The main goal of the careers cafe was to give us an idea of what life is and would be like after university by Bangor graduates as well as an opportunity to network.
The speakers were of various ages, backgrounds and all took different paths through their university and work careers in biology, biochemistry and zoology.
The first speaker was Bethan Wyn Jones who graduated in 2014. She spoke of her experiences of working with the Snowdonia Society which then set her on the path to her current position as a seasonal warden in the Snowdonia National Park where she is a part of constructing and implementing a 5 year plan for Mount Snowdon.
Next to speak was Dawn Thomas. As a mature student, after a nursing career, she studied ecology before getting a position as a research assistant. After volunteering for various conservation organisations she became a living seas awareness officer for the North Wales Wildlife Trust.
Previous to this workshop I have considered a career in teaching after university which made what Graham French said all the more relatable than the other speakers. After graduating he didn’t know what to do so worked at a local outdoors centre before returning to university to complete a PGCE. With this qualification he has been able to work internationally.
Finally, John Canon from Welsh Water works as a water science manager after working for Natural Resources Wales as a research assistant.
Take home messages
All speakers have some extremely useful advice from general careers advice to how to approach job applications.
Dawn and Bethan both expressed the importance of volunteering as a way to gain important skills whilst doing something you enjoy and whilst building a good CV. They also highlighted that when applying for jobs apply for everything and be flexible.
Graham highlighted that you can use your degree for a numerous amount of different directions. In the UK there is a demand for science teachers with the government providing grants for people wanting to enter this career. Despite this the most important piece of advice I found was before doing so get a real world context. From my own educational experience I found that my favourite and best teachers had careers before teaching, which is what I intend to do.
Finally, John expressed that you should always keep learning and improving your skills whether that consists of specialist training on the job or by returning to university.
Now, what am I going to do?
Like the rest of this module, what I have learnt from this workshop has been surprisingly useful. I picked up on the importance of volunteering experiences, a solid CV and perseverance.
Although, the only piece of advice that really stuck was from Dawn. She said no matter what happens don’t be disheartened, keep applying for jobs, keep volunteering just keep going.