Yesterday I attended the first AGCAS (Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services) HE Careers Professionals Midlands Showcase at Stamford Court, University of Leicester. The title of the day was called Reinvention, Innovation and Transformation in the Midlands. The format of the day was various keynote speakers such as Eluned Jones, Director of Student Employability, University of Birmingham and AGCAS President Elect and the renowned John Lees, Career strategist and author, Council Member and Career Development Institute member. There were also several university career service led workshops around sharing practice (we had our own session created and delivered by my colleague Tom Staunton which he blogged about here) as well as the opportunity to network to see what other university careers teams were getting up to.
It was an enlightening day but I wanted to share with you some of the tweets from the first keynote speaker Eluned Jones. Her talk focussed on the rise of the employability agenda within HE and its inescapable link with student recruitment, which has placed university careers services under the spotlight like never before. I created a storify board which I hope gathered some of the main themes as well as my own extended thoughts on each tweet to try and give a broader picture.
In HE, careers professionals cannot now just fill the remit of guidance practitioners. The role is much broader. In a snapshot we are expected to influence and shape curriculum (embed CEIAG), be LMI specialists (think DLHE), expert keynote speakers (present to hundreds with engaging content), social media gurus (embrace LinkedIn, Twitter, et al), manage stakeholder relationships (academics, business, students ) have knowledge expertise (most HE consultants are linked to Colleges or faculties)
Universities have invested in their careers services so like any business expect a return on the investment. Demonstrating impact is key. The move is towards tangible benefits even though CEIAG and employability outcomes are tricky to measure and quantify at times
The expectation is a year on year increase in DLHE results and performance (% in work further study and graduate destinations). Therefore, careers services cannot rest on their laurels and stand still
Highlights we are in a fiercely competitive marketplace and graduates rightly expect a return on their investment as a direct result of HE study.
A point made by Eluned on the limitations of DLHE. Just a 6 month snapshot and institutions and academics rightly argue that the benefits of HE are very much longitudinal.
Just highlights that the careers and employability agenda is now more prominent than ever before within HE (which is good, it’s nice to be wanted and noticed) but that this can present issues on matching guidance with outcomes and focusing delivery on the quick wins.
Relates to competition. If all universities offer CEIAG what makes ours better than the one down the road. Bring this to a business perspective. What is our USP and how do we add further value above and beyond the norm.
Careers services can no longer work in isolation. Actually, the terminology is very much how you would want an SME to perform.
It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on any of those tweets. If you’re on twitter you can pick up a sense of the day by searching for the hashtag #AGCASMIDSHOW14