Students hot stepping their way to graduate success


Students at Birmingham City University will have the chance to challenge their mindset next week as they are given the opportunity to do the unthinkable and walk on fire.

By walking across hot coals on Wednesday 2 March, organisers hope that students will expand the limits of what is achievable and think about vocations they’ve never considered before.

BCU Graduate+ events

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The firewalk is just one of several events being organised as part of the University’s new BCU Graduate+ initiative, which is being piloted during the institution’s Employability Week (29 February – 3 March 2016). The undergraduate scheme looks to identify and develop students’ experience and build on their skills, enhancing and supporting their employment options when they leave university.

Other events taking place as part of Employability Week include a series of gigs by stand-up comedian Dave Keeling, who will be entertaining audiences around the themes of inspiration, motivation and confidence. Furthermore, interactive workshops will give students an insight in how to set up their own business, create a ‘personal brand’ and think globally about their career ambitions.

By embedding career-related skills into every degree course taught at the University, BCU Graduate+ is designed to provide students with a personalised range of activities, so as to build on their own professional profile. A BCU Graduate+ Award will also offer recognition and evidence of achievements gained from participating in the initiative.

Luke Millard, Head of Student Engagement, Birmingham City University said:

“During Employability Week we are piloting BCU Graduate+ with a series of hand-picked activities, ahead of the initiative’s formal launch in September this year. These events are truly a taster of things to come and are intended to help students grow and develop professionally, academically and personally, enriching their experience whilst at University and beyond.”

The University already has a strong track record with preparing its students for the world of work. In 2013/14, 93 per cent of its home undergraduate students were in employment or further study within six months of graduating.

Luke Millard hopes BCU Graduate+ will build on this success:

“Employers in all sectors of work are increasingly placing greater value on soft skills – personal qualities and attitudes which characterise our work ethic and communication abilities. We hope that BCU Graduate+ will complement the technical knowledge students gain during their education and that our students take advantage of additional opportunities available to develop their soft skills.”

In 2015 it was estimated that soft skills contributed £88 billion to the UK economy – a figure which is predicted to rise to £109 billion by 2020. 97 per cent of UK employers believe soft skills are important to their current business success, however three-quarters think that there is already a soft skills gap in the national workforce.

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