After feeling disheartened with the current graduate job market, postgraduate Non Meleri Hughes decided to apply for the GO Wales Graduate Academy. Within six weeks Non secured a Human Resources job with Anglesey Council which she believes is all down to the Graduate Academy. She explains;
When I first heard about the Graduate Academy, I instantly knew it was the final boost towards employment that I was looking for. I’d been working part-time for about six months after graduating with a Ph.D. in Welsh from Bangor University, but was beginning to feel disheartened with the job market and unsure of which career path to take. The Graduate Academy promised a qualification from the Institute of Leadership and Management as well as the vital work experience that employers are now seeking. So I eagerly filled in my application, and as always, waited with my fingers crossed.
A few weeks later I found myself on my way to Lampeter for the two-week residential course. Although meeting seventeen other graduates, all dressed to impress, was at first a little daunting, we quite quickly relaxed and realised how much we all had in common. It was a relief more than anything to meet so many talented graduates who were all in the same boat. The course itself was quite intense, but presented in an interesting and interactive manner by the two great tutors, Jane and Sue. Being from an arts background, I especially found the business management aspects of the course extremely valuable.
As suddenly as I had arrived, I left Lampeter and travelled back to North Wales to begin my three and a half week placement with Gwynedd Council’s Human Resources and Customer Care departments. My GO Wales work experience coordinator had arranged for me to meet my supervisor before beginning the Academy, so I knew exactly what my placement would entail, and I was very much looking forward to it. The placement gave me varied experiences, including a personal research project, a chance to shadow managers as well as helping to design and implement an evaluation programme. These elements not only gave me the information I required to complete the assessments, but also allowed me to develop my skills and abilities, and deepen my knowledge and understanding of the field.
The highlight of the entire Graduate Academy was without doubt the final two-day conference back in Lampeter. It was great to catch up with the other participants, who had by now become close friends, and to hear about their experiences. As we had finished the taught modules of the course, we were treated to guest speakers from various fields with advice ranging from social media, communication, networking and enterprise. The final day was more emotional than expected as we all summed up our experience and realised how much we had learned and how much we had enjoyed the journey.
I’m pleased to say that I have now gained employment as a Human Resources Assistant with Anglesey Council. My experiences during the Graduate Academy formed a large part of the discussion at the interview and allowed me to demonstrate my motivation and willingness to learn and develop. I would sincerely like to thank all the GO Wales staff for this rewarding opportunity. I would also urge any unemployed or underemployed graduates to apply for the next Graduate Academy - you might not know it yet, but it’s exactly what you’re looking for.