Kick-start your career while you’re still at university with Unisource

For many university students, lack of work experience can be a bit of a stumbling block to starting a career after graduation. This is a key reason why the University of Surrey focuses heavily on preparing students for the world of work and offers a range of opportunities to gain experience.

In this blog, the team from Unisource explain how they can help you build a portfolio of bite-sized work experiences before you’ve even graduated.

A male and female student laughing and working on laptops

From campus to career

Unisource is a free digital hub created by father and son team, Andrew and Niall Donnelly. It enables students to:

  • Gain invaluable skills
  • Build a bank of degree-relevant experience
  • Earn while learning
  • Work remotely and flexibly at times that suit
  • Grow commercial awareness.

The process to getting started is simple. After registering and creating your profile you can browse and review task posts that match your skills. You then bid for relevant tasks and, if successful, you are connected directly with the business via the message centre to start working on tasks together. When the task is completed they pay you directly and can review your work.

Frances Gow, Head of Employability and Careers, at the University of Surrey believes the most important skill for students today is adaptability; the ability to be flexible in changing and ambiguous circumstances. Self-awareness, competence in working to brief and deadlines, mental resilience, digital skills, communication and building relationships are also key. She says: “Unisource is a great option because lots of students can’t afford a year out. It allows them to have the best of both worlds; to earn money and gain relevant experience.”

Time to gain commercial experience

With university students having around 11 hours of lectures a week, working on tasks that complement a degree, as well as building the skills needed to become adept at independent study, is a win-win. You can benefit greatly from the shift towards a gig economy through learning on the job and building a portfolio of industry experiences that are very attractive to employers.

3 students jumping in the air with snow on the ground beneath them

What kind of tasks could you do and what skills do you need?

Unisource is looking for students with skills and experience in four key areas, however the options are wide ranging and not limited to these:

1. Researching and writing blogs or articles

Blog writing and creating articles for content marketing is something that is time consuming and often drops down a business owners to-do list, even though they know how important it is. We’re looking for students with experience and/or interest in:

  • Literature reviews
  • Blog writing
  • Data analysis
  • Focus groups
  • Interviews
  • Social media and big, online data analysis
  • Polling, including survey design and data analysis
  • Arranging interviews
  • Arranging events and roundtables
  • Proofreading and quality control
  • Creating engaging content from research findings.

2. Social media support

Social media is such an important marketing tool, but it needs an investment of time and creativity that’s sometimes difficult. Support in planning, researching and drafting social content (written, graphics, video or photography) is invaluable for small businesses. We’re looking for students with experience and/or interest in:

  • Content research / journalistic-level research skills
  • Content planning and scheduling
  • Editing skills
  • Produce grammatically sound and intriguing copy
  • Experience with content management systems like WordPress
  • Understanding of sales funnels
  • Search engine optimisation (SEO) knowledge
  • Managing content publishing schedule
  • Content promotion – posting main platforms: Twitter, Facebook/Instagram, LinkedIn
  • Data analysis – reviewing content performance.

3. Coding

We’re looking for students with experience and/or interest in:

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • Javascript (such as React, Vue, Svelte, WebGL)
  • Swift
  • Liquid
  • Ruby on Rails
  • Search engine optimisation (SEO)
  • PHP
  • Laravel
  • Testing and debugging skills
  • Back-end basics, e.g. WordPress, Woocommerce, Shopify, Magento, Drupal, Joomla
  • SVG animations
  • Experience with APIs
  • Using design files (from programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Sketch, Figma, Adobe XD).

4. Gaming

We’re looking for students with experience and/or interest in:

  • Experience of using Unreal, Unity or Frostbite
  • Software modelling
  • Assets
  • Textures
  • Characters (clothing/hair)
  • Vehicles
  • Rigging
  • Animation
  • Skinning
  • Cinematography
  • Asset lighting/baking
  • Photogrammetry processing
  • Concept art / UI art (logo/graphic/icon) / branding
  • Art imagery eg. murals/paintings
  • Level creation.

Do you have these skills or experience?

If so, please visit the dedicated Unisource page for students and register! You can find answers to frequently asked questions here and check out some useful blogs here:

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