Recently we attended the ninth NUE awards, hosted by Rate My Placement, recognising the fantastic work carried out by placement and careers teams, commercial businesses and of course, the students themselves.
A few of the Careercake team attended, along with Careercake expert (and all-round fantastic person) Jacqui Lloyd of Citi Bank, where we got to meet some great people and watch hugely talented people be recognised for their work.
Here’s our top 5 key takeaways from the night at the NUE awards:
1) Only 4% of graduates have managing up skills and just 10% possess conflict management skills.
According to Stephen Isherwood of the ISE who spoke about the skills gap between graduates and the share of employers who train on specific skills, graduates who possessed team work (70%*) and interpersonal skills (68%) where most common.
However when it came to dealing with difficult situations or articulating commercial awareness these were areas grads could be stronger on.
2) Those who carry out a placement are in fact creating opportunities for themselves for the next ten years.
Mike Grey of Placenet fame spoke about barriers faced by students considering undertaking a placement, specifically around the issues of fear, obstacles, and motivation. He then went on to share an ‘ancient proverb’ (we’re not sure of the source, you’ll have to check with him) which we think really sums up the greatest benefit of completing a placement:
If you make the most of your placement, it can provide you with opportunities and a network that will service the next 10 years of your career.
3) There are many, many reasons why students may not complete a placement…
White Label’s talk about the various reasons why people may not complete a placement, delving into wider issues such as social mobility, gave us further insight into the pressures facing students and also just how important it is to add work experience because in many markets just having a degree won’t guarantee you a job.
I’ve already got a part-time job… I was surprised by how much employers expect… It’s hard to fit everything in!
These are just a few reasons the students gave, but what was interesting as well was that Cathy spoke about her teams engaging with employers to see if they could be flexible around the students’ working timetables to find a solution that worked for all. Thus showing if you remove this barrier both parties could benefit.
4) Your University Society is a great place to get that all important experience too.
This was a great award and watching University of Leeds’ Women in Leadership Society go up and collect it was a great experience to watch (we were sat just behind them). The award, sponsored by the great team at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, highlighted the sheer amount of work that goes on within the societies themselves to give students a platform to develop skills for the real world.
5) Employability is an ongoing process and placements will get the attention of employers.
One thing that was for certain on the night… these placement students work really hard. There was a few awards such as Best Placement Student (congrats Elizabeth Pescud) as well as Best Intern (well done Ryan Hale) and a big shout out to Alex Stickler – all from Cardiff Business School where we know that they take placements and employability VERY seriously.
These graduates show that to stand out in the competitive work place you need more that a degree; you need plenty of experience under your belt to show a potential employer you’ve got a lot more context that just the qualifications on your CV.
Qualifications will only get you so far… tenacity and a desire to keep adding to your skill set combined with the ability to articulate how you can use these to add value to a business… that’ll get the hiring manager’s attention.
*The stat is in its 70s however I couldn’t report on the specific as there was someone sat in front of me blocking the slide. : )