Heritage. Working twice a week in a 6-hour shift and based in three different historic houses depending on the days: Down House in Bromley, Eltham Palace in Eltham and Ranger’s House in Blackheath, it was a memorable and fulfilling experience that I will remember for life.

Under the Conservation team, my work primarily focussed on the conservation and handling of historic objects within the houses. As it was the time of the annual clean for most of the houses, most of the historic objects had to be cleaned and prepared for the coming summer peak season. Therefore, under the guidance of my supervisor, I was tasked with the handling and cleaning of objects of different materials. Learning and engaging with the proper techniques and methods to treat and clean the objects had become a big part of my internship, and was the most satisfying as I experience the time and effort spent on each object to ensure that they were in their best condition to display to the visitors. Being a Heritage Studies student, I was thrilled to be able to apply the knowledge of heritage conservation I have gained in my studies into practice, and to share my academic experiences with the staff.

Another aspect of the internship which I found beneficial was working in public. During the half term opening week, I had my first experience of in engaging with the visitors in the historic houses. My task was book-cleaning in the library and at times I had to answer questions asked by the visitors in regards to my role and the task I’m engaging with. At first, I was not very confident in answering these queries due to my inexperience with public speaking. But with the support of my fellow volunteers, I learned the proper way to present myself as a member of English Heritage and by the end of the week, I gained confidence in performing my tasks in public.

Besides that, as a conservation volunteer I also learned another aspect of the conservation role in heritage and this was to adapt in emergency or sudden conditions. There were a few occasions whereby filming or other maintenance activities within the houses were organized in short notices. The conservation staff members handled these occasions professionally and through this, I learned how to quickly adapt to whatever situation given and I think that this skill will definitely benefit me in future.

The South London Conservation Cleaning was an internship experience unlike any other. Working under English Heritage as a volunteer, I was given opportunities to express my opinions and ideas on heritage with the professionals such as the other conservators and curators. The knowledge and skills I have learned from this internship has sparked my interest in the conservation aspect of heritage, and will certainly benefit me in my aim to work in the heritage sector after completing postgraduate.

3rd Year Classical and Archaeological Studies student