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Reviews about "bristol"Return to all Reviews
- Current Employee, more than 10 years★★★★★RecommendCEO ApprovalBusiness Outlook
Great benefits, good focus on staff and student wellbeing, investment in building beautiful buildings (as well as improving the older ones), amazing campus grounds with beautiful trees and flowers, the coffee is great too. With a people centric ethos of a library, cafes, shops, a gym, nursery, post office and a barber's on site, working for UWE Bristol is more like working for a community than working for a business. I am proud to work for UWE Bristol, it is an organisation that is flourishing, achieving great goals and provides fantastic learning opportunities to it's students and staff, take a look at their 'ranking and reputation' internet page for more details.
It's a large organisation, sometimes communications are a little lost when disseminated via managerial routes. The recent investment in IT infrastructure due to the Covid situation has meant much clearer communication channels on a team, departmental and university wide level.Continue reading
Totally agree with you that communication has been greatly improved over the last 6 months, greater trust imparted to staff to manage their work in the way that suits them which in turn has delivered some great results. The intention is to continue this moving forward - and I know the VC has said that he is happy to continue with his fortnightly Q&A if we still want it!
- Current Employee, more than 3 years★★★★★RecommendCEO ApprovalBusiness Outlook
From well being accreditation to a fully engaged workforce committed to the benefit of our student community, The Students' Union at the University West of England is an excellent organisation in which to work.
Traffic in Bristol can mean a little extra time in getting to work. Our Student community demand the best service, this creates a fast paced, creative and rewarding environment in which to work.Continue reading
Thanks for posting the review. Depending on where you live and your circumstances, don't forget the alternative methods of getting to work - e.g Metro bus, cycling etc!
- Former Employee, more than 1 year★★★★★RecommendCEO ApprovalBusiness Outlook
It is in Bristol, UK
I got bullied at the workplace and HR moved me from the office rather than dealing with the bullyingContinue reading
- Former Employee, more than 10 years★★★★★RecommendCEO ApprovalBusiness Outlook
In theory the academic freedom should endear working in the higher education sector. If you are in the right department/faculty there can be such freedom for a while - when the sun is shining on your subject area. Good also if you are working in a tight and self supportive staff team, that is protected from the overbearing admin and fashions in the higher management at Faculty and University level.
Very weak support for staff career progression at the institutional level. Lot's of lip service and box ticking, but in almost 20 years - I rarely had an effective appraisal. These were meant to be every two years (happened 1 in 3 maybe), then moved to annual - but as a box ticking exercise. I had about 5 or 6 in my 15 years. The institution suffers from the top down from an inferiority complex, it was a polytechnic, and really should has stayed as one or become a 'technical university' as common in other parts of Europe. Instead it attempts to be 'world class'. And is so desperate that it ends up just wanting to tick boxes on all manner of national and international league tables - but without doing the underlying substantive work to underpin the solid foundations required. The effect being that it swings around, bending to the latest fad and fashion. Rebranding, wanting to be mistaken for the University of Bristol, not sure which league tables (or metrics) are the important ones. Evidence the bobbing up and down in the bottom middle (or worse) of many of the ranking tables. The management culture seems so atomised, with individual departments, faculties and even managers (research/teaching/marketing/admin-IT) all trying to capture any small improvements, or successful outputs for themselves. Capturing success, rather than creating success is the main preoccupation this weak management. For international research, for carving out solid scholarly contribution to important real world questions, for consistent support of an academic career - this all makes for a strong and unnecessary headwind making progress very difficult. Too much monitoring and admin in the place. Admin staff outnumber academic staff - every 'academic' problem is attempted to be fixed by yet another layer of admin, or monitoring system, or computer system. Very poor staff moral and very high levels of staff stress and sickness leave. (They are attempting to address this now (2015-2017+) through adding yet another layer of monitoring - instead of looking at the causes).Continue reading
- Former Employee, more than 5 years★★★★★RecommendCEO ApprovalBusiness Outlook
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.
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!Continue reading
- Current Employee, more than 3 years★★★★★RecommendCEO ApprovalBusiness Outlook
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.
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.Continue reading
- Former Contractor, more than 5 years★★★★★RecommendCEO ApprovalBusiness Outlook
Supportive staff development programme and very helpful re employee absence due to health difficulties
Getting there! (if you live outside Bristol). Traffic delays can make timekeeping difficult if you're not on flexiContinue reading