An eventful time for the Careers and Employability Centre

Representatives from Jaguar Landrover talk to students at the Working in the West Midlands Fair held 20 October (the event was kindly sponsored by Deloitte)

63. That’s the whopping number of events that the Aston University Careers & Employability Centre (AUCEC) has lined up for students this term - almost one per day between now and 30 November! 116 employers will visit the campus in that period, with 32 of these companies visiting Aston for the very first time. Employability Adviser Claire Girle puts this success down to “proactively developing new relationships with employers, maintaining existing relationships and the fantastic reputation Aston students have.” The events range from large-scale fairs such as the Working in the West Midlands Fair (held on 20 October) and Finalist Open Days (which attracted 1200 final year students this year) to smaller scale drop in sessions held in the Main Building Foyer. Maureen Tibby, Head of the Careers and Employability Centre described how “the students who came to the Finalist Open Days were amazed by the huge number of employers visiting the campus this term.  

The AUCEC events have been developed over a number of years and the Centre is constantly gaining feedback from students so that the events offered are focused and relevant to their needs. As a result, a brand new Science and Engineering Fair is to be held on Wednesday 10 November which has attracted 37 graduate employers. This week also sees Aston co-host the National Graduate Recruitment Exhibition at the NEC. This is one of the largest events of its kind in the country and attracts students from all over the UK and a very large number of graduate recruiters.  Buses are available to take Aston students to and from the event.

AUCEC are also coordinating an Employability Event on Tuesday 16 November aimed at first and second year students. Everyone within the University who offers some form of employability enhancement to students such as placements, mentoring and volunteering will be on hand to encourage students to get involved and enhance their CVs in the process.

AUCEC is also focused on enterprise support. The Centre developed in conjunction with the student societies SIFE and Aston Entrepreneurs the Aston Idol Enterprise Award and is following this up with an enterprise networking event on 30 November.  Advice will be available for budding entrepreneurs from a range of organisations and Aston alumni who have started their own successful businesses will be on hand to show students exactly what can be achieved.

Perhaps some of the most valuable experience a student can obtain is through the mock interviews organised with graduate recruiters. At the end of November, national companies such as Accenture and BT will be on campus for five days conducting these practice interviews. They consist of a 20-minute interview with a 10-minute feedback session at the end. Unsurprisingly these are hugely popular and there is currently a waiting list! Career skills sessions are also on offer with a centralised workshop programme, an international student programme, as well as School specific programmes. Furthermore a comprehensive collection of advice leaflets have been created to help with all aspects of career development and planning.

Maureen is also keen to reassure staff and students that although the media may paint a depressing picture of students leaving university without jobs, that this simply isn’t the case with our students. Aston graduates are highly regarded and sought after by employers; with 81.7% of Aston full time undergraduate students in employment six months after graduation last year, compared to a national average of 72.4%. The University is also ranked 10th out of 120 HE institutions in the UK in the most recent The Sunday Times Good University Guide in relation to graduate level employment.

Details of all events and services on offer can be found on the Careers & Employability Centre website. There are pages on Blackboard containing careers information and support available. You can also view the Careers Service Guide to find out more about what services students can access. Finalists and all first year students are given a copy of this guide when they start their studies.

Read the latest Careers & Employability Centre newsletter.

Words by Louise Russell