It’s not news to anyone working in the UK Higher Education space that the TEF is breathing down the necks of Careers Services as they continually hone their employability strategies, ever conscious of the impact of Graduate Outcomes on the ultimate ranking of Gold, Silver or Bronze for their institution. The employability of graduates, or rather, whether and where they are employed at a particular moment in time, has always felt like a blunt instrument for assessing the value of an education, but now Careers Services are imagining new ways of continuing to nurture their graduates well beyond Graduation Day, and safely into the arms of a suitable graduate level role.
Whatever you think of the TEF (and the way that graduate routes into training for a career in Law don’t count as a positive outcome, for example… Um…What?!) the starter gun has sounded and the race is well underway. Savvy Careers Services hold all the data they need to track which final year students are most likely to become un- or under-employed graduates, but how do they go about engaging those students in time to turn the juggernaut? Whilst the value of face-to-face careers sessions in groups or individually is unquestioned, it is also impossible to maintain post-graduation. The cohort of graduates has left, gone home, gone traveling – and daytime guidance appointments aren’t easy to attend from another time-zone or once you’re working back home at the supermarket, or wherever. Can more be learned from the Student Recruitment stage to help with this challenge? Perhaps so.
the current student population, more than any previous generation of students, is accustomed to quick, slick, convenient and digital
Lots of Universities are now using Live Chat and running Virtual Open Days at the recruitment stage, to engage their potential students. They are doing this because the current student population, more than any previous generation of students, is accustomed to quick, slick, convenient and digital, and so the flat webpage, with links to a generic email address or a Facebook icon, is so much less engaging and interactive than this generation is used to seeing in the consumer world.
Could it be that institutions can start to engage their finalists at risk of delivering a negative outcome (for themselves as well as the institution) using some of these same tools? Could that digital dialogue begin before students have left and continue into the first few months post-graduation? Could the programme of activity be timetabled to include group guidance sessions, signposting to 121 chat options at times when Careers Service colleagues can easily respond quickly? Could you include careers panels being hosted by HE staff, joined by employers and young alumni – in London, Leeds, Beijing? Could graduates join the sessions anonymously if they felt more comfortable doing so? Could this ultimately help to engage graduates and support both your Graduate Outcomes campaign and your institutional marketing goals?
We think so, yes.
If you would like to know more about how Meet & Engage technology could support you, feel free to drop me a line firstname.lastname@example.org – I’d be happy to help.