Here at St Mary’s we look to develop the employability of a student throughout the student experience. This means we look to develop the skills, experience and attributes needed to secure a graduate level job.
St Mary’s degree courses are designed with employability in mind. The content of the modules, assessments and learning outcomes support the development of graduate attributes such as communication, teamwork, leadership and problem solving and contains opportunities for meeting industry professionals and working on real-world problems.
Many programmes also have an opportunity to undertake a Work Placement through modules such as a Workplace Learning Module. These develop experience alongside academic content which helps students reflect on themselves and their professional development.
We have a bespoke Careers Service for students and graduates enabling students to gain support for their career progression from day one, no matter what stage they are in the process. We provide individual one to one appointments to help students ascertain their career direction, evaluate their ability to compete for part-time jobs, internships and graduate roles, acquire the experience and skills they need as well as deliver impactful applications and interviews.
We also work in degree programmes to provide specific sessions related to degrees. In addition, create opportunities for students to meet employers such as talks and careers fairs (virtually and in person) as well as providing a jobs board to promote employment opportunities.
Finally, we provide programmes for students to develop their employability such as Start Up St Mary’s for entrepreneurship and Be SMART, a professional development programme for students from ethnic minority backgrounds.
We encourage students to get involved in different aspects of university life that can help develop their employability and provide many opportunities to do this on an extracurricular basis. Students can engage in volunteering, sports clubs, student clubs and societies and roles on campus such as Student Ambassadors, Programme Representatives and Senior Residents.
All of these can help students gain valuable experience and develop skills. In 2020-21 we will launch the St Mary’s Award which will enable students to reflect on these further, gain recognition and develop great examples for their CVs.
We have several paid internship programmes including the St Mary’s Internship programme (sponsored by Santander Universities) and internal departments within the University also offer internships to enable students to gain experience.
How can parents/carers contribute to the employability of St Mary’s students?
As a parent of a St Mary’s student, you have a vital role to play in Employability of students at St Mary’s.
We surveyed first year students coming into St Mary’s and found that 73% of them spoke to parent/guardian or another family member about their career. These conversations are vital in informing students as to the steps they can take to develop their career interests, skills and experience throughout their time at university and so we would like you, as parents, guardians and family members to be able to refer them to activities and support here at St Mary’s.
Key things that you can encourage students to do include:
- Have conversations about their career with lecturers and their personal tutor as well as professional services staff and the Careers Service. Research from the National Student Engagement Survey shows that these enable the building of career development skills.
- Get involved with university life as much as possible. This includes extracurricular activities such as joining the Students’ Union clubs and societies, sports clubs, volunteering and positions of responsibility such as Programme Representatives. These will develop skills and experience and show to potential employers that the student is proactive and has made efforts to develop their skills.
- Gain some paid experience such as a part-time job, internship or Student Ambassador role. Professional experience looks great on a CV and provides references for other jobs.
- Getting involved in programmes that give them extra professional support and help them to build networks. Mentoring programmes, Be SMART, a professional development programme for students from Ethnic Minority backgrounds and Start Up St Mary’s, an entrepreneurship programme are examples that are run by Employability Services.
As parents, guardians and family members you can also support the wider St Mary’s student community. You yourself or people in your own personal network may be able to mentor other students or provide internships or work placements.
We are always looking for professional opportunities for students and graduates so if you are in a position to support or hire talent and wish to find out more, please look at the services we offer for employers.