If you are looking for an opportunity to make the most of your time at university and make your graduate job applications stand out from the rest, Career Ahead is the ideal programme for you.

The Award has been developed by our team of Professional Careers Advisers and is based on what employers look for in their ideal candidate – it will help you to identify any gaps in your skill set, reflect on your experiences and offer you the opportunity to participate in exclusive programmes and mock interviews with employers.

From the Career Ahead Award you will get:

  • Official recognition for your extracurricular achievements and the skills you have developed
  • The opportunity to develop employability skills
  • A chance to prepare for and be interviewed by a real employer through the mock interview task
  • On-going support and advice from the Careers and Employability Service

And a much better chance at getting your ideal job!

The Award is flexible; you can do it in your time by creating a portfolio to evidence your skills.

The framework includes 3 main elements (bronze, silver and gold); you will need to complete all 3 elements to gain the full Award. However, you can complete the elements separately and receive a certificate for each stage, for example, if you only want to complete the bronze element you can!

The Award details are as follows:

Bronze Silver Gold
Personal Development Skills Development Career Management
  • Introduction to Career Ahead (online or workshop)
  • Complete a skills audit
  • Reflective diary: identify your career goals, your values and your skills gap



  • 100 hours extracurricular activity
  • Reflective diary: choose 4 skill areas to develop and reflect on your progress
  • Attend or complete online 2 Career Ahead workshops. Choose from Leadership, Mentoring, CV building, Reflection, Personal Branding, Writing a Personal Statement, Equality and Diversity and more
  • Search for and select a job you are interested in
  • Write a targeted covering letter and CV or application form
  • Attend a mock interview with an employer - you can only attend the mock interview once you have completed and passed all elements.

Once you achieved the full Career Ahead Award, if you want to continue to add to your employability skills you also have the opportunity to complete Career Ahead plus - the Platinum Award. Details as follows:

Career Ahead Plus
  • Complete 50 additional hours of extracurricular activity
  • Mentor a Bronze or Silver Career Ahead student
  • Choose an activity to complete from: organising an event, sharing a skill, completing a placement or setting up your own student enterprise.
  • Reflect on these elements and submit your diary as evidence.


Career Ahead is hosted on Blackboard so you can have a look at the Award by clicking on the Career Ahead Tab when you log on to Blackboard.

If you would like to know more or register for the Award, please contact us at careerahead@cumbria.ac.uk to let us know you’re interested.