Charity of the Month: Depaul UK

Depaul UK  is a youth homelessness charity that began in 1989 in response to growing homelessness in London. Since then they have expanded continuously, now working nationally and internationally with projects in Manchester, Ireland, Slovakia, Ukraine, France and the USA. The founder members all had their roots in the life and work of Saint Vincent de Paul (1581-1660).

Depaul UK focus on young people in crisis and beyond, and they run several projects throughout Greater Manchester.  They work closely with Manchester City Council and other housing providers as part of the Manchester Young People’s Housing Alliance, working together to provide supported housing for young people, in a project called Safestop Manchester.

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SAFESTOP MANCHESTER

Safestop have been in Manchester since 2000, and is a high-needs project, meaning that they will often house young people in crisis. Each person who is referred to them is assessed individually and a tailored support package is designed and put in place for their individual progression. This can include anything from helping them to register with a doctor, to attending appointments and referring them to specialist agencies if needed. The primary objective is to equip the young person with independent living skills that provide them with the confidence needed to move into their own tenancy, or into semi-supported living.

OTHER LOCAL PROJECTS

  • Oldham Reconnect work with young people aged 16 to 25 and their families to improve communication and relationships in order to prevent homelessness. It uses meditation and other tools to respond creatively and quickly.
  • Statham House Rochdale offer 24 hour support to young people (16-17) in the Rochdale area who are leaving care.
  • Oldham Pathway & Nightstop Oldham  aim to break the cycle of homelessness that young people can get caught up in, by helping them work through behaviours that prevent them from moving on and securing stable accommodation.
  • The Depaul Box Company have used the public association between homelessness and sleeping on boxes to develop a business idea to help fight homelessness. They sell packs of cardboard boxes in varying sizes, for moving home or storage, with all the profits going back to Depaul UK. So when you move your stuff, you’ll help a young person move off the streets.

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WATCH & FIND OUT MORE:

Depaul UK’s emergency accommodation network, Nightstop, https://www.nightstop.org.uk/ has launched a new film which aims to raise awareness of youth homelessness in Britain – #WeHearYou. It shares messages from young homeless people with strangers, filming their reactions to harrowing and real stories of rough sleeping and life on the streets.  Nightstop is also featured in a channel 4 documentary – ‘Would You Take in a Stranger?’ Watch it here.

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Depaul have advertised short work placement opportunities within Psychology, and are currently working on year placement descriptions so keep an eye out. If you’re not doing placements but would like to get involved, they are always looking for committed volunteers who would like further experience with homelessness, youth support services and outreach work. They have centres all over the UK so you could get involved in your hometown as well as in Manchester. Get involved here.

  • Read the Depaul UK blog here.
  • Like them on Facebook here.
  • Follow them on Twitter here.

 

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Placement Year Interview: Corah Lewis

Where was your year placement?
My placement was at the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health in London and I was working with the Psychological Medicine Research Team. I was involved in a number of research studies looking into the mental health and well-being of children with physical illnesses. I also had the opportunity to work with the Psychological Medicine Clinical Team at GOSH, helping to run psycho-education groups for young people with Tourette’s and observing CBT sessions working on a range of mental health difficulties.

If you moved out of Manchester, where did you live? 
I was lucky enough to have family who live in London who let me stay with them for the duration of my placement. It wasn’t a paid placement, so I don’t think I could have done it if I didn’t have them being so generous with their spare room!

Was your placement paid?
No it wasn’t paid, however they did cover my travel costs around London for the year.

Do you have any tips for accessing funding for placements?
I used the ‘Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding’, and I must have sent off around 20 letters/emails to different trusts and charities, and anyone who I thought it might be worth contacting. In the end I did get a decent amount of funding – I think when organisations saw a name like Great Ormond Street that caught their eye they were more open to offering funding.

What psychology-related skills did you use whilst on placement?
I used pretty much everything to do with Mental Health and clinical practices I had learned in my first and second year, including when I was working with young people who had depression and anxiety as a result of their physical condition. I also used a lot of skills from our research methods modules, everything from designing studies, to data collection methods and data analysis techniques.

Were there new skills that you needed to familiarise yourself with?
I didn’t realise how much went on behind the scenes of research, like all of the ethics applications, funding applications and how difficult it can be to get a study up and running. I had to learn pretty quickly what each involved and how I could best help. There are just so many things that that you wouldn’t think of because they go on behind the scenes, we just see the final publication.

