University of the West of England

  www.uwe.ac.uk
  www.uwe.ac.uk

University of the West of England Reviews

Updated November 23, 2014
Updated November 23, 2014
15 Reviews
3.7
15 Reviews
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University of the West of England Chancellor Sir Ian Carruthers
Sir Ian Carruthers
7 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    An absolute pleasure to work at and an inspiring place to be.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Catering Assistant in Bristol, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Catering Assistant in Bristol, England (UK)

    I have been working at University of the West of England part-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    The people at UWE are always friendly and I feel that I am completely supported in my role. I am paid well above the minimum wage which I believe shows how UWE views its employees as people not just cogs in a giant machine. My middle management and those very senior within the university are always friendly and I feel like we are all in a partnership all working in different forms to ensure UWE is as good as it can be.

    Cons

    As I work within the hospitality service there are often queries as to why the catering outlets close as early as they do and do not open on weekends.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue to do what you are doing! If the university continues to support all those within it so auxiliary staff, academics, students etc. then we will continue to succeed as we are currently doing.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Good opportunity while studying

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Student Ambassador in Bristol, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Student Ambassador in Bristol, England (UK)

    I have been working at University of the West of England part-time

    Pros

    easy to fit in your studies

    Cons

    the organization structure was a bit confusing sometimes it was unclear. L

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Great opportunity to grow up as a professional and ease into industry

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - PAL Leader (First Year Module) in Bristol, England (UK)
    Former Employee - PAL Leader (First Year Module) in Bristol, England (UK)

    I worked at University of the West of England as a contractor (less than an year)

    Pros

    It looks great on the CV, flexible hours, internationally recognized and a great opportunity to expand network relations.

    Cons

    As a PAL leader, not all first year students engaged as much as I would have liked them to.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    To keep up with the training sessions, they were of great help when I had them.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
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  5.  

    Accommodation Receptionist

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Accommodation Receptionist in Bristol, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Accommodation Receptionist in Bristol, England (UK)

    I have been working at University of the West of England part-time

    Pros

    Good working conditions in all.

    Cons

    Lone working sometimes. Lot of physical work

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Better communication

  6.  

    IT Support - Good place to start as a graduate and get some experience for your next job

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - IT Support in Bristol, England (UK)
    Former Employee - IT Support in Bristol, England (UK)

    I worked at University of the West of England full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Being a University in the beautiful South West you get to live and work in some of the nicest parts of the UK. UWE it self is fairly nice place to work as a new graduate, gives you the opportunity to get some work experience and be surrounded by students. Most other educational establishments will give you an interview after working here since it's a University. Most people working at the university are really nice so long as they haven't been promoted into management.

    Cons

    Too many middle management running around using jargon management talk and too much reorganization in the establishment both which leaves the workers demoralized and unmotivated. There is hardly any progress opportunities within the establishment once you progress to the top of your salary scale unless you are prepared to apply for a middle management position, don't expect any promotion or training. If fact if you are good at job you will not be promoted since they can't really replace you just expect more work load! if you are on the other hand useless you'll do well in being promoted. Under no circumstance will you be provided with any useful IT training!

    HR are more concerned with business objectives than health and well being of the employees, if you are sick more than 10 days a year, you will have to meet with HR and justify having being ill for example having caught the freshers flu! if it happens again expect formal warnings and so on.
    HR will openly tell you that this is a business ran for profit and that most things don't seem to matter other than getting the students fees.
    UWE HR have no intensive to deal with bullying in the work place either, they handle this particular issue really badly even if there are multiple employees complaining about the same person.

    Also top of the cons might be commuting to Frenchay Campus, since parking is extremely costly and the roads are congested, however you can cycle around 6-7 miles from Bristol town to reach work!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Reduce the number of middle managements and increase the number of working people. Limit the re-organisation processes.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7.  

    Its been a very good expoerience working with the UWE.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Lecturer in Bristol, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Senior Lecturer in Bristol, England (UK)

    I have been working at University of the West of England part-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    I think I may be a biased here because this is also my alma mata. The university is all-inclusive and very diverse in terms of its staff strenght and students' population. There is a lot of investments in terms of research funding and the process is fair and open.

    Cons

    You might come across a bit of bureaucratic bottle neck in some of the processes. The workload bundle process at times is very vague.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    More involvement in staff developmental processes.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Brilliant place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Graduate Intern in Bristol, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Graduate Intern in Bristol, England (UK)

    I have been working at University of the West of England as a contractor (less than an year)

    Pros

    It's a very welcoming environment, everyone is very supportive of each other. Very team driven. Good, flexible working hours to suit your lifestyle.

