Career Development Service
Graduate employability is a priority for the whole institution, not just the Career Development Service. The University’s reputation, its standing in league tables, and its ability to recruit high quality students are all heavily influenced by how successful our students are in securing graduate jobs. At least as important as this is the fact that students expect and deserve to be well supported in their preparation and search for graduate employment.
Vision and strategy
The stated aim of the employability strategy (login required) is to
The employability strategy was formally launched by the Vice Chancellor at the employability summit on 2 July 2012. The employability vision, below, summarises the approach.
Stakeholders internally (students, the Students’ Union and departments) and externally (employers, alumni and parents) all have an important role to play ensuring our students develop the extra dimension they need. Transferable skills [LINK] such as teamwork, communication and planning and organising need to be developed in a range of contexts (curricular, co-curricular and extracurricular) throughout a student’s time at the University.
Early student engagement with the employability agenda is one of the most critical factors in improving a student’s chances of graduate destination success. The longer a student leaves thinking about their career options and planning the more difficult it becomes to achieve a positive outcome. Students need to take responsibility for their own career planning with support from their department and the Career Development Service.
Specific departmental responsibilities include (but are not limited to):
- allocating the Career Development Service a 15 minute slot with all year groups as part of a core lecture to encourage early engagement with employability;
- timetabling a 50 minute follow-up sessions for the Career Development Service to deliver more detailed careers education (December for finalists and the beginning of the second semester for penultimate and first year students);
- encouraging their students to engage as early as possible in identifying and developing their transferable skills, career management skills and application competencies;
- referring their students (via teaching, tutoring and PDP contexts) to the extra-curricular opportunities and one-to-one support provided or promoted by the Career Development Service;
- promoting the importance of employability to students on an on-going and integrated basis, not just at the start of each academic year;
- ensuring that Careers Tutors have the necessary time and influence to champion the importance of employability in the department;
- making use of the Personal Tutor system to encourage regular reflection not just on academic progress but also skills development and career planning - promoting and encouraging students to use the support offered by the Career Development Service as fully as possible;
- sharing ideas and suggestions with the Career Development Service and other departments, via the regular college Careers Tutor meetings and on an ad hoc basis;
- helping identify students who have yet to secure graduate work or study in the summer at the end of the penultimate year – this is to enable targeted support for this priority group.
Importantly departments should also look to initiate their own interventions that suit the particular needs and contexts of their students. Departments need to think about, with the help of the Career Development Service, how they can use the curricular and co-curricular space (implicitly or explicitly) to help students develop their transferable skills, ideally with the support of relevant employers. All departments will have at least some sector or industry expertise and contacts that they should capitalise on.
Career Development Service
Within the extracurricular sphere, the Career Development Service provides and coordinates numerous opportunities via internships, part-time work, volunteering, enterprise and business projects and competitions. Many of these opportunities can lead to formal accreditation via our long-established Leicester Award programme. Importantly, however, it’s not simply about helping students to gain experience and develop skills; the Career Development Service also provides comprehensive one-to-one support to help students make the most of their experiences and to articulate the skills they have developed in language that resonates with potential employers.