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Friday, 1 December 2017

Seven ways in which private tuition can enhance classroom learning

One of the many benefits of private tuition is that it can strongly enhance classroom learning. It prepares the student, both academically and personally, for the up-coming challenges of the educational system. Here are some of the most important characteristics of private tuition, highlighting the contribution of having a private tutor to the overall classroom performance.

1. One-to-one approach
While working with their tutor, the student is engaged in one-to-one interaction, meaning they get their tutor’s full attention: the student can, therefore, freely ask for help and will receive it immediately, carefully constructed in the way best suited for him, that is, her. Individual differences between students, such as academic abilities and learning styles, are important and should be respected. With individual tuition, tutors let the students express themselves, they make the effort to understand them and to create the best possible teaching approach. This leads to positive attitudes toward the subject matter and better academic performance.

2. Confronting barriers to learning
If a student has a specific obstacle to learning, such as dyspraxia, dyslexia, sight impairment or hearing loss, a qualified tutor can help overcome those barriers and advance by leaps and bounds. The obstacles getting in the way of learning should be spotted right away and addressed adequately to achieve maximum results. The study on the effect of tutoring on reading achievement for students with cognitive disabilities, specific learning disabilities, and students receiving Title I services, demonstrated its significant positive effects.

3. Increased confidence
When students are getting help with their homework from their tutors, or preparing for an upcoming test in groups, they become more confident about their learning. When they’re doing homework with the help of a tutor, they are really engaging with the subject and are becoming more aware of the knowledge that they are gaining. It is important for the tutor to be able to keep their student focused, interested and confident. Students can be very afraid of tests. The assistance and support from their tutors, who can troubleshoot the flaws of students’ learning abilities and help fix them, can boost the self-confidence of the students.

4. Improving study skills
Besides being an expert in the subject, a good tutor has a strong grounding in pedagogy. It’s important for a tutor to not only teach the subjects, but to also teach the vital study skills. These include time management, summarizing, and focusing on important information. For instance, the students having difficulties with focusing should be presented with some strategies for paying attention in class. Every student has their own learning style, and being familiar with that can be a great base for improving one’s study skills. 

5. Setting goals and objectives
However, doing everything for the student does not make for a good tutor. Good tutors teach their students to set goals for themselves and help them figure out the best way to achieve those goals - there is scientific evidence that setting goals and objectives can enhance classroom learning. Moreover, marks at school are not the only thing on which the tutors should be focused. Their job is to motivate their students, stimulate and challenge them, so they can fulfil their potential.

6. Comfortable environment
Learning in the comfort of their own homes can make students more relaxed than they would be in the formal environment of a classroom. They become more engaged and creative with the subject matter and feel less pressure. Research about learning environments shows that people learn more effectively in environments in which they are more comfortable.

7. Accessibility
Students can have private tuition in the comfort of their home or it can take place online. Either way, students can adjust classes according to their needs. When it comes to online tuition, Singapore for example is one of the many countries finding this facility extremely beneficial. This is because the time and place of lecturing can depend on the student. If the student feels the need for some extra help with their homework or they just want to recap their week’s learning, it’s easy for them to schedule a tutoring session whenever they want and in whichever way they prefer. 

Finally, private tuition is an individual approach, taking place in a comfortable environment. It is very accessible, and the tutor has both knowledge and skills to help the student with their learning difficulties, to motivate them to set goals and to boost their confidence. Consequently, the student’s classroom learning, and their overall learning experience, are being improved.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Student Loan Leaves Students £221 Short Every Month

Thousands of students will be starting university without enough money to make it through the year, experts warn.
  • The National Student Money Survey reveals two-thirds struggle to get by on the Maintenance Loan on its own
  • Parents expected to plug £221 gap – but government sums still leave students short of cash
  • Call for bigger loans to cover basic living costs
  • Jake Butler from Save the Student: “This shortfall is the most pressing issue with student loans, not the latest increases in fees and interest rate”.
As the UK’s students gear-up to go to university, Save the Student warns many may be walking into serious money problems – and it’s nothing to do with tuition fees surpassing £9,000 or the interest rate jumping to 6.1%.

The National Student Money Survey 2017 reports 84% of students suffered financial hardship last year, with 66% stating that the Maintenance Loan is not enough to live on.

The Student Loan is composed of two parts: a Tuition Loan (up to £9,250 in 2017/18) for course fees, and a Maintenance Loan for living costs.

Save the Student’s research reveals students need an average of £821 to cover monthly spending, with rent alone coming in at £394 nationally. However, the average Maintenance Loan payment (for students with a household income of £35k, studying away from home and outside London) is just £600 per month – that’s £221 too little.

The Maintenance Loan is means-tested and designed to be topped up by parents, with many caught out by calculations which expect them to chip in thousands of pounds

The Parental Contributions Calculator shows parents earning £35,000 are expected to contribute £1,211 each year*. For a household income of £50,000, the contribution rises to £3,027. Almost a third of students say parents don’t give enough financial support.

