If there is one thing that I am so glad I did during my time at university, it would definitely be the Worcester Award. Although, admittedly, in my first year when I received the email I dismissed it without a second thought, I certainly came to my senses by third year and gave it a try because why not.?
I managed to complete the award in April this year, alongside my other third year commitments and it definitely paid off when I was asked at interview about the things I achieved outside of my course. I could easily mention that I had completed the Worcester Award and they were definitely impressed by that one (in other words they gave me the job!).
The Worcester Award, in a nutshell, is an award given to people who complete a certain amount of work experience hours, show a development of skills by being part of an external society or club and attends employability sessions held by the university. The award is finished off by submitting a portfolio and attending an interview. I must admit, the one aspect of this award, the interview, was the one part I was not looking forward to. But, as I learnt, the interview actually helped me understand what a formal panel style interview was like and they gave me a range of feedback on what I did well and what I needed to improve on, which you don’t usually get at interviews.
As for the other aspects of the award, I was allowed to use activities that I had completed throughout my three years at university. This was fantastic news for me as a slight concern I had was to fit in 40+ hours of work experience in the space of 6 months, which, alongside writing a 10,000 word independent study, was not going to happen. It turns out that I had around 130 hours of work experience over the three years from working part-time in a local hotel, which fulfilled that award criteria with no problem.
As for my skills and development, throughout my time at university I joined the British Psychological Society, volunteered for a local autism charity and was a part of the university table tennis society. My employability sessions were completed in my third year by attending a few Worcester Week activities; a clinical psychology talk by Professor Jo Smith (which was so inspiring) and a clinical experience morning held by the psychology team. Overall, recording the hours I had completed over the three years wasn’t a big challenge. Neither was writing the portfolio, which allowed me to give a small recap of what I had done, achieved and the skills I had learnt.
Overall, completing the Worcester Award was one of the most beneficial things I have completed while I was at university. Although I didn’t realise when I first dismissed the email in my first year, I now know it will add value to my degree when I graduate in November and I understand that it can help you stand out among the never ending sea of graduates.
For those of you who have never heard of this award, if you have but you aren’t sure if you want to do it, or are 100% set on completing it some time during at university, I can definitely say that I highly recommend giving it a try.
It’s super easy to sign up too, just email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or you can register your interest here.