UK Embedding Employability Into Every Step of the Higher Ed Journey
Last week, we heard Sir Paul Curran, President of City, University of London talk at Universities UK about embedding employability into the end-to-end student journey at their university, from the admissions process until after graduation. It is an important point, as all too often students only consider employment options a couple of months before they graduate. Paul, however, has found that engaging with students at the start of their university journey and embedding employability into their entire lifecycle at an institution allows students to become more focused on building their professional skills, and, as a result, helps them become more employable.
Sir Paul cited employability as one of an institution’s core KPI’s, and he went on to explain some of the ways in which City, University of London embeds employability into the full student lifecycle, starting at the admissions phase.
Ask Career Readiness Questions Both at Admissions & Graduation Stages
At City, University of London, students are asked career readiness questions at both registration and at graduation to measure their distance traveled from the start to finish of their education. Admissions and careers staff ask both direct and indirect questions, and they make sure to tailor these questions for different academic programs – i.e, maths and business students are likely to have different perspectives than art students.
Examples of these questions include “What careers have you already thought about,” “How far along in the job search process are you,” and questions that measure the student’s confidence levels in regards to finding a job.
Begin Offering Microplacements Early
In the UK, microplacements give students an opportunity to experience what institutions in the US might consider to be “mini-internships.” They only last two to five weeks, which means that students have a more condensed period of time in which to learn, but also that students may have opportunities to fit in more microplacements during their academic career than they would full-length placements.
City, University of London begins offering these microplacements to students almost immediately, with many microplacement opportunities going to first and second year students.
Create a University Culture that Promotes Employability at its Core
Students at City, University of London have access to a unique perk – a free pop-up university, which the institution has named City Unrulyversity. According to the school, the pop-up university’s mission is to “inform, inspire and empower the next generation of Tech City Entrepreneurs.” Classes at the pop-up university are taught by leading professors and “combine practical relevance with academic rigour.” This creative project has been very successful for students since they can take advantage of it at no cost and can begin to learn entrepreneurship, business knowledge, and research skills early on in their academic career.