Emma has just finished her second year. She told Save the Student:
Coming from a less fortunate background, money is a massive worry for me. I don't have the option to ask parents for money, and I'm too proud to ask friends to borrow money either. My maintenance loan doesn't actually cover my rent. How am I supposed to live through university without enough money to cover rent?
Billie, who’s starting university in the North West, adds:
The government allow you the bare minimum to live on and think all parents are able to make up the difference. I think all students should be able to borrow anything up to £10,000 a year for living costs (my accommodation alone is almost £7,000!) as it's us who have to pay it back anyway!
The survey also highlights the dangers of sending students to university unprepared for financial hardship: half of all students report mental health issues due to a lack of cash, with 61% saying they can’t always afford to eat. Unsurprisingly, the majority (57%) feel Student Finance isn’t fair.

Jake Butler, Save the Student’s money expert, comments:
Whilst we’ve campaigned against the growing cost of tuition fees and the unfair way in which student loan interest is calculated, the pitiful size of the maintenance loans and the way in which they’re calculated is the major issue.

It’s quite evident that the student loan is not enough to support the average student and their day-to-day living costs, especially in the wake of grants and other financial support being stripped back. 

Parents are increasingly left to plug the gap, leaving many in a difficult position. Upping the loan available will of course mean students owe even more, but the repayment system is affordable.

Avoid a cash crisis at university: advice from Save the Student

  • Get a realistic idea of all the costs you’ll face over the year: rent, bills, books, food, transport and anything else you can think of.
  • Loans are paid in lump sum installments: it’s very important to budget so it lasts the full term.
  • Save the Student’s Parental Contributions calculator shows how much your folks are expected (by the government) to cough up. Use it to prompt an honest and upfront conversation about how much they can really give you.
  • Check you’ve got all the funding you’re entitled to, including Disabled Students’ Allowance, travel grants, childcare costs or help for care leavers if appropriate. Don’t include non-taxable income in Student Finance applications, as it could leave you with less cash than you’re owed.
  • Investigate extra sources of cash before you need them: a part-time job, council or corporate funds, state benefits or charity cash – try
  • Save as much as you can, either before university or as you go. If you don’t need the money immediately, ask your parents to pay top-ups into your savings instead of giving cash handouts.
  • Set up an interest-free student overdraft to get the best terms – and cheapest deal – if you have to borrow money. Don’t touch it until you need it!
  • Worried about mounting debt? Get expert, impartial advice before borrowing more to cover living costs. Try or
  • Find out how to apply for hardship (emergency) funds from your university now. It’s easier to get to grips with before you’re in a pickle.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

How to Promote Your Business Outside of Business Hours

Owning and running a business is tough work and you probably work long hours already to boost your brand awareness, finish client work and to keep your business growing.
Therefore you must ask yourself if there is a way to promote your business out of working hours?
From your traditional promotional ways to digital marketing, there are many ways for you to advertise and promote your business.

Advertising on the radio is a great way to get heard to a wide audience. With a catchy advert you’ll get listeners remembering not only your catchy tune, or slogan but your business name and what you offer.

Newspaper advertising is also still big in this digital age. Whether you choose to go to print with your advert or to appear on their digital version, you’ll be able to reach thousands of readers, who will become aware of your business.

Social media
Alongside traditional advertising you can use social media marketing, which over the past five to ten years has grown massively in popularity for use of businesses.
You can create new profiles for your business on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, making sure all profile pictures match across all platforms and the same goes for cover photos also, so your followers can see that it is really you.

The great aspect of social media is that it’s free to promote your business.
You can use scheduling tools such as Hootsuite, so you can schedule your social posts to go out at various times of the day and on specific days of the week you want.

You’ll be able to track via Twitter analytics and Facebook Insights to see how many people your social post has reached, as well as what the engagement rate is; comments, likes, shares and when your followers are online, so you can schedule your posts when your followers will see it.
If you link back to your website (which ideally you should be doing in some of your posts) via utms, you can track how many people have clicked on the link back to your website and what they have read on your site, plus so much more through Google Analytics.
This will help you to understanding what your followers, customers and future customers are liking on your social profiles which will help you to determine what sort of social posts you should include in your schedule.

Of course social media marketing can be boosted via paid social adverts too.
These are great at helping you to target your customers more specifically, from gender, to location, age range and interests. This can be done for both Facebook and Twitter. This is a fantastic way to help directly get under the noses of those people who you specifically want to become your customers.

If you use PPC (pay per click) for your online marketing then you can target adverts on Google and input how long you want the advert to run.
When someone types into the Google search bar a term that relates to your business, your ad will show up within the first few searches. 

Having a customised work uniform will also help promote your business when you are out and about, even if just travelling to and from work.
By having your business logo and/or name on your work top or coat, will catch the eye of passers by who will potentially clock your name and logo and further research it later if it is something of interest to them.
For personalised work wear companies such as the Embroidered Printed and Clothing Company have many years experience of bringing your clothing design to life and producing hundreds of work uniforms to your specifications.

The wonders of the internet means when you are sleeping, your business can still be busy working hard for you, getting itself out in front of your existing clients and future clients too.

Long gone are the 9-5 hour days when it comes to promoting your business. Welcome to the 24/7 world of business marketing!

