Inspiring Interns is proud to announce that we have teamed up with CommuterClub to save you money on your London commute! Read on to find out more.
What is Commuter Club?
CommuterClub allows everyone to access the benefits of an annual travel pass. If you don’t have access to an employer season ticket loan, keep reading! CommuterClub buy your yearly travel card and you pay them back on a monthly basis over eleven months, saving the cost of one month’s commute versus buying monthly travel cards. If you commute between zones 1-2, that’s around £140! And that’s before we take into account TfL’s random fare hikes…
Why is this relevant to graduates in London?
Once you’ve landed your first job out of university, your thoughts may turn to saving money and cutting costs. As we’ve already mentioned, you’ll save at least £140 with an annual travel card, but there are also a selection of exclusive benefits that go with being an annual travel card, or gold card, holder. To start with, a third off all national rail travel. Perfect for those who don’t have a 16-25 railcard. CommuterClub has also teamed up with Fitness First, Uber and many more companies offering their members great benefits. CommuterClub is also rolling out free Time Out cards to customers soon (worth £25): find out more about that here.
Give me more!
A couple more things you might not have considered. Since CommuterClub’s scheme is technically classified as a loan, you can start to build a positive credit rating while saving money. Perfect for when you finally save enough cash for a mortgage deposit. (OK, so we realise that might not be for a while yet, but still. It all helps!) The move to the big city and navigating the job market is stressful enough before taking into consideration commuting. CommuterClub tick off that box so it’s sorted for a year!
I’m with you. But what happens if I leave London?
No problem. CommuterClub offers a non-committal twelve month subscription. So you can leave if you need to and you won’t lose any money.
Sounds great, how do I sign up?
Simply click below and enter the discount code INSPIRE to receive a £10 discount off your first month of travel.
The legal stuff:
Commuter Club Ltd is a provider of retail financial services and is Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Interim Permission Number 659398. Commuter Club Ltd. is entered in the Financial Services Register. For more information you may visit www.fca.org.uk.
By Sian Sullivan
Since starting as an intern for Liberty Living I have had the chance to be a part of a successful company in a fantastic location in London, living alongside students and other interns, both all year round and for the summer, in Liberty Living’s student accommodation.
During my time here, I have not only experienced many aspects of the company including data analysis, marketing and sales, but I have also gained an in depth insight into what is REALLY important when looking for accommodation as an intern and I would like to share them with you!
1. Location, location, location. This is one to consider carefully. If you have managed to bag yourself a placement year or internship in London (or any other major cities for that matter) then make sure you make the most of it and live close to all the action! Having the opportunity to live in zone one is something that students and interns can to do through private providers like Liberty Living that not many others get to experience.
2. Price. Work out your budget carefully allowing for accommodation, food, socialising etc. Choosing accommodation that is fully inclusive of all utility bills and internet makes life a lot easier – It also saves you money and the shock of big bills at the end of the month! Remember that your accommodation is where you will be spending a lot of your time so it is definitely worth spending that bit extra to be in a great location!
3. Staffed 24 hours a day. Now that you are working full time, it is likely that you are going to be out of the building during normal working hours. It is extremely useful to live in accommodation that is genuinely staffed 24 hours a day to allow you to speak to a real person no matter what time of day or night whether it is maintenance, signing for your parcel and keeping them secure or having someone to let you in if you forget your key! Not to mention the added layer of security it provides.
4. Demographic of the building. Chances are that when you move to London for your internship you will be doing so on your own therefore, it will be important to find accommodation that will introduce you to like-minded people (who preferably won’t wake you up at 3am). Staying in Liberty Living’s student accommodation is great for this. They not only accommodate first year students in certain buildings but also postgrad students and other interns.
5. 24/7 on-site laundry. Now this may be a slightly dull one but it is a necessity! No one wants to be walking down the road to a laundrette to do their washing. Having a laundrette on-site that is open 24-hours a day, seven days a week is extremely convenient. Taking the leap from being a student or unemployed to full time employment is a big one so convenience is the key.
6. Flexibility with rent instalments. If you have been to university before then you will know that the ‘three instalments’ method of paying is great as it matches up with the student loan payments. However, now that you are working, it is unlikely that you will be able to pay in three instalments or up front. At Liberty Living, when you provide proof of when you will be paid, a payment plan can be set up to suit you at the discretion of the management team.
7. 24/7 on-site gym. If you can find accommodation with a free on-site gym or access to a free gym then this is not something to pass on! Gym memberships in central London can cost up to £100 per month. If this is included in your accommodation’s rent then that is a lot of money you are going to be saving. I find being able to use the on-site gym is a great way to relax and keep fit after work.
