DMU student union scraps card charges

BY SIMON SANSOME

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Tobin Tuson 21 Student and Barman

Students at DMU have won a reprieve from credit and debit card charges in the Union’s bar and shop.

New European Union rules on card charges were introduced in December affecting all businesses in the UK who use card machines to take payments.

The SU charged 40p for a one-off transaction in the Student Union bar and shop.

SU Commercial Manager Chris Hackett said:  “The new EU rules mean there is now a cap on card transaction charges and the Union has taken the decision to effectively stop all card charges, with immediate effect, so we don’t pass any bank charges on to our students.”

Previously, the SU was charged a small fee by the bank every time a consumer paid by card – and the cost was then passed onto the consumer.

The new EU rules state the banks can no longer charge more than 0.20% for a debit card transaction and no more than 0.30% of the value of the transaction for credit card payments.

Chris, who said the SU is a registered charity and continually trying to improve the student experience, added: “This is a positive change for both students and the Students’ Union preventing unnecessary costs being passed onto our members.”

DMU first year journalism student Max Pearson said: “It’s good that they have stopped card payments. The university should be about learning not making a money. Students are hard up as it is without the extra charges.”

 

DMU gives graduates a helping hand

By Natalie Whitehouse

For graduates, the task of gaining employment immediately after university is a tough one, especially if the industry they wish to get into is fiercely competitive. On leaving university, many people find their vast amount of experience is still not enough to qualify them for their dream job.

That’s where DMU have stepped in: developing a placement scheme entitled DMU Graduate Champions, which seeks to find six-week paid work placements for graduates looking for further experience in industry.

Journalism graduate Conor Davies was more than happy to be involved with this fantastic initiative when he was offered a placement, which began at the start of this year.

Since finishing university, Conor has travelled to California as part of a #DMUglobal trip, as well as having a job in the DMU Accommodation office on his return. The 21-year-old is now employed part time as in Medical Recruitment at his local hospital in Derby, so when he heard about the DMU Graduate Champions Scheme, he was eager to apply:

“I applied for it [the scheme] as soon as I heard about it. There are lots of opportunities out there but, as I currently live in Derby, most of them are unpaid and in London… it’s difficult to make this work realistically. So getting paid and being almost guaranteed a place through DMU’s employability commitments means I went for the scheme almost immediately.”

After applying, Conor, who graduated from De Montfort with a First Class degree, was given the opportunity to work as Communications Officer for the DMU Communications team, which has seen him gain vital workplace experience to add to his CV:

“My skills that had been developed and honed on the journalism course like interviewing and the art of putting a news story together have been tested. I’ve been on the placement for three weeks and I’ve written about audiology, neural networks and successful students. It’s been a whirlwind but it’s refreshing to get back into journalism after a short break.”

Conor (right) at graduation

Conor (right) at graduation

As well as working on honing his talents, the internship has also allowed Conor to add further skills and expertise to his collection:

“I think adding skills like publishing to Content Management Systems, as well as the increased amount of work I can add to my Portfolio and experience in the communications side of things will add to my employability prospects. Especially as so far my work experience had been specifically in the sports side of things in newspapers.”

Ideally, Conor’s dream job would be a sports reporter for a newspaper or a magazine, but he admits it’s a challenge to find your perfect job straight away in such a competitive industry:

“It is a challenge in the current landscape of jobs and opportunities, but I’ll never stop trying, and would definitely grab any job in journalism if offered to me to enable me to start working my way through the ranks.”

And Conor’s current internship is providing him with an extra bit of experience that will, hopefully, make him stand out from the crowd and appeal to prospective employers. But aside from that, the placement is also proving something Conor likes to do – which is often half the battle:

“I’m really enjoying it. It’s very refreshing for it to be my ‘day job’ for a couple of days a week. The Comms. team have been great with me too, treating me like a proper member of staff rather than a work experience kid, and have given me plenty of opportunities to test and challenge myself.

“I definitely would [recommended the internship scheme]. DMU’s employability focus is unique and certainly one of the best attributes the university has had from day one. I remember in my first year of journalism, we were expected to arrange work experience for ourselves at our own local newspapers. This commitment was essential and gave me the newfound confidence to match my journalistic skills, which had been honed in the first term at university.

“With this placement, it almost feels like I’ve come full circle, and DMU is still there to support myself and fellow graduates with these paid placements.”

“I always wanted to do a job that made some sort of difference to people’s lives”

By Natalie Whitehouse

NCTJ qualified journalist Katrina Chilver found herself employed before she graduated from De Montfort last summer, obtaining a fantastic full time position as a trainee reporter at The Slough and Royal Borough Observer and Villager newspapers.

Katrina began her role in June, just before she graduated with a First Class degree in Journalism, after being on the hunt for journalism jobs during her time at university:

“I was looking for trainee reporter jobs based all over the country on the journalism website Hold the Front Page throughout my third year at DMU. I was really lucky because I applied for this job in May just as I was finishing my course and was invited to interview that month too.

Photo by Mike Swift

Katrina interviews Mary Berry.   Photo by Mike Swift

“I think it helped that I was open to moving anywhere as jobs in journalism can be limited and it gives you more options if you’re looking all over the country.”

As well as being open to change, she cites her course as another area that gave her a helping hand in securing the role, as well as her time as News Editor for The Demon, and various other placements she undertook throughout her studies:

“The NCTJ preliminary qualifications that I got while at DMU really helped because I wouldn’t really be able to do my job without Shorthand, Media Law and other things I learnt from those exams.

“I also think that the work experience placements I did on local newspapers while at university played a big part because they really showed me how a newsroom works and gave me the chance to have my work published.”

These factors enabled Katrina to land what she describes as her dream role: “This is definitely my dream job. It sounds really cheesy but I always wanted to do a job that made some sort of difference to people’s lives, and although I’m definitely not changing the world in any way, I do get calls from people I have written stories about thanking me and telling me it has helped them, whether that’s raising awareness of their fundraising or helping them get an apology when they have been wronged in some way.”

The role of a journalist is diverse in its nature. Katrina divides her time between looking for story ideas, interviewing, receiving calls from readers and of course writing. And she notes that this makes sure her job always has an edge of excitement:

“I get to chat with loads of different people every day and hear about their lives and other things. I could be interviewing an elderly couple about their 70th wedding anniversary one minute and be writing about someone being arrested the next, it’s not a job that’s ever really boring.”

And her first day on the job proved to be as exciting and interesting as any – going out to cover a story about the Queen:

“I cover the Windsor area and on my first official day at work I was sent down to Windsor Castle to cover the Order of the Garter ceremony. It was pretty exciting to be able to say that your first day at work involved the Queen. I’m yet to meet her but I have met Mary Berry, which some would say is just as exciting!”

Katrina’s aspirations don’t just end here. She plans to get additional qualifications in the hope of furthering her career, and maybe one day becoming an editor:

“At the moment my goal is to get my NQJ qualification so that I can become a senior reporter and I can take that in about a year’s time. After that I hope to become a news editor and hopefully one day an editor, but those goals are quite a way off at the moment.”

As for graduates still searching for jobs, and indeed current students on the lookout too, Katrina leaves some pearls of wisdom when looking for the job that’s right for you:

“I do think it’s just as important for you to find out if you want the job as it is for the employer to decide it you are the right candidate.”