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Important Skills Students need to Learn at University to Face the Corporate Struggle

Time is changing rapidly and students at university need to learn certain skills that will keep them in demand and give them an advantage during interviews. For a teacher or lecturer, it has now become a tough task to prepare students for the challenging world outside. The picture outside is changing rapidly, so students need to be prepared and learn things practically. Be it the gadget or social media, every field has its own challenges and required a certain skill-set that makes the student stand out from the crowd. Universities are using modern teaching methods and techno savvy to inform students about the real challenging world outside and what skills corporate business looks for while hiring new employees.

Here are some important skills which students should be considering:
Quick Learner:
In today's competitive world, it is important for employers to hire employees who have the ability to learn and act fast. Quick learners usually have their own competitive edge and carry a broad skill set. This certainly boosts the efficiency and minimises the duration of the work involved.

Leadership skills are important and employers are on hunt of people who are ready to lead. A student with excellent leadership qualities has a higher chance of getting the job. Educators need to train their students how to lead and excel. With the help of case studies and practical exercises, educators can teach students how to attain leadership and what makes it important.

Digital Literacy:
The corporate world is going digital and students need to be highly digitally skilled to meet the demand of current corporate world. Digital literacy in the corporate world is often the first and important step on the ladder for a new employee. From social media to IT, students should be trained about different strategies. There are many software packages that help to train people and are often available at an affordable price with vouchers from Bydiscountcodes.

Communication Skills:
The most important part for a student is to have good communication skills to communicate ideas in an effective manner. However, there are certain barriers involved in communication, which educators need to address and work upon. A good communicator can help in reflecting the strategies and presenting the idea for the betterment of the company. In terms of communication, students need to understand potential language barriers, active listening and engaging in a conversation.  There are many self-help books that will help to hone communication skills.

Willingness to Take Responsibility:
The corporate world is demanding and employers expect you to take responsibility, even if it doesn't meet the requirement profile. Educators need to train students on how to take up the responsibility and work smartly. In many situations, the jobs are challenging and require creativity and tenacity.

Other skills a student should acquire are:
·         Analytical Approach
·         Creative Thinking
·         Problem Solving
·         Collaborative Working

For educators and students, university education is the most important part of life where students should be groomed well to face the corporate world with the right skills to take their career to a high level.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Half of University students suffer mental health issues because of money problems

The National Student Money Survey 2017 also reveals gender gap in mental health and money skills among UK university students.
  • HALF of all students experience mental health issues because of money worries - and it particularly affects female students
  • Female students also more likely to skip meals when money is tight: 63% say lack of cash takes a toll on diet, compared to 55% of males
  • Just a third of those who turn to their uni find it easy to get financial support or advice.
UK students are shockingly unequipped to handle their money and mental well being when starting university, a report by Save the Student has revealed.

The National Student Money Survey – conducted each year by the student money site – finds students are being loaded up with loans, high living costs and big financial decisions without the knowledge and support they need to cope.

Just 1 in 4 students feel they were taught enough about money before starting university, with a worrying 50% saying they’ve since experienced mental health issues because of a lack of cash.

Jenna, a 2nd-year student at Loughborough University, admits she was clueless about money – to the extent that she didn’t even know her bank card would be blocked if she used the wrong pin too many times. She told Save the Student she became anxious about staying on budget:
I would skip meals so I didn't have to spend any money. When things then got to my lowest and I lost all motivation to live I began spending excessively to try and make myself feel better. This didn't work and I ended up having multiple suicide attempts and taking anti-depressants. When I finally started recovering I then had to work 2 jobs to try and make my way out of the debt I had created in that crisis period.”

With the survey pegging student spending at £821 a month (£31 up on 2016 results), the gap between living costs and the Maintenance Loan has widened. This can leave the average student short by around £221 every month.

Ruby gave up a part-time job in her second year at the University of Lincoln, just before her Student Finance was reduced. She’s one of the 55% of students who say the Maintenance Loan isn’t enough to live on:
“I went from receiving a decent amount of money from the government to the minimum which didn't even cover my rent as my mother had received a promotion … I spent most of my time on my own in my room. I couldn't sleep and whenever I did, it was only for a couple of hours at a time. I just felt tired all the time. I would be constantly panicking about money. I started missing a lot of lectures and seminars.”

Although the majority of students (83%) track their spending, budgeting isn’t enough to offset the problems of low income. Sasha, who studied at the University of Derby, says she ran short of money when Student Finance lost her paperwork and her loan was delayed:
When it came I hadn't eaten in 3 weeks except for what I could take from the cafe I worked at (with permission). I lost about 3 stone due to worry and lack of food. At one point I thought of going to a food bank but was too ashamed.”

When things go wrong, most students turn to their families: 83% of students say they’d ask their parents for cash in an emergency. But of those who ask their university, only around a third (37%) find it easy to get help. Sasha adds:
I didn't really have anyone I could ask for help personally as my mum is on a low wage as it is and was struggling herself. I didn't want to ask the bank for a loan/overdraft as I didn't think I would be accepted and didn't want to get into more debt.”