8. Local amenities. At some point you are going to have to go food shopping so it is important to remember to look for accommodation that is in close proximity to food stores and other shops. Staying at Liberty House which has a Waitrose and Tesco two minutes down the road is definitely a life saver after a long day of work.
There are many other aspects and criteria to consider when searching for accommodation but these are my top eight to look out for. Liberty Living provides student accommodation, including summer accommodation, in 17 university cities across the UK, including Bedford, London, Stoke plus many more.
Sian Sullivan works as an intern for Liberty Living and staying at Liberty House in London.
By Alex Townley
The minimum age for contributions to National Insurance is set to be raised to 21, announced George Osborne today in the Budget 2014.
–Hiring graduates is a costly business. Once you take into account the expenditure of searching for the right person, dedicating members of staff to interviewing and selecting the best candidate, and the initial training period, taking on a new employee is an expensive business.
When you then factor in salary and National Insurance, which currently stands at approximately 13.8% of the salary, and businesses’ reticence to expand their workforce is understandable.
It is, therefore, welcome news that National Insurance will be scrapped for under 21s from April 2015. Young people have suffered disproportionately during the recession (youth unemployment is still hovering around 20%, above the national average of 7.2%) so any move to address this imbalance is to be welcomed.
Inspiring Interns is, however, disappointed to hear that this announcement is limited to under 21s. As a result, a large proportion of graduates will be still be subject to National Insurance,, potentially creating a two-tier youth employment market where university leavers become ‘second-class employees’.
Ben Rosen, CEO of Inspiring Interns, said:
“George Osborne’s abolishment of National Insurance for workers under the age of 21 will help countless small businesses across the UK. But limiting this move to under 21s, and potentially punishing many graduates, is a confusing message while the Government to continue to tout the benefits of higher education to young people.
“In our experience at Inspiring Interns, a business’ most valuable asset is the people it employs; hiring a graduate over an apprentice or school-leaver should not carry a premium price – especially as apprenticeships already enjoy far greater political and financial support than equivalent graduate schemes. We have worked with over 800 companies across the UK and place graduates into meaningful internships globally: this tax is a slap in the face of many start-ups and growing businesses who wish to employ someone with a degree and does nothing to ensure graduates are employed in meaningful jobs.”
Inspiring Interns is the UK’s leading intern recruitment agency. We match ambitious graduates with growing companies across the UK. We work with companies ranging from big multinationals to brand new start-ups across the UK from our offices in London and Manchester.
Alex is the marketing manager at Inspiring Interns. He enjoys sport, cinema, admiring sharks from a safe distance (on TV) and supports Arsenal. Alex occasionally blogs on plainhelvetica.com, tweets @agtownley or you can add him to your circles on Google+. He is currently training for the London Marathon! Track his progress here: http://plainhelvetica.com/running-with-asthma/
You may remember a few months back our partnership with Talenthouse on giving you glorious grads the opportunity to enter their 3D Design Competition in partnership with 100% design and iMakr?
Well we’re back! We’ve taken our friendship with Talenthouse to the next level in 2014 and are pleased to announce our latest competition for you to get involved in. This one’s for all the fresh students and graduates out there interested in film making.
In association with #SundanceLondon, we bring you the opportunity to have your film screened as part of Sundance London Film and Music Festival, a curated event for students who love film, recognised as one of the most prestigious events in the film calendar! We’re inviting filmmakers and directors alike to submit a short 3-5 minute film inspired by the theme ‘Making A Go Of It’. For more details on the creative brief and how to get involved, take a look below.
Know any film fanatics keen to gain industry exposure? Share this blog post with them on Twitter, Facebook or link back here from your own blog and help us spread this competition! Success in an opportunity like this could not only boost your CV, it presents a fantastic opportunity for budding filmmakers to showcase their skills and talents on an exciting platform in front of potential employers and partners. Previous winners have been picked up by various directors and institutes, gaining prestigious recognition and a huge helping hand in the film world!
“Record numbers of graduate jobs will be reserved for students who have completed placements at Britain’s leading companies,” today’s Telegraph article begins. Seemingly this is good news for graduates, but does it paint the whole picture?
We at Inspiring Interns worry that the survey, conducted by High Fliers Research, only took into account the opinions 100 leading employers across Britain, effectively ignoring the majority of graduate employers.
A recent IntaPeople survey showed that these ‘major’ schemes employ just 4% of graduates. This means that 96% of graduates will not enter a graduate scheme with one of Britain’s leading companies but start their careers in a junior role at a smaller company.
It is frustrating to see a survey that ignores the opinions of the hiring majority across Britain receive such extensive media coverage. With SMEs responsible for 71% of jobs created in 2009-10, surely they deserve a voice in the graduate unemployment landscape? What’s more, many SMEs that are ready to take on a graduate often struggle to attract applicants due to limited advertising budgets and in turn, many graduates are unsure where to look for these opportunities – only a certain number of companies can hope to be found by Google when they publicise vacancies on their website.
