Career Aspirations

Emily B

As I am in my second term of my 2nd year, I am starting to think really hard about what I want to do when I leave university. Being surrounded by teachers in my family the obvious choice would be to become an educator myself! However, I don’t feel like this is the route I would like to take so I have had to have a real think! Every opportunity that I have been offered at Derby I have taken so I can better my chances at employment when I graduate and get a feel of what I would like to do. I have been a programme representative, I have volunteered for the National Trust as well as being a student ambassador and part of the marketing team as a digital ambassador.

If you think that you are set on a particular job don’t just aim for experiences that will cater to that. Engage in other experiences as you never know, you may change your mind and the career you were working towards may not appear as great as you thought it would!

Get involved with everything that the Uni is offering. Become a student ambassador for your course, volunteer, join some societies or go on a placement. Talk to lecturers or the Careers and Employment service to see where you can get involved and make your CV stand out. University will fly by so you may as well make the most of your time and experience all you can experience as the opportunities given to you are priceless!

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Careers and Employment

Emily B

Doing a degree is a great gateway to your dream job as it provides you with the academic qualification you may need. It also gives you some life skills that don’t come with a qualification but are just as important such as confidence, team working skills, time management and the ability to network. That being said, many students even in their 3rd year have no idea what job they want to do when they leave Uni! Obviously there will be those who go to Uni with their future planned out and the degree is a fundamental step in that journey but it is not that simple for everyone, including myself.

I embarked on a Tourism Management degree not knowing the exact job that I want at the end. That is quite a good thing in a way because it means that I can see what I like and what I don’t like within the industry so can cross some potential jobs off straight away. And equally, I can focus on what I do enjoy and then see what jobs I can potentially do along those lines. There are so many opportunities thrown your way at Derby so you get plenty of time and chances to find out what floats your boat, so don’t worry too much about knowing exactly what it is you want to be when you finish. The Careers and Employment Service are there for just that purpose. They will guide you in the direction you want to take or assess your skills and see where you could fit in in the world of work. Whether this be continuing with education through a postgraduate course or applying for graduate programmes, they are there to help. The employability advisers are there from your first day at university until up to 3 years after you have left so there is always time to have a chat with them. They can help by arranging a one to one appointment, improve your CV and prepare you for interviews. So take advantage of this service so you can bag your ideal job after you graduate!

They recommend you view your career ahead in three stages:

1st Year-

  • Create your CV and let an advisor review it to make it even better
  • Try and gain some paid work experience through part time work to gain extra skills
  • Think about what you like and dislike in a job to eliminate careers
  • Think about volunteering in your chosen industry- this looks great to employers and you may really enjoy it!
  • If commitments allow it, think about a summer internship in your industry!
  • Book an appointment with an advisor for a careers chat

2nd Year-

  • Identify your skills, if you find it hard to compliment yourself, ask your lecturer or a fellow student! Also identify what you are not so good at so you can work on improving that
  • Research job areas that interest you and the skills/ requirements you would need to get into that career
  • Book another appointment with an advisor to talk about which direction you would like your career to be in
  • If it is a postgraduate course or teaching you are aiming to get into then make yourself familiar with the admissions for these options

3rd Year

  • Review your CV- add anything you have undertaken in your first and second year such as volunteering, paid work and experience.
  • If there is a particular job you re aiming for, target your CV to that and then have an advisor review it.

Good luck!

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Emily B

Choosing your accommodation is a relatively simple choice in the first year. Most students who are moving away from home are doing so for the first time and this can be a daunting experience. There is a choice between University Halls of Residence( Halls – University of Derby) or private accommodation. 


 This accommodation choice is ideal for first year students as it is an ideal way to meet new people. I went into halls for my foundation year as I thought it would be a great way to settle into university life. 

