An Employability Case Study

CornishHow employable are our graduates? What are universities doing to help? You may have heard these questions a lot recently. In the article below, Elizabeth Cornish, a recent American Studies graduate, talked to The Insider about how her experiences at Leicester are helping as she embarks on her career.




After graduating with a first in American Studies, Elizabeth secured an Internship within the University as part of the Leicester Graduate Internship Programme. Her role as International Intern means she is now responsible for setting up an International Buddy Scheme, aimed at helping International students settle into life at Leicester during those crucial first few weeks. Elizabeth believes the activities she took part in during her degree have been critical in securing her first role.


‘Activities like the Leicester Award enabled me to figure out what my skills were and how to use them effectively,’ says Elizabeth. She has also been Vice President of the Band and Gig Society, Social Secretary to the American Studies Society and held down a part-time job within the Careers Service. Elizabeth firmly believes that these activities positively affected her employability. As President of the Band and Gig Society Elizabeth improved her networking and organisation skills. Elizabeth adds: ‘Employers want to see something on top of your degree, something that gives you an edge, putting these skills into practise enabled me to speak confidently about them during the interview.’


Elizabeth reflects positively on the support offered by the University: ‘The Careers Service really helped and was great at advertising opportunities, not only paid jobs, but volunteering and additional activities like the Leicester Award. My lecturers were always very approachable and supported me in whatever I did.’


Elizabeth thinks that having real life experience of employability skills is essential. ‘Universities need to make employability accessible. Rather than telling students that they will be employable if they do X, Y and Z, put students in these real life situations and build this into the courses. This is what worked for me at Leicester.’

[from The Insider, February 2012]

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