Interim Employability Strategy 2020-21
Introduction and Context
The current University Employability Strategy ends in 2020 and therefore, in light of the current and ongoing pandemic environment, the University's Employability Strategy Group approved this interim one-year strategy which both enables the new business as usual to function as well as being forward-thinking to beyond 2021.
The interim strategy also pays close attention to the national direction of travel, underlined by Advance HE who clearly state that employability as a concept should be an institutional one that is supported at all levels, and that to be addressed effectively it,
should be embedded into all learning and teaching policies, processes and practices and considered throughout the student lifecycle, from the very start of a student programme through to completion of their studies. Graduates should be equipped to make successful transitions not just on graduation but throughout their life, and to manage their careers effectively. The Framework for enhancing Student Success, Advance HE (2020)
Finally, where possible, the interim strategy is aligned to all relevant University working groups and sets of principles that have been developed as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will seek to ensure that the employability aspect of a student (and graduates) journey is integral to their experience at Leeds and beyond and therefore factored into any appropriate University or Faculty decision-making in the future.
Employability Statement of Intent
Complimenting their academic experience, students will feel part of an:
holistic employability experience which will enable them provide a meaningful contribution to society throughout their lives. This experience will be positioned as an institutional-wide approach of collaborative working through an active student voice, professional services, academic teaching staff, alumni, relevant sector partners and professional bodies.
This means students will experience and co-create:
- a partnership-driven set of applied transferable learning opportunities which reflects both their needs and the professional requirements of industry and society in general, and which is integrated with academic delivery alongside co-curricular options
- an inclusive, supportive and community-focused environment in which they feel a sense of belonging and inspired to prepare effectively for their future. Through this, they will be able to recognise and apply the skills gained through their University experience (and beyond) to their future aspirations
- an accessible developmental environment wherever they are located, however they are able engage and in ways that ensure safety for students, graduates, staff and employers
Due to the ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University will also pay particular attention to the graduating Class of 2020 in relation to a programme of targeted support which will assist in the navigating of a reduced and uncertain graduate jobs market.
Principles for Delivery Throughout 2020-21
The key principles for delivery in relation to all employability opportunities (regardless of where they are accessed) are:
Area 1 - Informed and Forward Thinking:
- Supportive and knowledgeable: staff will provide information, advice and expert guidance in relation to the opportunities that students and graduates can access whilst at university and beyond
- Digitally capable: taking advantage of developing a high-quality employability experience that can be delivered remotely and repeatedly
- Data Informed: decisions in relation to the delivery of existing and new opportunities will be data-informed and aligned to students and graduates who most need support
- Targeted and integrated access: a clear and consistent system which enables all students and graduates to navigate and tailor the employability opportunities that are on offer
Area 2 - Equitable Experience:
- Consistency: where possible, extra-curricular opportunities will be consistent in their breadth and quality across all faculties and in relation to centrally provided provision
- Accessible and inclusive: opportunities for all employability activities will be informed through student voice and relevant expertise, ensuring that they are at all times, both accessible and inclusive
- Positive action: targeted provision to support the development of social capital, aspirations and student success for those cohorts of students and graduates who may need specific support
Area 3 - Individual and Collective Impact:
- Lifelong learning: supporting lifelong learning is a fundamental offer for all students and graduates
- Transformational: creating an invigorating and inspirational environment where students understand their potential contribution to society and enabling them to develop the skills and attitudes needed to achieve this
- Globally relevant: Creating a learning environment that purposefully includes wider perspectives and provides opportunities to engage in global issues and communities and to develop the knowledge and skills required to both contribute and integrate effectively
- Surfacing skills: supporting students to understand, reflect upon and articulate the value of their degree in relation to the transferable learning and skills gained
- Collaborative working: the spirit of collaboration will underpin the development of new and existing employability opportunities, with students and graduates closely informing direction and focus. This requires students, graduates, student careers, academic teaching teams, alumni, educational engagement, the LUU and the graduate market to work collectively to ensure a holistic student experience