As part of my Bio Enterprise and Employability module for my third year at Bangor University, I was required to create this blog and posts based on five seminars and five modular activities.
This posts marks the final task of the module; looking back on the entire module and reflecting on how it has affected my career plans.
The seminars I was required to view and write posts on were focused on the research aspects of bioscience; as such they did help me establish a clearer picture of a career in research.
Some seminars, like Seminar #1 put me off certain aspects of research.
Dr. Nick Winder’s presentation on the usage of systems and models in research deterred me somewhat to the concept of a research-based career, as he told of the trials and tribulations of conducting research, and how a lot of the time research is pointless, ignored or not valid for long.
Alternatively, seminars like Seminar #4 by Prof. Russell Hill showed how research can be interesting and actually help discover new findings that can be used relevantly, for example by knowing the behaviour and locations of dangerous predators based on the behaviour of primates.
As such I am open to the idea of pursuing a career in research, although the area of research (Marine Zoology) remains the same.
As such, I (alongside my Dragon’s Den group) was able to create a theoretically-viable enterprising idea:
Converting the Bodnant Botanic Gardens in Bangor into a wildlife park, simultaneously used for generating profit and conducting research and conservation practices on endangered organisms.
Short video on how to construct a business plan
However, I shan’t be using this business plan to pursue a career, as I remain uninterested in pursuing a career in business.
Likewise, the CV-writing lectures and assessment endowed me with skills necessary to write a professional-looking CV, which I shall use as a base for writing actual CVs when applying for employment.
These activities proved to be some of the most helpful, as I had little to no prior knowledge of CV writing.
I already had a firm grasp on the use of social media, so I didn’t learn much from lectures on the subject.
The interview skills sections of the module also proved to be extremely valuable, as it provided me with the necessary skills to navigate through an interview successfully, which I had previously been lacking.
The Assessment Centre Workshop also provided me with insight into the kind of worker I am.
The result of a Belbin Psychometric Test revealed that I am mostly akin to a ‘Plant’ worker – an ‘ideas person’, creating the initial ideas necessary for formulating a product or strategy.
A short video detailing the various roles from the Belbin psychometric test, from the designers of the test
This confirmed my previous beliefs on myself being an ‘ideas person’ primarily in a work situation.
This module has enforced my work ethic when it comes to group work, especially with strangers.
The Dragon’s Den assessment required students to be sorted into random groups, leaving me in a group with 6 strangers.
Despite us not knowing one another, we found common ground in our work ethic and love of zoology, and managed to successfully design and pitch a business plan for a wildlife park in Treborth Botanic Gardens.
Advertisement made as part of the pitch for my group’s Dragon’s Den Workshop business plan
As such I feel more ready to engage in group work with strangers, which will make entering a new job more seamless.
Throughout the module, although I initiated no new business contacts, I have made numerous contacts amongst my fellow students, and College of Natural Sciences staff.
The module has had many positive aspects, and thankfully few negative aspects.
- Developed numerous employability skills which were previously lacking or fell short
- Gained insight into the process of how to achieve employment both in general, and in the scientific field
- The structure of the module was very accommodating, allowing me to mostly work on my own time and fit tasks around my personal schedule
- Learned what is necessary to pursue certain biology-related careers.
- Good feedback and support from university staff and fellow students
- The content of some of the seminars was difficult to understand
- The time limits for some of the tasks during the Dragon’s Den workshop ended up being fairly tight
One aspect of employability I found repeated through the module was the value of experience.
According to the guests at the Careers Café workshop, the main factor which determines your employability is prior experience.
Volunteering with an organisation for extensive period beforehand is almost mandatory for numerous organisations, as stated by Bethan Jones during the café.
Volunteering promotion for North Wales Wildlife Trust
As such, in this moment of time I find myself unlikely to achieve employment from a zoology-orientated organisation as I possess little actual prior experience (in terms of volunteering) that is not academic.
Henceforth, I am now pursuing multiple avenues of volunteering that are logistically viable so as to gain more experience in the field of biological/ zoological jobs.
During the course of the module, the idea of pursuing a career as a librarian became appealing, as multiple job suitability tests recommended said career, and its requirements appealed to my temperament and skills.
Following on from the need to volunteer, I am now applying for a volunteering position with Bangor University’s Library and Archives department.
My Career Plan:
Unfortunately I still have not yet decided on a definite career plan, but see myself going down three possible avenues:
- After completing my Masters project next year, stay on at Bangor University or transfer to another university to do a PhD, and pursue a career in scientific research.
- The field I wish to study in, Marine Zoology, has still not changed
- Gain experience from volunteering with Bangor University’s library service, and pursue a Graduate Traineeship with a library after completing my Masters project, hopefully going on to a career as a librarian.
- Commence volunteering with biological/ zoological organisations, and hopefully gain employment out of it.
The Future of my Blog:
Now that the module has been completed with the publishing of this article and submission of this blog, the activity of this blog will most likely decline.
However, should I encounter or think of something interesting to post on this blog, I shall be sure to update it.