While most students struggle with hardship at university, the National Student Money Survey finds male and female students report different levels of stress.
Overall, more female students (87%) said they worry about having enough to live on, compared to 77% of males. Women are also more dissatisfied with the financial education they’d received before university, and less likely to consider their course good value for money.

Male students are more optimistic about life after university, with 62% confident of finding a job after graduation (compared to 45% of female students), and expect £3k more from their starting salary (£23,139 vs £20,010).

The majority of students, however, remain confused and concerned about the Student Loan. Despite repayments being linked to salary affordability, 56% worry about paying it back, while only 1 in 4 know the current rate of interest being applied to their loan (which notably jumps as high as 6.1% this September).

Jake Butler, student money expert, from Save the Student says:
“The new tuition fee increases, along with pitiful maintenance loans, are putting students under a huge amount of financial and mental stress.
There is still a severe lack of basic financial education at school, and universities must make advice and support more accessible for students who find themselves in a difficult situation.
The government announced that they’re looking to increase the number of mental health specialists in the NHS, but in the case of students they should be addressing the root cause before mental health problems can take hold.”

Stephen McCartney, Chair of the National Association of Student Money Advisers (NASMA), comments:
“It is important to remember that many students are engaged in more than just their academic careers. While also studying full time, many are juggling employment and family responsibilities, which can add to their stress and anxieties.”

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Online Student Services: Help or Harm?

Today students exist in a completely different environment from their counterparts twenty or even ten years ago – the ubiquity of the Internet and the proliferation of various services offering their assistance to struggling students has completely changed the rules of the game. While in the past each student has been largely isolated and independent, with only his or her wits and immediate acquaintances to ask for help, today the possibilities are endless. But is that good or bad?

1. Grammar Checking Services
Grammar checking websites are exactly what it says on the tin – they are services like Grammarly, allowing you to put in any text and quickly check for grammar mistakes. While some state that such services make writing and revising texts much quicker, their opponents claim that over-reliance on crutches like this makes students negligent and creates an impression that learning grammar and spelling rules are unnecessary. There has to be some truth in both statements.

Even the best of them provide only superficial reports and point out only the most obvious mistakes (and often make mistakes of their own). They may be useful for foreign students because they explain the reasons for their corrections and can help them learn the rules quicker, but they cannot compare to a skilled proofreader or knowing the rules yourself.

2. Writing Services
Custom essay help services usually state that they sell academic paper samples you can use to better understand how to write an assignment of this or that type, but it is quite obvious that students go there to hire somebody to do their homework. One can argue about the ethics of this arrangement and the quality of education received by a student who resorts to such methods, but there are situations when it may be useful or even indispensable. For example, a student may know the subject fairly well but be atrociously bad at writing, or just at a specific narrow topic. Or writing an essay may be a mere formality you don’t want to waste time on – in other words, there are situations when using such assistance is quite legitimate.

3. Online Tutoring
Some students who find themselves lagging behind their peers resort to tutoring websites so that they can catch up with them. Although in most cases it is a completely harmless arrangement, it has its opponents – one of the reasons for this being that no one controls the quality of education received in this way. Theoretically, anybody can become a tutor and teach students something that doesn’t coincide with the approved learning program or, indeed, reality. Of course, there is a degree of control, and most respectable services of this kind don’t hire random people, but it is still more liable to foul play than regular education.

4. Language Services
Students of foreign languages are among those who benefit most from the Internet: while in the past their direct practice of the language was limited to trips abroad and pen-pals, today there are entire communities dedicated to mutual learning. You can learn a foreign language while teaching other people your own – which provides indispensable practice. However, the quality of tutoring received this way vary considerably and depends on what kind of people you encounter – and wrong learning partners may do more harm than good.

In summary, all the most popular services for students have their good and bad points; their advantages and disadvantages. It’s hard to categorically judge them entirely helpful or entirely harmful.

Monday, 31 July 2017

How to Find a Great Career

The evolution of technology all around us is raising all sorts of interesting questions. Today futurists are asking questions about the role AI will play in research and development of new products and services, as well as whether automation will replace many low or manual labour will be performed by machines. 

These questions, however, aren’t just being asked by people interested in anticipating the next new future wave; you’re probably asking them, too, if you’re a current college student or recent graduate. Instead of taking classes for a career that won’t exist in the future or applying for jobs that are on their way out, you want to make sure that you’re taking classes that will be relevant to new and emerging technology or presenting yourself to prospective employers in the right light to show you have "the right stuff" for the future.

First, let’s take a look at some interesting futuristic careers you could be studying if you’re still in school. We’ll also briefly cover how you should be presenting yourself to prospective employers if you’ve just graduated.

Rethink Engineering

When students think of high paying jobs, they usually think about a career in computer science. While this is a perfectly valid idea because millions of computer science jobs will go unfilled in the next ten years, many future breakthroughs are also expected in the field of engineering. However, this is not traditional engineering, like electrical or mechanical engineering but fields like material sciences and biomedicine.

A Career in Material Sciences

You’ll be on the cutting edge of materials science and engineering if you focus on graphene engineering.

