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Employability support for Cardiff students recognised

03 February 2011

A Cardiff University student society that increases and promotes work experience opportunities for psychology undergraduates and helps them explore alternative careers has been recognised with a national award.

PsyCardiff, run by students from the University’s School of Psychology encourages its members to get involved in their learning experience. As well as supporting the School’s professional work placement scheme, the society helps students explore psychology outside of the core curriculum, stimulating their thinking about where to look for work experience.

As only 20 percent of psychology undergraduates work in professional psychology post-graduation, it is crucial that students are equipped with more than just academic knowledge, particularly in the current economic climate. PsyCardiff aims to equip students with transferable skills such as team work, problem solving and communication and helps them gain hands-on experience.

The society provides talks about diverse career routes, uses Facebook to help students get the most out of their work-placements and also works closely with Student Volunteering Cardiff (SVC), a volunteering organisation managing a wide range of projects within the local area that students can get involved with - ranging from schools to homes for the elderly.

As a result of their successful initiatives PsyCardiff was named as the Best University Society at the National Placement and Internship Awards, created by undergraduate recruitment website Members of the society collected a £1000 prize cheque at the award ceremony in London.

Matthew Price, co-president of PsyCardiff said: "We were thrilled to have such great recognition for Cardiff's Psychology Society. The competition was tough, with nominations from 45 student societies in total, including Cambridge University and UCL. We feel that this award is a testament to the hard work of not only the committee of PsyCardiff, but also the support and collaborative work with the School of Psychology and Student Volunteering Cardiff.

"We are now looking towards PsyCardiff's future, and thinking about ideas for how best to utilise the generous award money. The creation of an Alumni Association, whereby current undergraduates have links with graduates in established careers, will be one way of doing this and ensuring the progression of the society."

Professor Dylan Jones, Head of the University’s School of Psychology said: "PsyCardiff has been instrumental in supporting and encouraging work experience amongst psychology students, by hosting talks from professional psychologists, by arranging a network for students to find information about placements, and by using Facebook as an important tool to support students during their time on placement. The Society has established a cooperative relationship with University staff, to the benefit of students throughout the School and is instrumental in encouraging students to gain work experience through volunteering in the community.

"Work experience is particularly important for students in psychology because of the diversity of career paths that students take following their undergraduate studies. Although work experience has traditionally played an important role in engineering, architecture, and business management, professional placement opportunities are less common for student psychologists. At Cardiff University we are proud to have a successful placement programme in Psychology. The programme enhances the employability of our students and highlights the relevance of the discipline to contemporary social and commercial needs."

Employability is embedded into Cardiff University’s student experience and students choose Cardiff to improve their job opportunities and salary prospects. In a competitive employment arena, Cardiff students are supported in securing the job of their choice. Cardiff’s approach is to build the skills graduates will need once in employment. Cardiff students are valued for their academic ability, high-calibre, motivation, extra-curricular activities and resourcefulness.

The National Placement and Internship Awards recognise and reward those organisations, universities and students who contribute to excellence within the work placement and internship market.


Notes to editors

Cardiff School of Psychology
The School of Psychology is one of Britain top-rated schools of psychology, it being the first to achieve the double accolade of the highest grade of merit for both research and teaching. In an independent assessment of teaching, conducted by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales it was rated ‘Excellent’, and in the latest Research Assessment Exercise it was awarded the highest level of distinction, Grade 5A, indicating research of a uniform international standard. The School is one of the largest Schools of psychology in the United Kingdom. It currently has some 40 full-time teaching staff, including 12 professors, alongside 40 full-time research staff, and nearly 60 research students.

The School’s researchers are aligned with five focal areas:

Behavioural neuroscience (understanding the mechanism of learning and memory)
Cognitive ergonomics (human factors and human-computer interaction)

Cognition and neuropsychology (understanding how we see, hear, remember, solve problems, learn language, etc)

Personal relationships (in particular romantic relationships, family relationships, children peer interactions, and the elderly)

Social cognition (stereotyping, causal attribution, the self, intergroup relationships, and social influence)

Cardiff University

Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research intensive universities. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, University President Professor Sir Martin Evans.

Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning. Three major new Research Institutes, offering radical new approaches to neurosciences and mental health, cancer stem cells and sustainable places were announced by the University in 2010.