Halls consist of a number of rooms per flat, with a shared kitchen and bathroom with the option of your own en-suite or not. Being put together with strangers from all over the country really helps to maximise your university experience. You can make friends for life at Halls and it’s the easiest choice when it comes to accommodation as all bills are included and it has all the amenities you would need. You get a Halls manager who will deal with any queries you may have to either to do with the people or the site itself. 

All Derby Uni halls are on the Unibus bus route and within walking distance of Uni so are ideal places to live. They are all close to the main town centre whether based at the Derby or Buxton campus. 

Returning students also have the opportunity to pick friends that they want to live with, so if you wanted you could live with the same group for your full 3 years. 

Private Accommodation

You may decide you want to live in private accommodation from the first year. The University has approved private dwellings (Student accommodation in Derby – houses homes flats housing) to choose from which are checked by the Uni to be a certain standard. 

Most students opt for this from the second year, when you have found your feet and made friends that you would like to live with again. 

Bills are not always included with this option so budgeting is essential but you learn many useful skills for  when you do live privately in the future. 

Living with others

Living with people you do not know well or not at all can be tricky. It may take a little while to become accustomed to as it is a big change from living with family. The key thing to remember here is to respect each other! You may not have a lecture in the morning but one of your housemates might, so keeping the noise down after an agreed time is not unreasonable. 

The best way to tackle issues with housemates is to talk to them. If you set up some living arrangements or house rules from the beginning, then everyone is clear on what is acceptable and what is not! You will also have to learn to compromise, this is the fairest way to settle discussions.

It is also essential that you keep the communal areas tidy and clean as everybody will be using this area and it is only fair you leave it how you found it to avoid upsetting your housemates.

But don’t worry, most of the time you will really enjoy living with new people. You may learn something new from them such as how to cook something or they may give you budgeting tips. There is a lot of time to socialise whilst at Uni so getting off to a good start with your housemates means that you will always be coming home to some good friends to hang out with. 

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5 Budget meal ideas

Emily B

As a student, you may be a bit short on money so you need to make the most of the money you have and therefore the meals you make. Here are some really yummy but cheap meal ideas for you to try!

Cheesy Cottage Pie (£1.40 per serving)

This classic is perfect for a cold day and can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days or frozen. Serves 4 hungry people!


  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 500g pack beef mince
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • large splash Worcestershire sauce
  • 500ml beef stock
  • 4 large baking potatoes
  • 85g butter
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 75g grated cheese


  • Heat the oil in a pan, and then add the onion and carrots for a few minutes.
  • When soft, turn up the heat, add the beef and cook, tipping off any excess fat.
  • Add the tomato purée and Worcestershire sauce, then fry for a few minutes. Pour over the stock, bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for around 40 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat the oven to 180C/ fan 160C/ gas 4. Then boil the potatoes for 10-15 minutes.
  • Drain, then mash with the butter and milk.
  • Put the mince into an ovenproof dish, top with the mash and ruffle with a fork and sprinkle on the cheese.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is starting to colour and the mince is bubbling through at the edges. Enjoy!

Homemade tomato pasta sauce with mozzarella and spaghetti(£1.25 per serving)

Having been taught this by my lovely boyfriend I will never buy a tomato sauce for pasta again! It’s so delicious and easy to make. Serves two hungry people!

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • 2 balls of mozzarella
  • 150g spaghetti or pasta


  • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the onions and cook on a low heat until soft.
  • Add the garlic and tomato purée. Cook for a few minutes then add the chopped tomatoes and mixed herbs.
  • Let it cook off for about 5 minutes then add the sugar.
  • Simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, boil a pan of water and add the spaghetti. Cook for 10 minutes until the pasta is soft then drain.
  • Add the mozzarella to the tomato sauce and take off the heat, the mozzarella should just start to melt, don’t stir it too much otherwise it will break up.
  • Serve the sauce over the spaghetti and enjoy!

Nacho chicken with sweet potato wedges (£1.50 per serving)

This recipe is so simple but so delicious! You can swap the sweet potato for white potatoes if you’d prefer. Serves 4.


