Employability Events and Town Hall meetings

Chris Napier, Teaching Assistant

School of Computing

Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering

Screenshot of employability week schedule on Canvas

What did you do?

As the academic lead for employability, I organised a weeks’ worth of sessions with employers from industry for both graduate placement positions and to give students the opportunity to learn more about a specific sector, organisation and kind of the opportunities that they have for employment.

All students in the School of Computing were invited. This includes Undergraduate, Postgraduate Taught and Postgraduate Research courses. It wasn’t tailored to any specific one.

Attendees: over 400 students attend the events in total.

Screenshot of an event page on Canvas

Who is involved? 

Chris Napier, Teaching Assistant, Computing.

Ravandeep Virdee, final year undergraduate student.

How did you do it? 

Using available data on where students are going for placements and graduate positions, we could identify the kind of the key sectors within computer science as well as the organisations where students typically go to.

Being in contact with students who have graduated, I was able to approach them if they were willing to get involved by giving a talk on how they felt the transition from being a student at Newcastle to being in employment had been. How that worked, how it helped and then maybe come back and give an overview of their experiences and the opportunities available.

Current students can then see the connection between what they are learning and the working environment.

Due to students being in different time zones, they were scheduled sessions so all the sessions were recorded and students who were not able to attend could view them as well afterwards.

Why did you do it? 

To improve the employability prospects of our students as well as give them some confidence. Due to covid a lot of students believe there aren’t many opportunities out there. There are opportunities. It’s just a bit more difficult to get them. It’s very much getting employers to come in and increase their confidence more than anything and saying “we are still recruiting”. They are just doing it slightly earlier, but it’s still going on.

Another reason for it was to give students an opportunity to make contacts themselves. A few of those students are now contacting our graduates and asking for help with it that side.

Bringing our alumni and current students together.

Students who are currently on placement and students who have just recently graduated are going to be coming back next year, so students can see a direction they could go in.

Does it work and Student Voice 

Around 80 to 90 students attend the majority of the events, so we had quite a lot of students attend them.

The employers who came into the sessions were also very happy. Especially with the types of questions they were being asked. They have received applications from our students now for placement and graduate roles. Which was the main priority of the session, to try and help students see that there are opportunities out there.

Quotes from students:

“Chris thank you for the great talks. Microsoft was the best industry talk that I’ve ever had it was really good and useful. You’re the best!” 

“Employability week was good quality and good advice was given for stage 2” 

“Stage 1 students have reported good feedback on the Q and A sessions” 

“The CV sessions were good very well received by students, lots of positive feedback.”

Graduate Framework

This approach develops the following attributes:

  • Future Focused
  • Confident
  • Curious
  • Engaged

Staff can find out more about the Graduate Framework on the University intranet.

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