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UNIVERSITY OF KENT AT CANTERBURY

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE CAREERS ADVISORY SERVICE 1997/98

SUMMARY

This year's unemployment figure of 2.7% is the best ever posted by the University. Previously the best figure was 3.1% in 1988.

The total entering employment was 760, compared to last year’s figure of 713.

A total of 38 graduates, from the 1998 cohort, chose to enter teacher training courses (PGCEs). The figures for 1997 and 1996 were 53 and 45 respectively.

The Careers and Employability Service was one of the first six guidance agencies in Kent to be awarded the Kent Guidance Consortium’s Adult Guidance Standards Award.

The success in obtaining funding of £111k through the EC Interreg Programme, for the development of CAREER GUIDE (an interactive computer-aided guidance system) was external recognition of the innovative work being carried out by the CAS.

In recent years, the Careers and Employability Service has started timetabled careers programmes with fourteen courses at UKC, in all faculties, using materials specifically developed for our students.

The CAS has begun the conversion of a section of the Careers Information Room into a computer-aided guidance area with a choice of four distinct programmes and access to the WWW.

The 'Milkround' continues to decline both in popularity and in importance.

Our alumni deserve our gratitude for all their efforts on behalf of the University and our students. The Careers Fair and Careers Network have been very successful, as a result of the input from our alumni.

The Careers and Employability Service became part of the Student Guidance and Welfare Division in August 1998, with the Director of the Careers and Employability Service becoming the Director of Student Guidance and Welfare.

INTRODUCTION

This report covers the work of the Careers and Employability Service (CES) during the 1997/98 academic year and contains details of major developments and activities during that period. The report also provides statistics and comments on the destinations of our cohort of graduates and postgraduates from that year based on the data available at 31 December 1998.

The first section of the report gives an overview of the work of the CAS and the second section contains the statistics and comments about the employment of our graduates and postgraduates. There are additional tables included in this year's report. This supplementary information gives a more comprehensive picture of the employment destinations of our graduates.

QUALITY ASSURANCE

The Careers and Employability Service has worked to improve the quality of the service on offer to clients. The review by the UKC Administrative Services Quality Assurance Committee (ASQAC), in 1995, was the first quality inspection undertaken. Since then we have adhered to the Guidance Code of Practice accepted by the Guidance Network (two HEIs and four FECs in Kent) and in 1997 started working towards the Kent Guidance Consortium’s Adult Guidance Standards Award. The CAS was one of the first six guidance agencies to succeed in its bid to achieve these standards in November 1998.

The CAS also began developing Service Level Statements which should be approved by the University during the 1998/1999 academic year.

OVERVIEW

The full range of services on offer by the CAS is tabled below, followed by brief highlights of the work we have undertaken during the year. The CAS has continued with its policy of actively encouraging UKC students to become more self-directed and self-reliant. It has always been our policy to inform students that employers are looking for graduates with a wide range of competencies and personal qualities; These include drive, commitment, teamwork and oral communication skills. An update of our successful Personal Development Workbook for first years, has been printed and this will be distributed to freshers during the 1998/99 academic year.