  • 40g bag tortilla chips
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 200g tub tomato salsa
  • 142ml pot soured cream
  • handful grated mature cheddar
  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  • Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Crush the tortilla chips.
  • Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into wedges, drizzle with olive oil and season. Stick in the oven for around 40 minutes.
  • Meanwhile after 20 minutes, put the chicken breasts on a non-stick baking tray, season, then slash each 3 times with a knife. Spoon 1 tbsp of salsa on top of each, then 1 tbsp soured cream.
  • Sprinkle the tortilla chips over the chicken, then the cheese. Roast for 15-20 minutes until the topping is golden and melting.
  • Take both out of the oven and serve with another dollop of sour cream. Delicious!

And who said desserts aren’t important too!

Lovely lime and ginger cheesecake (60p per serving)

This recipe is delicious, quick to make and will give you 8 helpings. You could also adapt the ingredients to suit your tastes, just make the basic cheesecake and add alternative flavours!


  • 225 grams ginger biscuits – crushed
  • 115 grams unsalted butter – melted
  • 300 grams full fat soft cheese (or mascarpone if you can afford it!)
  • 250 ml double cream
  • 2 limes – juice and rind
  • 8 pieces stem ginger or 4 teaspoons of ginger powder


  • Mix the biscuits with the melted butter and press into a 23cm spring form tin and then chill in the refrigerator for approximately 1 hour or overnight if you prefer.
  • Lightly whip the cream and then mix in the cream cheese (or mascarpone) and lime juice.
  • Add the stem ginger (or powder) and lime zest and mix in thoroughly.
  • Spoon onto the biscuit base and spread evenly over the surface.
  • Chill in a refrigerator for 2- 3 hours until firm.
  • Upon serving, sprinkle extra lime zest on to the top and enjoy!


Lemon Drizzle cake (35p per serving)

This simple and easy recipe can again be adapted and serve as a base for almost any cake recipe. Just swap the lemon for orange, chocolate or whatever you like! Approx. 8 servings.


  • 225g unsalted butter, softened
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • finely grated zest 1 lemon & 1 lime
  • 225g self-raising flour

For the topping

  • juice of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 85g caster sugar


  • Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.
  • Beat together the butter and caster sugar until pale and creamy, then add 4 eggs and mix thoroughly.
  • Sift in the flour, and then add the finely grated zest of 1 lemon and lime and mix until well combined. Line a loaf tin (8 x 21cm) with greaseproof paper or butter, then spoon in the mixture and level the top with a spoon.
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes until a thin skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  • While the cake is cooling, mix together the juice of 1 lemon and 1 lime and 85g caster sugar to make the drizzle. Prick the warm cake all over with a skewer or fork, and then pour over the drizzle.
  • Leave in the tin until completely cool, then remove and serve. It will keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days, or freeze for up to 1 month so I often double up the recipe, freeze one and keep one.

Students Union

Emily B

As a student at the University of Derby, you will automatically be enrolled as a member of the Students Union. It is independent from the University and is fully student led to represent the voice of students. Current students are elected to be the group of officer trustees who’s roles include the president, athletic union president, vice president of academic affairs and vice president of student welfare and students rights. Their main focus is to listen to any queries you may have as a student or deal with any problems you may be unhappy with and improve the students experiences.

You may consider running to become a student officer yourself. It is an opportunity to make a difference within the Uni and will also count towards your HEAR (Higher Education Achievement Record). You will receive full training within your role, with some roles such as the president, needing you to take a year out of your studying to fully commit to it.

If that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea but you still want to make a difference within your course then you could become a Programme rep. This will see you involved in meetings about issues within your course specifically. There will be 2 representatives per academic year of your course and you will be required to attend an annual conference at Derby campus to discuss your viewpoints and issues. You will still need to be elected for this role by your course mates but is a great way to gain some confidence and really get stuck in with your course. You will give your classmates a voice at the meetings and better the experiences for future students. I would recommend giving at least one of these a go as it is a fantastic experience.

