All posts by Helen

The Creative Talent Directory

With finding work becoming more important than ever, Birmingham City University’s Media Content Lab have recently relaunched Media Talent Bank, a supportive new website to help businesses in the creative industries source talent and freelancers to find work.

The freshly revamped website allows businesses and creatives to upload a profile, CV and portfolio onto an online directory which can easily be browsed by potential employers or collaborators.  There is also a dedicated ‘Jobs’ page.

“Media Talent Bank has been designed to help break down some of the barriers to the creative and media industries,” says administrator David Allen.  “Although run from Birmingham, the site acts as a platform for creative workers from across the UK to actively promote themselves, as well as allowing businesses both within and outside the sector to efficiently find skilled freelancers to work with.”

The site is currently on the look-out for creative industry professionals interested in contributing to the Media Talent Bank blog.  Those interested in becoming a voluntary blogger or finding out more should contact or telephone David Allen on 0121 204 9886.

Access to Higher Education courses

If you’re thinking about studying for a degree but have been out of education for some time then it can be difficult to know where to start and who to turn to for advice. You may be worried that you don’t yet have the right qualifications to gain a place at university. Our advisers here at Choices can provide information on a wide range of routes into Higher Education. One of the routes most commonly recommended for mature students is an Access to Higher Education course.

Access courses are specifically designed for mature students. As well as offering an introduction to the subjects which can be studied at degree level, an Access course will introduce you to the study skills you’ll need at university, such as taking notes, writing essays and researching topics in the library or on the internet.

By the end of the course you’ll have gained all the knowledge and skills you’ll need to succeed in Higher Education as well as a recognised qualification equivalent to A level standard. Continue reading Access to Higher Education courses

Teaching Maths – it adds up to a rewarding career


In the current climate of economic uncertaintly teaching is becoming an increasingly popular career choice for all kinds of people.  Many people come to teaching later in life looking for a more satisfying career, whether it be in primary or secondary schools, or in colleges of further education.  Teaching maths in secondary schools is a particularly important and challenging role and it is a subject area that attracts career changers from a number of different professions.  At Birmingham City University we have trained former accountants, financial advisors, banking clerks and engineers to become successfully qualified maths teachers. Continue reading Teaching Maths – it adds up to a rewarding career

Access to Higher Education Fair

The Open College Network West Midlands Region will be holding an Access to Higher Education fair at Birmingham City University on Monday 13th October.  The event is aimed at adult learners who are thinking about entering Higher Education. 

This is your chance to collect information and prospectuses from HE institutions, talk to course tutors, ask questions about courses and services and find out about how to apply to university.  There’ll also be the opportunity to obtain information about fees and finance and the support offered to learners.

The event is free but visitors will need to book through the OCN West Midlands Region office.  For further information contact John Wilkins, the Access to HE Development Adviser, on (01902) 824212 or e-mail

Settling in – Freshers week

Freshers week is now well underway and our office in the Students’ Union is buzzing with students attending the Freshers Fayre today, along with a random assortment of strange characters wandering around in giant inflatable costumes.   The event is organised by the Students’ Union and it’s a great opportunity to find out what’s going on within the University and around Birmingham in general.  Students can sign up to get involved in one of the many sports teams or societies within the University and there is loads of free stuff on offer as local bars, clubs and sporting and leisure venues all queue up to promote themselves to this year’s intake of new students.  Today’s goodie bag haul included free bowling tickets, baked beans (!) and posters from the Ikon gallery.

If you are new to student life in Birmingham or are thinking of studying here next year and want to find out what’s going on in the city then take a look at Keisha Thomson’s guide to the music and arts scene.  Keisha is a Birmingham City University student with a blog at Birmingham Live and Learn

The Final Checklist

Have you forgotten anything? If you are due to start university this September here are a few things you should act upon now if you’ve not already done so.

