This year I’m taking on the Leicester award for industry awareness with Next. There are a variety of different Leicester awards, all of which are designed to give you the skills that employers look for. This year there are more opportunities than ever in a huge amount of different areas, including gaining teaching experience in schools, evaluating and improving your work leading student societies and being on committees, or more specific awards linked to specific employers such as this one. They are linked to the University careers service, which can also help with application forms, interviews and assessment centres. I have personally been there quite a few times this year, helping with my job hunt. If I were to go back though, I would recommend you visit them earlier so that you get an idea, before your final year, of what you need to do to achieve your career aspirations.
As I love numbers and problem solving, but also really enjoy shopping for clothes and keeping up with fashion, I chose to take the Leicester award with Next, looking at Merchandising. This involves making sure that the shops have the right amount of clothes in stock at any one point to make as much money for the company and attract customers to the store. This can involve analysing sales figures and forescasting ternds, whilst also knowing the customer base inside out. This sounds really interesting as a way to use the numerical, computing and analytical skills I have gained throughout my degree, whilst being in the fashion industry which is very fast paced and reliant on knowing what people want and what they will want to wear.
I have chosen to do this Leicester award to gain more insight into this sector, and to gain experience in a workplace environment. We get the opportunity to visit the Next headquarters for workshops, and a final mock interview, which should be really good experience, not just for this job but for any that I go for. This is also an area that I had not heard of before this opportunity came up, but did sound very suited to my skills, so I am keen to get more information about what this role would really entail and what a typical working day might be like.
As I attend interviews and assessment centres for graduate roles, it is a deeply scary prospect that in July I will have finished university and be looking for a full time job, but I am glad that the careers service is there to help with this, and things such as the Leicester award can also help to make the most of your time at university, and make sure you leave with more than just a degree.