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Employability strategy

Employability strategy

Employability strategy

The strategy has been developed based on the work of the Leeds for Life Employer and Alumni Engagement Group (2009-2010). Earlier drafts of the document have been considered and discussed at the Inspire our Students Steering Group and the Leeds for Life Board, where the overall approach was endorsed.


Background

The Strategy seeks to take forward activities relating to the development of the employability of our students.  In the context of this strategy employability is used to:
describe the achievements and capability, for each individual student, which are formed through the integration of knowledge, skills, experiences and attributes from the academic curriculum and co-curricular activities which are needed to gain graduate employment and successful career options.

The strategy uses as a measure of success improvements in the employment of our graduates but it is recognised that wider career options are equally important for some students and therefore improvements in the graduate employment statistics should not be seen as the only valuable outcome.

The strategy builds on the integrated model key to Leeds for Life.  Leeds for Life provides the overarching focus for the broad employability activity at the University and is supported by the professional expertise of the Careers Centre.  The ethos of Leeds for Life is to integrate the academic curricular with the co-curricular as the whole student experience developing each students’ skills and attributes. This model is followed in this strategy, involving University wide activity by Faculties, Schools and Services, ensuring that employability is the responsibility of the University as a whole.  Each constituency of our community has a responsibility to contribute to the development of our students’ employability, be that through the support for individual students, provision of information and awareness raising,  the provision of opportunities for the acquisition of knowledge and the practice of skills or through the engagement by students with the range of opportunities provided.

The University Employability Strategy is intended to provide a framework for the approach to employability through the provision of themes, ideas and examples. It is intended that Schools and Faculties respond to the strategy with their own more detailed plans which take greater account of their discipline and particular needs.

Reporting

LTB has responsibility for setting the strategic direction regarding employability and the Employability Committee, which reports formally to LTB, provides the focus of more detailed work to drive the Employability Strategy and provide reports to LTB (and, where appropriate, reports to the Leeds for Life Board and the Inspire our Students Steering Group). This committee includes representation from Faculties, from Central Offices including the Careers Centre and the Alumni Office.

Structure of the strategy

At the high level it draws on the University strategy map’s key theme to:
Inspire our students to develop their full potential
In order to produce ‘exceptional graduates who become the leaders of tomorrow’

The strategy is organised around the student journey in considering their career options:

  • Decide - what is it I want to do? 
  • Plan - how can I secure the skills and attributes to secure the career path I’ve decided upon?
  • Compete - how can I compete to make sure I get the career I’ve planned for?

The details here incorporate the range of activities identified by the Leeds for Life Group in its last report as well as incorporating the range of activities associated with employability, such as the employer engagement project, enterprise  etc.

The University Strategy Map includes the following:

  • University Strategy 
  • Develop outstanding graduates and scholars 
  • Produce exceptional graduates who become the leaders of tomorrow 

In order for the University to achieve this, the following strategic aims for employability should be adopted:

Employability strategic aims

  • A University of Leeds definition of employability
  • Professional support for students in choosing and  planning for their future careers
  • The provision of opportunities, by Schools, Faculties and Professional Services through which students can develop the skills and attributes for their future career choice
  • Opportunities to enable our students to compete in a global market


The actions and structures needed to deliver the strategic aims will include 


Decide examples

  • Speakers in Schools/Careers events/Alumni events/Faculty events/Networking opportunities
  • Academic input via the programme of study / Personal Tutoring / research supervision
  • Making use of Careers Centre expertise from year 1
  • School/Faculty based information on student career plans

Plan examples

  • Using Personal Tutoring supported by Leeds for Life, to recognise:
  • Alumni mentoring
  • The explicit recognition of the development of skills and attributes
  • Internships/Work Placements/Study Abroad / Conference presentations
  • Curricular input through skills development on the programme of study, research project

Compete examples

  • Making use of the professional careers guidance and one-to-one sessions provided by the Careers Centre
  • Ensuring academic success to the highest possible level for the individual
  • Ensuring employers are fully engaged and aware of Leeds for Life and the distinctiveness of the UoL
  • Further developing links with Alumni
  • Awareness of the currency and depth of the programme

We will know that we have delivered the strategy when the following is achieved

Indicators

  • Recognition that employability is the responsibility of the whole University.
  • Institutional-wide awareness among staff and students of employability and how to get support and professional advice
  • Graduate Employability statistics improving
  • Improved ranking by employers
  • Student confidence in their own skills and attributes relevant to employability
  • Alumni in key international positions

Activities to support the Strategic Aims

Academic skills development

The development of academic skills is visible through the structure of the module and programme catalogue and schools will be asked to review the transparency of this as programmes are refreshed.

Careers Centre

Careers events and talks, as detailed in the Careers Centre’s comprehensive events system can provide inspiration, ideas and concrete advice for students in how to plan their futures. Careers events can be tailored for individual Schools or Faculties or large scale Institution wide events. Closely linked with Leeds for Life regular events should be included as opportunities on the Leeds for Life website to help flag them to students.

These events need to be co-ordinated, even when provided locally, so that a professional and appropriate impression is given to prospective employers of our graduates.

Alumni Events

The Alumni Office organises a number of events throughout the year for alumni to be in contact with current students. These event, which can relate to particular Faculties and Schools, provide the opportunity for recent and more experienced alumni to meet and pass on experiences and expertise to students.

Leeds for Life Networking Events

These events enable students to meet and network with employers and alumni (and each other) from different employment sectors and in relation to different disciplines. The sessions are introduced with a practical session on networking and they designed to allow students to practice the skill of networking as well as enabling genuine contacts to be made.

Targeted activity

Identifying at an early stage through a simple self-assessment those students with 'no idea', those with tentative plans and those with a clear plan so that they can be directed to appropriate activity.

Individual career guidance

Professional support for individual students to help them move from the no idea group to the groups of those with tentative and clear career plans.

Work Placements

Work placements are crucial to employability and to enabling students to gain the best possible start in employment. Work placements is used here to cover all work experience opportunities.

Graduate Careers Network

The Graduate Careers Network enables students to contact alumni in different types of employment to make contacts and ask for practical advice and guidance. The scheme is currently being enhanced in order that it is fully integrated into Leeds for Life.

Access to Leeds for Life

Leeds for Life provides students with the resource to record their experiences and skills development, within the Living CV part of the website. The information on the Living CV can be used, with the professional guidance of the Careers Centre, to build up competitive applications for specific graduate roles. Students will also have access to their Leeds for Life dashboard for five years beyond graduation.

Professional guidance from careers advisors at the point of application

Individual sessions with advisors in the Careers Centre on tactical help with the application and selection process

Employer input into the curriculum

Ensuring that the curriculum includes opportunities for students to engage with and understand the needs of employer groups.