New directions for university careers services?

Recent report suggests changes to careers offer

A recent report based on work undertaken by Demos and published by Endsleigh, ‘Class of 2010’, calls for “a radical overhaul in the way that university careers services currently function”. The report recommends that careers services are turned into not-for-profit recruitment consultancies for their universities.

Setting this exciting proposition to one side for the moment, there is more interesting data about 2010 graduates in the report:

The research, carried out by leading think tank Demos over the past six months, examined the Class of 2010s’ aspirations and concerns on issues such as university life, the job market, family and community life, politics and the environment. Rising numbers of graduates are prioritizing commitments to care for their children and parents in their old age (a third of male graduates are willing to sacrifice their career in order to care full time for their children). Graduates are prioritizing work/life balance and social relevance of their job over starting salary. 89% of graduates rate climate change as an important global issue and a quarter of graduates would turn down a job offer if the employers environmental credentials weren’t up to scratch.

Certainly a surprise this as it is difficult, at the height of a recession, to imagine graduates turning down jobs on the basis they are concerned about some elements of a company’s environmental policy.

However, the other major point relates to the role of the university careers service and here we have some outstanding suggestions:

One of the key conclusions of the report proposes a role that universities and local businesses might be able to play in assisting graduates find work. The recommended change to the function of the careers service is expected to:

– Reduce the graduate skills gap and graduate unemployment

– Foster a closer relationship between the student and their careers service over the course of their degree

– Assist universities in raising additional funds that would be channeled into education and training activities as well as into small grants to encourage student and graduate enterprise

– Help the government’s localism agenda by encouraging graduates to live and work in a town or city close to their university

This does rather suggest that the authors have had only the most limited exposure to careers services. Indeed, reading the report it seems they have based their recommendations solely on the messages received from a small number of students and their own experiences. They should really have visited the University of Nottingham Centre for Career Development. A good university careers service does all of the things they recommend, investing significant time, effort and resource in order to address all of these points and, yes, they are not-for-profit agencies.

2 thoughts on “New directions for university careers services?

  1. CCD successfully works with many employers (international and Local) on many different levels from advertising job vacancies to involvement in employability curriculum initiatives. Much of what is recommended by this report is already taking place here at Nottingham. Importantly, and let’s not forget this, we are also working for and on behalf of students helping them navigate their entry and progression into a very competitive employment market. Our Information, advice and guidance role is highly appreciated and our impartiality is valued when helping students choose the right job/career for them and it is this expertise r that Recruitment consultancies lack.

  2. Yes, I agree that many careers services are proactive in working with employers and providing high quality services. One of the ongoing challenges is evidencing and articulating the gains and positive outcomes achieved from all the careers services’ efforts and activities.

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