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A recent Institutional Review at University Centre Peterborough highlighted the ‘extensive and structured work to enhance the employability of graduates’. This has been achieved by developing students’ transferable skills from day one and encouraging them to engage with employers from the outset. Students have undertaken commissioned projects, small scale research projects, professional report writing and have benefited from mentoring and a critical reviews of their work by employers. Many employers have begun to see the value that an undergraduate can add to their company and by working with them from year one of their studies can begin to shape and mould a sustainable talent pool.
A number of students have gained part-time employment whilst studying for their degree. The East of England Agricultural Society recognised the value that two students on a weekly paid internship could bring. For another Journalism student, Anna Ruggiero, this has resulted in a permanent job with Associated British Foods. Anna stated, ‘I have been given an incredible opportunity by UCP in terms of my future career development. On a regular basis UCP update students with job roles specific to their field of training. The role for a PR and Marketing Assistant was emailed out after two interviews and a task later, I got the call to say the job was mine. During my day at ABF I am implementing key skills that have been taught to me during my three years studying at UCP. UCP have done a fantastic job in supporting me on a personal level; helping me fulfil my potential whilst furthering my career.’
In order to ensure the skills and knowledge that students obtain is current, employers are becoming involved in the assessment of work . Students studying on BEng Integrated Engineering and BSc Computing and Information Systems took part in the annual exhibition to showcase their major piece of research or development work undertaken during their final year. Educational subjects were popular this year; there were also a number of apps for phones and tablets to help with fitness or catching the bus; others focussed on new developments in website technology.
Nearly 20 computing professionals attended from local firms both large and small to give feedback and career advice. Alex Shaw, from Compare the Market, said “I left feeling inspired after seeing some innovative and exciting work from a range of talented young students. It was great to see the students engaged with the attendees and enthusiastic about showcasing their products, not only were the basics covered (attentive, smart, well presented) but they were able to answer questions informatively and in some cases had clearly put in a huge amount of effort into the projects, being honest where they had learnt through failure. They were happy to take feedback and even let us poke about in the code.”
The event was a great success and a couple of students were approached by companies for their CVs which is a great achievement.
For more information about University Centre Peterborough and the courses it offers and opportunities to work with our students please visit www.peterborough.ac.uk/ucp or call 0845 1965750.