Friday, 24 August 2012

A message from a graduate

I've not blogged for far too long so I thought I'd throw up a lazy post of something someone just pointed out to me. 'A Message from a Graduate' video on YouTube from Matthew Rennie who got a first class hours in Civil Engineering at Newcastle University and is wanting to get into creative agencies.

Good on you Matt. Hope you get snapped up!

Sunday, 1 July 2012


Well after having had my head down all week planning and writing for our Employability Summit I've made a school boy error and not given a moments thought to its amplification. But with a good core of active tweeters coming and a very topical issue the amplification should still work well. So, things I've just thought about
  • I've decided the hash tag will be #empysummit (which looks a bit too much like 'empty' but 'employability' is just too long and I know Mark likes 'empy')
  • I'll put up some signs with the hashtag on in the venue  first thing tomorrow morning (if you're coming - don't forget its in the Henry Building now)
  • I'll put the tag on Twitterfall at the beginning and during the breaks
What else do indeed to do? Do I need to do anything for Google Plus? And please retweet, comment, re post!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Draft open day talk

Tomorrow I'm presenting to prospective students and their parents at our University of Leicester Open Day on 'Employability at Leicester'. Here are my draft slides (some of it animates - which I can't replicate in SlideShare). Comments and suggestions welcome - what would you want to know? I have 45 minutes including questions.
Employability at Leicester

View more presentations from Stuart Johnson. (#leicesteropen)

Friday, 15 June 2012

Google Plus and age restrictions

I need some Google help. My 12 year old son has had a Google account for a couple of years. His cousin sent him a link to sign up for Google Plus. He followed the on screen instructions which included entering his date of birth (something that I didn't have to do 2 years ago when I set up the account for him - or if I did there wasn't an age restriction at the time). He can now no longer login to Gmail and gets the following message.

The Google Account for has been disabled.You will not be able to sign in to this account or use it to access any Google products or services.You do not meet the age requirements for a Google Account. This account will be deleted in 27 days unless the birthday you entered was incorrect and you submit proof that you are 13 years old or older. Learn more.If you are 13 years old or older, click here to start the account unlock process.

Any ideas? Or have the Ts&Cs changed since G+ kicked off and now you have to be 13 to even have Gmail?

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

A great example from Newcastle: ncl+

Newcastle University's ncl+ pages are really well put together - very clear explanation of the opportunities that build graduate skills along with more detail on their specific benefits, skills developed and how to find out more. Nice job Newcastle - we may be borrowing the idea!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Employability strategy principles

At our Careers Advisory Committee last week Bob and I presented (amongst other things) the latest draft of our Employability Strategy. The feedback was OK but I need to sharpen it up a bit. None of the headline stuff is confidential so I thought I'd try and put down the objective and principles of the strategy here to try and clarify my thinking and hopefully generate some useful comments/discussion. So, as it currently stands...


To ensure our graduates have the extra dimension in order to make them the stand out choice for employers


  • engage the majority of students as opposed to the current minority
  • engage with students as early as possible in their undergraduate careers
  • ensure students participate in one main intervention to avoid the current situation of a minority of keen students monopolising the places on the majority of interventions
  • ensure that each intervention is accompanied by before and after support to ensure that students are appropriately prepared and effectively followed up
  • make access to as many opportunities as possible a competitive process (to identify best candidates and simulate selection processes – those unsuccessful can be signposted to alternatives)
And possibly something about our minimum programme provision in years 1, 2 and 3.

It's a work in progress. Any comments?

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Anyone got any Google Plus tips?

I should be asking this question on Google Plus but I'm just trying to get back into the blogging habit. I'm determined to get into Google Plus (it really shouldn't be that difficult), so has anyone got any Google Plus tips? Or does anyone fancy joining in the experiment for those of us a bit slow on the uptake? You can find me here.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Switching to Blogger

I've just switched from a hosted WordPress site to Blogger, for various reasons:
  • I fancied trying a different platform
  • Blogger seems to have got much better recently
  • Alan knows best
  • it's completely free (though not as flexible as WordPress but flexible enough for my needs)
  • it's ad free (unlike the free version of WP)
  • I'm also determined to make the most of Google Plus and Blogger seems to integrate much better
  • Maybe the novelty of a new platform will get me back into the blogging habit
I need to figure out the gadgets and the table function is poor (non-existent) but it's clean and crisp and simple. I'm looking forward to making the most of it. I haven't yet decided whether to redirect my old site - just exported the old stuff from WP then imported to Blogger (which was very straightforward - though I might do some tidying up later)

Thursday, 26 April 2012

The Wilson Review

If you're part of a Careers Service and you still haven't read Sir Tim Wilson's Review of Business-University Collaboration, you should. Here's a quick list of some of the relevant recommendations.

