Partnering through turbulent times

Posted by Terry Dray

Director Graduate Advancement and Employer Engagement, Liverpool John Moores University

Fri 01st, Sep

In a turbulent higher education and graduate recruitment landscape a strategic imperative is to re-vision approaches to career support. Fundamental to this is for university careers teams to optimise relationships with stakeholders - let us call them partners, to create more tailored careers support, focus on engagement and prioritise smart use of data to inform professional practice.

Employers want graduates with the right blend of skills and attributes so they can hit the ground running. However, the skills gap continues to be a challenge. The Association of Graduate Recruiters 2017 winter survey showed 52% of respondents were not able to fill all their vacancies. Students rightly want successful outcomes from their investment in higher education. Some demonstrate consumerist behaviors, expecting services that mirror those received on the high street or online. These increasingly include a choice of different ways to engage that are tailored to the individual. In order to provide career development support and services that are fit for purpose it is vital that these are informed by and co-developed with partners, not least students and employers.

At Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) over the past 7 years, we have seen unemployment fall and those obtaining graduate level jobs and postgraduate study increase. The LJMU Careers Team systematically works with students, academics and employers as critical friends to co-design and co-evaluate provision. Discussing student affinity with our Student Advisory Panel led us to move away from producing a single, one size fits all, annual Career Planning Guide. We now produce 14 Guides - one for each academic school, collaborating with students, employers and academics in doing so. The greater sense of affinity with the guides has been notable.

Meeting with our Employer Advisory Group 3 times a year helps us to better understand recruitment challenges, transition pathways and the complexities of the “graduate market”. We meet for 2 hours and at each meeting we consider 2 different discussion questions, for example how to best use social media to attract students, how degree apprenticeships will affect hiring practices, whether careers fairs are still effective for employers etc.

In all our interactions with students there is a need to tailor the approach. Understanding more about student affinity with academic subjects, occupations, industrial sectors, location preferences and lifestyle helps us to engage them by providing more bespoke services and resources. This approach also includes running focused fairs and events, for example, for pharmacists, engineers, nurses and midwives, accountants, sports industry professionals etc.

LJMU has a large student community and multiple sites. This has led us to re-vision how we offer career support in physical locations. Being committed to offering students this support where and when they want it, we are developing a “hub and spoke” model and set on a course to develop Careers Zones located in areas with high student footfall. A new Student Life Building will house a Careers Zone and act as the hub from 2019. The Careers Zones have resulted in many more students accessing career support and also meeting employers as we actively encourage employers to connect with students at the Zones.

Our re-visioning sees us focusing on many priorities and these are just some. As the turbulence continues it is imperative to operate strategically and optimise partnerships, particularly with employers, to grasp what they want from the Careers Team and our students and graduates.

Leave a comment

Why now is the right time to take IoT seriously

Mon 27th, Jul

Guest blog by Alan Nunn – Communications Subject Matter Expert at CGI

How IoT can create a sustainable future for water

Mon 27th, Jul

Guest blog by Graham Hainsworth – Director Consulting in CGI’s Water Sector Business

Happy 9th Birthday 6th Door Ltd

Tue 19th, May

As I’m leaning on the stand-up desk in my makeshift home office, that over the weeks has been turned into a video and podcast recording studio

How to take back control of your water costs

Fri 13th, Mar

While most businesses already have a comprehensive strategy in place for their electricity and gas consumption, water management is often overlooked.

How to choose an energy consultancy

Fri 13th, Mar

Most business owners recognise the advantages of shopping around for the best energy deal, but without the time, resource and expertise to find the best tariff, it can be an almost impossible task.

Business energy: Don’t get caught out by rollover rates

Fri 13th, Mar

As a busy business owner, you may feel there are not enough hours in the day to secure your next energy contract. You know you’ll get around to it, but when you’ll get around to it is another matter.

Business water matters – Top 3 water saving tips

Fri 13th, Mar

Water is often referred to as ‘the forgotten utility’. While many large businesses are clearly focussed on their comprehensive energy strategies, it seems many are yet to implement a strategy around managing their water usage.

Know where your cloud data is stored or risk a GDPR fine

Thu 27th, Feb

For businesses who have chosen cloud-based data hosting services there’s a temptation to relax and think “great, we’re paying someone else to take care of our data, we don’t need to worry about it any more.”

Transparency plans could slow down region’s business growth

Thu 27th, Feb

Efforts by regional start-up initiatives that have led to Merseyside outperforming the rest of the UK when it comes to business growth could be hampered by new government proposals, a leading legal expert has claimed.

Backup or risk losing your business

Thu 13th, Feb

Maintaining a robust backup is hard work, it’s important to not only build the correct solution for your business and trust your IT support provider to look after it, but to also maintain a sense of urgency as a business owner to...