    Cons

    Organisation can be slow at times and HR isn't the easiest to work with. Lots of short contracts so harder to be sure of permanent jobs.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    More oppertunities for graduates to work here.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    Mixed Feelings: Being a Post-Doc at UWE

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Associate/Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Bristol, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Research Associate/Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Bristol, England (UK)

    I have been working at University of the West of England full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good tolerance of things like flexitime, working from home, balancing life and work and children-related flexitime and time out from work. Welcoming to older people (2nd career students and so on), women, muslims, all sexualities and so on. Senior management seems to desire inclusivity (like Athena Swan and so on), but there are some issues (see cons).

    There is also a level of ruthlessness in the senior management approach to courses and areas to invest in, which, although not everyone likes this, suggests that the university is unlikely to run out of money. Although, like all universities, money is spent on things like pretty buildings.

    There is a genuine engagement with local businesses and applied research, although the focus on small to medium enterprises can exclude efforts to engage with large and international enterprises. There is engagement with the local high school students through things like careers fairs. There is a engagement with the public through things like festivals, talks and tours.

    Lots of opportunity to move around and learn new research skills (largely because they don't care about research or police it beyond the health and safety level). Lots of personal development, continuing professional development, teaching courses available. Little policing of hours spent at UWE, so you can work from home, or take flexitime easily.

    Almost open and fair approach to researcher promotion. It is possible to fill in a form explaining why you deserve a promotion, get it considered by the department/faculty and get feedback as to why you didn't get it, which is helpful (and was a change that took place whilst I was there, which does show a commitment to improvement). However, you need a business case for promotion, which does mean that the promotions go to those who are best at getting funding, not necessarily those who are best as their job (this is the same at every uni, I think).

    H.R. and finance departments are a little too keen on forms, a little anal about the filling in of them (if you have bad handwriting, don't even bother trying to do them by hand) and the processes change too often, but the form overhead is well managed compared to most universities. The finance team will sort out grant application finances for you and the bidding support people are good at their jobs.

    Keen on the filing of patents, the patent agreement is generous to researchers and they are interested in applying research and licensing patents to companies. But, the university currently has only a part time technology transfer officer and they really need 2 full time ones, and they are too keen to licenses to small, local SMEs rather than engaging with large, multinational corporations and patent opportunities fall through the gaps and, in one case, it took a year to file a patent and some of the work was accidentally published before filing.

    The uni-run bus service has vastly improved and is usable for getting to and from work.

    The university senior management does seem genuinely engaged in improving things.

    Cons

    If you don't fit in, you will be told to not come back! There is a huge difference in this across the faculties, so it depends where you end up. Some faculties are not very tolerant of differences, despite a huge effort to be inclusive from the top levels of management and some level of success in inclusivity. There is some institutional bullying at the lower levels in some departments. Anyone with any mental health issues is likely to have difficulties, some departments are not very supportive. Some first-line bosses block their post-doc's attempts to 'get-out-from-under' and have an independent research career.

    Generally, the university is uninterested in research success, again, the top levels of management encourage it, but lower levels do not recognise or reward it. There are wasted opportunities to pursue lucrative research ventures with external bodies, due to lack of interest at the departmental level. There are some oddities where great researchers with very high profiles externally do not get internal recognition -- this goes to internal researchers skilled at politics and cronyism, even if they have a low external profile. Similarly, external impact is often overlooked as well. There is also an over-focus on the professor as compared to the post-doc. The institutional view seems to be that the professor does all the intellectual work of a project and the post-doc is just a pair of hands (i.e. they act like a research assistant or research technician), there is no understanding that research associates (which I define as someone who has their PhD), research fellows and senior research fellows do a vast amount of intellectual work and contribute independent ideas. Thus, any research success that is recognised goes to the professors. It is also difficult to get support for external bidding at the RA, RF and SRF level, as a professor must be put on the grant and work put in to develop grants by the lower levels is ignored. This results in the university losing promising early and middle career researchers because they are not interested in retaining those people and their skills. Therefore, there is a chance that the university will end up top-heavy, with many highly paid university lecturers (who may then retire) and no qualified early or middle career researchers to take their place or expand the research and bidding potential of university. This is highly wasteful as the university has put in the time to train these people (often from their PhD's) and then loses them to other institutions once the researchers are efficient at producing research.

    No clear level of direction of research in some faculties. Some institutions, such as the BRL, have a very clear direction and leadership, some departments and faculties lack leadership and change their research focus every year! This is compounded by the highly irritating habit of departmental and faculty level management renaming the departments and research groups on an almost yearly basis. I think they rename it to indicate a change of direction instead of implementing proper leadership. The names picked tend to be rather long and unwieldy (and not particularly descriptive of what the department does), and take up a large amount of space on research papers (quite irritating if you submit research papers to somewhere that strictly limits page length). It does not look good externally to have names so vague as to mean nothing, and makes it hard to cultivate an external reputation. The solution seems to be publishing papers and maintaining websites in the names of groups/departments/research centres that do not actually exist in the university structure any more. Personally, despite not liking renaming things, I would love it if the university could rename itself to the Technical University of Bristol, or something, as outside the UK there is no stigma attached to the word 'Polytechnic', Bristol has a good reputation globally as a technical city and it would make it easier to build up a good reputation with colleagues at Technical Universities of the US, the Technichsche Universitat of Germany and the Polytechnica's of Italy.

