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Monday, 1 December 2014

Learn and earn with a degree apprenticeship

Would-be students aiming to acquire a maths degree may well be tempted to study at a university in the Middle East. Understandable, really, given the crucial role the region played in the development of mathematics, beginning some 8,000 years ago.

Of course, back then, organized agriculture began to dominate and shape society. Thus, for the first time, there was a need to divide up land accurately, work out crop yields, and then at some point collect the appropriate amount of taxes from the farmers of the day. Mathematics made all of that possible.

Golden age

Move forward seven millennia, to the golden age of science and mathematics which flourished under the Islamic Empire. This golden age, which began in the 9th century and then lasted for 600 years, saw high points such as the widespread adoption of the Hindu numerical system (1-9 and 0) and the development of algebra, the abstract mathematical language we all love and still use today.

Indeed, modern-day students embarked on a master of science in mathematics or similar degree programme might do well to spend a minute or two reflecting on the genius of Persian mathematicians Muhammad Al-Khwarizmi and Muhammad Al-Karaji, both giants of the golden age.

Government initiative

However, if homage is out of the question and the Middle East a little too far away for comfort, there's always the UK to fall back on, even although the competition for a university place gets tougher by the year. But now there could be another option open to students, the degree apprenticeship.

This latest UK government initiative, launched this month (November 2014), allows young people to complete a full honours degree alongside their employment while paying no student fees and earning a wage throughout. Sounds like a very promising idea, one which is likely to prove popular, too.

The scheme will start rolling out in September 2015 and is aimed, in the first instance, at the digital sector. It should particularly suit people embarking on careers ranging from business analysis to software development and technology consultancy.

A fully-integrated degree

And according to the government, the new programme includes a fully-integrated degree, testing both academic learning and on-the-job practical training, and has been co-created by leading tech employers and top universities.

A number of employers involved in the Tech Partnership, a group of firms working together to create the skills and jobs the digital industry needs, have already committed to offering degree apprenticeships.

These include Accenture, BT, Capgemini, CGI, Ford, Fujitsu, GlaxoSmithKline, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Hewlett Packard, IBM, John Lewis, Lloyds Banking Group, Network Rail and Tata Consulting Services.

Universities including Aston, Exeter, Greenwich, Loughborough, Manchester Metropolitan, University College London, University of the West of England and Winchester will be supporting the courses and are working with employers to offer these degrees.

One million vacancies

Tech Partnership board member and Capgemini UK chairman Christine Hodgson, said, “The government's support for this new route into employment will enable young people to build the academic and practical skills needed for success in the tech sector and will help create the talent needed to boost the digital economy.”

It is hoped the initiative will help to fill the one million vacancies expected in the digital sector in the next decade. Prospective apprentices will be able to apply to the companies offering degree apprenticeships once the vacancies are advertised next year. These companies will then work with the relevant universities to select the students most able to be successful in both the degree and their career.

Two-thirds of the costs of the training and course fees will be paid by the government and employers will fund the rest, including the wages of apprentices.

Why Freelancing is Perfect for University Students

We understand that being able to financially survive at university can be a real struggle for you students. Come the end of each term, you’re most likely picking pennies from your wallet after you pretty much drained your student finance on heavy drinking and microwave meals. When it comes to making money as a student, you tend to get yourselves a part time job in a local cafe or bar just to cover over the cracks of your damaged bank balance, but realistically you’re too lazy to get off your backside and go look for one. If this sounds like you then we're going to tell you why going freelance is ideal for you as a student.

First of all, it gets you money, that’s right you get paid, it’s money that you have earned all by yourself and you didn't have to beg mum and dad! Freelancing is a great hobby to have as it expands across many professions, from writing to design. Who wouldn't want to earn money from what you love doing? Just remember that it isn't easy money, freelancing requires a lot of hard work, organisation and determination.

Now, we are aware that you all have a lot of essay writing and revision to be getting on with, but
when you think of it, freelancing is the perfect revision tactic. For all those writers out there, it helps you practice your essay writing techniques and gives you an alternative revision method other than staring at your messy note book day in day out. As for designers, how is it beneficial you guys? Well, a stronger portfolio for starters, and your projects would be a great inclusion for all your coursework, and can put you a few steps ahead of everyone else when it comes to those all important interviews. 

