The Bristol PLUS Award

The Bristol PLUS Award equips already academically brilliant students with the essential skills required to be successful in the working world outside of their university course.

Gemma Minish, Campus Marketing Manager, Thales

The Bristol PLUS Award recognises and rewards University of Bristol students who have gained significant professional and life skills through work experience, volunteering and other activities outside of their studies.

The award is designed to help you enhance your CV, develop a variety of employability skills and be more prepared for the interview process.

A degree is no longer enough

A degree is no longer enough and the reality is that students need to have a variety of skills and experience on top of their degree in order to remain competitive. The Bristol PLUS Award and Outstanding Award provide a framework for you to develop professional skills through activities outside of your degree all of which will help you to stand out from the crowd when applying for graduate roles and internships.

Be prepared for the recruitment and selection process

A big part of the Bristol PLUS Award process is about reflecting on the skills you have developed and learning how to articulate these skills to employers. This is vital in order to be prepared for the recruitment and selection process. We often receive feedback from employers that Bristol students have gained fantastic experience but they are unable to effectively articulate the skills they have developed when at interview stage. As part of the Bristol PLUS Award you will attend an interview skills related workshop and write a reflective report about the skills you have gained through your PLUS Award activities. You will also have a final review session at the end of the award process where you can discuss the skills you have gained and identify clear goals for your next steps.

The Outstanding Award goes further in preparing you for the interview process by providing you the opportunity to give a presentation to a panel during which you must articulate high level employability skills.

Employers value the award

Numerous employers from a wide range of sectors support the Bristol PLUS Award. These employers range from large multinational organisations to small and medium enterprises. The Careers Service works together with endorsing employers to ensure that the award continues to equip students with the employability skills that graduate recruiters are looking for.

Employers value the employability skills you will be gaining and the ability to articulate these skills to them at interview. Find out what employers say about the Bristol PLUS Award: ‌Bristol PLUS Award Employer Quotes (PDF, 680kB)

Students recommend the award process

Overall, the BPA has helped me recognised the transferable skills I have gained in my work experience and have provided me with invaluable skills development through intensive workshops which makes me more employable, helped me to get insight knowledge of the job market in the UK and the skills I need to develop.

Sweet He, Bristol PLUS Award student (Mathematics with Statistics)

The Bristol PLUS Award has allowed me to reflect on and develop skills through a variety of activities in order to improve my overall ability to source and secure work in the future.

Rebecca Ellis, Bristol PLUS Award student (Law)

 

Dates for 2015-16 registration: 

Are you a PGT (Masters) student? If so, you have an extended deadline until Feb 2017. You must still register for the award by 10th Feb 2016.

To achieve the Bristol PLUS Award you must complete the following six requirements, starting with an introductory talk:

Once you have completed the Bristol PLUS Award you might like to consider applying for the Outstanding Award. Designed to recognise the achievements of students who have taken their employability skills to an outstanding level, this award will help you learn how to articulate your skills to employers and prepare you for interview process.

In order to be eligible for the Outstanding Award you must have carried out an activity that has allowed you to demonstrate the following skills:

  • Leadership and teamwork
  • Management of resources
  • Problem solving
  • Commercial awareness
  • Knowledge of sustainability and corporate social responsibility

Further details about what is meant by each of the skills listed above can be found in the Outstanding Award Criteria (PDF, 285kB).

To achieve the Outstanding Award you must complete the following four requirements, starting with an introductory talk:

 Dates for 2015/16 registration:

Registration opens from September 2015 onwards. To register you must attend an introductory talk (available from September 15 - April 2016). There are 3 opportunities to complete throughout the year. You decide at which point to complete. Please plan to your time accordingly.

Further details:

As with the Bristol PLUS Award, your Outstanding Award activity must have been carried out whilst you were a registered University of Bristol student and cannot be compulsory or credit bearing. Please note that your Outstanding Award activity must not have already been used towards your Bristol PLUS Award.

You can use any activity towards the Outstanding Award as long as you can provide clear examples of how the activity has allowed you to demonstrate the skills listed above. There is not a list of eligible activities for the Outstanding Award, however listed below are some examples of activities that have been used in the past to give you an idea of the level of activity that is required:

  • Volunteer project in South Africa
  • Starting up and running a student enterprise 
  • Treasurer of the Law Club
  • Internship at a recruitment company 
  • Epigram Editor
  • Organisation of a large scale sporting event

My intensive skills activity is not on the list, can I still use it?

The list provided is no an exhaustive one, these are merely examples of previously and commonly used suitable activities. If you believe your activity fulfils the criteria of an Intensive Skill but you cannot find it on the drop-down list, select ‘Other’. You can then input details of the activity you did, make sure to include detailed information about what your role/activity included and what employability skills you have gained from it.

My work experience was abroad, is it still valid?

Yes, any work experience gained whilst being a current student at the University of Bristol can be used towards your Bristol PLUS Award. If possible, please provide an email of the referee for contact. However, if your referee is not English speaking, you can provide a recent payslip as evidence of your work experience/employment.

My work experience was last year, can I still use it?

Yes, any work experience gained whilst being a current student of the University of Bristol can be used towards the Bristol PLUS Award. However, you cannot use Industry Placements that are part of your course as work experience. This must be work experience that you have gained outside of your course.

Can I do both the PLUS Award and Outstanding Award in one year?

It is possible to complete both the PLUS Award and Outstanding Award in one year. However, we recommend spreading them out over 2 years, so that you have sufficient experiences to use for both Awards, bearing in mind that you must use different activities for each. If you do choose to try to complete both in one year, we recommend aiming to complete the PLUS Award earlier on in the academic year, leaving plenty of time to prepare for your Outstanding Award presentation.

How is the Outstanding Award different from the PLUS Award?

The Outstanding Award focuses on the presentation and articulation of skills in a professional situation. You cannot use the same activities that you have used in the PLUS Award. The Outstanding Award is a very unique opportunity to develop these skills, and gives an extra edge to your CV.

What do I do if I still have questions?

If you have any more queries or are unsure about any aspect of the Award, you can email the PLUS Award team here: careers-plusaward@bristol.ac.uk.