Employability week may be axed after poor reaction from students

CRITICISMS of the university’s Employability Week have put the future of the event at risk.

Students were given the chance to enhance their employability and skills during the University’s Employability Week which took place January 21st-25th.

Nonetheless, many have said that they were disappointed with the workshops and support on offer, with some branding it a waste of time.

Thomas Dunlop, the third year student rep for Materials Engineering, said: “I think all of the engineering reps were in agreement that it wasn’t worth it. The events I went to were low attended and in truth could have been done on evenings and afternoons easily.”

Although it is set to run again next year with plans for it already submitted to the university, employability week has been put under review for the 2014/15 academic year; student feedback will be the key factor in deciding whether to run it again.

The week was intended to give students the opportunity to undertake a work experience placement with one of a number of employers, including the Welsh Government, Leadbitter and Parc y Scarlets. Placements were arranged by the university, which also helped to fund travel and lunch costs.

However, there was confusion over how many students took up placements, with the university stating 300 undertook work experience, whilst the students’ union education officer said that the number was around 100.

Students could also take part in one of many employability workshops offered by the university, ranging from talks on careers in politics, interview skills and how to manage your e-presence.

These options aimed to enhance students’ employability and give them a head start in the world of work which has become more competitive in recent years.

Pro Vice Chancellor at Swansea University, Professor Hilary Lappin-Scott, said: “We know that times are tough for young people across the UK, so at Swansea University we’re making sure we give our graduates a strong head start.”

“We know employers greatly value applicants with work experience. Placements also allow students to develop key skills that we know employers are looking for, such as commercial awareness and working in a team, and can sometimes lead directly to job opportunities too.”

Kirsty Lloyd, 21-year-old Medical Biochemistry student, undertook one of these placements and found them beneficial to her line of career:
“My work experience placement has started making me think about my career choices more realistically and has started putting things into perspective.
“It is really cool to see the things I am learning about in my degree being put into practice by professionals and it’s providing me with valuable hands-on experience.”
Whilst some students thrived in employability week, other students found that the week was limited in options for some courses:

Hannah Davies, a 20-year-old Geography student thinks that more talks and workshops could be organised linked to her course:
“It would be good if there were more talks about jobs within the geography and natural science industry.
“I attended a teaching and work experience talk but there was nothing about jobs after university.”

The education officer for the students’ union said: “Employability week was a great success before the week even started. Employability week is a great example of students, the union and the university together on a big project. The challenge now is defining exactly what ‘employability’ is and explaining exactly how these events could lead to jobs.
“This week also included the first ever Week of Work placements which gave over a hundred lucky students crucial work experience placements. I am very excited for the curriculum development aspect – many of these ‘core’ skills need to be embedded within degrees.”

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