ICYMI: Our top tips for students to make sure you make the most out of attending University Careers Fairs

The round of autumn 2017 careers fairs for Gradsouthwest kick off next week at the University of Exeter and the University of the West of England (UWE) in Bristol, so we thought it timely to re-issue our blog post from earlier this year: “Our top tips for students to make sure you make the most out of attending University Careers Fairs“.

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Recruit, train and retain high-calibre IT talent in partnership with the University of Exeter and Gradsouthwest

It is widely acknowledged that businesses in the South West struggle when it comes to attracting and retaining young people to fill IT, digital and tech-heavy roles. From web development and app support to data analysis and cyber security, this skills gap is a barrier to productivity and growth, as graduates are pulled out of the region towards London and other major centres.

Degree apprenticeships are a central part of current Government policy to address this challenge, with an avowed target of three million apprentices working in the UK by 2020. In support of this, the Government’s new Apprenticeship Levy will cause any employer with a pay bill above £3m to pay 0.5% of this to fund apprenticeships. Smaller employers will of course not pay this Levy, but instead will be able to claim extremely generous government support, to the tune of 90% of tuition fees – up to 100% in certain circumstances – making this a very attractive recruitment and retention solution.

Apprentices are known to be extremely loyal and committed to their employers, and highly appreciative of the skills escalator that the programmes provide them with.  They receive the best of all worlds – a degree combined with extensive professional experience, a good salary, and no student debt as they kick-start their career.

Launched in September 2016 with employers including IBM, Renishaw and Beran Instruments, the University of Exeter’s Digital and Technology Solutions degree apprenticeship offers employers innovative high-quality IT training while building loyalty and business understanding in their staff.  The programme combines the technical aspects of a computer science degree with the professional skills required for business success.

Crucially, this is fundamentally a work-based programme, relating to real roles within a business.  The University of Exeter offers specialisms as Software Engineer, Data Analyst, IT Consultant and Cyber Security Analyst.  Apprentices are full-time employees, studying towards their degree over four years.

The programme is designed to minimise the impact upon their role through a blended learning programme based on short termly residentials in Exeter, flexible online learning and work-based projects that can be based on an apprentice’s day-to-day role.

The University of Exeter is proud to be a Russell Group University committed to degree apprenticeships as an innovative new approach to higher education, providing new opportunities to job seekers and businesses alike. As the highest-ranking institution in the country offering the Digital and Technology Solutions degree apprenticeship, the University offers superb value for money for the small investment required to recruit an apprentice on our programme.

Their dedicated partnerships team works closely with all employer partners, including crafting job adverts, supporting recruitment through campaigns, and seeking out opportunities with high-calibre organisations such as Gradsouthwest.

Employers who are interested in participating in the University of Exeter’s exciting programme can contact Jonnie Critchley (j.critchley@exeter.ac.uk) or call (01392) 724067.

For further information, see www.exeter.ac.uk/degreeapprenticeships/digitaltechnology.

For our student-facing programme page, see www.exeter.ac.uk/degreeapprentice.

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What are students telling us?‏

Speaking to students and graduates is one of the great CareersFlierMarch16things about working with Gradsouthwest. Having spent last Friday at the University of Exeter’s Creative, Public and Third Sector Careers Fair we were mulling over the many conversations we had with students and a few things sprung out as worthy of a blog post.

 

Messages for Employers:
1. Students are actively thinking about their careers from the earliest stages of University. We spoke to many first year students, who still have at least two to three years at University, but they were at the Careers Fair seeking information about the jobs available locally: summer placements, longer internships and permanent jobs for when they graduate. We’d certainly encourage employers to consider offering more summer placements and internships: they are a great way for the employer to get an extra pair of hands and some fresh eyes/new ideas and for the students to get real experience. Summer placements and internships can be seen as a long job interview and can lead to permanent employment at graduation when both the employer and student hit it off.


20160311_123551.jpg2. Many of the students were heading towards dissertation deadlines in the run up to Easter… so we think employers need to give plenty of time on their closing dates at the moment to enable applicant’s to do a good job on their applications. Recruiters: if you want to add a couple of weeks to your job advert with us, we’ll do our bit to help you and our students and will add the extra time for free. Just tell us if you want us to add an extra couple of weeks.


Messages for students:
3. Lots of the students we spoke to were unaware of the great opportunities for recent graduates to work in the South West. When we showed them the jobs currently available they were pleasantly surprised. Many students wanted to remain local, but didn’t know if it would be possible – it is! We recommended registering with Gradsouthwest to get a better feel for the local graduate jobs market.


4. A few of those we spoke to really didn’t know what they wanted to do upon graduation. We recommended thinking about the things they love, the skills they have (or want to develop) and the type of work they’d like to do. We also recommended looking at what types of graduate jobs were currently available, what employers were seeking in terms of skills and experience, and thinking about what they could do before they graduate to fill the gaps.


So if you are a student considering a career here in the South West then we would recommend you register for our job alerts. This way you will get a feel for the employers and the types of jobs available in your chosen field. And if you haven’t chosen your field yet, keep the search wide and use the job alerts as a way to test what is out there – something you see may inspire you!


Gradsouthwest attends the University of Exeter Careers Fair


Finally, we wish all those we spoke to graduating this summer all the very best in their finals and imminent job search – good luck!


Dr Deborah Watson, Director Gradsouthwest