Careers service: Careers fair and web resources

Employability & Enterprise

Project description

We enhanced an established Faculty-based Careers Fair (The School of English sits within the Faculty of Law, Humanities and Social Sciences) to make it more relevant to the needs of English students. Naturally, the Fair already had an emphasis on employability as well as employment, its purpose being to ensure students have a chance to investigate more deeply the opportunities open to them and help them to explore which of the options might be most suitable for them. We developed the Fair into more of a Conference-style event, running a variety of sessions throughout the day to complement the exhibition part of the Fair which featured, as usual, a range of employers and other representatives of the next steps after graduation. We invited external speakers (both employers and alumni) to work with Faculty and Careers staff to deliver targeted help to English students. We also produced a high-quality brochure to accompany the event, containing editorial including careers information and advice as well as exhibitor and event details to help students make the most of this opportunity.

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

Project report

Two reports on this project are now available to download in MSword format:

  1. Report 1 – Faculty-based careers fair (57kb)
  2. Report 2 – Employability website (58kb)

Benefits to English students

A number of places at each session were reserved for English students, though sessions were in the end opened to other students in the Faculty. It was identified that some of our students, while very able, found it particularly difficult to identify and articulate the transferable skills they offered and this resulted in poor performance at the application and interview stages. To address this we offered small group sessions designed to help students understand employability skills; what they are and what evidence might be offered to demonstrate them. Confidence is another issue we felt affected the destinations of our graduates and this was also addressed to gain a clear understanding of the potential value of their skills, personal qualities, experience and achievements. We felt that interaction with employers and alumni would be motivational and boost the students’ confidence in their own abilities, helping them to raise their aspirations.

Outline plan of activities

The Fair took place on April 14th.
We created the brochure ahead of the event itself, to encourage students to prepare adequately. The Grant would pay for the production of this. We invited at least 4 employers (some were also exhibitors at the event) and a group of alumni attended to provide various forms of input to the group sessions, as facilitators leading learning activities, as motivational speakers and as representatives of popular destinations to talk about the realities of the job/sector. We envisaged that we could also cover fees and/or expenses for our guests with the Grant. Careers Advisers, Careers Information staff and Employer Services team members were also involved in the organisation and delivery of the event: their time, which is in addition to the usual allocation for the Faculty, will be covered by the Grant.

Other information

The School of English and the Careers Service are keen to work co-operatively to offer this additional support to the students.

Contact details

Alexandra Hemingway
UCE in Birmingham