Frontrunners helps speech and language therapist find her voice in interviews

A Speech and Language Therapy graduate from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has praised the university’s popular Frontrunners scheme for helping her secure a job in the National Health Service (NHS).

Beckie Tunnicliffe has been enabling people to make the most out of their voices for nine years, with the 31-year-old from Nottingham having previously set up her own business as a vocal and piano coach.

Beckie Tunnicliffe

She will now be helping adults with mental health difficulties communicate more effectively as a qualified speech and language therapist, thanks in small part to DMU’s Frontrunners initiative – a paid internship for students to gain extra workplace experience.

While the scheme has allowed many students to gain practical skills, Beckie learned how to improve her soft skills such as managing stakeholders’ expectations. All this, combined with interview techniques and systems, helped Beckie ace her interview with the Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

 “A lot of people said I was crazy for looking to do extra work in my final year but I loved working as a Frontrunner,” Beckie said.

“I’ve been self-employed as a vocal coach for a while now, so my interviewing technique was a little rusty but the Frontrunners team – along with DMU Works – were fantastic in helping me prepare for my NHS application.

“The team do job interviews themselves all the time, so they were able to share with me some really useful answers that focus on the NHS values, as well as general tips on getting my experience across more effectively. I went through a few practice interviews, where I was able to gain their perspective for what they look for in applicants before having my graduate job interview.

“I learnt about the STARR (Situation, Task, Action, Result and Reflection) system and the team helped me implement it in my current jobs. I created a table with examples from my previous experience running a business, what I had learned in my studies and what I was doing through Frontrunners. From there, I drafted the tasks, actions and results of each experience which really helped me in my interview.”

Each year, up to 100 students can gain a place in the scheme, working for up to six months within different areas of the university, including professional services and academia.

Beckie worked with the Postgraduate Pharmacy team to help redesign and simplify the learning materials used in the university’s distance learning pharmacy courses. 

During her time on the team, she was able to attend career and job application workshops set up by the university as well as the all-important Christmas party and wellbeing sessions.

Beckie said: “Working with the Postgraduate Pharmacy team and following surveys with various students, I was able to re-format pages of teaching materials into something that is now more accessible to students, particularly those diagnosed with dyslexia.

“It was flexible and I could work around my studies. The team were incredibly supportive and championed any change I suggested, which was empowering to me.

 “I was also able to collect testimonials for alumni, which will be used to create a testimonial video to help advertise the course as well as help redesign the postgraduate Pharmacy webpage.

“I’m going to miss working with the Postgraduate Pharmacy team. They welcomed me with open arms and made me feel like an integral part of the team, including me in wellbeing activities and their Christmas meal.”

Posted on Monday 26 September 2022

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