At Inspiring Interns we predominantly work with small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and our experience is that more and more businesses are looking at hiring graduates. Often this is done through internships, which give the company a chance to train up a candidate and see them in their workplace; on the other side of the coin it allows a graduate to establish if a role and a company is right for them. Because these roles are not specifically designated for graduates and SME activity is notoriously difficult to measure you will not find these jobs appearing in many official reports or surveys. But they do exist and they represent the reality of the graduate job market.
The figures speak for themselves: 66% of graduates that come to Inspiring Interns end up with a permanent job at the company where they have interned.
So while you should take heart from the latest High Fliers Research survey and acknowledge that you are much more likely to receive a job offer with some work experience under your belt, remember that working for one of Britain’s leading companies is not the be-all or end-all.
Alex has been at Inspiring since December 2010 and manages the marketing team. He enjoys sport, cinema, admiring sharks from a safe distance (on TV) and supports Arsenal. Alex occasionally blogs on plainhelvetica.com, tweets @agtownley or you can add him to your circles on Google+. He is currently training for the London Marathon! Track his progress here: http://plainhelvetica.com/running-with-asthma/
If you were to ask a lecture hall full of university students where they saw the future of higher education going you’d probably expect the vast majority to say it’s going online. Our opinions of online learning are largely based on what we’ve seen so far; in other words, the widespread rise of online classes.
When we talk about technology-enabled learning, most people probably think of online classes, which have had mixed results so far. On one hand, online courses can make higher education much more affordable and accessible. On the other hand, not all students can stay engaged and successful without regular feedback and interaction with their instructor and other students. Even the best online classes cannot hope to duplicate the rich spontaneous interactions that can take place among students and instructors in the classroom.
Time, distance and affordability are just a few of the reasons why online classes can’t currently match the setting of a classroom or lecture hall. But these limitations will almost certainly be overcome, especially considering the pace of change in technology. With this in mind where would the current tech-savvy, Generation Y cohort actually prefer to study? The results of a recent survey may surprise you:
When students were asked what they perceived the future of education to be like, 39 percent claimed it would be more virtual with 40 percent blaming their reliance on technology for negatively affecting the growth of their interpersonal skills. But it was the 78 percent of students who still contend that learning in a classroom is easier than online that was really surprising.
Despite this revelation that seems to indicate that current students would rather learn in the physical classroom environment compared to virtually, those surveyed still acknowledged the benefits of learning online:
• Only about half of students polled thought that they truly needed to attend a class in a physical setting in order to get a good education
• The vast majority of students were willing to try out getting a professional experience online
• 84 percent of students use a computer in a classroom setting already
“Millennials understand that the future of education is online and since they were brought up with the internet, they are prepared for that change,” explained Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding. “Education should not be a one size fits all model because everyone learns differently, regardless of age, occupation and location. More online courses should be offered to cater to those who learn better in a virtual classroom.”
Clearly, the battle lines for the future of University have been drawn. Where do you think it’s heading: Traditional or Online?
Here’s a few thoughts shared on the subject on Twitter:
UK Online Education is about to Take over the Domain of Traditional Learning http://t.co/K44r1zSlk1
— Mark William (@UKMarkWilliams) October 8, 2013
Online & traditional classes will be integrated so students can utilize delivery that fits their life/learning style http://t.co/MLjZ2AaGBG
— Piedmont IU (@PiedmontIU) October 8, 2013
It's lame that people are charged more for online classes than traditional classes. Success rates are way higher with traditional classes.
— Mer!zza (@Marissa_CO) October 5, 2013
Continuing our partnership with Talenthouse, the world’s platform for creative collaboration, we are pleased to showcase their latest 3D design competition in conjunction with 100% Design and iMakr, the world’s largest 3D printing store. 3D printing is the future of design, so now is a great time to get involved.
We’re looking for creative designers to design an item (furniture, lighting, tableware, technology or any accessory) in 2D or using 3D software. Five winners will have their designs printed in 3D and displayed at the 100% Design exhibition in September and one will win a 3D printer, worth £800! You can enter right here on the blog. You must submit your design by August 19th to enter.
Know any creative designers interested in embracing the future? Share this blog post with them on Twitter, Facebook or link back here from your own blog and help us spread this competition! Winning a competition like this could help boost your CV and hence your career, not to mention getting you in front of potential employers that might be interested in your work at the 100% Design show.