Once you eventually graduate from university, the next stage is obviously to find yourself a job but, let’s be honest, you aren't going to just walk into one just because you have a degree. Many students walked out of university years ago with their qualification and are still unemployed. Freelancing may be your only option, but with your experience during university you should have no problem getting started. It’s almost like being a student full time. Writing essays, managing your own time and meeting deadlines.The knowledge you learned on your course will play into your favour and will benefit your understanding of the clients’ desires if you wish to use your degree as your specialist topic.

OK, so you’ve made the decision to be a freelancer but you may be worried about the irregularity of money in the industry. Whilst you may wish to move forward and buy that dream house for yourself or your family, the unbalanced income holds you back from gaining a mortgage. However companies such as Contractor Financials who work with contractors and freelancers will be able to financially support you throughout your career.

Freelancing is about building good relationships with your clients. If you can deliver the goods then the client will come back for more, and they may even bring a few friends into the picture. It’s about making a name for yourself, and you want people saying all the right things about you. The more you deliver then the more you’re rewarded with. For more information and tips on becoming a freelancer, check out this article from The Guardian. Oh and don't forget to keep a beady eye on the latest jobs on StudentGems as well!

Thursday, 23 October 2014

The best student jobs that pay more than National Minimum Wage

We say that joy can be found in even the most mundane student jobs. Waitressing for a fiery chef in the town’s most pretentious restaurant? Think of the tips! Slogging away in the student bar at 2am? At least you won’t wake up with a hangover.

But some student jobs are just grim, let’s be honest. And when you’re totalling up whether that 4 hours of your life you’ve just spent answering customer complaints is worth 20-odd-quid, it’s easy to dream of a part time job where you can rock up in your jeans, do something you love, or even just wonder “I can’t believe they’re paying me for this!”.

Our ‘dream student job’ round-up is comprised of real jobs with pay that’ll trump your usual modest rate. Fancy eating for a living or developing skills you can directly use in your future career? Bring on the money!

Food taster

If your university (or a college or university in the same city) offer any sort of food technology or nutrition course then pay attention – this could lead to the best job you’re likely to have. Ever.

Food tasters usually work on behalf of a specific supermarket and the sessions will be coordinated by university staff or students involved with the food and nutrition department. Typically this sort of work is popular with retired people and students who have the odd couple of hours free but can’t commit to regular part time work.

You don’t have to like everything to be a food taster and, if students who have done this type of work are anything to go by, you won’t be tasting any iffy prototypes – you’ll be testing the stuff which usually ends up on the shelves. ‘Employees’ will usually be notified via email when shifts are taking place and what they will be sampling. Tasting sessions will usually be held during the day and will last 1-2 hours.

Typical wage – Between £7/£8.50 per hour + holiday pay.

Find it: This seems to be very much a university/supermarket collaboration, so speak to nutrition departments and ask to be notified if anything comes up. Check university job boards too.

Accounts assistant

A nice office job is ideal when you want your weekends free and if you’re really lucky, a good, flexible boss should be happy to let you work your shifts around those deadlines.

A job in accounts or administration can undoubtedly equip you with more ‘business’ focused tasks. From helping with tax returns to assisting with sales and ‘paperwork’, this style of work can tell graduate employers that you’re organised and comfortable in a professional working environment.
You also have the opportunity to have more of an impact on the company too – why not suggest helping with a small company’s social media? If your boss started work when social media (or even the internet) wasn’t widely used, then simply offering to set up social profiles and monitoring them can help develop your online marketing skills.

Victoria, a recent graduate who worked in both a retail and accounts role simultaneously, believes that working as an assistant for a small landscape company offered far more than a high street retail role:

“I don’t feel that working in retail offered as many transferable skills as working for a small local business. My office job allowed me to have a real impact and the company owner gave me a lot of responsibility. Even basic typing and phone answering allows you to have an impact in managing the day to day operations of the business”.

Typical wage: £6.50 + per hour

Find it: Check your university jobs board for local opportunities or scour job boards and local recruitment agencies.

Post-graduate research participant

This isn’t about taking part in lengthy and potentially invasive trials, it’s about finding those little gems that pay you for simply sampling a new app or keeping a nutritional diary (true story).

Often word can get around from friends of friends looking for help with their postgraduate research, but look out for emails too. Departments will often send out information on behalf of their students and, in most cases, the students looking for participants will work around you. Suddenly that study session in the library has merged into a 20 minute interview and a £10 Amazon voucher in your back pocket.

Typical wage: Anything from vouchers to cash (£10-£50 is typical)

Find it: Be diligent with emails and department notice boards and keep your ears open.

