English Subject Centre CAREERS SERVICES TO ENGLISH STUDENTS USING CAREERS CHAT LIVE SOFTWARE Liz Hagger Graduate Prospects Manchester April 2007 The English Subject Centre Royal Holloway, University of London Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX Tel 01784 443221 Fax 01784 470684 Email email@example.com www.english.heacademy.ac.uk Enhancing Careers Services to English Students It is a widespread view that English graduates are not good at ‘selling’ themselves to employers. This is not to say that they lack the skills, attributes and enthusiasm that employers seek: research conducted by the English Subject Centre shows that English graduates are doing as well as, if not better than, most other graduates three to four years after graduation. Employers value the skills in critical thinking, communication and analysis that English graduates usually possess, but our students tend to underestimate the relevance of these skills to the workplace. (The ‘student profiles’ project undertaken by the Subject Centre produced a template which helps students link the skills listed in the English Benchmark Statement to those typically sought by employers.) English students need assistance and encouragement in articulating, in a way that is interesting and relevant to employers, the skills and attributes they have developed whilst studying and engaging in extra- curricular activity. For this reason, the English Subject Centre has sponsored small projects in Careers Services which tailor materials or events specifically to the needs of English students. About ten projects were undertaken, covering such activities as interview technique workshops, alumni presentations, web-based resources and careers open-days. Details of all the projects can be found on our website at: http://www.english.heacademy.ac.uk/explore/projects/archive/careers/careers 6.php . This document is a report on one of these projects. The English Subject Centre Royal Holloway, University of London Egham, Surrey TW20 OEX T. 01784 443221 firstname.lastname@example.org www.english.heacademy.ac.uk Summary Our bid to enhance careers services to English students used our Careers Chat Live software, allowing students to communicate online in real time with Careers Advisers and then view the resulting transcript. Activity The chats were planned to take place on three consecutive Thursdays in February: 8, 15 and 22 February. This timing was chosen as being outside the winter and summer exam season, but also around the time that many penultimate year students begin their career planning. Publicity for the chats was varied: Careers Chat Live forthcoming chats list on www.prospects.ac.uk with an invitation to send advance questions by email for anyone who was unable to attend a chat HTML email to 5,870 English students and graduates registered with My Prospects Prospects.ac.uk newsletter message Mention in Prospects Graduate, fortnightly digital magazine Careers Services Newsletter to HE Careers Service staff for them to encourage student attendance and inform English academic staff Each chat took place over one hour with two Careers Advisers from our regular team answering the questions. After the chat, the questions and answers were edited to remove typing errors and the transcript with all questions and answers put into the chat archive at www.prospects.ac.uk/links/chatlive, where the transcripts will remain accessible for 18 months. Results Date of chat Student and Questions Hits to the graduate answered at archived chats participants each chat to date 8 February 2007 20 21 359 Focus on English: Future careers 15 February 2007 09 15 195 Focus on English: Options and skills 22 February 2007 14 21 272 Focus on English: Careers guidance Total 43 57 826 Three people each attended two chats. Transcript excerpt The following excerpt is taken from the first live chat. Sweet Can you tell me how I could go about getting into publishing? Empire Irena, Ideally, a relevant postgraduate qualification in publishing can Adviser help you stand out as an applicant and gives you an extra booster. There are many different courses available, and you can explore these on the Publishers Association website - www.publishers.org.uk. It's useful to gain experience early on from being involved in school magazines, student newspapers, student magazines and so on. If you're still at university, get involved now, so that you can put this on your CV. Feedback from participants A brief questionnaire was sent out by email to all chat participants. However, only two responses were received. The following questions were asked: 1. Was your question answered to your satisfaction? 2. Did you gain information / knowledge about your career options from the chat? 3. Overall, how did you find the chat? Both respondents were graduates and were very satisfied with the chat and made the following comments: “I was given very useful sources of information other than the prospects website.” “Thank-you for providing a much needed service!!” Conclusions The numbers attending the chats were not as high as anticipated, but the questions submitted were genuine and the advisers were able to provide answers to meet the questioners’ needs. The transcripts went live very soon after the chats and in the two months since the chats over 800 hits have been received. The transcripts will remain a valuable source of information and advice for English students and graduates over the next 18 months.
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