The Bristol PLUS Award

The Bristol PLUS Award provides a framework 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 to make you competitive in the recruitment process. The Bristol PLUS Award rewards University of Bristol students who have gained significant skills and experience through activities outside of their studies.

Check out the thoughts and experiences of students who have finished the PLUS Award in our PLUS and Outstanding Award case studies.

Registrations are closed for the 2016/17 academic year. Introductory talks will begin again in September for current students.

Dates for 2016-17 registration: ‌

Are you a postgraduate taught (Masters) student? If so, you have an extended deadline until 2 February 2018. You must still register for the Award by 10 February 2017, and be registering in your taught time.

Are you a postgraduate research student? The PLUS Award is designed for you too! Have a look at our case studies to see how other research students have benefited from taking part.

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

The Outstanding Award rewards students who have achieved something substantial and significant outside of their studies at Bristol. Outstanding Award students should be applying what they have learned from the PLUS Award and relish the challenge of taking their employability skills to a higher level.

To apply for the Outstanding Award you must have already achieved the Bristol PLUS Award. In addition to this you will need to have carried out one extra-curricular activity for a minimum of 20 hours that meets the brief and required skills in your chosen Award category.

The Outstanding Award categories are:

  • Innovation and enterprise
  • Global citizenship
  • Sustainable futures

You may only apply to one category per activity. Read our Outstanding Award categories and requirements document for further information.

  1. The first step is a compulsory introductory talk. You can attend an Outstanding Award introductory talk before finishing the Bristol PLUS Award but will not be able to progress further until completion. Introductory talks run from September until February 2017.
  2. After attending the introductory talk, you will be able to apply for your chosen category. The deadline for applications is 17 February 2017.
  3. If your application is successful, you will be invited to interview and required to complete some preparatory interview tasks online.
  4. Interviews will take place week commencing 27 March 2017, where the final outcome of pass, merit, or distinction will be decided.

Why should you do the Bristol PLUS Award?

100% of students who completed the Award in 2015/2016 and provided feedback said they would recommend the Award to others. Here some students explain how they benefited from completing the Award.

1. Employers value the Award

The Careers Service works with a wide range of employers from many sectors to ensure that the Award continues to equip students with relevant skills. The Award will also help you understand how to succeed in the recruitment process:

“I learned about the importance of preparation; knowing the company and the role is crucial during an interview. I also learned about the importance of presenting a good first impression. I have gained a place on a graduate scheme thanks to the Bristol PLUS Award and the skills I have learned through the completion of the Award.”

3rd year Geography (BSc)

Find out what employers say about the Bristol PLUS Award: ‌Bristol PLUS Award Employer Quotes (PDF, 680kB)

2. Gain skills to complement your degree

“The Bristol PLUS Award has been very worthwhile, in both preparing me for the employment world and also helping me develop soft skills that are not available from our academic curriculum. My volunteer work and internship helped me realise the next steps in my career path, complemented by workshops which taught me how these steps could be achieved.”

2nd year Mechanical Engineering (MEng)

3. Activities can aid with your career planning

“The workshop on interview skills caused the biggest change in how I’m thinking about my future career. It made me see the strengths and weaknesses not only in my CV and job applications but also in my personality and work ethic. This entirely changed my perspective on the different careers I might suit. Overall, the PLUS Award experience has been invaluable because of this.”

2nd year English (BA)

4. Rise to a challenge and become more confident

“I used to believe that it would be very unlikely for me to get my dream job because it is competitive and I did not know where to start to prepare for it. However, completing the Bristol PLUS Award has helped me to be more confident and clearly aware of what skills I have and how to improve them.”

2nd year Accounting and Finance (BSc)

5. Have fun while developing professionally

“I thoroughly enjoyed the PLUS Award. It is structured very well and has allowed me to develop personally, socially and academically and given me the confidence and potential to thrive in my future years at University.”

1st year Law and German (LLB)


Ideas to build your PLUS experience

There are a wide range of activities on offer at the University which will qualify as evidence for the Bristol PLUS Award. Here are some suggestions to help get you started.

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

The list provided is not exhaustive and only covers the most common activities. If you believe your activity fulfils the criteria but you cannot find it on the drop-down list in the form on your PLUS Award account, select ‘Other’. You can then submit details of your activity for approval.

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. If your referee is not English speaking, you can provide a recent payslip as evidence.

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. Work experience must be gained outside of your course.

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

It is highly challenging to complete both Awards in one academic year. You would need to complete the PLUS Award and apply for the Outstanding Award by the February deadline. Therefore we recommend spreading them out over 2 years, so that you have sufficient experiences to use for both, bearing in mind that you must use different activities for each.

How is the Outstanding Award different from the PLUS Award?

The Outstanding Award has tailored categories and mirrors the recruitment and selection process in the real world. It is a unique opportunity to develop higher level employability skills and challenge yourself to articulate them as you would in a professional context.

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:

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