What was the most challenging aspect of being on placement?
I think probably the amount of responsibility I had, in the setting up and running of the studies. There were a lot of jobs like referencing papers and getting them ready to be sent to journals and I do feel like they were really good at recognising when you put the effort in with tasks like that and rewarding you with a lot of responsibility.
At times I felt a bit like I was unqualified or unprepared for doing things, but it wasn’t at all like they were throwing me in the deep end. They were always very supportive and were there when I needed them to be, but I guess they just felt that I could do it so I just had to learn to believe in myself that I could do it!

What was the best/most enjoyable part of the placement?
I think the same thing – having so much responsibility. To be able to look back at it now and think ‘I designed that study’, or to be able to say ‘I did that’ is really rewarding. I think getting named on a paper was the best thing to come out of it, particularly when thinking about my CV and applying for jobs next year – to say that I am a published researcher will be great.

I think another major benefit of my placement was being able to start my final year research project early, I am looking into the mental health of young people with Cystic Fibrosis. Starting it early meant I could recruit GOSH patients as participants, and do it on something I was really passionate about which I think will mean I not only work harder at it but enjoy the whole process a whole lot more!

I also just loved finishing at 5 and having evenings and weekends to myself, and not being in the library all the time!

How has your placement year affected your career aspirations?
It hasn’t changed them at all, just re-enforced them – it’s made me want to go down the clinical route even more. It’s also confirmed for me that I want to work with children. I loved doing things like helping to run the Tourette’s groups and working with such amazing children and young people. There were a lot of students who were doing masters and PhDs, and were currently applying for the Clinical Doctorate, so I learnt a lot from them about how the application process works, which was really useful.

What’s your best tip for finding a placement/applying?
I was really lucky in that this was the first placement I applied for, but I didn’t under any circumstances think I was actually going to get it. I just thought it would be good practise to apply and thought I might as well, I had nothing to lose! So yeah I just went for it, and I would recommend that to others, go for any that you think look interesting!

Would you recommend doing a placement year to other students & why?
Yes definitely. I loved it, I stayed working there for 11 months in the end (longer than the required 9 months) because I was enjoying it so much and didn’t want to leave! Initially I saw it as a year where I could just try out something that I might want to do, and even if I came out of it thinking it’s absolutely not what I want to do, it’s still a really good use of the year. But I loved it so much and feel like I’ve made connections there that will hopefully be useful when I graduate. Even just having a break from Uni was so nice, I feel like I definitely needed that after second year. I feel I have come back to final year feeling fresh and ready to get back into it!

What would you say to people who are feeling demotivated?
I think just having that ‘nothing to lose’ mentality is really important. I’m fully expecting that when I come to apply for jobs after graduation that I will face rejection after rejection, so I feel like to be honest it might prepare you well for that! If you’re able to deal with it now then it won’t be as demotivating when it happens then. Keep trying and good luck with it!

Placement Year Interview: Ioana Pintilie

Where is your year placement? 
I’m currently doing a year placement as an Assistant User Researcher at HMRC digital, so I’m working in the public sector. I am based in Telford – although HMRC digital offers Industrial Placement roles in other locations across the UK as well

Is your placement paid?
Yes, my placement is paid.

What psychology-related skills or knowledge are you currently using whilst on this placement?
So far I have mainly used transferable skills that are often required in research environments, including psychological research. Analytical research, data handling & analysis, presentation and report writing skills and, of course, teamwork abilities.

What has been the most challenging aspect of the placement so far?
In terms of the work itself, I think something that did make me feel a bit overwhelmed was the enormous amount of knowledge that I had to catch up with and become accustomed to when I first joined the team. This includes everything from the context of their work, its relation to the works of other teams and the progress so far on their research, to local work procedures and jargon – and even team-only customs, like regular socials and daily work reviews. But if I am to compare how I feel at the moment to how I felt during my first few weeks, I would say I am making good progress.
                From a more personal perspective, I would say the entire change from being a student, surrounded by students, in a city like Manchester, to being an employee, surrounded by working professionals, away from my friends and familiar places, in an office near Telford town centre. It’s quite a drastic change, but I don’t regret it regardless of how much I miss my lifestyle from last year.