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Institute of Travel and Tourism (ITT) Future You ‘On the Road’ at Buxton: An ambassador’s role.

Emily B

ITT Future You conference

The Institute of Travel and Tourism (ITT) Future You conference came to Buxton campus on March 10th 2015. It is a travelling conference that the industries top employers attend and they give lectures on the latest trends within the travel industry and about future jobs. It is essential to attend if you are part of a tourism related degree or are looking to go onto such a degree.  It was mine and another student ambassador’s role to ensure the event ran smoothly.  Supported by industry experts, it was a day packed full of talks, speed workshops and networking.  With over 170 students attending from Derby University as well as prospective students from surrounding colleges including Burton and South Derbyshire College, Derby College and Buxton and Leek College, the event was a hub of information and networking.

Student Ambassador Role

As a student ambassador, one of my roles is to make sure that any events or conferences held by the tourism or events department are well supported and a success. It involves setting up the rooms ready for the events, ensuring the speakers are well looked after and making sure the attendees are directed on where to go and what to do. It is a busy time and a long day but the chance to network with the speakers and be involved is well worth it!

The Day

It was an early start because I needed to be up at Buxton for 8am to start preparing for the conference. We arrived at Buxton and were greeted by the College Marketing Manager for Business, Jenny and the Senior Marketing Assistant in Education Liaison, Sarah. Myself and my friend Lydia were assigned tasks for the day by the Event organiser for ITT, Kelly. The first role was to organise the tables for the day and set up the goody bags that each student and lecturer were going to receive upon arrival. There were 170 in total and so this was no quick task! Upon completion, we were informed of the itinerary for the day:

10:30am- Conference- Leading industry experts Guest Speakers educational conference

13:00- Lunch Break

14:00- Speed Group Networking

15:00- Coffee Break

15:15- Speed Group Networking Continued

16:30- Event Ends

At around 10am colleges and speakers began to arrive and it was my duty to check in each visitor and speaker and assign them a group number for the speed dating session. Here, they were also handed a goody bag and informed of where to go. Around 170 students from various local colleges came to the event which including New College Nottingham and Burton College as well as students involved in tourism courses at Derby University. Once everyone had arrived and been allocated their group numbers the conference could begin.

The Conference

The conference in the morning began at 10:30am and consisted of seven speakers. These were:

– ITT ‘Future You’      – Perfect Weddings Abroad           -STA Travel

– BH Mallorca            – Stella Travel Services                 – Derby University

– Chatsworth

Each speaker gave a presentation of their personal background in the tourism industry and how they got to the position they were in. They then spoke about the jobs they were currently in and the potential jobs available within these organisations currently. Some included graduate programmes, internships, summer jobs and straight from college/ university work. They gave a real, honest insight into the jobs and how it is best to apply for these jobs, including some hints and tips. It was great to see how people can progress in their jobs, with some even starting their own business.

There was plenty to take in and the size of the companies and job roles varied from each organisation so there was a wide range of information, which was great. Now it was time for a well-earned lunch break- which was free because we had worked the event- bonus!

The Speed Group Networking

Once lunch was over, the students got into their assigned groups and the speed networking workshops began. The companies that took part in the networking were:

-ITT                    – Perfect Weddings Abroad             -STA Travel

– BH Mallorca      – Stella Travel Services                   – Derby University

– Shottle Hall        – The Co-operative Travel Management

Each session lasted for 10 minutes and allowed students to ask the companies any questions they may have specifically for the company or of the industry in general. It was great to be able to chat to the people that new all about the tourism industry on such an informal level. They gave really useful hints and tips on improving your CV, interview techniques and how to approach applications.

Why the day was such a success

The conference was great as I further developed my skills in hosting and preparing for events but also I got the opportunity to liaise with the speakers themselves on a more personal level and gain a fantastic insight into their industry. It is with events such as these you get to get a real taste for the area of work you would like to be in and also really flaunt your skills to prospective employers.

