Building my professional experience alongside my studies

by Lyea Rivers, December 2023

Student Lyea, on a hike surrounded by mountains with arms in the air and big smile on her face

Hi! My name is Lyea and I'm a first year student in Earth and Environmental Science. This is my second time doing first year as I switched courses.

Professional development opportuntities are one of the things I love the most about studying at Lancaster University. There are so many flexible part-time jobs at the university that make it possible for students to study, work part-time, join societies, and still have time for rest, exercise and fun!

During the past year I have had lots of opportunities to build my professional experience alongside my studies including succeeded in getting the following roles: project leader, digital ambassador, Green Lancaster Don’t Ditch It project team member, and student content creator.

In this blog, I will share how I got these roles during my first year of being at Lancaster University and then I will share how I manage my time.

Events by the careers service

Group of students on Capital Connections trip pose for group photo

I've had lots of opportinities to meet employers throughout my time so far at Lancaster.

As part of the Grow Your Future programme, I got to go on the Capital Connections trip to London, where we visited the Environmental Agency, Deloitte, Omnicon Health Group, and others. On this trip, I got to network and learn about the organizations, and different career paths and ask questions.

I've also attended on-campus careers events and the insights and tips gained from career fairs and employers’ presentations have helped me succeed in applying for roles, interviews and being selected for my current roles.

The careers team at the university also offer appointments to review CVs and cover letters.

They helped me to align my skills, experience, interests, etc. to the jobs I was applying for and provided feedback on my CVs and cover letters. Not only did this help me succeed in getting the role but it also taught me how to improve my writing in my CV and cover letter to apply for future roles.

Attending workshops

Student Lyea poses with a banner

During my first term, I attended online leadership development workshops delivered by Common Purpose.

Then, in my second term, I attended entrepreneurship workshops delivered by Work in Progress, where I learned and further developed my skills in entrepreneurship, team building and presenting.

I’ve attended a sustainability workshop by the Pentland Centre for Sustainability on campus where I got to meet very lovely and knowledgeable people in sustainability! It was amazing to connect and network with everyone and to learn about their research. Here, I gained new knowledge which is beneficial in my current project leader role in sustainability research and other roles.

These workshops have been extremely beneficial to me succeeding in interviews and gaining skills to apply to new jobs.


I joined the Enactus society for a few months, which is a community of students, academics, and business leaders who are committed to using entrepreneurial action to transform lives and make positive progress towards a more sustainable world. As a member, you can accesss training and I was able to further develop my entrepreneurship, project management and presentation skills during my time as part of this society. They also have partner companies such as EY, Amazon, and Unilever. This is definitely a society that helped me develop career-wise and has helped me succeed in interviews and getting new roles.

My cultural exchange programme

Student Lyea poses in front of Malaysia skyline

I attended a culture exchange program in Malaysia where we got to learn about Malaysian culture in addition to topics such as business, sustainability, and infrastructure.

On this trip, we got to learn experientially, socially and by doing activities such as using our sales skills to raise funds for a social enterprise.

Managing my time

I use a planner to keep track of my lectures, labs, workshops, field trips, reading materials, completing assignments. For me, studying takes up about 40 hours of my week.

Currently, my project leader role requires 3 hours weekly which includes meetings, tasks and communication with the team. The role is flexible, so I am able to work in between my study commitments.

My content creator role and digital ambassador role are more flexible, and I create content during breaks in the day, afternoons or on weekends.

By making sure all my commitments are in my planner, I am able to ensure that I complete my commitments and leave enough time for family, having fun, resting, and exercising.