Careers service: Developing a partnership between local writers and the School of Language, Literature and Communication

Creative Writing, Employability & Enterprise

Project description

By developing our partnership with the School of Language, Literature and Communication, we aim to;

  • Invite a variety of people from the writing industry, to possibly include novelists, play writers, journalists, screenwriters, publishers, poets, novelists etc to lead sessions that will enable students to ask questions about specific careers and get them to reflect on the skills they are learning as part of their degrees and to think about how these might be applied in the workforce.
  • Offer resources for students to research any areas of interest and apply for jobs or courses, as well as tips on how to do this via the careers service.
  • Develop links with writing groups in the Brighton city centre in order to build contacts with local writers and professionals, in particular, The New Writing South and other representatives of the creative industries who are key to Brighton’s local economy.
  • Film two sessions and stream them on the School of Languages and Careers websites so that the content may be shared with other students at the university and beyond.
  • Use the “CareerEDGE” questionnaire that has been developed by Futures – Centre for Employability University of Central Lancashire. This has been designed to ask students to reflect on their existing, developing and required employability skills. The questionnaire will be distributed to students before and after the series of sessions so they can assess with the support of teaching and careers staff how much their career planning has improved.
  • Show specifically how English graduates can build on and apply the skills they have developed post-university, either by using the subject knowledge, skills developed or both.
  • Disseminate our findings at the University of Brighton Teaching and Learning Conference in order to share best practice with colleagues from other departments.

This is one a series of projects. You can read about them all on the main project page.

Project Report

Watch the video online

Benefit to English Students

We have many students taking English as their whole degree, or combined with Linguistics or Media, who feel they have no idea of where their degree might lead them, or what skills they are developing from the course which can help them acquire employment. Some are international students and others are home students following an interest in the subject they enjoyed at school. The destination statistics of the students who have studied English at Brighton have been fairly disappointing. Last year our destination statistics (leavers 2006-7) showed that only 41% managed to secure graduate level employment. The extract from our report below indicates that around 62% of the leaving students did not secure a graduate level job or post-graduate course.

 

Total In graduate
employment
% In non-graduate
employment
% Other %
Language, Literature and Communication 106 41 38.68% 28 26.42 37 34.91%

We would like to use a formula that has been successful on other courses around the university. This involves organising “Employer Forums” which means inviting in local professional practitioners to workshops at which students get the opportunity to ask questions. However for the English courses we would combine employability with academic development by inviting professional writers to inspire students in their writing and also their personal and vocational development.

These workshops will enable students to build on the writing skills they have already acquired through the creative writing and journalism modules available in the school and allow them to think about how these and other skills might be applied to the workplace once they have graduated. Students will be asked to reflect on how the workshops have inspired them and identify skills that they have and that they need to develop in order to make the transition between university and their future vocational or study paths. This reflection will take place via a questionnaire that will be produced by the careers service in partnership with the school that will be used to evaluate the success of the project and also form a part of the individual students’ Personal Development Planning.

At the University of Brighton we have a Career Planning Agreement with every course enabling us to deliver nearly 200 workshops every year throughout the university and partner colleges. Although some of these workshops cover generic topics such as CV writing and interview techniques, others are more subject based so through our strong relationship with the School of Languages where English is taught, we would adapt the materials for a session with the creative writing students to coincide with the guest speaker presentations. We feel this will develop links between the careers service and the school and we would also aim to share best practice with other departments at the University of Brighton via a conference paper.

We feel that they would benefit from some writing workshops in terms of their academic, vocational and personal development and that this would act as a possible starting point to their career planning prior to discussing their plans with a careers counsellor.

Ways in which the Project is New or Innovatory

Although inviting local employers or professionals to assist students with their professional or personal development is not particularly innovative within the sector, it would be a step forward within this particular department. It would also be interesting to see a how a concept such as Employer Forums can be adapted to meet vocational and academic development to meet a course’s requirements. Furthermore by filming the sessions we will be able to feature them on our website and intranet where we have already introduced web 2.0 products to encourage and inspire students to start career planning and research.

Other Information

This project was originally scheduled to run in the 08/09 academic year but will now run in 09/10.

Contact Details

Sam Rhodes
University of Brighton