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School of English Build your Future week: English students get a taste of graduate life

Alumnus Ashley Pharoah (English 1978) delivers a masterclass to students during Build Your Future week.

Designed to empower students with the knowledge and confidence to move forward and make plans after graduation, Build Your Future week was held on 16-20 April, jointly funded by the Sussex Fund and the School of English.

Kicking off the week, Careers and Employability Consultant Claire Ward and Ruth Bowles, Academic Skills Consultant from the Careers and Employability Centre, hosted a Resilience Session which concentrated on how to distinguish ‘good stress’ from ‘bad stress’, and on the development of the individual ‘wellbeing toolkit’: positive activities that serve as gestures of self-care. This might be going for a run, having a bubble bath, to choosing to eat good, nutritious food.

The Careers and Employability Centre (CEC) hosted several other events that week, reaching beyond the scope of Build Your Future and including sessions on practicing interview techniques and advice on dissertation-writing. Current students and alumni who graduated up to three years ago can see the latest CEC event listings by logging into Career Hub.

The theme turned to more practical skills by Tuesday, as Claire Ward hosted an exclusive career-focused event catered especially to second year School of English students.

Wednesday saw the return of five English alumni. Current English students were invited to join professionals from a variety of career fields, and to share in this unique networking opportunity. This session featured presentations from Tom Gockelen-Kozlowski, features editor at Retail Newsagent; Isabella Tesler, Press and Marketing Associate at the Brighton Dome; Jacob Engleberg, Film Programmer at Eyes Wide Shut Cinema; Antoinette Hage, Freelance Communications Consultant and Adam Troy, a former teacher and current account manager at LEO Learning. The session was chaired by Claire Ward, who shared general careers advice and information relating to upcoming internships and possible routes into volunteering opportunities. The event was followed by a networking reception.

The highlight of the week was Thursday’s Alumni Masterclass with Sussex English graduate Ashley Pharaoh (co-writer of BBC’s Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes). Ashley gave unique insights into the development of his successful career as a writer and film producer. The event was followed by a prosecco reception, offering a unique chance for our students to talk to Ashely one-to-one.

The close of the week saw a postgraduate study drop-in, designed to offer advice and insights into postgraduate study at Sussex. The drop-in was hosted by Ben Osbourne, Postgraduate Recruitment Officer, and Fatima Hasan, a current MA student in the School of English.

Event organiser and School of English Student Experience Co-ordinator Natasha Austen-White said:

‘Despite being the first week-long event of its kind hosted by the school of English, Build your Future was taken up by students with real enthusiasm. I had many students approach me throughout the week to express their thanks and appreciation, remarking how useful and encouraging the week had been for them. To me, this confirms that Build Your Future was a success. I look forward to hearing how these students have taken this new information forward.’

Building on the success of Build your Future week, the school of English is already brainstorming future events for the autumn. News of these plans will be made available via the School’s social media, including Facebook and Twitter. If you’re a School of English student with suggestions for specific speakers or careers you’d like to see at future events, please contact email Natasha Austen-White


By: Tom Furnival-Adams
Last updated: Monday, 2 July 2018