Student finance forms completed?
Accommodation application completed?
Place confirmed?
Course commencement details received?
Exam certificates/ results received?
Accommodation confirmed?
Student bank account?
Insurance arranged?
TV licence acquired?
Basic living items purchased? (If living away from home)
Area map?
Student travel pass?
Money to tide you over in case of delays in receiving your student financial support?

If you’re coming to Birmingham City University you may find some of the following contact numbers useful if you need to chase anything up or have any questions:

Birmingham City University:

University switchboard 0121 331 5000
Accommodation services 0121 331 5191
Academic Registry: 0121 331 5679
Choices (the course information and guidance centre) 0121 331 5595
Student Services: 0121 331 5588


Student Finance Direct: 0845 607 7577
NHS Student Grants Unit: 0845 358 6655
The Student Calculator:


Birmingham and West Midlands:
Travel West Midlands:


Inside the Clearing Hotline Room – results day!

Our guest blogger, Richard Hughes, is in the midst of things today and will be posting regular updates throughout the day. Here he is with part two of his report from the clearing hotline room.

It’s half nine in the clearing room and things are well under way.

It’s the second time I’ve manned the clearing hotline. Even with a twelve month gap it only takes a couple of calls to get back in the swing.

There are only about ten of us in the room at the moment as things don’t really hot up until after nine. Things are far from quiet this morning though – not least because my phone rings so loud it’s making the desk shake. Personally, this isn’t a bad thing as the shock is helping to overcome the lack of sleep brought on by today’s early start!

There’s a full range of calls coming in so far. Not just people who’ve got A level results today, but people who’ve been told, mistakenly, to contact us for results, people who haven’t already applied to UCAS and I’ve just had a call from someone who wants to do one of our professional marketing qualifications!

Back to it!

Holy Moly!

It’s now half two and the Clearing helpline has been absolutely relentless! Last year calls peaked at between 9 and 11am, but all day today has been busier than at any point last year. What HAS dropped off is the level of service we were getting this morning from the people who were fetching the brews! Tammy – we need you back!

It’s nearly four o’clock and things have started to calm down. It’s been a pretty intense day, with everyone constantly on the phone, and I mean constantly. Off home for me but some of my colleagues will be here until 8 o’clock tonight and we’ll all be back to it tomorrow!

Inside the Clearing Hotline Room – T minus 17 hours…

Today our guest blogger, Marketing Officer Richard Hughes, reports on the build up to Clearing from the Clearing Hotline Room.

It’s the day before A level results day and the anticipation is building within the University’s marketing and communications department just as it is for those expecting results.

Not that what happens tomorrow is as significant for us as individuals as it is for prospective students, but as a marketing unit, and a university as a whole, it’s the culmination of a huge amount of work.

The effort to recruit students for September 2008 has been going on covertly for about a year.  If you consider our presence at higher education exhibitions, UCAS fairs and work with schools it’s really been going on for a couple of years.  And it all comes to a head tomorrow. Continue reading Inside the Clearing Hotline Room – T minus 17 hours…

Top 10 Clearing Tips

Here at Choices we’ve helped thousands of students to explore their options and make the right decision about higher education. We work alongside clearing helpline staff and admissions tutors to help students find their way through the Clearing process and secure a place at university.

Here are our top ten tips for surviving Clearing and finding the course that’s right for you.

1 Don’t Panic!
If your exam results are not quite as good as you expected remember to keep calm; the right course for you may still be out there. There’s a good chance that you will be able to secure a place at university through Clearing. Last year over 30,000 (that’s around 1 in 5) university places were found through Clearing! You are certainly not alone and you have some excellent options awaiting you.

If you narrowly miss the grades you require you should check the status of your application on UCAS track before you start ringing universities to enquire about places on alternative courses through Clearing. In some cases if you are only a few UCAS tariff points short of the required grades the university may still be able to confirm your place, but this will be at the discretion of the admissions tutor. Continue reading Top 10 Clearing Tips