The University of Huddersfield’s innovative approach to helping students find work after graduating has seen the institution win the best university employability strategy award at the National Graduate Recruitment Awards 2021.
Different programmes at the University ensure that undergraduates are preparing for the world of work throughout the duration of their courses, and it is also helping to improve the employability skills of local graduates and non-graduates on work placement schemes around the campus who are at risk of long-term unemployment without these interventions.
The Director of Student Services and Head of Careers and Employability were presented with the 2021 award at the ceremony, held in London’s Grosvenor House and hosted by TV funny man Alan Carr.
The University was one of 10 shortlisted institutions for the award that was judged independently by graduate employers.
“We are absolutely delighted to be recognised for our employability strategy, as a university we strive to give everybody the opportunity to succeed regardless of their starting point,” says Claire Aydogan, Head of Careers and Employability.
“It is a delight to have a senior management team that are brave and bold enough to try such innovative strategies such as the Global Professional Award (GPA) and Kickstarters. Without that brave leadership, we would not be able to try these new concepts which are opening doors for our students to attain those graduate opportunities.”
The GPA ensures that all students at the University have three years of growth and development around employability, enterprise skills, wellbeing and resilience. All undergraduates leave with a globally recognised Level 5 qualification from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).
The Kickstarters programme sees 18 to 24-year-olds at risk of long-term unemployment on Universal Credit put on six-month work placements at the University. Open to non-graduates as well as graduates from Huddersfield or other institutions, it has helped improve employability skills by offering young people opportunities to work in IT, careers, the International School and elsewhere.
We have a tight-knit employability network that runs that runs from the Vice-Chancellor throughout the institution
“I don’t know of anywhere else that is offering anything like the GPA where every student, regardless of the type of course they are on, can leave with a CMI award in addition to their degree,” adds Claire.
“We are very proud that we have timelines of employability activity from year one that we showcase to our students, helping them plan their career journey alongside their studies.
“We understand our students career readiness by working with data provided each year and through in-curricula education we enable our students to be ready to compete by the final year. Our doors are always open to provide the extra support that may be needed and have 24 hour access to resources and careers tools. If they need a little extra help.
“Kickstarters is also a vital connection between the University and young people in the local area. Of the 10 in the first cohort, seven found employment before the end of their placement and this year we have 45 Kickstarters on the programme.
“We have a tight-knit employability network that runs that runs from the Vice-Chancellor throughout the institution and we are proud to have a key performance indicator around employability because it is so important.”