What has been the best/most enjoyable part of the placement?
I think the community within the workplace has been a really pleasant surprise. Being not only my first time working in the UK, but my first full-time job ever, I arrived here with plenty of worries with regards to how I will manage to adapt to a highly professional and high-standard working environment after having spent the past two years surrounded by fellow students. Not to mention all the scenarios that I had in my mind, as a foreigner, where even the slightest cultural differences would somehow lead to awkward situations between me and my workmates.
Instead, I’ve found myself in a diverse and welcoming community, where workmates are always happy to support each other, where effort is constantly made to make the work both efficient and engaging even at the busiest times and where teamwork and collaboration across teams is encouraged at all times – both within and outside of the office! It is, indeed, an ideal work environment from the social networking and relationship building perspectives.

What aspect are you most excited about? 
In the near future, I will be leading interviews for user research, which is something I am both curious and excited about. In the more distant future, it is my hope to bring an important, meaningful contribution to any of the projects currently in development. So far I have been assisting several teams with all sorts of tasks that involve recruitment for research, report writing and conducting analytical research, which has gradually made me feel more ambitious. This will depend, however on both my personal progress and the progress of the work on developing projects at the moment.

How has your placement year affected your career aspirations?
The very reason why I have decided to do this placement year was to explore a career option I have not considered before, which is user research. At the end of my 12 months here I hope to be able to decide for myself whether or not a career in user research is something for me. Until then, I will make use of my time here to make discoveries about myself, my practical capabilities, my ambitions and my preferences in terms of a future career – things that until now have seemed quite ambiguous even to myself.

What’s your best tip for finding a placement/applying?
Basically, never stop looking and never stop applying. Make an effort to find some time every day to progress on this. If it’s time consuming, it’s because looking for any job, placement or full-time, is a job in itself. Start early and apply anywhere and everywhere – it could even be roles that don’t even have the word “Psychology” in their titles, tags or job descriptions. If someone between you and the employer should decide whether you are fit for a role, always leave the employer to decide, while you do your best to convince them you are.

If rejected, be resilient – do not be afraid to ask for feedback and acknowledge where and how you should improve. Make full use of both resources offered by the University and the Faculty as well as external ones. Do mock interviews, practice answers on typical questions, ask for help if you need it at any point – as repetitive as these words sound, I found all of this made such a huge difference in my case!

It’s a tiring, tedious and highly frustrating process, but the more effort you put into it, the sooner you’ll reach your desired outcome. If you do receive an offer, think very carefully if you should accept it immediately or if you can afford to keep looking for alternatives – ideally after requesting a deadline for your final decision with regards to that offer.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, do not be afraid to explore. Always keep in mind that it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance and the benefits of such an experience are worth every effort.

Would you recommend a placement year to other students & why?
Yes, absolutely – especially if you are undecided about what you want to do after you graduate, like I am. A placement year is killing two birds with one stone: on one hand it allows you to afford exploring, asking questions, making mistakes, learning, discovering and developing a clear, practical skill set, as opposed to just academic knowledge. At the end of the placement year you will find yourself with extra skills and knowledge, which can only be a benefit to you.

On the other hand, outside of working hours, not having coursework and exams to worry about for a full year gives you the time to sit down and think. About anything – your ambitions, your passions, your abilities. You will be able to clearly illustrate to yourself what you know so far, what you don’t know and what you need to figure out. Strictly speaking, the worst thing that can happen is you realising mid-year that the work you are doing for the placement is not for you – which means you get to rule it out without the trouble you would expect in the context of a full-time, post-graduation job. In my view at least, a placement year can only be beneficial.

That being said, start applying if you haven’t already and make the coming academic year your year!

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT IOANA’S PLACEMENT read her ‘first week’ blog post on the HMRC website here!

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International Placements – Why do them? Where to look?

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Working abroad can be personally, professionally, and academically beneficial, particularly in the globally connected world of today. It shows that you have an ability to adapt to a new professional and cultural environment, whilst still maintaining a life at home. Finding a placement or job abroad can seem like a lot of extra stuff to organise – because of visa requirements, funding etc. – but it is so worthwhile in the long-run and you’ll forget about all that extra stuff once it’s done. You can even use the extra organisation to your advantage by using it as an example of organisational or time-management skills on your CV or in Interviews.

