Research from a team at the University of Kent challenges the ways in which students are supported at University around employability. Almost two thirds (61%) of students change their ideas about their future career whilst at university and it is important that there is adequate support in place to support individuals as they redefine who they are, and where they want to go.
James Corbin, co-author and Head of Careers and Employability at Kent explains how the findings are helping shape the student experience and careers support at Kent.
‘As the world of work changes – with news skills gaps appearing across developing sectors – it’s perhaps unsurprising that students are having to be agile and change their plans when plotting their career path.
‘Our research shows that how students’ career interests develop at University are shaped by a range of factors. However, we found that personal interactions – with lecturers or careers staff – were less influential than previous research has suggested. These findings suggest that for students to enter the world of work, confident in their career path, careers experts and academics need to work together to emphasise opportunities for work experiences in and outside the curriculum.’
‘At Kent, we put the student at the heart of what we do, and their employability is as important to us, as it is to them. Our focus is on the individual, their experiences, and where they want to get to, and we do what we can to help them achieve that.
‘Our students have access to qualified and experienced Careers Advisers who are available to talk to students throughout their time at Kent, and that support continues for three years after they leave too. Students also benefit from more than 700 events on campus every year where they hear from industry and other professionals about the career options available to them, and receive advice on how to succeed.
‘We also run EmpFest, a two week festival of events and activities supporting students in their career thinking, including our main graduate careers fair. Additional careers fairs are held throughout the year, sometimes as part of our sector specific Themed Weeks programme. Additional courses are also made available through Study Plus, which is a programme of events and workshops designed to give you the skills that employers are looking for.
Students in the School of Computing have been undertaking placements for many years. We have developed relationships with hundreds of companies across many industries. These include:
- Finance: Bank of America, Hiscox
- Government: Fivium, Kent County Council
- Technology: IBM, Vodaphone, Ideaworks
- Entertainment – Disney, NBC Universal
- Consulting: Accenture, CGI, Capacitas
The average placement salary outside London is over £17,000. Some salaries in London are over £30,000.
‘However Kent students get involved in developing their employability, whether its engaging with Careers and Employability activities, getting part-time work through Kent Union’s Job Shop, volunteering and work experience, or being a part of the university community through a sports club or student society, you can receive prizes and recognition through our award winning Employability Points Scheme which is one of the many ways that we support students in meeting local employers.
You can see more of the work that our Careers and Employability Service does to support students and graduates here.