If you get the chance to become a student ambassador- go for it! Not only do you get paid for your help but the experiences and people that you meet could help further your career in the industry.

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The Futures Award

Emily B

With so many students going to University and graduating each year, you need to set yourself apart from the rest by getting involved with other activities offered to you whilst at Uni.

The Futures Award is one of these opportunities and it will go on your HEAR (Higher Education Achievement Record). It will allow you to make new contacts, improve your skills and look more employable when you leave Uni. There are several themes to the Award, which include:

  • volunteering,
  • employer mentoring
  • student’s union
  • social media
  • many more

You can choose one theme from the list or a couple of themes and also the level of the award, of which there are 3: The Futures Recognition Award, The Futures Plus Award and the Futures Leadership Award.

The themes and levels you choose will help you become more employable and gain more knowledge at your own pace and fit it around your other commitments. The levels vary from 25 hours to 100 hours commitment and include attending some workshops or seminars on your chosen theme and providing evidence of this. I would encourage you to make the most of every opportunity that University throws at you as those 3 years will go extremely quickly!

If you want to get involved with the Futures Award, then all you have to do is be a post or undergraduate student, have the commitment for one of the themes and contact the careers and employability service at Derby Uni.Go for it!

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5 things I wish I’d known

Emily B

Before coming to university you have so many thoughts going round your head about what to expect and what it will be like. Here are my 5 things I wish I’d have known beforehand:

  1. Everybody is in the same boat as you! That first day can be a bit of a daunting one as you don’t know what you will be walking into or who you will meet. The great thing is that everybody is in exactly the same situation as you and feeling the same way as you. Once you get that first smile off somebody or have that first conversation, you feel all your anxiousness disappears. Remember, some of the people on your course will be your friends for a long time to come- so it’s a positive day.
  2. You don’t need to know everything! You are at university to learn more about your degree subject and enhance your knowledge so don’t feel like you have to know everything about it. The lecturers really are there to help you and guide you through your degree and you will see yourself improving through your assessments.
  3. That part-time job is not more important than your degree! I know money may feel like it is more important than studying or attending your lectures- but it is not! Yes you may be earning some money right here right now but in the long term, getting an excellent degree will pay off far more than that part time job. Prioritise. I would encourage you to have a job as it is good experience, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself or lose sight off your main focus- your degree.
  4. There will be things you don’t like- that’s life! There will be that one module, that one person or that one assignment that really doesn’t float your boat. But nobody said it wouldn’t be challenging. How you deal with those situations will really help you as a person as Uni is about learning new skills personally too, not just academically. I personally was not a fan of group work, however, I couldn’t pick and choose whether I did it or not. You have to learn to get on with it and find ways to deal with it and in the end, you will feel better for overcoming those problems.
  5. Lecturers want you to succeed! There are no trick assignments or lecturers that give you things to trip you up or fail. They really are there to push you and get the best out of you. They want you to be challenged and you can also challenge them. If you disagree with their point or feel you can add something- tell them! They will appreciate that you are really paying attention and feel strongly about what you are saying. Don’t be afraid to have an opinion or send them your work to read beforehand. I was a bit dubious at first to have my work criticised but at the end of the day, they will inform you on how to improve your work and therefore gain a better grade. So be proud of your work and trust your lecturers!

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Places around Buxton

Emily B, HRSM


Bakewell is about 20 minutes away from Buxton and is easily accessible by bus or car. It is a beautiful historic town which is the home of the famous Bakewell Tart, which of course is widely available to purchase there! There are lots of shops, restaurants, cafes and things to do and see. It is home to a huge agricultural show which is the largest of its kind in the UK. It has a fair, a food hall and hundreds of competing animals. The town is well worth a visit!