ReferenceSubstantive recommendation
Rec 3, para 4.5.1Sandwich degrees should be encouraged through a new compact between students, universities, government and employers, reflecting the benefits to all parties from the enhanced employment outcomes arising from them
Rec 4, para 4.5.1Ideally, every full‐time undergraduate student should have the opportunity to experience a structured, university‐approved undergraduate internship during their period of study
Rec 5, para 4.5.2The government‐supported graduate internship programme should be continued
Rec 11, para 4.8Universities should publish the job destinations of recent full‐time postgraduate taught students, by department as soon as possible
Rec 20, para 5.9.2To inform prospective doctoral students of potential career opportunities, universities should publish the job destinations of recently completed doctoral students, where possible by department, at the earliest opportunity
Rec 21, para 5.9.3All full‐time PhD students should have an opportunity to experience at least one 8 to 12 week internship during their period of study and should be encouraged to attend a short intensive enterprise skills programme alongside research students from other departments of the university.
Rec 24, para 6.4.1Graduate recruiters using filtering mechanisms should undertake a systematic and frequent review of screening algorithms in the light of the qualities of the graduates that the company has recruited and the diversity objectives of the company
Rec 26, para 6.4.3University careers services and their local enterprise partnership (LEP) should collaborate to establish a skills supply chain between universities and local business, integrating placements, internships and employment services

ReferenceReflective recommendation
Rec 3, para 3.5Universities that do not regularly review the effectiveness of their enquiry management systems should undertake an audit to ensure efficient first‐level responsiveness; an ineffective relationship management system carries significant reputational risks
Rec 4, para 4.3.1Universities should decide whether to introduce formal skills diagnostics for their students and, if they do so, whether they are discretionary or mandatory. Such practice should feature in promotional literature available to prospective students, covered at open day/applicant day/interviews and initiated early in the first year of the undergraduate programme of studies.
Rec 5, para 4.3.2Universities should reflect on the opportunities that are provided for students to develop employability skills through the formal learning methodologies used within the university and ensure that students are able to articulate the skills that they have developed through their learning experiences. It is for universities to ensure that their staff have the appropriate skills to support students in this process
Rec 6, para 4.3.3Universities should reflect on the strategies they use to ensure that students have the opportunity to develop enterprise skills both through the formal curriculum and through optional study or practice, and reflect on the integration of enterprise education in the professional development programmes for academic staff
Rec 12, para 4.9In the context of encouraging more UK students to study or to take an internship/placement outside the UK, universities, together with the students’ unions, should reflect on mechanisms that promote international internships and placements amongst the student body
Rec 20, para 6.3To provide students with information about career prospects, universities may wish to establish a four‐year career projection from a sample of their graduates as supplementary information for use in parallel to the KIS. To provide a common framework, universities may wish to ask UUK to commission preliminary design work in this field
Rec 21, para 6.4Large companies represent only a fraction of the opportunities available for graduate employment, yet are disproportionately popular in terms of graduate application. Universities should reflect on how students’ perceptions of employment with small and medium‐sized companies could be improved
Rec 22, para 6.5Given the changing nature of careers services in the sector, universities may wish to review the physical and organisational position of their careers service and the level of interaction it has with the students, employers and the academic community
Rec 23, para 6.5Careers and employability support will become a recognised part of the ongoing student experience, rather than an aspect that only captures the attention of students in the final year of a degree study

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Employability summit

We're running an employability summit here at Leicester on 2 July for all staff with an interest in/responsibility for employability. I've just put the website together. It's going to be great! If you're a University of Leicester member of staff then book here.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Tagginganna at Lilly West

Here are the slides Mark and I will be using at the workshop at Lilly West (#lillywest12) and, thanks to Alex, by the time we get there they should even be finished! The guts of the workshop though will be two activities centred around 2 printed out texts to simulate the online environment before we introduce it. You can find out more on the dissemination part of the Google site that I've put together. Thanks to Zara, Marta, Carol and Zoe for test running this for us.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Lilly West

Next week Mark and I are going to the Lilly West conference in California to present our (and Alex's) #tagginganna project. I've been blogging about it as we've been going along but I thought it would make it easier to showcase the project if I made a sepearate site. I've been tinkering with Google sites for a while (easy, free and getting better) so I thought I'd make a Google site for the project. I've previously used Google sites for making sites for the local cub and scout groups (I might put these up as templates on Google sites when I get the chance) but they were never used in the end, so it's nice to have an opportunity to use it for real. The site isn't finished yet but it should give you the general idea. Feedback and suggestions very welcome.

And while I'm here, things that were handy for making it:
Pomona here we come!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

A few more careers tweeters

Further to I’m looking for more careers tweeters, after attending the AGCAS Heads of Service Conference last week I've found a few more. Coming from a background in learning development and learning technology I'm increasingly finding that I need more careers people in my professional network (it could be just me but there seem to be far fewer careers people on twitter?). So I'm making lists. I have two:
Who have I missed?

Monday, 9 January 2012

AGCAS Heads of Service conference 2012

I spent the second half of last week at AGCAS's new heads of service training and then the AGCAS Heads of Service conference in Dublin.  This is an annual event for heads of higher education careers services. Just like last year it was an enjoyable conference. It was good to meet people, some of whom I had met last year but most of whom were new to me. I found a few more heads of service on twitter this year, but most seem to use LinkedIn so I've connected with them on their instead.

The opening address from Kate Dodd was a useful starting point, in particular her challenge for careers services to develop universal provision, i.e. engaging all students not just the keen or desperate few (I'm exaggerating slightly there). Also her summary of what senior managers expect from their Careers Service, that the service will:
  1. help enhance the institution's reputation
  2. make a positive impact on DLHE (she also made the point here that whilst we might be uncomfortable with the 6 month deadline it would be a time frame that students would think reasonable)
  3. demonstrate how what they do is value for money
I attended a really useful workshop on 'Is the virtual careers service inevitable?' with Michael Clark and Marc Lintern (I'm hopping their slides will be available somewhere soon?). I also attended a less than useful workshop on 'Is the career guidance interview a necessity or a luxury we can no longer afford?', which I thought would be really interesting but unfortunately the panel was made up only of people in the necessity camp so wasn't very useful (IMHO).

It was also a good chance to catch up with Bob Athwal, who was there in his AGR capacity but starts with us on 16 January :)