    There is too much pointless competition between departments, faculties and research institutions. For example, there are two different research organisations focussed on biosensors/biosensing, one in one faculty focussed on biosensors, one in another focussed on biosensing, there is limited collaboration (although there is some) and unnecessary competition between these two. There are initiatives to increase cross-disciplinary work but only within a faculty and not across it, despite obvious routes for cross-faculty collaboration, due to the slightly odd layout of departments within faculties (the biology departments are with the humanities in a different faculty to computer science, and mathematics is put in with engineering and design, separate from computer science). This leads to wasted resources, with similar lab facilities empty within one faculty and crowded in another and wasted opportunities to bring in money from external companies where cross-faculty collaboration would lead to a better service.

    Cronyism. Jobs do not go to the best qualified candidate. There is an effort to appear fair, but it is not very convincing. I saw one job get awarded to an internal candidate in what was supposed to be a fair and open competition where we were invited to attend job presentations of the candidates. However, in this case there were only 2 candidates short-listed, the external dropped out, the job was de facto awarded to the internal candidate and this was presented as a fair process. The best way to get ahead is to suck up to middle management and attempt to procure yourself a defender (or several) at the departmental and faculty level. With such a defender, you can easily win internal funding competitions and promotions, without one, you might as well give up on any internal funding competitions and apply for external money. Putting time and effort into internal PR and propaganda is worthwhile as well. But be careful, overdoing the propaganda and seeming to over-succeed will alienate your co-workers and defenders. These issues take place at other universities, but because UWE is so internally focussed (almost solipsistic in its approach to research reward!) it is extra bad here.

    In some departments there is a huge morale problem at the post-doc level. This is due to lack of leadership, bad management and cronyism, but also to do with the over-focus on the teaching staff as compared to research staff (this is something the university has worked to address, although more work is needed). However, the teaching staff are demoralised as well, as the teaching load is very heavy and they are required to produce 4 high impact publications every four years as well. The obvious solution of cultivating and promoting research-focussed post-docs to 'carry-the-load' of REF success and to collaborate with the primarily teaching staff to give them high impact research has not been attempted. In fact, due to the poor management of the researchers, there is a distrust between the primarily teaching and primarily research faculty which makes such collaboration unlikely to emerge.

    Financial reward is random. If you start fresh from a PhD you may be appointed at either a RA(ssociate) or RF level, it seems to be random, and is unfair and divisive. If you start at RA, you will need to swing a promotion to RF to get the same reward as one of your colleagues, this will take at least a year and a half as you can only try once every 6 months, you can't do it during your probation and are unlikely to get it first time. So, in an interview, try and get RF level and be polite and don't tell your colleagues! There is a pay increase every year (as mandated by the Research Councils), this depends to time spent at UWE and is not related to the outcome of your personal development review, so no amount of success will allow you to progress faster. There are cases of RA's with the same qualifications outperforming higher paid RF's. The management seem to believe this is a fair system.

    There is no language school, so faculty can't get cheap evening classes in foreign languages. The library lacks subscriptions to some necessary journals. You can get them via the British library and every researcher has access to this service, but it adds to the time taken to get the appropriate literature.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Fully investigate the actual day-to-day practises of management at the departmental and faculty level, there are some nasty surprises awaiting. I suspect the lack of leadership at the departmental and faculty level is directly related to the attempt to chase out anyone who doesn't fit in or can't be bullied into fitting in, as to fit in is to acquiesce and if everyone is culturally-trained to acquiesce you will not have any good leaders. Look at what skills and potential you are losing at the early and middle career level.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    PAL leader at UWE

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - PAL Leader in Bristol, England (UK)
    Former Employee - PAL Leader in Bristol, England (UK)

    I worked at University of the West of England full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    best reason to chose to become a PAL leader is you could get a extra 15 in your diploma

    Cons

    cons are you have to prepare a plan sheet for every lesson so you would be spending an extra 30mins to prepare a plan then after the lesson you need to review your lesson that's another 30mins wasted, and you are only paid £7.5 an hour and you lose £1.5 to tax but you might claim that back later year.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I think they should increase the hour rate of the PAL leaders and less paper work.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    The level of incompetency and failure when it comes to supporting staff is astounding

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at University of the West of England full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    The flexi-time scheme works well (providing you have a fair manager who will allow you to take back the time you've accrued.)

    Cons

    I honestly don't know where to begin but just for starters...
    * The fact many staff took a pay cut while the VC's salary and benefits went through the roof
    * The fact HR do not react appropriately when a member of staff is being bullied by a senior member of staff
    * The fact staff are being expected to do more and more with fewer resources.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Please listen to your staff and their concerns, especially around workload and stress because if no action is taken, you could well end up with your staff having to take sick leave.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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