Since 1859, scientists have speculated on the possibility of two-dimensional
Copyright: foxterrier2005 / 123RF Stock Photo
materials, but it was not until 2004 when graphene was discovered. At that time, two University of Manchester researchers, Professor Andre Geim and Professor Novoselov noticed small parts of graphene on a piece of scotch tape used to clean a graphene stone. In 2010, they received a Nobel Prize in Physics for their groundbreaking scientific discovery. 

Graphene is usually used to make graphene sheets, which are composed of two-dimensional crystals that possess a unique set of properties. They are the thinnest and lightest object ever discovered. They are also the strongest materials ever known—harder than diamonds and 300 times stronger than steel. Graphene conducts electricity much better than copper, is transparent, and can be bent into any shape you want.

As a material science engineer, you will be able to get a well-paid job in one of the hundreds of laboratories around the world doing cutting-edge research on the world's thinnest material. There are a lot of exciting things happening when it comes to this new material, and it will transform aerospace, automotive, electronics, energy storage, coatings, paint, communications, sensors, solar, and much more.

Besides graphene, you might work with other materials. The discovery of graphene resulted in the discovery of a whole new class of crystals that are only one atom thin and that can be shuffled to work with each other.

A Career in Biomedicine

Another exciting field is Biomedicine. Biomedical engineering (BME) applies the principles of engineering and the concepts of design to research the fields of medicine and biology. Research findings will result in diagnostic of therapeutic healthcare benefits. David Belair explains why this is such an exciting field: “Biomedical engineering is an interdisciplinary field, and as such, a biomedical engineer can have a range of different specialties that range from electronics, optics, mechanics, materials science, basic biology, physiology, neuroscience, cardiovascular science, and other medical-related and engineering-related areas.”

Impress Prospective Employers

If you’ve already graduated, then your focus will be on networking and showing prospective employers that you have the right stuff.

Ultimately, your success will depend on how well you manage the interview. So be sure to be punctual and impeccably dressed for the interview. Your interview needs to communicate the same message that you originally communicated in your cover letter, your resume, and your portfolio. However, during the interview, there is no need to reiterate the technical knowledge and skills you have detailed in your written presentation. Instead focus on demonstrating the following soft skills: good communication, organisation, team player, and critical thinking. These skills are important to an employer because they aren’t just looking for someone who has a specialised academic background. They are also looking for someone who will help their business flourish.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Why Students Should Consider Focusing on Artificial Intelligence

The world of work is changing, and though there are fears that AI technology will result in some jobs being lost to technology, Artificial Intelligence is bringing with it a whole host of new careers. Dr. Richard Watson, senior lecturer in electronics and computer science at the University of Southampton said, “Studying AI is perfect for students who can solve problems in abstract ways and devise new angles. But AI is also about learning techniques of advanced
computer science, so students should have a broad education in computer science before they tackle it.” Students who want to enter the world of work should consider focusing their attention on AI. Whether we like it or not, it is the future.

Here are a couple ways that Artificial Intelligence is changing jobs and work and why students and graduates may want to enter this field.

Potential jobs and salaries
Studying or having a background in artificial intelligence can lead to all sorts of potential jobs. You can end up in IT consultancy roles or learn from and grow your career within one of the big name companies, such Microsoft or Google. There are so many opportunities out there, that there is surely one that draws your interest and speaks your language. You could jumpstart your career as a data scientist, in data engineering or even in an entry-level computer programming/information systems job. Since there is so much work and money going into artificial intelligence, the payoff and benefits can certainly be well worth looking into the field for. To start, a graduate data scientist for example, earns anywhere between £25,000 to £50,000. With room for development, for both the professional and artificial intelligence space, the potential for a salary is great. If you enjoy being in a smaller environment that is quick to react and grow, a start-up could be the perfect environment for you. You can wear different hats and even find a team that focuses on delivering one aspect of artificial intelligence.  

How businesses use AI in current day
Artificial intelligence is also changing the way that businesses operate and how employees are able to get work done. Spotify, for example, aims to improve its content recommendations and targeted advertisements by leveraging artificial intelligence. Other companies such as Expert System use keyword extraction in order to work with text in a more efficient manner. Instead of sifting through text manually, artificial intelligence helps group similar content and is able to tell whether something is worth the time it would take to read. Businesses are constantly learning new ways to use artificial intelligence and being a part of this space means staying up to date with and getting to experience the newest technology.

For those who are tech minded, it would be crazy to avoid the topic of artificial intelligence, as you will find yourself left behind. It is not all the dark and dangerous artificial technology of Hollywood movies, but it is just as fascinating. As students, so many doors are open to new ways of thinking and developments. This is certainly one of those opportunities. So why not consider focusing on artificial intelligence and bring your knowledge and unique mind-set into this space. 

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

UK skills gap costing UK business £2.2 billion a year

Research from the Open University has found that the skills gap is costing UK business more than £2 billion a year in higher salaries, recruitment costs and temporary staffing.

This comes at a time when the UK has the lowest unemployment rate since 2005 and many of those in work are staying put due to concerns about Brexit. Uncertainty around future immigration rules is also deterring some EU nationals from working in the UK.

