What You Aren’t Taught at University
Students go to University to get a good degree, have a great time and enjoy the freedom they may not have had before; often leaving anything beyond that until later. But is that ok?
Quite rightly, Universities are about education, research and teaching, however one of their marketing facts is the % of graduates who are in full time employment or research after graduating. What exactly is done to ensure graduates have the skills to apply for a job, let alone get an interview or get selected? Students now leave University with over £50,000 debt so shouldn’t employability skills be part of every University curriculum? Collaboration between Faculties, University Careers Departments, University Learning and Development Departments and Employers is a workable solution. Those Universities that do this will continue to have an advantage, however this does not abdicate the responsibility of students to ensure they are prepared for a career.
Taking responsibility for learning, is an expectation of University life. The same has to apply to the developing employability skills for after graduation. Graduates have to know:
• What is it they want to do
• What will be required of them
• What appropriate skills do they have
• What transferable skills do they have
• What can they do to get more
• What makes them stand out
• How to put this across in an application/CV
• How to present themselves confidently
In parallel with this are the necessary skills they will be questioned/tested on at interview such as:
• Team work
• Problem solving
• Decision making
• Creative thinking
In a conversation I had with a University Careers Manager, I was told their greatest challenge was getting students to engage with them. It was usually a last minute thing or not at all.
We know that those students who take control of their career journey at an early stage are more successful; maybe we have to accept that this isn’t the priority it should be for most, and never will be. However, those who make it a priority and think beyond their degree will continue to have considerable advantage.