MAIN ACTIVITIES OF THE CAS 97-98 96-97 95-96 94 -95
Careers Advisers Interviews 976 987 994 1045
Duty Officer Contacts 3250 4000 4000 4000
PROSPECT (HE) (Computer Guidance) n.a. 302 376 453
ADULT DIRECTIONS (Computer Guidance) 234 n.a. n.a. 110
CAREER GUIDE (approximate usage - campus) 2,000 2,000 2,000 350
CAREER GUIDE (Careers Information Room) 345 n.a. n.a. n.a.
CAS Web Page (access) 5223 n.a. n.a. n.a.
Applications Talks - How to succeed. 249 264 279 259
Aptitude Test & Talk 32 23 33 38
Career Guide Workshops 15 23 45 15
Careers in Law Talks 55 59 64 62
Chartered Accountancy Talk (ICA) 62 65 71 69
Civil Service 22 13 23 10
Creative Job Hunting Talks 89 98 87 56
CVs Talks 155 157 143 132
Employers' Views on Interviews 45 76 67 75
Getting a job in the Media Talks 53 56 73 75
I Have no ideas.... 27 34 29 30
Interviews - Achieving success 189 213 198 199
JET Scheme - Teaching Abroad 21 26 29 30
Opportunities for Graduates 56 76 81 70
Postgraduate Study in Science 49 47 56 55
Selection Centre Workshop 15 23 18 19
Teaching as a Career 21 19 22 15
Videos viewed 112 124 132 123
Working in Kent/Small Firms 10 11 9 12
Number of employers visited 20 25 23 33
Number of employers visiting the CAS - Milkround 14 19 18 22
- information 15 23 22 16
UKC Vacancy Bulletins published # - issues 42 42 42 36
Vacation Work Bulletins # - issues 8 7 7 8
Graduate Directories distributed 1875 1950 1900 1900
Information Booklets distributed 5020 5120 5220 5100
         
MAIN ACTIVITIES OF THE CAS 97-98 96-97 95-96 94-95
Personal Development Workbook (first years) Career Guide* Career Guide * 1950 1950
Personal Development Workbook (second years) Career Guide* Career Guide * 1900 n.a.
Personal Development Workbook (third years) Career Guide* 1850 * n.a. n.a.
Personal Development Workbook (Postgraduates) 300 1100 n.a. n.a

* All three undergraduate Personal Development Workbooks are now available via CAREER GUIDE on the campus network.

# Vacancies for finalists, graduates and postgraduates and vacation placements and courses are now available on the WWW

INTERREG

The success in obtaining funding of £111k through the EC Interreg Programme, for the development of CAREER GUIDE (an inter-active computer-aided guidance system) was external recognition of the innovative work being carried out by the CAS. The CAS is proud of this ‘home-produced’ computer-aided package, which we first made available to students in 1993. Now ten times the size of the original, it provides, via the campus network, help with all the many areas associated with career planning and guidance. Many people at UKC were involved in this bid, and the CAS recognises the work done by the Director and staff of ORBS and the Director of Academic Administration, both of whom contributed to this successful bid. Development work will now be carried out until the millennium on creating a high-tech CD-ROM offering careers and employment help. We are working closely with the Université du Littoral on this innovative trans-frontier programme.

FIRST DESTINATION SURVEY

The collection, collation and return of the First Destination Survey results to HESA was successfully completed before their closing date for the third consecutive year. This operation necessitated some involvement from each member of the Careers Staff at some stage during the early months of 1997/98, as well as help from a number of administrative, support and academic staff. As usual, careers staff spent a considerable amount of time during January and February telephoning graduates who had not returned any of the four questionnaires we had posted to them. This new system of collecting destination information continues to be labour intensive and expensive. The excellent employment figures returned by the University, was some reward for the work undertaken by everyone within the CAS and others throughout the University in collecting this data.

WORLD WIDE WEB

More time and effort has been expended in developing our home page on the WWW with continued improvements taking place throughout the year. Hundreds of extra links and information pages have been included and over 5,000 clients accessed the between September 1997 and July 1998.

SKILLS

Most employers of graduates look for more than just academic skills in their recruits. They look for graduates who are confident of working in a team; graduates who are able to communicate both orally and in writing; graduates who have developed leadership and many other skills, often referred to as "Personal Transferable Skills". Many universities have now started programmes to enhance the employment prospects of their students. These programmes lead to more focused students, who are better aware of the skills they have to offer employers, and who are much better able to market themselves effectively to recruiting organisations. In recent years, the Careers and Employability Service has started timetabled careers programmes with fourteen courses at UKC in all faculties using quality materials specifically developed for UKC students. These programmes have been highly successful.

Rapid technological change means that new channels of communication are used to deliver routine services through the telephone and the internet. Employers need, therefore, potential managers with strong leadership and communication skills. A recent study (January 1999) by the independent think tank, the centre for Research in Employment and Technology in Europe (Create), highlights the need for self-reliant individuals with strong people skills and the capacity for strategic thinking.

