Friday, 27 May 2011

Careers support from Corporate Services

I attended our Heads of Departments meeting on Wednesday, which is a meeting of all heads of academic departments (the clue's in the name), plus the Registrar and various other senior managers, chaired by the VC. My colleague Richard Wilcock and I were presenting some ideas from a conversation we'd had with Geology about what they are doing to support the employability of their students. The basic message was: employability is a priority (everyone knew this) and a shared responsibility, Geology have some good ideas, have a look at them and see what's transferable to your own department.
One suggestion that came from the meeting on Wednesday was nothing to do with academic departments though but instead to do with the involvement of Corporate Services staff in supporting students. I'm not sure how many staff we have in Corporate Services at the University of Leicester but I do know they represent a wide range of professions (you can see a structure chart here), including:
  • Finance
  • Estates
  • IT services
  • Marketing
  • Planning
  • Human resources
  • Conferencing
  • Student support
  • Legal services
So the suggestion was - could we make use of staff in Corporate Services to support students in pursuing particular careers? We already do this via our Leicester graduate internship programme but the suggestion was about a more informal, mentoring sort of role. It could be as simple as creating and maintaining a list of staff who are happy to provide advice to students that we then refer interested students to. It could be that some staff training would also be required.

Do you think this is an idea with legs? Are you or any other institution you know already doing it? What are the possible pitfalls? Just thinking out loud...


  1. Good idea, Stuart. I guess it will depend on the willingness of the staff in Corporate Services to get involved. Do they have any volunteering at work activities already in place? Perhaps you could tap into that?

  2. Hmmm, good point. I'll check out the volunteering at work thing. Thanks

  3. I think its a good idea. The careers tutors could refer to these corporate services staff too.

    I'm not sure whether people would willingly be involved or whether there would need to be a carrot involved and if so what that might be? Leicester Alumni who went on to work in corporate services would be even better....

  4. Thanks, Vic. Alumni would be good - there are a number who have got there via internships too, which would be even better. Re carrots - not sure what we can offer, maybe a warm fuzzy feeling?