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Resourceful graduate defies pessimists
Nicola Bamford defied media scare stories about graduate unemployment when she gained a place on a competitive graduate job scheme on the day she got her final exam results.
"That was a good day," says Nicola. "I actually got the job before I knew the result of my degree!"
She graduates today (Friday 23 July, at 3.30pm) with a 2:1 in English Language and Linguistics.
As well as studying full-time at Sussex, the 22-year-old was also one of just 27 students to land a place this year on a challenging leadership training programme, Learning to Lead, organised by the University's Careers and Employability Centre.
She explains: "The course was really intense but really good. My group got to work with Phil Jones [Managing Director of Brighton-based digital media firm Wired Sussex], which was really interesting. We had to present a policy idea to a panel of experts, who were pretty scary - the guys in my group even got pulled up for having their ties too short."
Professor Michael Farthing, Vice-Chancellor of the University, presented Nicola with her certificate on 16 June. He commented: "If anyone has any doubt about what universities are about in the 21st century then they should come and meet the high-calibre Sussex students who have completed this challenging programme."
As well as making the most of the many opportunities offered by the University's careers service, Nicola has managed to find time to do a charity run and skydive, and spent three years at the student radio station URF (University Radio Falmer), including a year's stint as Head of News.
And the hard work seems to be paying off - she starts work this September in the Brighton office of e-learning company Kineo, after facing a gruelling recruitment process involving a lengthy application, a four-hour written test, a presentation and a 40-minute interview (and that was just the first stage). Lancashire-born Nicola says: "I found out about Kineo's graduate scheme when they presented at the University's careers centre. I'm really excited, and it's such a relief that I've already got something lined up.
"I'm absolutely ecstatic to be staying in Brighton."
Linda Buckham, Director of the Careers and Employability Centre, said: "Nicola is a good example of someone who has made the most of all the opportunities available to her at university. I'm sure it hasn't always been easy but her enthusiasm and determination have shone through."