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The Bradford Employability Award – Active Career Planner

Career and Employability Services have developed this programme as an opportunity for you to gain credit for your time at university when you are actively engaged in career planning activities. This award will form part of your Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR) which shows prospective employers your employability skills.  On successful completion of the activities, students will receive a Certificate of Active Planning.

Taking part in the award

  • You will commence a series of planned career and professional development activities over one academic year.

  • You will learn how to set career goals and implement actions to help achieve those goals.

  • You will devise high-quality career development documents that will help you in implementing your plans, for example, CVs, portfolios, personal statements and competency statements on application forms.

  • You will gain support and feedback on your career planning activities with opportunities for one-to-one career guidance/coaching to help you clarify your career goals as well as improve your CV and other supporting materials.

2 smiling students in classroom

How will signing up for the Active Career Planner Award help me? 

These are just some of the benefits: 

  • Development of a range of employability* skills – participants should further develop skills in communication, listening, negotiation, planning, time management, networking and commercial awareness as well as overall confidence. 

*employability is defined as 'a set of achievements – skills, understandings and personal attributes – that makes graduates more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupations, which benefits themselves, the workforce, the community and the economy’

  • Your meetings with a Career Consultant and other advisers can provide practical support in essential areas such as interviews and assessment centres preparation, developing effective presentation skills both on paper (CV, covering letters) and in the practice of one-to-one communication. 

  • Confidence and Self Awareness – meetings with a Career Consultant and/or other Advisers will give you professional support you need to conduct a job search with confidence or make effective postgraduate study applications. With regular, constructive feedback the career guidance/coaching process will enable you to become more self-aware and to know your strengths, your aspirations and your areas for improvement. 

  • Networking – through participating in careers and jobs fairs, meeting potential employers and developing your online profile through LinkedIn, you will develop confidence and experience in networking, helping you to become aware of opportunities in the hidden job market.

How does it work?

Take a look at the menu of activities, below, and you'll see that many of the ways you can get involved with Careers are listed, along with an allotted points score for each activity. 

You'll need 50 points to complete the award, and some of these points must be made up of core activities. You can do them in any order over the academic year.​​​​​​​

To get started, you'll need to attend one of our induction sessions:

These sessions will start you off with 5 points towards your total.

You can also register your interest via this form.

See our FAQs below for more details.

Active Career Planner - Menu of Activities

The full list of Active Career Planner Award activities and points available.

If you require this information in an alternative format, please contact our team. You can also read our Website Accessibility Statement.

Frequently asked questions

Why should I sign up – what is in it for me? 

This award will equip you with most of the skills and knowledge you need to compete in today’s graduate job market. Even if you are planning to go onto postgraduate study, the activities will support you in your choice of PG programme and any applications. Engaging in the Active Career Planner Award will help you become successful in making both job applications and postgraduate study applications. In addition, on successful completion of the activities, you will receive a Certificate of Active Career Planning. 

Will employers recognise the Award? 

Yes - research has shown that those university students who actively engage with their own career development and gain relevant work-related experiences during their studies are more likely to succeed in the jobs market. Research every year shows that over 50% of graduate employers require students to have work experience and be actively involved in employability skills programmes. 

I plan to continue with postgraduate study. Why should I take part? 

At some point in the future, you will be applying for jobs, but in any case, the skills and knowledge you learn and practice during the Active Career Planner Programme will be very beneficial in helping you decide which post graduate programme to study and in making your applications a success. 

Will other universities recognise the award (for example, for a postgraduate application)?

The majority of universities in the UK offer similar types of employability award and will be familiar with the kinds of activities and skills you will pick up from participating in this award. It is something extra to put in your application and it is something that universities will seriously consider as beneficial to your application. 

How long will it take me to complete the Award?

Under normal circumstances without any interruptions, you should be able to complete the Active Career Planner Award within one academic year. 

How much time do I need to spend in addition to my studies? 

The hours spent outside of your studies in completing the activities that lead to the award varies for individual students, hence we are not focusing on the hours spent but you will be awarded points for completing each activity. 

Each activity carries points (ranging from 5 – 15) and you need 50 points to achieve the award within one academic year (25 points of the total are from completing the core or compulsory activities) and the other 25 points are from a list of activities which you can pick and choose.  We believe that the core activities are fundamental to be successful in your career planning.  You can choose to do the activities in any order but within one academic year. 

What if I get behind and cannot complete the programme in one academic year? 

You will be able to submit extenuating circumstances for any issues for example illness that interrupts your participation in the Active Career Planning Award. If you have to take a substantial amount of time out, you may be able to carry forward your points and complete the award in the following academic year (discussion will be based on individual circumstances). 

I am already taking part in another award. How does it relate to other awards and HEAR activities? 

Some of the skills and knowledge you learn on the Active Career Planner Award will be relevant to other awards and HEAR  activities. This is acceptable – the Award should complement other types of HEAR Activities. 

