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My supportive experience during my placement
Hi, I’m Laura and I’m a second year Sports and Exercise Science student. In this blog I’ll be taking about how my lecturers and the employability team supported me during my placement.
This past year has been a rollercoaster of events throughout the pandemic. There has been so much going on in the world and many of us will never experience anything like this again. Before starting my second year I was very anxious about some of my modules. There were things I really wasn’t sure about or didn’t know what I had to do but the university and my tutors really helped to support me through it.
My employability module
As part of my course, I have an employability module. This module aims to encourage us to reflect on our skills and develop our employability experience and expectations. I think it’s a really unique module and provides good knowledge that can be applied to our real lives.
As part of the module, we have regular lectures and seminars that cover techniques for interviews, writing a CV, applying for jobs and the overall skills we need to help us attain the jobs we aspire for.
The CV writing classes were especially helpful to both myself and my friends as they showed us some great techniques on how to produce something that was high quality and appealed to employers. This module also has 120 hours of placement. This gives us the opportunity to gain real life experiences and develop new and existing skills that will help to prepare us for our future careers.
The challenges faced
At the beginning of this module we went into another lockdown. This left me and many other students worried about what we were going to do or how we would even complete the 120 hours of placement. Almost every placement I wanted to do was no longer running or had reduced their availability. We had to complete the placement hours by a set time frame and every day felt like a countdown leading up to it. But we didn't need to stress as the university and individual lecturers were there to support and reassure us along the way and here’s how.
How the university supports students career goals
One of the best things about Leeds Beckett is its effort to listen and help students. The university as a whole has many campaigns and meetings that are suited towards the needs of its students and looks at what issues or worries have been raised by the students directly. On top of this, each module has its own feedback forms and questionnaires which gives every student the opportunity to raise anything they’re unsure of or want to change within that module.
Leeds Beckett also provides its own placement team which specialises in helping students find placements and development opportunities that suit them. They have advice and support lines that students can use to help them find employment opportunities. They also put on careers event and workshops to give further advice to students and provide contacts to employers for both paid work and placements.
I attended one of the placement fairs and they provided me with a list of placement opportunities and put me in contact with multiple employers. It was a great experience and really helped to increase my options.
How my module leaders supported me
Employability was the module most impacted by the lockdowns. My module leaders and tutors recognised the implications Covid-19 had placed on us and they were more than willing to help. Students were given the opportunity to speak directly with their tutors or email about any complications they had found. The module leaders then took this feedback and used it to create a new guideline around our placement hours. The completion date was moved back to provide students with more time to complete the hours, as well as offering to include 60 hours’ worth of placement that is completed after the end date as long as evidence was provided to show it would be taking place. This alone took a lot of stress away from many students who were worrying about completing it within the deadline.
The module leaders then allowed students to use any part time work as half of their placement hours. For myself especially this made a massive difference and again took away a lot of stress and pressure and allowed students to have more time to attain the remaining hours.
For even further help with placement the module team produced a number of resources and opportunities that could be used instead of a traditional placement if needed. They offered multiple courses and programmes that could be completed such as a physiology journal club and a mental health course. I'm now part of the journal club and so far, it's been a great experience. We meet once every two weeks and discuss journal articles in depth and analyse the literature, this has been really fun and helped to increase my knowledge of physiology which has further helped me in my module assignments. All these development opportunities could be used as hours towards our placement, and each could be done online at home, which meant that all students could take part.
The past year has been challenging but throughout all of this the university has offered a great amount of support to its students and personally I cannot fault my employability module team as they have gone out of their way to support us through this period.