As some of you may know I am a big fan of the History Department’s initiative the History Apprentice as I think it offers you important incite into te scary future of graduate employability.
Just before my second year ended I signed up to the two day History Apprentice which was offered to at the time current 1st an 2nd year History students. Thinking nothing more of it but a date in my diary I received an email about a week ago explaining the schedule for the the two days and also explaining that on the Friday we would be put through what is best described as a mock assessment day, for which we would have to prepare a presentation for a made up heritage company and go through a group exercise and finally end on an individual interview.
So Thursday came and the first day of the History Apprentice began. Our first lecture was by someone who had been through various jobs with his History degree and how he felt the job market responded to a History student. The second part of the day was slightly more scary- how to apply, when to apply and what you need to apply for graduate jobs. Both talks were insightful and tried to show us different aspects of the job market that one day we will have to enter. However, personally I felt the second talk more practical as it spoke directly about certain aspects we need to know when applying, which is vital for us at the moment as yes it is nice to hear about a job, but we also need to know how we can get one.
The second day was more intense. The email I mentioned before provided us with information of the company we were applying o work for, what our future role in that company could be and a list of questions that we will could be asked. I resented this all a little bit as on Wednesday night I missed out on watching Robin Hood: Men in Tights to research and practice my speech (however the work I did on Wednesday meant I was able to watch Hook on Thursday night and relax a little).
So Friday morning started and there we all were in business clothes ready to be tried, tested, and eventually tired. We started with a little briefing about the day and then got split up into groups. What I found interesting about this is I was put with a mix of people who I didn’t know and there was a lot of second years so I got to meet some new fellow Historians. I also got o meet some new teachers who would be acting as our potential employers for the day. This was a nice chance to chat a little with some different History staff, which is always good as on the hole the History department has a very nice and interesting staff and it is always worth talking to them.
I won’t go through the details of the presentations, group exercise or interview in much detail, but I will say that it really pushed you to think about why you should be hired and what makes you stand out, and once you learn that it becomes so much easier to show off those qualities to potential employers.
At the end of the day all of the students and staff who participated in the History Apprentice discussed the uses of this exercise and we were all in agreement that is has really helped us understand the graduate job market and where, if we apply our self and our course we can fit into it. We also discussed throughout the two days that gaining a History degree can be applied to so many different situations that we are often unaware of. The entire day helped me, and I think the other students to make the most out of what we gain from or degree, as History has so many valuable transferable skills.
If you are worried about your future in the job market or want to learn a bit more about your options with a History degree I’d strongly recommend you signing onto the careers website and booking an appointment or dropping in to the new careers office (now attached to the Percy Gee) and asking to speak to someone. Also listen out for any whispers (more likely emails) of History Apprentice events and really use the opportunities available to you.
I did not take any photos over the two days, but I like putting photographs in my blogs so here goes-