Workshop #1: Careers Cafe

The Workshop:

The format of the first Bio Enterprise and Employability workshop had 4 guests, Bangor graduates who had attained various jobs, sat at the front of the room full of students and spoke about their experiences in the workplace and how they attained their various employments.

To begin, Bethan Jones who did gained her degree and masters at Bangor cited various part-time and volunteering positions with government and non-profit organisations both local and abroad.

She now has a secondment as an ecosystem and climate change officer working in Snowdonia.

A key point was experience and skills are favoured over qualifications, gained by diverse volunteering. Furthermore, searching for tips for interviewing successfully online proved to be extremely useful.

Dawn Thomas, who transferred from Marine Biology to an Ecology degree at Bangor University is now a Wildlife Trust Officer. She too stressed the importance of volunteering to gain skills and experience.

Dawn also spoke of how she developed numerous licences for employment with a variety of organisms through volunteering. Her final point was if applying for everything doesn’t work, specify and intensify on the jobs you see best.

Careers cafes involve professionals mingling amongst jobseekers, speaking with them about how they attained employment [Source: Marcom Connect]
Graham French attended Bangor University primarily for the various outdoor activities on offer, and although initially snubbing teaching, took a teaching training course after graduating.

After numerous jobs at high schools globally, he now works at Bangor University, interacting with schoolchildren and utilising his love of the outdoors in his teachings, and says he loves his job.

His ultimate declaration was not to snub potential career paths as you may find then accommodating.

Jon Cannon now works as third-in-command for of the 10 biggest Welsh water companies. His dissertation in Bangor proved to be novel, leading to employment studying crocodiles. After, he worked for the Rivers Authority, then gained a job for Welsh Water via a newspaper advertisement.

He stressed how those who do well during interviews are those who are knowledgeable and draw from experience, and “don’t stop talking”.

Unlike the mingling, socialising nature of most careers cafes, the cafe I participated in was more of a series of speeches by the professionals [Rezcom Network Luncheon]
My Opinions:

The guests appeared to be very knowledgeable about how to attain employment, and provided excellent answers to all questions asked. The fact that all guests said that volunteering was particularly interesting, as it now definitely seems necessary to engage in volunteering to gain employment.

Previously I had little knowledge of how to enter the job market pertaining to biological science, but this workshop has provided ample examples of how to do so.

Many skills are necessary to secure a career, but for careers in conservation, and ‘outdoorsy’ biological sciences, prior experience and volunteering is key [Source: RoadMap to Success]
Thoughts on how this affected my career choices:

From what the guests said about the necessity of volunteering and diversity, I will look into diverse venues of volunteering to gain experience before I graduate uni, which could also help me determine if I’m suitable for my career choices.

The prospect of looking into career choices you wouldn’t initially apply for has led me to enquire into a career as a librarian, or even governmental work.

I have already enquired into volunteering as technical staff at the university, and into volunteering at the university’s libraries.

Volunteer at North Wales Wildlife Trust

GO Wales – Welsh Work Experience Service

Volunteering Wales


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