Posted Wednesday 19 March 2014
Kingston University's 'inspiring' drive to improve students' employment prospects after graduating has been recognised with a top award.
The University's careers and employability team, known as KU Talent, has been awarded Best Preparation for Work Strategy at the Association of Graduate Recruiters Development Awards.
The judges said they were impressed by the way the University tailored its activities to the particular needs of students. "There are lots of great initiatives and a clear measurement of the impact linked to a strong vision for social mobility," they added. "It was inspiring to see how they identify those that are most at risk of falling into unemployment and design ways of working with that group."
The Best Preparation for Work Strategy award is given to the institution judged to have the best commitment to improving the employability and long-term career success of its graduates through a range of activities.
Tonia Galati, talent development and employability manager, put the team's success down to having a clear goal and also being able to count on the overwhelming commitment of everyone at the University to improving students' prospects. "Employers tell us that Kingston's approach to helping students is more imaginative than those at other universities which tend to stick to running the same initiatives each year," Ms Galati said. "We respond to what employers say to us and also to the different requirements of each new student intake, which ensures we keep up with changes and trends."
Employability statistics show black and minority ethnic students - who make up 52 per cent of the University's student population - are less likely to secure employment through traditional recruitment routes. They also often face additional barriers to employment according to Ms Galati but she said the University's strategy focused on developing their talent, raising their aspirations and building their confidence.
Kingston University Vice-Chancellor Professor Julius Weinberg said support at Kingston was not just for final year students and that first years were also encouraged to take up summer internships or placements and to attend CV building sessions. Partnerships with employers had also increased, with 154 companies visiting campus between September and December last year. "We have made a strategic shift around the employability agenda, embedding employability skills and raising awareness amongst students about the need to get involved with employment-related activities," Professor Weinberg explained. "Our strategy opens up real-world opportunities for students and breaks down employment barriers."