The Open University’s ‘Business Barometer’, which monitors the skills landscape
in the UK, reveals that 90% of employers have struggled to recruit staff with the right skills in the last year and almost 70% remain concerned about recruiting the right talent in the next 12 months.

As a result, more than half are choosing to hire at lower levels and are using training to bring new employees up to the level required.

Others report having to inflate salaries to attract the right talent, with the Open University calculating this cost at £527 million. Those with strong skill sets are in demand and can accordingly command a higher salary. More than half of businesses report increasing salaries well above market rates to attract the right skill set. Average increases amount to around £4,150 per hire for SMEs and £5,575 per hire for large organisations.

Management roles are particularly difficult to recruit to, with 40% of businesses reporting difficulty hiring mid- and senior level managers with the right skills.

Almost half of employers are concerned about finding appropriately skilled IT workers, despite the critical role digital skills play in the economy.

The number of businesses planning to change the type of training they offer is expected to double, with 59% (up from 31%) planning to offer apprenticeships as a result of the recently introduced Apprenticeship Levy. More than half expect the Levy to reduce the skills gap in the coming year, while more than 60% view it as an opportunity for their organisation.

The skills gap is also lengthening recruitment processes for 75% of employers, on average adding almost two months, incurring additional costs in the form of recruitment fees and temporary staff.

This figure alone is estimated to be around £1.7 billion.

The Open University research also finds that 58% of employers say the skills shortage has damaged their business and advises that employers must ensure training programmes provide staff with the right skills and enable them to put them into practice as soon as possible.

Friday, 7 July 2017

2017’s ambitious and prepared graduates feel under-employed

Accenture Strategy’s 2017 UK Grad Employment Study reveals that young people feel under-resourced in graduate level roles, with 71% citing that they feel under-employed.
That figure is up from 2015’s figure of 60% and is in contrast to the increased number of graduates employed full-time in their field of study, up from 46% to 60% in the last 12 months.
The report finds that while the job market for grads is strong, the roles on offer don’t go far enough to tap graduate skills.
Accenture’s report highlights the need for employers to get an understanding of what motivates Gen Z in order to retain them in the longer term.
For example, this year’s cohort value human interaction and communication skills. And while 68% welcome AI and other advanced technologies in enhancing their experience, they prefer to interact with colleagues face-to-face. Those employers who can provide a personalised and meaningful graduate experience are most likely to retain better graduate talent for longer.
These new entrants to the job market are flexible and loyal. 85% of graduates set out to stay with their employer for at least 2 years. When a company invests in their learning and development, graduates are three times more likely to stay for 5 years or more.
54% expect on-the-job training, 51% expect formal training and 46% expect shadowing.
And while this year’s crop of graduates is also ambitious and prepared, with 63% expecting full-time employment in their area of study, 83% are willing to relocate to a different region for the right job.
Given the current economy, it’s likely that they will have to. 39% of 2017 graduates will look for a job in a different city, while 36% will commute.
Nearly 9 out of 10 considered job availability when choosing their course, with most preferring to enter fields offering long term growth. STEM was the most popular major this year – up to 41% against last year’s figure of 30%. 
82% of new graduates who had completed an internship, apprenticeship or co-op secured a job post-graduation. 
However, their salary expectations do not line up with the experiences of recent graduates. 85% of 2017 grads expect to earn more than £25,000, but only 70% of 2015/16 grads do.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Ideal Part-time Jobs for Students

Despite what it might look like from the outside, University is not all late nights, parties and last minute revision. All-nighters in the library, red eyes from staring at a computer screen too long and early morning lectures are just some of the wonderful things that come with gaining your degree. However, if you have the time to do it, getting a part-time job during university is a great idea. It is a wonderful way to meet new people, gain some valuable work experience, boost your CV and make your money situation a little easier when your student loan begins to run out. Thankfully, it has never been easier to find a list of local part time job offers. All you have to do is sign in on your computer or even on
your phone to find a list of vacancies suitable for you.

Of course you can continue to use StudentGems for freelance projects, but here is a list of some jobs that can fit perfectly alongside studies.

1. Tutor
Being a tutor is a great way to work with people of all ages, whether they are your fellow university students or others in the community. You can tutor online or face-to-face, which offers you the flexibility needed for your own studies. You’ll need to have a knack for what you are tutoring, of course, but you can also become even more of an expert on the material as you prepare for study sessions. This way, you boost your expertise and also help others learn more about a specific topic.

Check to see if your university currently offers tutoring opportunities, or have a look online to see what tips are out there. You can make a good income while maintaining a flexible schedule suitable for a student.  

2. Resident Assistant
Student halls are the perfect place to meet new people. They also offer a great deal for older students to pick up a job as a resident assistant. As a resident assistant, you are essentially a live-in supervisor for the resident hall. It can mean some late nights helping students out or putting fires out in a kitchen, but it also means free housing for you.

Though you do not technically get a salary for this position, free housing cuts out a huge chunk of your living costs. You can get some savings, meet new people and connect with other faculty at your university.

3. Working directly for your university
With all the students on and off campus, your university needs support to ensure it runs smoothly. There are heaps of opportunities to work directly for your university. Check out the website or student portal for more information. You could, for example, land a job working in a coffee shop, as a student ambassador, in the International Affairs office or in a resident hall.