JOB SHOP

Work was undertaken with the Student Development Unit of the Students' Union to assess the feasibility of a Job Shop on campus. The University and the Students' Union agreed to contribute to the initial funding of this project and sponsorship has also been obtained from Marks and Spencer over a three-year period. The Job Shop opened in September 1998. The staff of the Student Development Unit are to be congratulated for their tenacity and commitment on achieving this extra resource for students.

COMPUTER-AIDED GUIDANCE

The allocation of extra funding to purchase new equipment (as a result of the introduction of Windows NT) meant that it was possible to utilise the hardware, which was previously used for administrative support, as an enhanced resource for students. The CAS has started to convert a section of the Careers Information Room into a computer-aided guidance suite with this equipment. This should enable more of our students to become aware of the resources, which are available to them both on the web, and on the campus network.

CAREERS INFORMATION ROOM

The Careers Information Room is still the starting point for many of our undergraduates as they begin their search for a career. Hardcopy information is still available, in spite of the increase of careers and employment information on the web. The Association of Graduate Careers and Employability Services works closely with the Higher Education Careers Services Unit to produce careers material written by experienced Graduate Careers Advisers, and over seventy information booklets from this source are available to students.

MILKROUND

The 'Milkround' continues to decline both in popularity and in importance. The rigid rules which used to regulate this recruitment process are no more. This is as a result of a number of factors, one of which is the fact that only a small number of employers are able to forecast their graduate requirements so far ahead of the starting date. In addition to this, many finalists are so very busy with the exigencies of both their academic study and part-time work that they often need to postpone their search for permanent employment until after their finals.

CAREERS FAIR and the CAREERS NETWORK

The Careers Fair, held in the first week of March each year, provides students with an opportunity to talk informally to alumni about their career experiences. In 1998, changes to the University catering arrangements, and increased activity on UCAS visit days, required the Careers Fair to move from its usual setting in Rutherford College to Darwin Dining Hall. The CAS is indebted to all the staff in Darwin for their contribution to the success of the day. While the number of students attending was only slightly smaller than in previous years, the decision was taken to break with tradition and hold the 1999 Fair on a Thursday, which will avoid the clash with UCAS visits and enable it to use the wider spaces of Eliot Dining Hall.

The Careers Network continues to offer an avenue, through which students can obtain, in writing, in person and by telephone, first-hand advice on a plethora of careers. Some students have even managed to persuade alumni to offer them work experience in their offices. A recent success story for the Careers Network was the 1998 European Studies graduate who obtained a place on the prestigious and highly competitive British Airways Cadet Pilot Scheme – thanks, in part, to the tips she had been able to obtain from an alumnus working for the airline.

Our alumni deserve our gratitude for all their efforts on behalf of the University and our students. Many use their holiday entitlement to attend the Careers Fair, while others give up their spare time in the evenings and at weekends to help our students. Feedback from students who have used this service has been unequivocally positive. Our thanks also go to the Alumni Office for all their help in encouraging graduates to offer their services to students.

OVERVIEW

This year's unemployment figure of 2.7%, is the best ever posted by the University and improves last year's figure by 1.2%. The previous best, 3.1% in 1988, was achieved at a time of boom, and in a completely different graduate labour market. Since then we have experienced a more 'flexible' labour market, as well as a generation of students who leave university in debt.

As in previous years, these statistics come with a health warning. It must be remembered that First Destination Statistics presented in this report are based on information received from graduates within six months of graduation. They are NOT definitive statements about graduate employment and unemployment. Many graduates use the year after university to explore the labour market, and even though many are in what seem to be careers with excellent prospects, they may choose to move on within a very short space of time. Others may choose routine occupations as a first step to acclimatising themselves to more permanent and rewarding employment; some choose jobs to pay off debts.

