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Thursday, 30 August 2012

Public sector career?

Whether you are starting out on your career or changing your career, it is very exciting but at times it can seem daunting because there are just so many avenues to go down.

Where do you begin? Why not with one of the biggest employers in the UK which happens to be the public sector, just think you’ll be working for the government. Did you know that the NHS is also the biggest employer in Europe with over a million employees? In a nutshell, all this means that there are plenty of career paths and plenty of options throughout the public sector, many of which are worthwhile and rewarding.

The choice of jobs within the public sector is vast and ranges from the civil service to social care, police to politicians, teaching to traffic control and the armed forces to the ambulance service.

One of the most important aspects of a smooth public sector are the support jobs that keep the whole ‘machine’ running smoothly. Amongst these care and health jobs are many departments to choose from:

Administrative staff are the back bone of any organisation and provide essential support. In the public care sector you will be supporting doctors, nurses and other health professionals.

Catering staff make sure that all the food and drink provided is full of the correct nutrients. They have to think about all the dietary requirements taking into account religions, cultures and allergies.

Domestic Services:
Have you ever thought about how our hospitals are cleaned? The organisation behind the operation is massive. You could be part of the team that keeps our hospitals and medical centres clean.

Caretakers cover a variety of jobs. They are based in hospitals, head offices, staff accommodation and health centres. Their responsibilities include making sure that all clinical waste is disposed of in the correct manner, building maintenance is scheduled and organised and that the traffic in the car park flows freely.

Security staff make sure that that we all feel safe in hospitals whether we are visiting, a patient or at work. They must also secure all buildings and ensure that all valuable equipment is protected.

To find worthwhile social care jobs, a great place to start is The best thing about them is that there aren’t any adverts from recruitment agencies so all the adverts are from employers who actually have social care vacancies. That means that your precious time is cared for because you will only be applying for genuine jobs.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Saving money and budgeting

The ‘A’ level results are in and you’ve made it, you’re off to university or you’re an old uni hand getting ready for another year of academic study. Whatever the case, you’ll need to fine tune your finances and know exactly what you’re spending. Fortunately there are plenty of ways to save money and plenty of tools such as the StudentCalculator to help you plan your student budget.

If you’re moving into independent accommodation, you’re likely to be footing the bills for utilities such as gas, electricity and water. You’ll be signing off an inventory and one of the first things you’ll need to do is record the gas and electricity meter readings. You don’t end up paying for the last tenants love of long steaming baths or four thousand baked potatoes!

Whilst it does sound tedious, you should always compare electricity prices to make sure that you don’t end up over paying. It’s easy to do, only takes a few moments and using an online electricity comparison such as the Energy Helpline website you could instantly save money with a few clicks of your mouse. is a price comparison website that compares all UK energy providers. Students can use it to find cheaper electricity and gas plus save you lots of money. Once you have decided which provider gives you the best deal, all you have to do is ring them and they’ll do the rest.

Once you’ve saved a shed load on your utility bills, there are some other tips that you could consider to make your money go further:

  • Before taking out any expensive insurance to cover your personal possessions, check to see if you’re covered under e.g. your parent’s insurance policy. Also check to see what exactly is covered – will your laptop, phone or iPod be insured? If not, use an insurance comparison website to get the best insurance deal.
  • If you’re going to travel round the UK to see friends and family, then why not buy a Student Railcard? You could save up to a third on each journey and if you plan ahead of time, you could save even more. Then there is the Megabus which has incredible deals from as little as £1 but you have to be very organised and quick to benefit.
  • Another thing you could do is to try getting used to watching catch up TV because that way you don’t need a licence. You only need one when you watch or record at the same time as a programme is being aired. However this does come with a word of warning because if you are going to watch live TV on any device such as a mobile, laptop or PC, then it is a legal requirement to be covered by a TV licence.

These are just a few money saving tips but with some care, time and planning you really will be able to make your student budget go further!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Difficult job market for graduates

Total Jobs latest infographic, based on extensive research, demonstrates how the graduate jobs market is moving at the moment. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like things are getting any easier for graduate jobseekers. For career advice please visit

Totaljobs Graduate infographic

What do you mean, the washing machine is broken?

Audible groans from the kitchen. A loud sound of toecap connecting with washing machine. All to no avail. It is definitely not working. To make matters worse it’s full of soggy clothes, the door won’t open... and that T-shirt was meant to be cleaned and ironed (well, flattened a bit) ready for tonight’s big night out.

Easy solution, call the landlord... except as every student will know, getting hold of the landlord is not always easy, and the likelihood of getting some action within the next couple of hours is slim at best. (Perhaps that’s doing a great disservice to student landlords, but plenty of students are nodding with great understanding.)

Sometimes action is needed, and fast.

One solution is to get a professional in, asap. An appliance repairs company like Repair & Protect has engineers across the UK and a fixed price list, so you know where you stand – and if they can’t fix it then you don’t pay. Maybe your landlord will even thank you for getting it sorted on his/her behalf!

The lesson here is to look beyond the big bedrooms and comfy sofas when you view your next student house. Whilst it’s pretty boring to poke around the kitchen, having reliable appliances that do what they should is key to harmony with your flatmates. After all, if nothing goes wrong there’s no need for the ‘Who used this last and broke it’ conversation.

Also (still boring) check for signs of damp on the walls and ceilings as you could be accused of causing it yourself when you hand your keys back, and that means kissing goodbye to your precious deposit. It’s always worth taking photos of every room, and every appliance when you move in, so you have a record of the condition of all the contents you have inherited and any holes in the walls or marks on the carpets can’t be blamed on you.

Living out at uni is good fun; don’t let the good times be spoilt by bad times, bad landlords or bad washing machines!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Insurance – an unlikely career?

Everybody has to have insurance. If you drive a car it’s a legal requirement. Wherever you live you’d be daft not to have some sort of insurance cover for your belongings, and the building itself if you are the owner. If you are a student living at uni, your landlord will undoubtedly have insurance.

That makes it big business, with lots of employment opportunities... ever thought of it in that way?
Think about a typical evening watching TV and the adverts that come along time after time. Without doubt there will be a smattering of insurance adverts of one sort or another, including the various market comparison sites.  Is there anyone who doesn’t know about the meerkat by now?
So if you are thinking about a career in insurance, what do you need to know?
The financial services sector, which includes banking, insurance, accountancy and mortgages, is a very competitive sector. New technology has made switching providers (back to that meerkat!) easier than ever before and financial companies are keen to retain business and remain competitive. It is also a highly regulated sector with various specialist qualifications.

Employees tend to be well qualified and there is a good balance between women and men overall. There are numerous roles as there are several different kinds of insurers, each with their own specialisms, ranging from off-the-shelf standard products to complex bespoke insurance solutions for major or unusual risks, both personal and commercial.

There is also the London Market aptly named Lloyds of London, centred in the City of London whose main activity is internationally traded insurance, especially high-exposure risks (the sinking of the Titanic is part of Lloyd’s history.)

Lloyd’s of London is a large insurance market firm, rather than an insurance company, with a prestigious reputation and a good name for your CV! It is the marketplace where international insurance specialists conduct their business and employs over 800 people.  These days they work in an award-winning modern building in Lime Street in the City of London, but the origins of Lloyds were in a 17th century coffee house.

If you are considering a career in insurance, you can keep an eye on the insurance industry using the Lloyds website, which provides a massive amount of background information presented in a very readable way. No techno-babble, no gobbledegook, no jargon, just clear and understandable information to help you decide if a career in insurance might be for you. You can go to this page and start reading up to get a head start!