Since they are strictly student jobs, the university is familiar with what it means to have to balance being a student and working. Hours are flexible and you can generally shift your schedule as the new quarter or semester rolls around. A common theme in on-campus jobs, working directly for the university also means getting to know more and more people.

4. Temp work
Outside of your university, you can find a temp agency that places people with temporary jobs. If you want to work and earn some money, but like to mix up what your day-to-day looks like, this is a great way to go. You can choose when you would like to work, what type of work you would like to do and what salary-range you’d prefer. Then if a match comes up, the temp agency will offer you a temp job and you can decide whether it is the right fit for you. Assignments can go from one week to a company asking you to stay on for another three months. It is up to you! Often temp jobs can include being a receptionist at a local company to hosting at events.

Keep in mind, getting out into the community and meeting local companies is also wonderful to help you to build your network for after graduation!  

5. Babysitting
Babysitting is a classic job, for good reason. Hours are flexible, the job is fun and the pay is good. If you have a driver’s license and are CPR certified, it is even better. You can decide to only work in the evenings or weekends, and adjust your schedule as you go. Connect with the community and put your name out there to let people know you are looking for some babysitting gigs. Word of mouth is often the best way to go to land some new opportunities, and also get matched up with families that you connect with. If you’re studying in your hometown it shouldn’t be too difficult to find families who need a babysitter. If you’re in a new city it might be more difficult but still entirely possible, post ads online and ask around.

6. Waiter/ Bar Work
Working in a restaurant, pub or bar is a classic way for students to earn a bit of extra cash during their studies. Of course, if you’re working in a pub or bar the likelihood is you’re going to have some late nights, so be sure that you are clear from the beginning the hours you are available and don’t feel pressured into working more than you can. Remember your main focus has to be your studies, and this job is only temporary. Generally you can get a job as a waiter or bar worker without experience so long as you’re enthusiastic and learn quickly. Get some comfortable shoes as you’ll be on your feet hours on end, and the rest is up to you.

It is important to get the balance right, and not lose focus on your university work. Finding a job offers load of great things, but remind yourself the reason you are really at university. While all these things are great, you have the rest of your life to work, so do not be afraid to speak if you find your hours are going up higher than you can handle.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Avoid These Common Mistakes That Will Get Your Job Application Rejected

Good jobs aren’t easy to come by. First, you have to go through the trouble of finding them. That can take a while. It has to be a job for which you are suited, that pays your minimum requirements, that you can get to reliably, that fits your schedule, and that you will genuinely enjoy. This can be a tough job to find in any market.

From there, you have to fill out an application, present a resume, get chosen for an interview, get past the second round of interviews, then pass your drug test. That is quite a few hurdles to get over before you get a company login. And the sad truth is that the vast majority of people never make it past the application process.

There are a number of errors that cause applicants to never get a serious consideration and which happen at the paperwork phase. We’re not even considering discriminatory practices over which you have no control. We are just focusing on the things you do between the time you get the application and the time you turn it in. Here are three such things you must avoid at all costs if you want to have a chance at the job you want:

Cover Letter

A resume is about the facts. It’s the facts about you versus the facts about your competition. You may not win that battle. But the cover letter is about heart. The application lays out your qualifications. But the cover letter is about why you should be the one to be hired.

You can easily lose the game at this point. If you are not certain about what to put in a cover letter, you can start with this cover letter guide as a template. If that is still not sufficient to get you started, you can purchase a template that you can easily follow.

If your qualifications are at all sketchy, you still have a chance to win. The cover letter is that chance. If you blow it there, the rest doesn’t matter.


If you can’t spell and have poor grammar, you will not get the job provided someone else with better spelling is applying for the same job. The world is full of people with poor spelling and grammar skills applying for jobs. Your application will stand out from the crowd just by being written, spelled, and punctuated correctly.

Beyond proofreading it yourself, have another set of eyes look it over before you turn it in. Here’s a power tip: Always grab two applications. Use the second one to implement necessary corrections.


It doesn’t matter how good your application is if they can’t read what it says. But the importance of penmanship runs deeper than that. There is a chance that the job for which you are applying has some handwriting requirements.

A sloppily scribbled application may also indicate that you do not have the education you need for the job. It doesn’t matter if it’s fair. It is just a natural presumption. It also more properly suggests that you didn’t care enough about what you were doing to slow down and take the time to do it right. If you couldn’t be bothered to make out the application neatly, there is probably much about the job you wouldn’t be bothered to do right.

If you know your handwriting is atrocious, get a friend to fill out the application for you. It is easier to find a person to fill out your application for you than it is to find an employer who does not mind reviewing an application she can’t read.

The pen is mightier than the sword. So wield it with care and precision. Draft a winning cover letter. Eliminate spelling and punctuation errors. And use penmanship as if your job depended on it, because it does.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Skills You'll Need When Working Your Way through University

With the ever-increasing cost of going to university, students are literally being forced to carry some of the financial burden for their parents. Are you looking for work to help pay the costs? Here are a few skills you’ll likely need to get a job prior to getting that degree.