WHERE TO LOOK

The University has established links with various organisations overseas, including voluntary groups as well as more corporate, business-related  places. The first place to explore if you’re keen to find out more is Passport Careers  – an online platform that will help you explore jobs, internships, study abroad and volunteering around the world. Passport Careers is full of useful resources, including International Career Tools and Global Career Training.

globeIf you’re interested specifically in Voluntary positions, have a look at the International Volunteering Page on the University’s website. This contains information about SLV Global and The LIFE Foundation – two organisations which have existing close links with psychology. SLV Global is a graduate-led volunteering organisation working in Sri Lanka and Bali, Indonesia, and volunteers work within psychiatric facilities, mental health projects and teaching organisations, developing a wide range of skills throughout. SLV Global placements run from 4-12 weeks, so if you are interested in undertaking one as part of the year placement programme, you can combine it with another placement to make up the requirements.  The LIFE Foundation train volunteers to provide practical support to children and adults with disabilities and learning difficulties in Romania, in care homes and institutions. Volunteers are trained to provide stimulatory and therapeutic input with the aim of aiding development.

If you’re looking for a placement or job that isn’t in the voluntary sector, have a look at this page on the UoM Careers Service for information about ERASMUS and other international placement providers (some charge a fee for their services so research beforehand). There is also a link to ‘opportunities in different countries’, which are divided by region. This page has relevant links for Job Hunting and Passport Careers for individual countries/regions to narrow down your search further.

As with all job hunting, it’s also crucial to keep an eye on CareersLink. Using the Advanced Search in the vacancy tab, you can select all the countries you’d like to see opportunities from! CareersLink is being updated constantly, so either make sure you check it regularly, or select ‘email me new vacancies’ to be sure you’re on top of all new postings.

THINGS TO CONSIDER:

  • Funding – Working abroad can be extremely costly, particularly in certain regions and particularly if you are looking to voluntary work. Use the above resources to help you make a cost estimate, and then research the funding opportunities that may be available to you.
  • Organisation – setting up a placement abroad will require you to be even more organised, because things like Visa’s, funding applications, insurance checks etc. all take a while and have strict deadlines.
  • Language barriers – with SLV and the LIFE Foundation there are usually interpreters to aid with translation, but language barriers are certainly something to bear in mind if you are keen to go abroad for a placement/job, particularly if it is a longer-term arrangement.

 

TIPS: Searching for Jobs & Placements

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If you’re currently searching for placement opportunities or graduate jobs, the chances are you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information about sectors and roles. Job searching can be particularly daunting with a degree as versatile as psychology, because graduates go into such a range of careers ranging from healthcare to business to charities. Using the Careers Service and Just for Psychologists, I’ve compiled a list of tips and useful websites that can be your go-to when looking for grad jobs/placements.

Top Tips for Finding Placements:

  • Decide on what you can and can’t be flexible on – if you are set on a particular sector or job; consider being flexible on location, and vice versa. Being dead set on every factor will limit the options open to you!
  • Using LinkedIn, find someone who has your dream job and look at their previous experience to see what career steps they took to get to where they are now. Research their previous roles for placement/grad job inspiration.
  • Set aside time a week to research/apply for positions. It can feel really time-consuming so if you incorporate it into your regular timetable it will feel less overwhelming. Once you’ve applied for a few, you’ll build up a bank of answers and experience.
  • Use your Careers Advisors! This page from Just for Psychologists has all the information you need to contact the Psychology Careers Experts (Jane and Amanda)
  • Don’t be put off if vacancies aren’t advertised – some organisations may be willing to tailor make a placement/grad job for the right candidate.
  • Attend as many Careers Fairs, events, workshops, talks… as possible! The more people you speak to the more confident you will feel when applying for positions.

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Life-saving websites and online tools:

LinkedIn
Setting up a LinkedIn profile can seem as time-consuming as writing a CV at first, but it’s really not. LinkedIn give you all the headings you need to complete, and you can pull most of the information you need from your CV. Once you’ve got a profile, you can use LinkedIn to search organisations that you’re interested in, stalk the people that work there, find out about similar organisations, ‘connect’ with people you think may be able to help you out etc. People are recruited and hired through LinkedIn every day – join here

Rate my Placement
Rate my Placement is a search engine of different placement schemes. It also has a bank of reviews from previous placement employees with detailed questions like: ‘what was the general atmosphere in your office? RMP lets you search jobs by industry, has info on the ‘top employers’ which are rated highly by users, and has an advice blog!