Editor’s note: We got in touch with Gabi recently after she tweeted at us with her blog. We always love to hear inspiring stories, such as Gabi’s, so invited Gabi to blog and share her story with you all here. If you have an inspiring story you would like to share, please get in touch!
My name is Gabi Cox and I am a 21 year old fashion student and intern. To look at, you would think I was a completely normal girl in her 20s, but when I was 16 I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, a life long bowel disease.
Since my diagnosis I have battled for six years with hospitals, awful treatment and being very poorly indeed. In the past year I have had two hospitalisations and four weeks ago I had my first surgery. Despite all the doctors best efforts I had to have an ileostomy, leaving me with a stoma (called Margaret) and a bag.
All of this has been happening alongside my life in the fashion industry. I am now about to enter in to the final year of my dream degree and I try to complete as many internships as I can. These internships are exhausting for the average student but having Crohn’s means I suffer more than normal. Despite this I do not let the disease stop me and throw myself in to any placement I can get. I have continued interning whilst being extremely unwell and have only stopped interning when I was home bound by the disease. I have always been very upfront to my placements about my disease, and I have never had any negativity. People are so kind and understanding when they find out, especially if you are still working hard and don’t let it get you down. Over time I have learnt what I can realistically cope with and although I push myself to the limit I now know when to stop. Now that I have Margaret and a bag, I should have an element of security. Once the recovery process is over I will be largely symptom-free and be able to live a normal life again. For me this means completing many more internships, which I have already booked, as well as graduating. To many Crohn’s Disease and Margaret would seem like a huge disadvantage but I prefer to look at things differently. I am much more determined and have an extremely strong work ethic as a result of the disease; I know I have to go the extra mile and put in the extra effort to achieve my goals. This attitude has meant I have been able to complete placements at some of the top fashion magazines in the world.
Since being unwell and stuck in bed I have not slowed my momentum to achieve, I have scheduled future placements and have set up my own blog. My blog, The Gift of the Gab, documents my journey with the disease, including surgery, as well as my life as an intern. My blog has only been live for 7 weeks but already has nearly over 27,000 views – it has been shared by the likes of Lord Alan Sugar, Elle’s Editor in Chief, Lorraine Candy and The Telegraph’s Fashion Director, Hilary Alexander. I approach the disease with honesty but also with humour and light heartedness. I want my blog to raise awareness for the disease and to banish the stigma attached to IBD and ostomies. I want people to talk about it and show that despite it all one can still live a normal life and be successful.
Graduation. The conclusion of three or four years spent working hard, and no doubt playing hard. It’s a time to celebrate your achievements and to mark, what is for most, the final education chapter of your lives. However, we at Inspiring Interns are fully aware that the concept of graduation can come more as a looming grey cloud, and with unemployment levels among 18-25 year olds at an all-time high, it’s no surprise. It’s been reported that as competition for UK graduate positions continues to rise, there are currently 50+ applicants fighting for every one graduate job, highlighting how graduates are finding it tougher than ever to land an entry-level opportunity. Rather a bleak picture, right? (Our shiny, bright internships aside, of course.)
Right. But, there are glimmers of hope out there for you. In support of graduates across the country, and as strong leaders in the battle of youth unemployment, we’ve partnered with top employment companies Adzuna and Milkround to present their graduate of the year competition! A nationwide campaign launched to find the best graduate in Britain. It’s open to all recent and soon-to-be graduates with rewards going to brightest and best in each field, from young entrepreneurs and maths geniuses to sporting heroes and artistic protégés.
So what’s required of you? It’s simple really. Answer a series of straight forward questions about yourself and what makes you special. The chosen ones will be rewarded with the following…
• A paid internship with a top UK company (including eBay, L’Oreal, Sony & Google)
• A cash prize of £1,000
• A CV clinic with a top UK entrepreneur
• The illustrious crown of “graduate of the year”
Applications are now officially open, and will remain so until midnight, 1st July 2013. Students and recent grads can apply here. The award ceremony will take place on 1st August, when the overall winner will be announced.
Inspiring Interns are pleased to announce that we have partnered with Talenthouse, the world’s platform for creative collaboration. Talenthouse works with established artists and iconic brands to host global online campaigns that gives creative individuals the opportunity to win great prizes and life-changing experiences. In the coming months we will host a variety of Talenthouse competitions on our blog across film, fashion, music, art/design and photography.
This time we’re looking for ambitious photographers to take part in Billabong’s #dreamincolours competition. For information on how to enter and for information on prizes for the winners, scroll below! You can enter right here on the Inspiring blog.
Winning a competition like this and the international recognition that comes with it could propel you to the forefront of an employers’ minds, helping you to secure an internship or graduate job.
If you know any budding photographers, do share this blog post with them on Twitter, Facebook or link back here from your own blog and help us spread this competition!