‘Digital Guru’- Freelance work

Student Gems are awash with small business owners looking for CMS help, copyediting or part time web development. While you may sometimes be working with a small business owner or self-employed individual (so a graduate role might not always be possible), the benefit of this ‘semi-freelance’ work is that you can work from home when it suits you.

The great thing about this sort of work is that you can really develop career-related skills. From dress making work to photography, many students have found themselves well on the way to self-employment by harnessing their existing skills. It goes without saying, never give personal information out online and aim to meet a potential employer in a busy public place. Ideally arrange for a friend to drop you off and pick you up too.

Both students and employers can leave feedback on Student Gems, so check any potential employers before starting work.

Typical wage – Varies considerably from one off fees to hourly rates. We’d recommend knowing your worth where this is concerned – freelance web developers can charge a hefty hourly fee, so make sure your professional services are being valued.

Find it: www.studentgems.com – sign up for the newsletters to get regular notifications.

Work directly for your university

University jobs are often competitive as everyone wants to work on campus. 10 minutes from home and 5 minutes to lectures? What’s not to like?!

Applying during the summer before you’re due to start is a good way to get around this competitive element when university bars, cafes and shops are usually looking to replace students who have just graduated.

The great thing about working for your university is that it’s a little like working for your uncle Bill. You’re expected to pull your weight, but your employer has a vested interest in you. This means that those awkward “I can’t really work 35 hours a week around my MA in Civil Engineering degree” conversations are unlikely to come up. Most universities don’t like their students to work anymore than 16 hours a week and any university employers (or franchises) will be well aware of this.

There can also be surprising managerial rewards for students willing to stick it out. Often, student nights are staffed entirely by students with one or two shift managers. After 2-3 years of work students staying on for their MA often get a higher wage in-keeping with extra duties (for example training new members of staff or holding keys to store rooms etc.)

Claire, who recently graduated from the University of Manchester, was employed by the university in her final year and found it easier than she'd thought to juggle the job with her increasing workload, thanks to the supportive university staff:

"In the first semester of my final year I found myself with a lot of free periods in my timetable, so I applied for a university ambassador job. Being an ambassador involved manning the reception desk in the main university building, answering queries and giving advice to students. This could range from where certain lectures were being held to what they should do if they weren’t settling into uni life.

As I was in my final year I knew the campus well, so was always able to help people or point them in the direction of someone who could. When the desk wasn’t busy I was able to get on with my work on the computers provided. This was a plus because I knew I’d have real trouble finding a free computer anywhere else in the busy university!

Eventually, when my workload became too much and I had to cut down my shifts, the uni staff were really understanding and supportive. Overall it was a really valuable part-time job. I learnt more about the university, met some lovely people and developed skills to add to my CV.”

Typical wage: usually slightly more than National Minimum Wage

Find it: Your university job shop or careers portal

Have a similar student job which you want to shout from the rooftops? Let us know what you do and where you found it.

Victoria is a recent graduate and blogger for IEC Abroad, an international education consultancy which specialises in helping international students apply to universities around the world.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

5 ingredients on running a new start-up

The recent economic downturn has left many people out of a job and looking for work. Although, this is not all bad as many people have now turned to starting their own business as a way to make money. Many students and graduates have used StudentGems as a stepping stone to test the self employment market. Running your own business can be difficult but there are five steps, which if followed, can help you to start your own company with a bit more ease.

The idea
The idea is important as it is the initial basis for your business, but it isn’t necessarily the only thing that is important. The idea is only the beginning of a company and it often is something that changes halfway through the process; be sure to be open to new ideas and changing your original thoughts if you have to.

The people
People are the main profit creators of any company and they help to create the culture and heart of a business. This is why it is so important to hire the right people. People provide information, knowledge, techniques, contacts and skills when they join a company, so make sure to hire those that will be able to benefit your business and work as efficiently as they possibly can.

Market Research
Make sure to gather the correct information that you need with regard to the right market, and niche that you require. This is important as there would be no point trying to sell your idea to those that have no interest in buying it.

Getting the message out there
There are many ways to spread your message, and advertising yourself through print as well as online is a good option to choose. You can do this through business cards, posters and flyers. Creative business cards can be extremely important to the growth of your business. The online print company Instant Print say: “Prospective clients will hold on to colour business cards 10x longer than a standard one!

Generating Revenue
Cash flow needs to be managed effectively as most start-ups fail due to a lack of cash flow. There should however, be a minimum amount of time spent planning and more time spend doing. Whilst revenue is very important, coming up with plans, ideas and administration should be something that doesn’t take up too much time.