Prospects
Prospects is a Career Development website that has a career planner quiz to match your skills and personality to a selection of jobs. It also has careers advice including CV and Cover Letter guidance, interview tips and a section called what can I do with my degree? See the psychology page here 

Starting Point Guides
Depending on which sector you are looking to go into, the way in which you start looking for a placement, and then the steps towards applying, will sometimes vary quite a lot. Even though a lot of employers will ask for a CV/Covering Letter, there are lots of other ways that a potential employer might assess an applicant. These starting point guides cover presentation skills, interviews and psychometric tests to list a few. At the bottom of the page there’s also a list of guides about different careers, sectors and occupations.

Just for Psychologists – Missed Anything?
This page on Just for Psychologists is where information and resources from previous events or workshops is are posted, for if you weren’t able to come along or you just want a refresher.

CareersLink – Organisation Directory
The Organisation Directory lists all of the organisations that actively recruit University of Manchester students and graduates. These include NHS organisations, charities/not-for-profits, marketing agencies and big retailers to name a few. Browsing the directory will open your eyes to how many organisations are looking to recruit Manchester students.

 

 

Placement Year Interview: Katy Robinson

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Katy Robinson is a final year psychology student who has recently returned from her placement working in the HR Department of Jacobs Douwe Egberts. 

Where was your year placement? 
HR Placement at Jacobs Douwe Egberts, based in Banbury, Oxfordshire.

If you moved out of Manchester for your placement, where did you live and how did you find housing?
lived in a flat with another other placement student (there were around 22 placement students across the business). We were invited to an ‘orientation day’ where we met other students, could start to find people we wanted to live with etc. Then we just connected with those people on social media and around April/May we went to view flats.

Was your placement paid?
Yes

What psychology-related skills or knowledge did you use whilst on this placement?
Working in Training and Development meant I used a lot of personality tests and indicators similar to Myers Briggs for team training exercises.

What was the most challenging aspect of being on placement?
There isn’t much going on in Banbury, so it was a change from Manchester. At first, working 9-5 was tiring but I soon got over that.

What was the best/most enjoyable part of the placement?
I loved the working routine, and having the evenings completely free with no guilt about doing work. I gained a lot of skills and experience that are proving very useful for applying to graduate schemes. Being paid was obviously a bonus too.

How has your placement year affected your career aspirations?
My year in HR at an FMCG has shown me that I am interested in working in the commercial world, but has opened my eyes to new parts of the business that I may want to work in, that I didn’t know about before.

What’s your best tip for finding a placement/applying?
Use Rate My Placement and the university careers site and apply for as many as you can. Take into account location and living arrangements too as they can make a difference to your year.

Would you recommend a placement year to other students & why?
Yes, it gave me an extra year to understand what I want (and don’t want) to do after university, it gave me skills and lots of stuff to put on my CV, I made connections in the corporate world that may help me in the future and it was a nice break from studying (the first Christmas break since I was 14 that I didn’t have to study through).

Unilever Senior Leaders Talk

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Unilever is one of the world’s leading FMCG (Fast-Moving Consumer Goods) companies, working across Foods, Refreshments, Home Care and Personal Care, with market leader brands including Persil, Dove, Magnum, Flora, Marmite and Lynx. In fact, 150 million times a day, someone, somewhere chooses a Unilever product!

This Thursday 9th November 2-4pm, Lauren Laird, one of Unilever’s Global Research & Design Directors will be coming to the University to deliver a presentation which will provide insight into Unilever as a company. Lauren has worked across multiple areas within the company.

In addition to the talk, there will be useful information provided about both placement and graduate schemes offered by Unilever. You will also get an opportunity to ask any questions that you may have, as well as to meet past and present students who have taken part in placement or graduate schemes with Unilever.

The event will be held in the EBL Suite (4th Floor) of the James Chadwick Building – see you there!

REGISTER YOUR INTEREST HERE

CareersLink event ID: 4317