The following are the other Careers-led HEAR-accredited awards you may wish to participate in: 

What kind of activities will I be doing and how much time will I need to spend on each? 

You will be undertaking activities that you would probably do anyway (see the menu of activities). For example, you will be developing a high-quality CV, you will be writing a covering letter or a personal supporting statement, you will be practising interview or assessment centre preparation, you will be attending careers and employability fairs and networking with employers. If you have a part-time job, then you will be able to use that experience to count towards your award. The same applies to volunteering. 

How many webinars do I have to attend? 

You will need to attend the introductory webinar of one hour and we would also expect you to attend other career webinars (a minimum of six webinars of which two must be employer-led) and submitting a very short reflective questionnaire online for each webinar you attended. The 2 questions are designed to help you reflect on what you have learnt from attending the webinars (knowledge and skills/qualities gained) and how you would apply this to your career planning. 

However, you can attend as many webinars you want (highly recommended) but the points are fixed.  There are a lot of choices from our Employability Workshops and Webinars Programme over the academic year – you can pick and choose the sessions you're interested in.

Can I sign up and work with a friend completing activities together?

A key part of the Active Career Planner Award is that you will be collaborating with other people –  you’ll be meeting and networking with employers, having appointments with career consultants and other advisers, as well as generally building up your network. 

You may wish to do this along with a friend for example when you attend or take part in careers fairs or webinars involving employers.  Peer support of this kind will be useful in helping you reflect on your skills and knowledge and producing some of the documents you need to achieve the award However all of the work that you undertake towards the award should be your own work and not that of a friend undertaking the same award. 

Do I have a choice over which adviser I meet with to discuss my plans?

You can choose who you wish to see for your appointment, and you are not tied to seeing the same person each time. To see someone who you would prefer to see will depend on their availability.

How many careers appointments will I need to have? ​​​​​​​

This Award is NOT about focusing or monitoring the actual hours you spent completing each activity – it is about your active engagement to be successful in your career planning.   

Based on our experience, we recommend a minimum number of meetings (see menu of activities) but you may require more than the recommended number.  The Active Career Planner meetings can be with different advisers, but it is normally recommended you see the same staff member for your meetings (in order to check your progress)  

Can I meet the Career Consultant on campus or remotely?

Currently we are offering both face-to-face appointments on campus as well as remote appointments. You can meet and see a career consultant over MS Teams meetings, Zoom, Skype or telephone) or on campus subject to availability.

What kind of part-time or voluntary work is acceptable? How many hours work experience do I need to undertake? 

Any kind of part-time work or voluntary work will be acceptable. If you can obtain voluntary or part-time work that is relevant to your studies and your eventual career goal, that would be very helpful, but it’s not essential.

The award is more concerned about your successful application for part-time or voluntary work and other internships and the hours required for application again varies with each student.   

The University recommends that students work no more than 15 hours per week, and international students should check visa requirements.

Apart from time, are there any costs? 

We do not expect you to have to make any additional expenditure to complete the Award. The only expense could be travel to the university campus, but you do not need to be on the campus for careers appointments, employer meetings or to attend webinars and (virtual) career fairs.  However, on-campus appointments are available should you wish to see a career consultant or adviser face-to-face. 

DOTS and the Active Career Planner award

The outline of the principles that underpin Active Career Planner is based on the ‘DOTS’ model (a four stage model of career planning originally developed by Bill Law and Tony Watts of the National Institute for Careers Education and Counselling). It has 4 stages which are:

  • D:  Decision Making / Learning
  • O:  Opportunity Awareness
  • T:  Transition Learning
  • S:  Self Awareness

However, this is not a logical order to achieve the aims of your career planning. Before making a career decision you first need to raise your self-awareness, then look for information about opportunities available to you; decide between the opportunities and then based on the decisions, you then use the right tactics to gain the job.  Hence the more logical order is as follows (SODT):

Decisions Making / Learning

You will need to make a decision based on the options available and your own situation,  resources and preferences. You could do this with the help of a Career Consultant.

Opportunity Awareness

This should help you work out broadly (researching) what kind of occupations or sectors could suit your interests, knowledge and particular skills.

Transition Learning

Once you have made a decision about your future pathway, you will need to develop materials such as CVs and personal supporting statements to present to potential employers, or if pursuing postgraduate study, this university and other universities you wish to consider. These will help you prepare for and make the transition from your current study programme at university to a job role or higher level study programme.


This explains how you as a student would first need to reflect upon and identify your values, beliefs about the workplace, your interests, your special aptitudes and strengths, as well as any areas you need to develop.

Application and sign up 

To take part, you will need to attend and participate in one of the Active Career Planner launch introductory webinars. Attendance and participation in the Introductory webinar will count towards 5 points. At the webinar, you will be given all the information you need to decide if the award is right for you and be able to participate in the various activities and engagement as per the menu of activities

Keep checking our workshops and webinars page for scheduled induction sessions

You can also register your interest via this form.