Royal Holloway Careers & Employability, part of The Careers Group University of London has won the Association of Graduate Recruiters national awards in the category of Best Preparation for Work: Single Initiative 2015.
The award recognises the work of a single initiative within a university careers service in preparing students effectively for the world of work.
Royal Holloway Careers & Employability’s innovative initiative was especially commended for its gamification methodology, and its 5 month careers education process which simulates the competitive process of recruitment and delivers the most impressive students to employers, while also reaching 1 in 3 of the eligible second years and delivering formative feedback on their CV & interview performance to all participants. The 2-4 weeks micro-placement offer students an exploratory experience of the labour market, not just the confirmatory effect offered by longer internships, and so this programme enables good careers decision making as well as providing career-enhancing credibility and contacts.
Some of the elements that impressed the judges most were:
- The focus around Key Performance Indicators against clear objectives.
- The marked shift in the culture of placements at the university and engagement with students that wouldn’t ordinarily have come to the career service or undertaken work experience.
- The panel liked the innovative approach and the competition element prepared students for realities of world of work.
- Very clearly articulated impact results against objectives
Liz Wilkinson, Head of Royal Holloway Careers & Employability said:
This achievement has been a real team effort both within Royal Holloway Careers and Employability and across the campus. Royal Holloway is delighted with the award and the Principal, Paul Layzell, has already written to express his appreciation of the hard work and innovation from Careers and Employability that has gone into this success.
In two years placement provision has developed from a simple scheme for around 20 students in two academic departments, to an integrated employability and placement curriculum for eight departments impacting 37% of eligible second years. The departments that are currently involved include Media Arts, English, Classics, History, Music, Criminology, Biological Sciences and Maths.
The innovative aspect of the scheme is that it also helps students who don’t win one of the career-launching placements. The scheme appeals to all students, including those who are least likely to proactively access the careers service early. The two-week micro-placements allow students to experience work in a particular sector, while enhancing their skills and CVs through coaching sessions. The process of competing for a short placement engages students in mastering job hunting techniques before their final year.
Bob Gilworth, Director of College Careers Service, The Careers Group, University of London remarked:
Our team at RHUL is breaking really important new ground in the availability of exploratory work experience for students amidst dominant discourse which suggest that all HE level work experience is part of the talent pipeline and must therefore be purely confirmatory for those with an already defined career path. This is becoming a hot topic and Liz and co are leading the way.
Winners were announced at the AGR Development Conference 2015, on 19th March.
Not only will the initiative be expanded at Royal Holloway, SOAS Careers Service is now launching its own version and The Careers Group, University of London is happy to talk about how this approach could be adapted for different contexts. Find out more about The Careers Group, University of London‘s career development and employability services.