Start-ups are tricky and need to be managed effectively. As the company grows and changes, different approaches will be also need to be altered in order to work effectively.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Three Tools to Help You Organize your Classroom

Keeping organized is one of the biggest challenges for any teacher – especially as classroom sizes are growing.

The numbers that were released last summer were astounding. A report released by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said, essentially, that the UK was doing things backwards—that our large class size early in life and smaller class size later is doing a disservice to our students; that smaller classes are more beneficial to younger students and that increasing class size in the teen years probably won’t have much of an impact.

The report also released class size numbers for all of the other nations that are members of the Organisation. We in the UK have the third largest class sizes. The only two countries with more students per class are Chile, with an average of 30.4 students per class and China, with a whopping 38 students per class. No wonder our teachers are having a hard time staying organized!

If you were teaching only one class a day, 25 students (our actual number is 24.8) might not seem like a lot. Unfortunately many teachers, especially those in the higher grades, could easily teach upwards of four classes a day; that’s a minimum of 100 students to keep track of.

Luckily, there are several tools to help you keep track of the administrative end of things – class schedules, attendance, assignments, grades, and so on – so you can focus more on your students.

School-Sponsored Electronic Planners

Some schools are helping teachers and students get and stay organized by introducing 1:1 organizational devices. The schools can then install online student planner apps, like the ones made by Meridian Planners, on the devices to allow students and teachers access to a central organizational database. Students and staff can also use their own devices, or BYOD, instead of having one issued by the school.

The advantage to the centralized electronic planner is that when you update assignments or schedule tests, the information is disseminated to all of your students at once, even if they missed class that day. It also allows parents to use their smart phones, and similar web-enabled devices, to keep track of their children’s schedules and assignments, as well as school events like parent-teacher conferences.

If your school does not have an electronic planner system in place, you could suggest the Meridian Planner system, or something similar, to the administration. In the interim, here are a few other tools to help you keep your classes and students organized.

Edmodo

Edmodo is considered the “Facebook for schools.” It’s a website where students, parents, and teachers can all share information including assignments, quizzes, and events. You can post messages to students and parents, and vice versa. You can also use it to collaborate with your peers, and leave information for substitute teachers. Like Facebook, Edmodo also has an app that you can load onto your tablet, smart phone, or iPhone.

Like the Meridian Planner, Edmodo allows you to do all of your organization and reach all of your students through one simple tool. Unlike the Meridian Planner, it does not automatically load or update your student’s schedules, or school events -- that all has to be entered manually. Also, you have to rely on your students to sign up for Edmodo versus the Meridian system with is issued to the student through the school. However, for schools that don’t have the Meridian system set up, Edmodo is a decent alternative.

Remind 101

Remind 101 is a text messaging service that allows you to communicate with parents and students without using private contact information. All you need to do is open an account at the Remind 101 site, and then have your students and their parents subscribe to your texts. Then you can send out group text messages regarding assignments and other class information, and all your subscribers will receive it.

This is especially useful because you don’t have to keep track of individual numbers. Also, if someone’s contact information changes, they can still get texts as long as they update their number.

Although this service is limited to messaging only, it is a great way to ensure that all of your students have the most up-to-date information, even if they weren’t in class. You may need to check with your district to make sure they approve the use of Remind 101, and you will need to ensure that all of your students and their parents subscribe to your texts.

Monday, 16 June 2014

How Engineers are Finding Their Dream Jobs in the 21st Century

The field of engineering demands students of great intellect, so it's reasonable that graduates seek lucrative positions. And based on a recent article in the Telegraph, the UK is focusing much of its job creation efforts on the engineering and manufacturing sectors. This means that our current and future engineers have their pick of the field, and most probably don’t know it.

Think about it: every day, there are new bridges and roads that need building and repairing due to city expansion. Software applications that connect people to companies and governments are becoming more prominent and depended upon every day.

Ultimately, one’s dream job may encompass many qualities. Some seek high pay scales, others look for companies that challenge them, and some are drawn by company culture. Whatever the case, these methods help engineers find lucrative and interesting fields.

Internships

It’s common for engineers to enter an internship that gives them some on-site work experience. Companies tend to favour someone who needs less on-the-job training, so a fresh postgraduate looks a lot less attractive than an undergraduate with four years of work experience.

These placements put students in software companies or civil positions, where they can witness protocol first hand and learn some of the methodologies behind development. There are also an overwhelming majority of employers who use internships to find their future full-time hires.

