Graduation is the high point of years of hard work by every student involved, resulting in a grand ceremony at Chester Cathedral. However, for many graduates the joy of receiving their award is quickly followed by the reality of beginning a new career. Fortunately, the University of Chester offers students a number of opportunities to help make the best start in the competitive jobs market. In this post, some of our recent students remember their time at Chester and how their careers have flourished since graduating.
Thomasin Sayers - French and Natural Hazard Management
It was during her studies that Thomasin developed a particular interest in Flood Risk Management. Knowing that she was going to be facing competition for jobs, she put in extra work to help set her apart from other graduates.
She said: “I started treating careers as an extra module in my final year, and worked part-time at a fluvial engineering consultancy from January to June, developing skills in modelling, mapping flood risk and producing a cost benefit for defence schemes throughout England and Wales.
“It was a struggle to do all of this to the best of my ability on top of my final year studies, however my job was in the field I wanted to pursue and I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity, so I had to learn to manage my time. Within a week of finishing university I had started my new job and achieved a 2:1 degree, so I proved to myself that it’s more than possible to focus on a career alongside your degree.”
Thomasin is now working at the National Flood Forum as a Trainee Community Flood Resilience Project Officer. She is grateful for the assistance provided by our Careers and Employability team, who helped prepare her for her new job.
"I was encouraged to make contact with past employers, given invaluable guidance and had support for my CV and interviews, and I can’t help but think that I may not be in the position I am now without contacting Careers and Employability at the University.”
“I am delighted with my first job at the National Flood Forum, and would like to say that I will be working in Flood Risk Management for many years to come."
Josh Brown and Tom Howarth - Business Management and Entrepreneurship
These entrepreneurial graduates used contacts made during their time at Chester Business School to help provide them with skills and experience to launch their business, Technospark, manufacturing innovative technology-based products.
Josh says, “The University has been very supportive, in particular Chester Business School, and we’ve really appreciated having experts on hand to speak to us and give us advice and guidance as we start out. We have been able to introduce what we have learned while studying for our degrees to certain aspects of the business, which has been a massive benefit and advantage for us - something that is amazing to take away."
The company is based at the University's Riverside Innovation Centre, an incubation unit for graduate businesses, offering advice and facilities to help start-up businesses grow.
Josh adds, “The team at the RIC has also been incredibly supportive offering mentorship and a place to work from after winning a competition for free office space. Having the use of a fantastic building like the RIC has really helped propel the business to where it is now. We are now in a fortunate enough position to continue our stay in the RIC, hopefully to grow the business even further.”
The team has already seen success, winning the award for Cheshire and Warrington Young Entrepreneur at the 2015 High Sheriff’s Awards for Enterprise, and enjoying a growing portfolio of clients and products. Together with the support offered by business mentors at Chester Business School and the Riverside Innovation Centre, we're sure we'll be hearing much more from these talented entrepreneurs.
Josh Slater and Ellie Russell - Dance
Hayley Riley and Louise Evans - Drama and Theatre Studies
Four of our more expressive graduates have used the training they received at our Department of Performing Arts at the Kingsway Buildings to set up their own Dance and Theatre companies.
enCompass Collective creates, performs and facilitates high quality and diverse dance theatre pieces across the country, as well as delivering workshops and classes at secondary schools, colleges and universities. The company, led by Josh Slater and Ellie Russell, took part in an ACCELERATE event for start-up business and were awarded £2,000 in funding. This has helped grow the business to enable them to teach and lecture across the North West and they are now based as an in-house company at the University of Chester.
Hayley Riley and Louise Evans used their Drama and Theatre Studies training to set up Haylo Theatre, a company that creates bespoke performances and workshops that initiate inter-generational conversations around difficult subjects.
Hayley says, "A lot of actors live for the applause, but for us, Haylo Theatre is much more than that. It’s about working with communities, families and professionals to create theatre that not only brings people together, but also performances that seek to address the impact of health issues upon the individual, family and community through storytelling."
During their time at Chester, Hayley and Louise benefited from a masterclass with acclaimed playwright, John Godber, who helped them to fine tune their performance of Over The Garden Fence, which they toured around the UK. John was full of praise for the company, saying, “I truly think that they are talented and committed enough to really make a career out of this.”
Hayley added: “He’s also given us some great advice on writing, and it’s given us a real confidence boost that someone of his calibre has been so encouraging about what we’re doing – it’s been such an amazing opportunity for us so early our company’s life.”
These are just a few of the graduates, in various fields, that have gone on to achieve success by making best use of the opportunities available to them during their time at the University of Chester. And if you'd like to learn more about the opportunities available to you, you can visit us on one of our Extended Campus Tours in November or on an Applicant Day in January.