Driving Is Always Useful

One of the things which so many university students have difficulty with is buckling down to a mundane job with few challenges and little room for any physical activity. At this point in your life you are still sitting behind a book or computer many hours out of every day and so you want something with a little more action. For this reason, students often find jobs as delivery drivers because they get to stay out and about for at least six hours on a workday. Don’t have a licence? Pick up a manual and start studying for the written theory portion. Take practice exams on sites like Top Tests, and before you know it you’ll be ready for the practical driving test.

Telephone Skills

There are many call centres around the UK just looking for young people who have some techie type skills to man the phones. Some are customer service centres and others are tech departments where customers can phone in with enquiries on everything from operating that new digital pressure cooker to mounting that huge flat screen television to the wall. Most businesses like to hire college students for call centres for a number of reasons. While they are typically just looking for an income to make it through school years, they are not looking for a career. That’s pretty reasonable for a call centre as there aren’t too many positions up the ladder except perhaps team leader or floor manager. If you have any telephone skills at all, working in a call centre would give you the income you need without stressing you to overachieve.

Soft Skills Are a Plus

Formerly referred to as ‘people skills,’ a student who is personable with great communication skills can find a job working in anything from customer service to clerking in a local food mart. There are so many jobs open to someone with a wide array of soft skills that this is something you should emphasise on any application you submit. Personable young students can find a job easily if they are not looking to start their careers just yet.

If you had to sum up what you’d need to find a job while in university, look to getting your driving licence and hone up on your people skills. From there, your choices will be many. Make the right one and you might even find a job in your chosen field! Wouldn’t that be a nice way to see if this is the industry you want to spend the rest of your life in? Either way, learn to drive and work on your communication skills and that job is all yours for the taking.

Monday, 13 February 2017

How to Become a Commodities Broker or Trader

Have you ever been attracted to the idea of being a commodities broker? Or, perhaps, a commodities trader? These two professions share certain aspects but in reality are quite different. This blog explains the difference and what kind of people might be better suited to each role.

‘Commodity’, ‘trader’ and ‘broker’

First of all we should define the ‘commodities’ part. A commodity in economic terms is a good or product interchangeable with any other of its type, so that while quality may vary slightly there is a set price per unit, and a basic standard (called the ‘basic grade’) that must be met by all producers. Oil is perhaps the most well-known commodity – a barrel of oil is the same price no matter where it is produced.

There is then the difference between a trader and a broker. These terms are often used interchangeably, whereas, while they often work together, their roles are completely different. The skills they require and what kind of career path each can expect intersect, but also have important differences.

A commodities trader buys and sells commodities for their own profit or loss. A commodities broker executes orders to buy or sell commodities contract on behalf of clients, and makes money through commissions. The difference is occasionally explained as being the same as a player and a referee, with the trader buying and selling and the broker facilitating and overseeing the transaction.

Becoming a commodities trader

There are several routes that might lead become a commodities trader. It is not in fact necessary to have a degree, although finding an entry level job will be easier with one (and degrees that demonstrate mathematical and analytical aptitude are particularly desirable).

Many traders start off finding a job in the trading arm of a larger institution like an investment bank or a major corporation, often starting their journey through an internship. Working with professionals in a large-scale trading environment provides essential experience, and along the way you will gain the professional qualifications necessary to become a fully operational trader. (Commodities trading is a regulated profession, so you will need to obtain recognised qualification from the Financial Conduct Authority’s appropriate qualifications list.) Keeping up with these qualifications is necessary to continue trading, so some knowledge of the laws and regulations surrounding the profession will be useful both while working and while job-hunting.

If you’re interested in commodity trading in the UK, it will be helpful to look up the Financial Conduct Authority, the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment, and the Chartered Finance Association.

Becoming a commodities broker

Different commodities have different rules and regulations and therefore require slightly different career paths. Securities like shares or derivatives are regulated, meaning there are more barriers to entry. Acting as a broker for something like physical gold (as opposed to gold futures, for example) does not require regulation, and so for applicants with the right natural aptitude this route can be an easier way to find success.

Good degrees for commodities brokers include Law, Business Studies and Marketing, but more important is to have natural ability in sales, with an interest in current affairs, and the quickness to quickly grasp complex financial concepts.

Starting salaries

The most pertinent information for many thinking about a career in commodities will be starting salaries. Traders can expect to get salaries and possible bonuses of £50k in the first year. Brokers can also expect £50k, from salary and commission. Both jobs require a lot of work, and you can safely expect to be doing weeks that are more than the normal forty hours. The lower earnings limit for traders is possibly higher, but the upper limit for a broker might be said to be higher – in fact in terms of salary there is not much between them.

It’s often confusing hearing people discuss being a commodities broker or trader – often thought of as being the same or similar, their roles are quite different and an individual will not be fully suited to both. As a student interested in these professions, your degree subject may alert you to which you’re better suited to, although other skills and interests are often more important than what you’re studying for right now.

Josh Saul is the founder and managing director of physical gold brokerage The Pure Gold Company. Having originally studied law, he has more than 10 years experience in commodities trading and brokering.