City’s Career Activation Programme has effectively embedded employability education and professional experience into its undergraduate courses, explains Gemma Kenyon from City Careers and Employability team, University of London.
At City, we celebrate that our students come from diverse backgrounds. This can often mean they have to overcome a unique set of obstacles that disrupt their ability to prepare for their future careers.
As a result, for some of our students, career success is influenced in part by their personal circumstances.
Recognising this, the City Careers and Employability department created the Career Activation Programme.
Implementation of this ambitious, institutional strategy was completed in 2022/23. It means that all undergraduate courses have ‘career focus’ education and professional experience as core, credit bearing components.
Our strategic vision was based upon the large scale DfE research Planning for success: Graduates’ career planning and its effect on graduate outcomes, which examined determinants of long term success in the labour market.
Whilst the vision of the Career Activation Programme is institutional, its implementation is personal as most students are able to choose the format and timing of professional experience that best suits them.
For our students, that ensures they enter the job market in a uniquely strong, competitive, and confident position. For City, that means that we are offering a one-of-a-kind value proposition to students.
How the programme is innovative
The Career Activation Programme is innovative in two respects:
1. Sector leading
To our knowledge, we are the only large UK university to have embedded employability education and professional experience as two distinctive, core elements in all undergraduate programmes.
The scale of the Career Activation Programme is notable. It is achieving consensus for change to the core curriculum for programmes in six academic schools.
2. Institutional vision, personalised delivery
The content of all ‘career focus’ modules are bespoke to individual programmes and the sectors students from that subject typically enter. For example, our politics module ‘Practical Politics’ highlights policy roles in diverse sectors and the skills employers such as the Civil Service look for.
All 41 career focus modules are core and credit bearing. Inherent in our commitment that all UG students complete professional experience during their studies is enabling students to undertake professional experience in a format and at a time which suits them.
We have created an innovative range of 15 credit professional experience modules which reflect diverse career paths relevant to the nuances of what employers in different sectors look for, implemented with the institutional commitment that students complete one.
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