Recruiting

In the US, engineering placement agencies have become like second sets of eyes for hopeful engineers, freeing them up to improve their skills or find work elsewhere. It’s common for software developers to use downtime between gigs to take on freelance projects online. Those projects build the CV and pad the wallet, plus they present opportunities to learn new skills. A placement agency affords one the chance to take those projects while still keeping prospects open.

These agencies also fill the important role of vetting a candidate, saving the hiring manager hours on research and background checks. The company gets a candidate tailored to their job opening, and the candidate gets valuable on-site experience that can grow into a full-time position.

Targeting

Finding a job is a lot like finding a uni. It’s not that acceptance is an issue (although, you should get used to rejection as a new job seeker), but it may be difficult to find something desirable. Engineers can easily find jobs, but applying for the right job is stressful if you don’t plan for it.

Applying for a specific job requires thorough research on the company. Study the company’s background, know its history, its executives, and get a sense for how it likes to operate. Plan to remain loyal, and plan to be shot down too. Normally, one’s dream job is with a company that only hires extremely well-qualified candidates. Successful engineers don’t get discouraged when they don’t get in on the first try, they will keep re-applying and explore additional opportunities.

Face Time

A foot in the door is always valuable, and getting a job at a reputable and stable company sometimes requires it. Companies here and across the pond are increasingly reliant on something called “internal recruiting” to connect qualified candidates with hiring managers. Budget cuts mean less time spent checking up on new recruits, so there is a greater risk to the employer. There just aren’t enough hours to spend personally tracking down qualified candidates.

The hunt for amazing talent is always ongoing, so who you know can play a big role in the kind of job you get. That’s why engineers attend job fairs, lectures and seminars. It’s a chance to build knowledge on their topic of choice, but it’s an important opportunity for many to get some face time with decision makers at the companies they want to work for.

Final Thoughts

A lot of graduates make the mistake of bombing classified ads with their CV. It’s not a bad idea for newbies, but the blanket approach only gives candidates a numbers advantage. There’s no guarantee you’ll find the job you want answering classified ads. You have to be proactive and scout for opportunities. The right job is out there, and with patience and a willingness to work hard, there are a multitude of possibilities that open up.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Parents ‘Fall Short’ at Supporting Children through University

According to this year’s National Student Money Survey by Save the Student, one-third of current university students feel that the Bank of Mum and Dad doesn’t give them enough financial support.

The survey found that the average student in 2014 spends £735 a month (down 5% on 2013), whilst a typical maintenance loan only covers £458 of that.

This begs the question as to where students are finding the extra £277 of income every month. Considering
student loans are means-tested against household income, it seems the government expects parents to chip in.

One student commented:
“My student loan doesn’t even cover my rent for a year. I have to borrow £1,000 off my parents and then use an overdraft, credit cards and savings (that I have none of now) to put me through uni each year.”
Almost 20% of students admit to relying on their parents for income, with just one-in-six having a part-time job.

The biggest surprise is that universities provide some level of financial support to just 10% of students, despite increased hardship funding being a condition of the 2012 tuition fee hike. Only 8% would turn to their university in a financial emergency, with a quarter of students preferring a bank loan.

The stress resulting from having to make up the shortfall appears to be having a knock-on effect on broader student welfare too, with almost one-half of those surveyed claiming that money issues affect their academic studies and almost two-thirds admitting that their diet suffers due to a lack of money.

Whilst many students seem to believe that their parents could do more to help, most are grateful they’re able to support them at all. Others would rather accept full responsibility for their own financial situation than approach their parents:

“I’d rather accept more debt and not be reliant on my parents!”, said one student.

Either way, it is clear that the student finance system is severely flawed, with students from middle class backgrounds hardest hit. Another student vented:

“Just because my parents are together I get hardly any money in comparison to someone with divorced parents who gets the maximum, even though one parent is richer than both of mine put together.”

Jake Butler, editor of Save the Student, comments:

“The government must increase the maintenance loan amounts to cover basic living costs. It’s a thorny issue of how much parents should contribute to the shortfall, and it entirely depends on individual circumstances. Ultimately I don’t believe parents should have the expectation put upon them. However with hearing daily horror stories of students living on the breadline, I feel it’s still important that parents are made more aware of the situation their child at university may be in.”

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Young Mobile Phone Designer of the Year Award 2014

· Brand new award targeted at university students
· £1000 cash prizes for the winner and their university

Mobilephones.com launches its first Young Mobile Phone Designer of the Year Award.