Ashbourne is a quaint town about 30 minutes from Buxton, it is on the Transpeak bus route and easily accessible by car. It has some lovely little shops, cafes, restaurants, walks and is home to the ‘Shrovetide’ football game which sees spectators play football in the streets over an 8 hour period, with the goals 3 miles apart! A very interesting watch!

Carsington Water is a reservoir just outside of Ashbourne which is home to water sports such as kayaking, wind surfing, canoeing and sailing. There is also a great cycle route around the reservoir, for the keen cyclist and the not so keen! It is a great place to get some fresh air, with cycle hire facilities or water sports hire facilities, it really has it all! There is a café, some shops and a visitor centre to explore too!

Matlock Bath

Matlock is a really fun place to visit and is best described as the seaside in land! Easily accessed by bus or car, it has fish and chip shops, amusement arcades, a mini aquarium, a mining museum and its own version of Blackpool’s illuminations that run for a couple of months in the year. It also has the ‘Heights of Abraham’, cable cars which take you up a cavern system, a fossil display and of course a lovely tea room! Matlock also offers some English heritage in the Form of Masson Mill. Richard Arkwright built it in 1783 and it is still a working textile museum today with shopping village and restaurant. Matlock is my favourite place in the Peak and I would recommend a visit!


Derby is the closest large City to Buxton and is home to an Intu Shopping Centre, with over 190 shops inside and outside, along with a food court, cinema and tons of restaurants to choose from. There is also a darker side to Derby as it is reported to be one of the most haunted cities in the country! Ghost Walks around the centre and the Derby Gaol are popular and an exciting experience. If ghosts and the paranormal aren’t your thing, The Assembly Rooms is host to plays, pantomimes, live acts and stand-up comedians regularly.

There is plenty to do for free in Derby too; there are lots of great outdoor spaces to explore such as Darley Park, Markeaton Park and Locko Park. Derby Museum is an interesting place to visit as it covers WW1, the Egyptians and Derby’s own heritage such as Joseph Wright.

The night life in Derby is a really good night out. There is somewhere for every type of music lover. From Mosh, for the indie, rock and drum and bass crowd to Walkabout which plays pop, current music and some classics and many more places to choose from. Both host student nights in the week and offer discount on the night out with drinks offers and reduced entry! There are loads of other great pubs and bars to choose from. There are independent places which brew their own beer or chains such as Revolution and Wetherspoon’s.

Alton Towers

The UK’s largest theme park is less than 25 miles away and can be reached in around 40 minutes by car. During fresher’s week, a trip to Alton Towers is arranged for free, transport included! If you have never visited before you are in for a treat as it is home to amazing roller-coasters, the log flume, a mini sea life centre, a 4D experience and live shows. A day out not to be missed!

Getting around Buxton

Emily B, HRSM

There is so much to explore in the Peak District it difficult to know where to start! Buxton is in the heart of the Peak and does have a reputation of being difficult to get to and from- but this is not at all true!

By Car

If you are bringing a car to University and staying in Buxton, you won’t need to use it that much as all the amenities you would need are in Buxton itself. If you want to explore the surrounding area however, it is easy to do so by car. Manchester is just over an hour away and so is Derby Centre; it really is a central location! There is plenty of parking on the streets around the University but there is no official parking for the Uni itself. I have never had an issue getting a space and the on-street parking is only a few minutes away from the campus so is no bother at all- and most importantly- it’s free!

By Bus

The buses are a really useful way to get around if you don’t have a car. They take an hour and a half to get to Derby Centre and an hour and fifteen minutes to get to Manchester. The bus route also stops at the smaller destinations such as Bakewell, Matlock and Stockport. They are about every hour and run till late.

By Train

There is also a train station right next to the Uni. In my year there are a few people who commute from Stockport and Manchester by train. From Manchester it takes around an hour and from Stockport it takes 45 minutes. There are several stops so you have plenty of choice as to where you get it from. The Derby route takes a little longer, around 2 hours and requires changes.

However you are travelling to Buxton, the views along the way are an absolute pleasure so enjoy 🙂

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