Every term the Careers & Employability Centre organises a comprehensive programme of events for students and graduates, providing them with opportunities to meet potential employers, enhance their skills and improve their employment prospects. Autumn is the busiest time for the Centre so Aspects met Claire Girle (Events Co-ordinator) and Debbie Salkeld (Employer Liaison Manager) to find out what’s been happening during this hectic term.
A total of 123 employers have visited the campus including 32 new companies who have never worked directly with Aston before. The team has organised 42 events, all of which take place within a two month period. These included five recruitment fairs including one placement fair which was held this year for the first time at Lakeside Conference Centre. By holding it at Lakeside, it meant the fair was able to increase its capacity by over 40 per cent to accommodate 54 employers (instead of 38) and give students the opportunity to meet a wider range of placement providers. These fairs remain popular with students, with anywhere between 450 – 900 students attending any one fair. For the second year running the Centre has also held an Engineering Fair after students expressed an interest in subject specific fair – students were even given the opportunity to win one of three i-pods by signing up to attend!
Two insight events have also been held. Claire explains, “We’ve held insight events in the areas of Psychology and Law this term. These events give students the opportunity to meet individuals who are actually working in these areas and doing the jobs they aspire to do. They’re able to network with them in an informal way to find out about job roles and get more of an insight into these careers.”
“Another really good way for our students to meet employers in a less formal setting is through the drop in sessions the Centre regularly runs”, continues Debbie. “These are really popular with companies as they’re able to set up a stand in the Main Building Foyer and talk face to face with students as they pass. It gives them more exposure as so many more students are able to see that they’re on campus. We’ve held 22 of these so far this term and are delighted to have welcomed some new companies to campus including KYC Netherlands, Sofa Brands International and Apple Retail.”
The Careers Centre has also held two Finalist Open Days where final year students are encouraged to drop in to the Centre to pick up their employer directories and access the wide range of services available to them. Mock interview sessions are another popular resource available to students. This term the Centre has held four full days of mock interviews. Claire explains: “Mock interviews are a fantastic resource available to our students. They’re held with graduate recruiters so students get real life experience of interviews and are given feedback so that they can alter their interview skills appropriately. These are as real as you can get without going for an actual job interview!”
Debbie and Claire are delighted with the response to this term’s events. “We’ve had more students than ever before attending these events run by the Careers & Employability Centre. There’s been a rise in the number of first year students who are seeking advice from us and exploring their options, which has been fantastic to see this term. It demonstrates how focused our students are in getting the most out of their time at Aston and the support available to them. They’re determined to achieve the very best career choices available to them.”
There’s lots to come in the Spring term too, with a voluntary work and gap year fair, mock interviews and further drop in sessions in the Foyer, all planned. For further information contact Claire Girle on ext 4720 or Debbie Salkeld on ext 4770.
Words by Louise Russell
16 December 2011