Targeted at university students enrolled on a design-related course within the UK, the Award aims to promote the creative talents of our future designers.

The challenge for entrants is to design a mobile phone for the future, answering the question:

What will mobile phones look like in 5 years’ time?

The winner of the Young Mobile Phone Designer of the Year Award will receive a £1000 cash prize, as well as a £1000 cash prize for their university. Two runners up will also receive a cash prize of £500.

Students from over 50 universities have been invited to submit their ideas, with a number of universities incorporating the brief into its academic course for the year 2013/2014.

Founder of Mobilephones.com, David Abrahamovitch, states: “This really is a once in a lifetime opportunity to give product design students the chance to build a platform for a future career in the industry”.

All entries must be received by midnight 31st May 2014, after which 3 finalists will be invited to an official awards ceremony to be held in London in June where the winner will be announced.

This ceremony will also provide all participating universities with the opportunity to showcase their students’ work, giving both students and universities a platform from which to demonstrate their creative talents.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Designing the School of the Future

The school of the future leverages the Internet of things to connect students and teachers on and off campus. New educational portals will extend classroom learning, and create greater transparency between teacher and student. This is already happening in schools where more of the classroom materials are digitized. Soon, students will have customized lesson plans that guide them through multiple curricula, showing how these disciplines work together.

Chicago and Philadelphia are just two major cities already working on building these futurist learning institutions. What makes administrators so sure that this technology will impact students, and how will the technology actually work in the classroom?

Technology in the Classroom

A major point to this initiative has to do with quantifying data. Test scores and other indicators let teachers and parents know how a student is progressing. With digitized materials, student input is stored automatically in a database where it can be accessed at will. The introduction of the Internet will also help cooperation in the classroom.

The hope is that lesson plans will adapt to students in real-time, helping those at the bottom reach the middle-grade while motivating those at the top to solve more complex challenges.

Data Access

Cloud access designated for each student also means more input on data. For example, homework won’t need to be printed or even emailed. Schools can set up repositories for students to drop assignments, and teachers can grade from within the same programs.

Leveraging the Internet of Things

The “Internet of Things” is getting closer to a reality, and schools will work to support those devices in the classroom. Already, students use tablets to surf the web and follow along with lesson plans. Soon, tools like Google Glass will help students explore a visual history of the world around them. Many schools already require some of this equipment for new enrolees.

Securing the School Network

Student data - test scores, academic and personal data - will be stored in vast cloud libraries operated by school administrators. Security software will be needed to monitor traffic on the network, eradicate viral infections and detect potential data breaches on a 24/7 basis.

For their own parts, students and parents should also learn safer browsing techniques.

Using Apps for Teaching

Textbook companies are already offering study guides and applications designed to increase the interactivity of a textbook. Students will soon use apps to accomplish a variety of tasks around campus. Mobile apps will update students on event calendars and help them arrange gatherings for on-campus events. Cafeteria apps will allow students to place orders ahead of lunch time and give staff ample time to prepare the exact amount of food necessary.

This is just the beginning. The future of education is a complex but exciting place. All students and teachers interested in becoming useful members of academia should invest in understanding the foundations of these new tools.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Her02 Hertz Student Discount

Hertz are now offering a fantastic student discount offer which means that students can get 15% off hired cars and 20% off vans. As a student, you are probably well familiar with the tight budgets and hardships of being a student in today’s society and so this discount is aimed to help students afford car rental. In order to be eligible and to benefit from Hertz Students, you must be aged 23 or over and you have to have held your driver’s licence for over a year.


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Renting a car is a great opportunity to escape from your studies for a while. Sharing the cost with your friends is also a great idea as you can split the cost between all of you while having enough space on board for all of your luggage to save yourselves from dragging suitcases everywhere. Whether you need a vehicle to help you move in to or out of university accommodation, or you and your friends want to finally head on that adventurous road trip you have been planning for weeks, Hertz Student Discount is there to make your life that much easier.

Keep in mind that if you are 23 years old you will need to pay a YDS or Young Driver Surcharge when you pick up your vehicle so make sure to check out the table on Hertz to see the varying rates. The possibilities of travel are never limited with Hertz as you can pretty much go wherever you want and when you want. Taste freedom by hiring a car from Hertz and driving off into the sunset, whether that takes you to the United Kingdom horizon or further afield, anywhere is possible with Hertz. You and your friends could also rent a van which might be a better option if there is a larger group going so there is more room for all of your luggage.

