Hi everyone, my name is Chandeep Kundi and I am a final year LLB Law Student hoping to pursue a career at the Bar. The Graduate + award has been a great way of ensuring that I am on track to pursue my career goals and an effective programme to help document my extra-curricular activities and receive recognition for them. Like all students, I was introduced to this programme in my first year, but it was only until my Second year that I decided to begin completing the award. The award was an excellent opportunity to showcase the skills and experiences I have developed during my course and university life. The various activities listed within each of the awards (Bronze, Silver, Gold) act as a good starting point for skills that we as students should aim to achieve.
An example of this, when initially filling out my award, I came across a section that requested me to document an experience in which I have “Voluntarily helped the community in some way”. Although I actively volunteer to participate in a local weekly Soup Kitchen and provide seva at my local Gurudwara, I felt I should do something more. This led me to create a Charity called CyberAdvice alongside 10 volunteers, who are either my university friends or family members. The primary aim of this charity is to become a medium for all people to use if they ever fall into a situation in which they are stuck or unsure of what to do next regarding a cybercrime issue. It is essentially a website that facilitates a web chat function in which users can go on and receive advice from legal professionals/legal students/volunteers, free and instantly saving the hassle of looking for numbers to call and, most importantly, removing the embarrassment that can be faced when discussing sensitive issues with family members. The Graduate+ program pushed the skills I developed.
Every activity that I completed within the Graduate+ programme helped me not just to receive the award but to also gain key life skills and fully equip myself for any future opportunities to ensure that I have all the relevant experience/knowledge to stand out amongst other candidates/applicants. Graduate+ helped me create a LinkedIn profile that amounted to over 500 Law connections within the West Midlands and even helped me gain the position of a Panel Member for the CPS Young Persons Scrutiny Panel. The programme further goes into detail about many essential interview skills. It acts as a perfect checklist for students to refer to empowering themselves for life during and after university. I found it helpful with the format of Graduate+. It breaks down all the key skills into individual categories.
Further, it separates them into specific activities such as taking a placement, volunteering in Open Days, or key language skills through Rosetta Stone. The usage of the STAR technique is requested within the Silver/Gold Awards, in which I had to specify how I solved problems and provide evidence to prove it, along with all the feelings that I demonstrated while I was completing the task. That way, I couldn’t just type what they wanted to hear. I had to prove it. This helped prepare me for future interviews as it has informed me on how the interviewers are looking for answers and helped me prepare for them.
Why should BCU students complete their Graduate+ Award?
All levels of Graduate+ are essential to complete; they allow you to reflect on your experiences to understand how they have benefitted you. Graduate+ is essential when linking to personal development, careers and employability, as every employer wants to know about your transferrable skills from the academic level to the “real life” world, so having something you can reflect on through Graduate+ is excellent when filling out application forms and going for interviews for jobs. Completing all the levels of this award also looks brilliant on your CV as it shows that you have done so much more at university than just the academic side of things expected of you.
Yes, Graduate + looks good on your CVs/personal statements. Still, if you need guidance on what activities to volunteer in or help network with relevant organisations/etc., this is the program for you. You can never have too much experience!
Chandeep Kundi – Final Year LLB Law Student.