Why you need more than ‘just a degree’!

As more people are graduating with degrees and entering the world of employment, it’s becoming more difficult for graduates to find a job straight after graduation. The common issue graduates are facing when applying for jobs is that they need experience.

As a result, it’s important that while you’re at University, you grab every opportunity possible to improve your employability. As more students are entering Higher Education, it’s important you do more that you do as much as possible to gain more than ‘just a good degree’.

At The University of Northampton we offer excellent services and opportunities to enhance your employability whilst you’re studying. From our list below, what can you say you’ve done so far?

1. Become a Changemaker

To become a Changemaker, all you need to do is identify a social problem and take responsibility in doing something about it. Internationally recognised as the UK’s first Ashoka U Changemaker Campus, The University of Northampton is committed to developing our students as change leaders.

Anyone can become a Changemaker. We have a dedicated team based in our Changemaker Hubs at both Campuses who connect with both public and third sectors to provide you with opportunities and activities that help you understand and tackle the social problems.

How does being a Changemaker benefit you? By becoming a Changemaker, you’re already doing something different from any other student and contributing to making a difference socially. These opportunities improve your employability and give you something extra to add to your CV.

For further information or to make an appointment, simply click below: www.northampton.ac.uk/changemaker-hub

2. Achieve a Platinum Employability Plus Certificate

One of the unique services offered by the Changemaker Hub is the Employability Plus scheme. This service incentivises, rewards and recognises the activities you take part in outside of your degree programme by awarding you with points which you can then use to claim a reward. At the end of each academic year, you will also be awarded with an Employability Plus Certificate. There are four levels of certificates you can be awarded, from Bronze all the way up to Platinum depending on the points you’ve received. Save up to 1000 points and reward yourself with Driving Lessons!

3. Do an Internship

Not only can you seek paid and voluntary work through the Changemaker Hub but you can also seek support for internships through Unitemps, our on campus employment agency. Internships are extracurricular related work experiences that are not directly linked to your course which allows you to explore and develop new skills to add to your CV. Internships with Unitemps are always paid work opportunities via a student bursary, which is perfect if you need a bit of extra cash!

4. Go on a work placement

Placement year opportunities are available on a number of courses across the different schools offering a placement module or placement year:

· School of Science and Technology placements will enhance the skills that you’ve developed during your first year.

· Northampton Business School placements will use your practical skills that you’ve learnt during the first two years of your degree. The Northampton Business School of Enterprise and Employability will provide you with information and help organise your placement.

· School of Education placements provide Initial Teacher Education (ITE) in local partnership schools, giving you the training and development to become an education professional.

· School of Health placements take place at external partners with a specialism that is appropriate to your studies.

There is also the opportunity for you to visit our partner institutions across Europe through our Erasmus programme where you can gain credits towards your degree. Modules usually last an academic year, if you would like to study for a shorter period of time; your credits will be calculated and accredited based on this. All courses are taught in English. For more information about Erasmus, you can email ann.pillans@northampton.ac.uk or call 01604 892603.

5. Represent the University at events

There are a number of fun ways in which you can represent the University while also developing your skills and employability. You can become:

· A Student Ambassador — the role of a student ambassador is to represent the University on Open Days, campus tours and UCAS/HE/Career Fairs. Student Ambassador’s may also be asked to take on other duties including administration.

· A Course Representative— Be a representative for your course during Open Days and Applicant Visit days to talk to prospective students/applicants about your course and your University experience

· Champions Volunteer — champions volunteers help to raise aspirations and achievements for children and young people in Northamptonshire. There are a variety of projects throughout the year that volunteers can get involved with.

· In-reach Ambassador — supporting the summer in-reach project where the campus invites primary and secondary schools onto campus for an experience day.

Check out the Unitemps website www.unitemps.com for all available roles.

6. Be a Prize Winner!

At the University of Northampton, some of our courses have excellent links with industry professionals who are keen to sponsor internal competitions that often reward winners with scholarships and/or internship opportunities. It’s a great way to get your name out there and network in the industry. If you win, you could find yourself either with a fantastic internship or financially better afterwards!

7. Join a Society or Sports Club

If you’re not a member of one of the Students’ Union’s societies or sports clubs then it’s something you should really consider doing! Not only will it help you meet new people but it also helps you to develop and learn new skills. In a competitive job market, mentioning you’re a member of a society or a sports club adds something different onto your CV that other candidates might not have.

The Students’ Union offers its members the opportunity to take ownership of their sports and societies, where members elect a President, Treasurer and Secretary. An opportunity like this would certainly focus on developing your skills in negotiating and influencing, or leadership and problem solving!

Northampton Students’ Union is only one of two unions across the country that offers FREE sports and societies to all of its members. You can also join for free through their website: www.northamptonunion.com.

Can’t find a society or sports club that interests you? Make your own! The Union provides members with the opportunity of creating your own. All you have to do is follow the steps on their committee hub.

So, what are you waiting for? Do more than just your degree and increase your employability at The University of Northampton.