Multi Story Edinburgh

Andrew - Class of 2020 - Living your values, why the private sector get first dibs and the draw of Taiwan.

December 15, 2020 The University of Edinburgh Season 1 Episode 15
Multi Story Edinburgh
Andrew - Class of 2020 - Living your values, why the private sector get first dibs and the draw of Taiwan.
Show Notes Transcript

Each episode is a snapshop, a moment, a sneak inside the minds of our graduates. Season one talks to our 2020 graduates about how things are going, or not going, for them.  In episode fifteen, we meet Chinese and History graduate Andrew.

Each month we meet five more graduates. Subscribe now and find out what everyone is up to and how they feel about this weird and unpredictable time.

All opinions expressed are those of the individual and do not necessarily reflect those of the University of Edinburgh. 

Multi Story Edinburgh has been created and produced by the Alumni Relations team at the University of Edinburgh. If you are interested in telling your story, please get in touch and let's talk.

Music: Since When by Mise Darling. 

Sonia Mullineux (host):

This is a snapshot, a moment, a sneak inside the minds of our graduates. This is Season One, Class of 2020.

Andrew:

I'm Andrew, I studied Chinese and History at Edinburgh, I've just graduated. I was just actually having a little think about how we go about introducing ourselves. So So we, we kind of fill in, we always enter it with a set of categories that we want to answer, right. But in reality, it doesn't really reflect the individual themselves, especially when there's God knows how many people do your subjects year on year at the University, and it really doesn't say anything about you. Towards the start of fourth year, I think a lot of people have these, I don't know, a set of ideas in their head about what the future is going to be like, and they're going to do fourth year work, bash out some job applications, you'll walk into a job because you've got an Edinburgh degree and what have you. And it's kind of like a conveyor belt. But the kind of pressures of fourth year got to me. I was an RA in the halls at the same time and realise how I kind of overestimated how much I could complete. And so I was pretty half-baked in my kind of job searching. I didn't really apply to that much I wasn't on my A game. And so, as you'd expect, nothing really came of it. But I in many ways, I was happy with that, you know, it's I think it's a lot of external pressure that we place upon ourselves really. It's general expectation that everything goes smoothly, mainly because the success stories that we see are obviously, well successful, and that's the way they work out. But you don't necessarily need to take a year off and go travelling, you know, you, you can take time off with with no kind of reason. It gives you an opportunity to take stock, it gives you a chance to actually think about what's important to you, moving forward. It's an opportunity to take a break if the circumstances allow it. For you to genuinely consider whether the path, the well trodden path that a lot of people take, which usually involves a stint in the London rat race actually suits you. And so it is by no means a bad thing. I think COVID made that an almost definite possibility for most people. In the early stages, I thought it was great. It made me perform at the best of my ability. It then gave me an excuse to take a break after that. And so it was all fine and dandy for a while. Until reality kicks in. I think it always kicks in when the weather changes. You know, when everything's nice and summery, particularly in the south coast of England, I mean it was hitting 30 degrees sometimes. And you kind of think that good times never end. But then you suddenly realise - hang on - the economy really is tanking. And it is affecting us recent graduates much more than I personally anticipated because entering the recruitment cycle, having done nothing over the summer, and then you have all these people coming out of full-time employment, people coming off graduate schemes because they're made redundant, or maybe their contracts were rescinded. That really was a kind of reality check was realising what was happening, news was genuinely impacting me. And I wasn't actually in a little bubble at home where I could, you know, potter around and a job would naturally float towards me. Over the course of applying for numerous positions in the Civil Service, I've come to realise that there are more ways of making an impact in society than simply working in the public or third sector. And, you know, the way I saw it was given the way that some private sector companies handled themselves during the pandemic. We all have a part to play. And it isn't determined by the occupation we have. And so long story short, that made me look beyond just applied to the public sector. And I actually looked towards a lot of private sector and gave them a decent chance. And through that, my life course changed significantly. And that's the direction that I'm going in the future. I'd gotten a huge amount of help from the Edinburgh University Career Service. Some of which I would like to hammer home to anybody listening is the help is there do use it. I know a lot of people say that, but genuinely use it, because it made a huge difference to me. Through that I got a mentor in the Civil Service. So I'd say 99% of my time was spent on the Civil Service. And it got me nowhere. And an application I chucked in was to the Tesco business graduate scheme. I managed to get it at the end. It was 17,000 applications for 60 places apparently. And, this may well as obviously, very, very grateful that they decided to take a chance on me when no other position did. But I just find it recruitment itself its made me, wonder what is all about? What are they looking for? If a person whose motivation aligns with the Civil Service, whose work experience has, generally speaking, had transferable skills. I've done a lot of work in volunteering in the public sector, and then has had huge amounts of insiders help. Yet it gets me nowhere. Yet a person with no retail experience managed to beat all the other people to get an acquisition, it does make you think, hang on. What do these recruiters know? What are these HR people thinking when they design these processes? And are they ultimately happy with the result they're getting if people who aren't necessarily suited to that job, get the job? I get this general sense that the private sector ultimately get first dibs on people because they have nowhere else to turn if they didn't get on to one of the training programmes in the Civil Service or didn't have the insider's knowledge to understand that, say EO positions or band two positions are the ones he meant to go for, you see. And so I do wonder, maybe some of the issues that this country is facing right now, within governance within maybe even our politics, is it comes from the fact that most of our talent is going to the private sector, and it doesn't necessarily reflect the values or the aspirations of that that demographic. And so, you know, it does, it does ask questions about the way we go about things as a country. I am very excited. I think it's just because it is a blue chip company. It is one of The Times top 100 employers, you know, they are very innovative, it's a brand new programme. And there's so much diversity in the role itself. So in that regard, I'm excited because I feel like it would be a great experience. I'm also excited in that they're investing so much in me that they obviously would regard me as an asset that they'd like to, you know, capitalise on as soon as they can. And so, that is reassuring because it means that I can learn on this scheme, I can, I can learn quickly. I can hit the ground running and really live my values and bring myself to the role. And that is what I'm excited about. And I think this, this this company, and the scheme that they have, really does enable that.

Sonia Mullineux (host):

We also ask our graduates to share a place somewhere special, somewhere we can get together when all this is finished.

Andrew:

I was born in Taiwan. I moved to UK when I was five and I've gone back intermittently over the years. But every time I'm there, I love it so much that I don't want to leave. And so I probably would go back. Not just because they've only had seven COVID deaths, because they're one of the, they responded to COVID the most effectively of any nation, I'd say. But because it is just a fantastic place to live. It's a tropical island, delicious tasting food, warm weather and good job prospects and in so many ways, life there is great that I definitely could do with bit of that considering this co ntry is absolutely freezing ight now, and we can't really g out. But I mean, it's su h a small country that you ca hop on a train from Tai ei and be anywhere else i about 30 minutes on the bulle train. It's is the place t

Sonia Mullineux (host):

Thank you for listening. Join us next time for another graduate and another story.

Kirsten Roche:

Feeling inspired by what you've just heard. Take the first step to getting the career you want by contacting the Careers Service. As a recen graduate, you can continue t access all of our services including access to vacancies o MyCareerHub, practice nterviews, our full calendar of online employer events and online appointments with one o our careers consultants. Fin out more at ed.ac.uk/careers