University of Lincoln students being offered diverse range of career choices
Students at the University of Lincoln are being offered an increasingly diverse range of career choices, despite a challenging economy.
Advisors from the institution say they are working with more small and medium-sized businesses to offer graduates new opportunities in a competitive market. The team also claims it has experienced consistent success while other universities have struggled.
Their approach includes working with both national and local employers, holding weekly recruitment events and running annual jobs fairs.
Mark Stow, careers and employability service manager, explained institutions have had to change their approach as the largest businesses have scaled back their graduate recruitment.
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"Higher education careers have seen some quite significant changes over recent years," he said.
"Recent reviews have put more emphasis on employment to be part of our role and so it's now a corporate objective to make sure our graduates are prepared.
"The graduate employment market has also changed significantly in recent years.
"Previously, a lot of the market was with the large blue chip employers but increasingly it's a mix of these recruiters and SMEs, who can offer fantastic opportunities.
"As a result, during the downturn we have remained consistent and our employment rates have been increasing over the last few years.
"We have been engaging with these smaller businesses and it's had a really positive impact.
"I think it's more competitive for graduates now and it's challenging in several respects.
"The institutions that have really struggled are the ones that have traditionally only engaged with the larger recruiters.
"But in Lincoln, dealing with more smaller businesses is something we've been really successful at." The university's weekly afternoon sessions, called Career Wednesdays are held at its Enterprise@Lincoln building on the main campus.
A mix of employers attend to give students and graduates an insight into the opportunities available.
The institution also runs annual recruitment fairs, with the main event Find Your Feet taking place in November.
It also provides one-on-one advice and offers employers £1,000 bursaries to take on graduates for a minimum of three months for at least 20 hours a week.
Panels of alumni also regularly offer advice to current students at question and answer events.
Mr Stow explained that before the economic crisis, a higher proportion of the graduate labour market involved larger national employers.
He added that a report on graduate opportunities said that fewer than expected graduates were recruited last year, with numbers falling by 0.8 per cent.
However, he explained media coverage of the report distorted the reality of the market, as only the 100 largest employers – which make up 20 per cent of the market – were surveyed.
He said: "I think at Lincoln we have been proactive rather than reactive but a lot of institutions have waited for opportunities to come to them.
"There are absolutely reasons for students to be optimistic.
"My advice for them is to be mindful of their careers as early as possible and to find out the right approach for the industry they are interested in."
For more information about the university's careers service, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.