On location, when you pick up your vehicle, you must remember to bring the following items: current student ID, driving licence and the credit card which you made the booking with.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

What effect does your choice of university have on your future chances?

Which.co.uk has been studying students’ movements after graduation and it has been suggested from these studies and surveys that at least 40% of students who have graduated end up staying to work in the same place that they studied. This could be one of the main contributing factors that leads to the notion that because students stay in the same area after graduating that this has an effect on their credit card rejection/acceptance ratings.


Your choice of university, particularly its location, can have an impact on the credit rejection rate and studies have shown that going to university in Edinburgh for instance, could affect your credit rating. Typically, the
North has higher levels of credit rejection than the South which could be due to the number of students which stay in the region that they studied. Nearly two thirds of graduates who studied in the North West region have stayed stay there after graduation, as well as nearly 80% of graduates in Scotland staying when they complete their studies. This has led to the possibility that students remaining in their area of study has an impact on credit card ratings.

Edinburgh is the 71st most likely place to be rejected for a credit card in the UK (Overall Adjusted Reject Rate 60.5%) which may not seem too high in comparison to other areas but it is worth noting that this percentage is on the rise. In order to discover what areas of the UK are most likely to be accepted or declined for credit refer to Totally Money’s credit card map to see how your area rates against the rest of the UK by simply entering your postcode or clicking on the map itself.

65% of all credit card applications were rejected last year in the UK. This has probably had a negative impact on those who were rejected because a rejected application can have a negative impact on your credit score and affect your ability to borrow in the future. You can increase your chances of being accepted for a card by 250% by using a tool like the Totally Money comparison tools that can provide you with the percentage change of being accepted.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Tips for Choosing Student Accommodation in London

Choosing a student accommodation can be difficult in any location, yet with approximately 250,000 people in higher education in London, chances are finding accommodation there can be a little harder.


You will no doubt want to hunt around to find the best deals and best location for your money and university, but it’s also important not leaving it too late – after all, with all that competition, you don’t want to be left with a hovel!

Therefore we thought we’d put together a bit of a guide to help make your decision a little easier so you have one less box to tick and can start getting excited for uni!

Do your research

This is arguably the best form of defence for helping you get the best possible room for your needs. Look around at a number of choices – as there are a lot out there to choose from. As well as looking at different accommodation in terms of taste and price, it’s also important to think about location. After all, you could choose the nicest accommodation in the world but if it’s a two hour train journey from your campus, the appeal may wear off quite quickly. Investigate the transport systems that are nearby for a good idea about getting around.

Ask for help from your university

Take advantage of all the help at your disposal when making big decisions like where to live. Your university in particular should be able to point you in the direction of good accommodation if you’re really struggling and may even be able to put you in touch with someone who has stayed there, or a former student who can help even further. Some universities and accommodations even have special deals too, so there will be someone to help you with that, too.


Think about security aspects

Above all, you will want to be safe and secure in your student accommodation, as London is a big, urban city and you will want to arm yourself against crime as best as you can, especially as students can unfortunately be an attractive target for thieves. Don’t be afraid to ask questions you may have when you go and visit accommodations regarding security measures, such as locking systems to get into the vicinity and locks on the doors of the individual flats, for example.

Enquire about the facilities available

You will no doubt require things like a television and a good internet connection, so think about these things when looking at accommodation as if you can get a package with these things included, it can save you money later. For example, Urbanest student accommodation includes full utility bills and internet access with their rent which will also save you time and aggravation later. Slightly more dull aspects like double glazing may be a good thing to look out for too, as London is extremely busy and you will want to keep outside noise to a minimum! Things like double glazing will also keep things warmer too, meaning bills will be cheaper.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

3 Tips for Determining the Determination of Potential Candidates

Recruiters are a particular bunch - they need to be able to assess an individuals' entire personality and work ethic based on only a handful of factors like a resume and a reference. It's a tough business.

How do you determine the drive, the motivation, the determination of a candidate with such limited information? Your entire job rests on choosing the right candidate for the long haul, and you've only got a couple weeks to do it. Here are 4 tips that will make you a more effective identifier of hard working, driven individuals who don't just look good on paper:

1. Don't look at the school or company - look at their achievements

Just like a Harvard MBA could turn out to be a lazy, self-centred worker, a candidate from an obscure online university could be the next COO of a lucrative, competitive business. It's not about where they came form (though that information is useful); it's about what they did.

