The Institute of Student Employers has highlighted how coronavirus is challenging the students and graduates of 2020. With an uncertain placement and jobs market, what can universities do to support their students moving forward?
Birmingham City University has an excellent array of support for students going into placements and graduate employment through our Careers+ and Graduate+ initiatives.
In August 2019, Birmingham City Business School commissioned Spalding Associates (an external coaching and development company with expertise in this area), to work with students and our Careers+ team to enhance the employability offering at the University.
The Creating Your Edge programme was designed and developed by Spalding Associates to collaborate and integrate with the work that has been undertaken at the University. Working closely with Emma Neale, Employability Lead for Birmingham City Business School, the programme was designed and tailored to meet both the needs of the University and each individual student.
The programme commenced in September 2019 and consists of workshops, a specially designed resource workbook and individual, one-to-one tailored coaching sessions undertaken at times to suit each student.
With the uncertainty of the impact of the coronavirus on student placements and graduate roles, and with universities closing in March 2020, Birmingham City University knew something extra had to be done to support students through this unprecedented and challenging period. The Business School reinforced the University’s internal efforts to support students by extending the partnership with Spalding Associates over the forthcoming months.
The one-to-one coaching sessions have gained even greater significance since the virus struck, resulting in students not facing the current challenges on their own. Professional support, advice and workshops are being provided across all aspects of the employment process, to encourage students to enhance their networking skills, resilience, confidence and motivation, which are all essential as they enter the next stage of their life.
Despite the current challenges in the jobs market, there are still many success stories emerging. Birmingham City University continues to work with Spalding Associates to enhance the university offering and ensure students are ready for employment after the pandemic subsides.
Feedback from students attending the Creating Your Edge Programme has been overwhelmingly positive. One student commented:
“When it came to applying for jobs, I wasn't marketing myself enough, or as I should be, and thanks to the support I’ve received through the programme, I’ve discovered the amazing skills that I possess, which I didn't even realise I had. This was possible because Creating Your Edge staff put so much effort into getting to know their coachees.”