Work Experience Bursary for unpaid work!

Have you found the perfect work experience opportunity, but it’s unpaid? Or are you hesitant to take up an opportunity because of the travel costs? Gaining work experience is a fantastic and valuable opportunity, helping you to get an insight into your future career, enhance your CV and build your skill set. However, depending on the sector you are looking to work within, finding paid opportunities can be challenging. To help you take on these rewarding work experiences the Careers and Employability Service offer B: KEW – a work experience bursary, for students undertaking unpaid work experience.

The bursary supports out-of-pocket travel expenses for the first three weeks or 120 hours of unpaid work of up to £100. This could be used towards the cost of petrol, bus and train fares or even flight tickets. You may also be eligible for additional funds to contribute towards costs incurred by undertaking work experience, for example childcare costs or uniform. If you are looking to attend a training event, which could help you in your future career, the bursary could be used to support this.

In the last year the bursary has helped towards students undertaking work experience at BBC South East, KM Media Group, NHS Trust, DSTL, as well as abroad in New York with Times Square Church and Sri Lanka with SLV Volunteers. The bursary is available throughout the year, to all current University of Kent students, but please do consult our terms and conditions before applying. You can apply for the bursary using a simple online form, available on our website: If you have any questions about the bursary or the application process, please do get in touch at

Quote from a student who has benefited:

“The bursary that has been kindly provided by The University of Kent, has benefited me in being able to cover extra costs such as work appropriate clothing. Also, due to the nature of my workplace, several items of clothing need to be ‘sacrificed’ to be worn inside the labs, and are unable to be taken back out of the restricted area after the placement year. As clothes become extremely worn and destroyed due to the hot wash of clothes, replacements are required. Fortunately, the Bursary helped to cover these costs, and I am grateful that I do not need to worry about stretching my finances to pay for these items. My work experience broadened my knowledge of the research that goes on behind the development of novel vaccines for diseased livestock, as well as the diagnostic service that The Pirbright Institute provides for many external sources. I am gaining invaluable experience working in an accredited reference laboratory and the unique opportunity to be using top range equipment that are not available in many other institutions. Whilst undertaking the project of genome sequencing analysis, there are many steps that need to be refined and trouble-shot before continuing. This can be time consuming but is a very realistic representation how research unfolds. I believe I will be able to carry forward my skill-set of data interpretation and analysis, and first-hand experience in a professional laboratory, during and beyond university and will prepare me for the ‘real-world’ where biotechnology is advancing so rapidly. I also look forward to being much more comfortable with lab work when I return to university for my final year. Everyday, I am learning something new and facing different challenges that help me to understand the complex process involved research, and am very thankful I have had this experience.”


You better work work work work work!

It’s summertime! Time to relax, spend some time with friends, laze about in the sun, right? Unfortunately, wrong. Sure there’s time to do some of that, but the summer vacation is the perfect time to find some work , not only to earn a bit of money for the coming academic year, but also to gain some work experience!

Does your CV have a skills gap? 

Is there something missing from your experience that would be really useful in the future? Which skills do job descriptions ask for, and can you provide all of them? Think about what you want to gain, and look for work experience that will tick that box.


Volunteering is a fantastic way to gain experience and skills. You won’t get paid, but you’ll be supporting a charity as well as making new friends and learning new skills. Charity shop work can help you develop customer service skills, time management, creativity (think about window displays and merchandising of stock) and organisational skills. Going abroad to help build a school or dig a well will give you cultural awareness, resilience, time management and team working skills. Employers love seeing volunteering on CV – it shows that someone is interested in the world they live in and is keen on giving back.

Some ideas:

Summer camps and language schools

Thinking of going into teaching? Want to gain some leadership skills? Summer camps and language schools could offer you these skills. Look online for local opportunities, and look around on campus – language schools take place across the summer at Canterbury campus, so find out who they are and where they are, and get applying.

Some ideas:

Talk to your friends and family

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know!” So many jobs are filled by people already known to a company, or someone who works there. Ask around, and see what’s on offer. You could find your dream job!

Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)

We’ve all heard about people who have found a job through creative means…there’s the Kent graduate who wore a sandwich board around London, the graduate who paid to have a poster on a billboard, and the advertising professionals who used Twitter to “hustle” themselves jobs… but how does creative job hunting actually work in practice?

Know your audience! It’s not going to work if you are applying for a job at a firm who are asking for a CV, covering letter and transcript from university. Sending them a box of chocolates with a DVD of your video CV probably isn’t the best way to get a job with them. If there’s a specific, pre-defined way in which the organisation would like you to apply, then use that. But if you are applying speculatively, that is to say when a job is not specifically advertised (on the off-chance, you could say!), then go for it!

An excellent example of someone who has understood when to be extra-creative is Elski Felson, who created a video CV using Snapchat, when applying for a job there! He hasn’t, as yet, heard back from them, but using the tool that the company manages is a fantastic way to grab attention.

Dreams can come true

“What did you want to be when you were 5?” This might seem like a pointless question, but when you’re starting to think about your career plans, it can be a good place to start. Have your ideas changed over the years, or has your mind been made since an early age? Thinking about your future career can feel like a big thing, but there are some simple steps to planning your job hunt.

1. Don’t panic!

We all put a lot of pressure on ourselves to decide on what we’re going to do as a career. Parents, friends, family members are always asking “what are you going to do when you leave uni?”. The answer “I don’t know yet” is absolutely justified! Maybe you’re focusing on doing well in your course, or balancing working as well as studying, or maybe you haven’t even thought about it yet. All of the above are ok!

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All-night hackathon with IG, 24th-25th Feb

IG Hackathon

Wednesday 24 February, 6pm – Thursday 25 February, 8am

IG is inviting you to participate in an all-night Hackathon.

Students with technical backgrounds will work together in teams of 5 to demonstrate their skills in an intense 14 hour experience. There will be speakers from IG, free food throughout the event, and prizes for winning teams.

Entry requirements: Masters students; Undergrads targeting for a 2:1, good programming knowledge (technical), good analytical skills, knowledge of mobile application development is a bonus.

Booking is essential as numbers are limited. PLEASE BOOK BY 9AM TUESDAY 23RD FEBRUARY.

To apply to take part in the event please email your name, degree subject, year of study and Kent email address to with the subject line: IG Hackathon.

The show must go on!

Working in Higher Education, I’m always asked by people whether I “get the whole holidays off”. No! Working at a university is a year-round job – just because there are much fewer students on campus, it doesn’t mean that we don’t have anything to do during the holiday.

Quite the opposite, in fact! The vacation periods are a time for us to review and reflect upon how we have performed over the past year, to modify our services to ready ourselves for the incoming new students, and to plan and organise events across campus. In late summer term, we work with academic schools review our activities for that academic year and plan for the next one.

Planning for Employability Festival and the Careers Fair, for example, which take place in October/November, begins just after the previous one has taken place! And it’s mostly nearly organised before August, so that we have the print materials ready to promote it from September onwards.

Additionally, having a web and social media presence have ensured that students can access our services out of term time, from anywhere in the world, so we are regularly giving feedback on CVs, covering letters and application forms via email and over the phone, as well as sometimes conducting Skype careers appointments.

So don’t worry, we’re keeping busy in the Careers and Employability Service, so that we can provide the best possible service to students and graduates!

– Is there anything you’d like to see us organise? Any particular companies you’d like to see on campus? Email us your suggestions to  

If I were a boy…would I be better paid?

Late last year, the papers reported that the Gender Pay Gap had shrunk “to an all-time low”.

What are the facts?

In the UK, the difference was 9.4%, compared with 10% a year earlier. This works out as men earning 17.5% more than women, for doing the same job, equivalent to women earning 82p for every £1 earned by a man.

However, in the EU as a whole, the difference is still 16%.

Why is this? According to the European Commission,

“women have as good or better qualifications than men, but often their skills are not valued the same as men’s and their career progression is slower.”

What do you think? What is your experience of the gender pay gap?