Many recruiters are convinced that good schools produce good candidates, and they're right (to an extent). However, "no-name" schools don't always produce flat candidates - in many cases, these schools and companies are where you'll find the next generation of high-level managers and entrepreneurs waiting and working for their shot. Don't be fooled by a lack of notoriety.

2. How far did they go above and beyond?

Obviously, a plethora of certification and additional degrees says something about an individual. It takes a lot of drive, hard work, and tenacity to make it through competitive programs like MBA's, managerial degrees, and business certifications. The pros and benefits of CIMA certification and other similar programs is that they speak wonders about individual drive and motivation. Don't let these candidates slip through your fingers.

It's fairly easy to see that candidates with additional degrees and certifications are more driven than those who lack them, but make sure that the certifications are geared towards the job you have. Just because they have a Strengthsfinder and MBTI certification doesn't mean they'll be an expert financial accountant or business consultant.

3. How is their over-the-phone etiquette?

In many cases, you can really tell how excited, driven, or motivated candidates are when you speak to them. It's an important skill to separate the I-just-need-a-job candidates from those who will actually benefit your company and want to stay for the long run.

When you call them, are they excited? Do they sound motivated, or do they sound like a simple "yes-man?" Even small things like tone and attentiveness matter. Asking open-ended questions is a great tactic - let them convince you of their excitement. Make them sell their skills.

Finding the right candidate is the name of the game - that's recruiting. Don't fall for false excitement or superficial skill sets - find the most determined candidate by really looking into what they've done, where they're from, and how they sell themselves in person or over the phone.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Career Options: Accelerated Nursing Degrees

There is a growing need for qualified nurses the world over. As of this writing, the United States has been in the midst of a nursing shortage for several years, and United Kingdom is also reporting serious shortages of qualified nursing staff.

In fact, the Royal College of Nursing released a report in 2012, titled Overstretched. Under-resourced, reviewing the state of the labour market.

Although there is a serious need for nurses, many countries have increased the requirements for becoming a nurse. In the United States, there was a time where simply taking some nursing courses , and passing the LPN or RN exam, was enough. In the UK, all you needed was a nursing diploma.

But medicine, and by extension nursing, has changed a lot over the years. Several medical advances have expanded the nurse’s role as caregiver and healthcare practitioner. Additionally, there is also a greater demand for specialty nurses, such as geriatric and psychiatric nurses.

All of these expanded duties require nurses with greater education and advanced degrees. Nowadays, many places won’t even consider a nursing candidate if they do not have at least a Bachelor’s degree, or the equivalent, and a lot would prefer a Master’s or above. If you are currently working as an LPN, returning to school and getting a higher degree can vastly improve your chances for advancement.

Whether you are just starting out, or looking to boost your marketability, going to school can be costly and time-consuming. However, an accelerated nursing program could help you get the training and degree you need in half the time.

How An Accelerated Degree Works

New Nursing Students

As a new nursing student, you would first need to complete the basic nursing training, including your clinical rotations. The basic training could take one to two years.

Once you complete your training, you should be eligible to take the RN exam, and actually work in a healthcare setting. This will give you the opportunity to earn some money to support yourself, and give you the hands on exposure you need to complete the next phase of your education.

While you are working in the healthcare field, you can enrol in an accelerated nursing program, which will put you on track to earn a Bachelor of Nursing degree.

Current Nurses

As a current nurse, you should have already completed much of the basic coursework you need. All you would then need to do is enrol in an accelerated program to get your Bachelor’s degree.

Finding a Programme

Many programmes are available online, so geographic location isn’t as much of a concern. However, you do need to make sure the program is recognized and accredited in the state or country in which you want to practice.

Most schools should tell you where they are accredited and you can find this information either by calling the school directly, or checking the school’s website. For example, the home page for the nursing program at Gwynedd Mercy U lists the programme’s accreditations right on the page. Kaplan University does not, and would require a phone call to get that information.

Advantages to Accelerated programs

New Students

By getting an Associate’s degree, then enrolling in an accelerated program, you can begin working once you earn the Associates and pass the necessary tests. If you go straight for a Bachelor’s degree, you would have to wait up to four years before you can begin earning money. The accelerated degree also shortens the time you need to spend in the Bachelor’s program. You could earn your bachelors, and increase your earning potential, within two years, instead of the usual four.

Current Nurses

You can earn your Bachelor's degree faster than if you had started over from scratch. Also, enrolling in an accelerated program could improve your current work situation by making you eligible for more advanced jobs, contingent upon finishing your degree.

For Everyone

Because many accelerated programs are offered online, you can take classes when it fits your schedule, not theirs.