Table 1 gives an overview of the First Destination Statistics for 1998. The total entering employment was 760, compared to last year’s figure of 713. A percentage decline of 0.3% in those following postgraduate courses, succeeded last year's fall of 3.2%. There was an increase of 1.6% in those pursuing higher degrees and a fall of 1.9% in graduates entering vocational diploma and certificate courses.

TABLE 1

First Destinations of 1998 UKC Graduates as at 31 December 1998

CATEGORIES '98 % ‘97 % ‘96 %
             
EMPLOYMENT 760 45.6 713 45.1 693 42.5
             
HIGHER DEGREE 231 13.8 192 12.2 244 15.3
             
DIPLOMAS/CERTIFICATES 134 8.0 157 9.9 160 10.0
             
O'SEAS STUDENTS RET HOME 259 15.5 250 15.8 178 11.2
             
NOT AVAILABLE 48 2.9 33 2.1 52 3.2
             
STILL LOOKING 45 2.7 62 3.9 70 4.4
             
UNKNOWN 192 11.5 174 11.0 213 13.4
             
TOTALS 1669 100 1581 100 1610 100

TABLE 2

First Destinations of 1998 Graduates by Faculty as at 31 December 1998

CATEGORIES HUM % SOCSCI % STMS %
             
EMPLOYMENT 262 53.7 338 40.2 160 47.1
             
STUDY/TRAINING 99 20.3 186 22.1 80 23.5
             
O’SEAS STUDENTS 36 7.4 166 19.7 57 16.8
             
NOT AVAILABLE 22 4.5 18 2.1 8 2.3
             
UNEMPLOYED 15 3.1 19 2.3 11 3.2
             
UNKNOWN 54 11.0 114 13.6 24 7.1
             
TOTALS 488 100 841 100 340 100

The 'new' Science, Technology and Medical Sciences is included for the first time in this table.

TABLE 3

Further Study/Training entered by 1998 Graduates

TYPE OF FURTHER STUDY

1998

1997

1996

Diploma/Certificate/Professional Training Course. 132 152 157
First degree course. 2 5 3
Higher Degree by research 39 43 65
Higher degree-taught. 192 149 179

As Table 4 shows, diplomas, certificates and professional training have suffered a reduction of 20 this year after a small drop in the previous year. There was a pleasantly surprising growth of 43 in graduates pursuing taught higher degree courses.

TABLE 4 - Teaching

Only a small number of graduates chose to enter teacher training courses (PGCEs) from our 1998 graduating cohort. A total of 38 started their PGCE, with one taking the Open University programme. Teaching was a popular choice for graduates in English Literature, with 12 recorded as taking this route. There were 7 Science graduates who entered teacher training. Only 2 linguists informed us that they were taking PGCEs. A total of 15 graduates are taking their PGCEs at Canterbury Christ Church University College.

COURSE 1998 1997 1996
PGCE 38 53 45

 

TABLE 5 - First Destinations of Graduates by subject

 

POSTGRADUATES

Extreme caution must be exercised when drawing conclusions about the first destinations of postgraduates. As postgraduates may receive notification of their award throughout the academic year, the collection of data is spread over a longer period than the six months used for undergraduates. When the CAS is notified of the award of a postgraduate degree, a questionnaire is immediately sent to the recipient of the degree. In some cases the degree may be awarded in November of the year prior to the collection of the statistics, so that a period of over a year may pass before information about the destination of that postgraduate is passed to HESA. A specific example can be drawn from the MSc in Computer Science (conversion course) where the destinations of those postgraduates who completed their studies in September 1997 are included in this year's returns.

TABLE 6

Destinations of Postgraduates (1998)

MAIN ACTIVITY NOS '98 % NOS '97 %
Entered study or training 67 12.1 49 11.1
Entered work 180 32.5 177 40.0
Not available 7 1.3 2 0.5
Overseas graduates returned home 176 31.8 123 27.8
Returned or remained with employer 47 8.5 34 7.7
Seeking employment or training 16 2.9 9 2.0
Self-employment 5 0.9 5 1.1
Unknown 55 10.0 43 9.7
         
TOTALS 553 100 442 100

TABLE 7 - Extent and nature of further study and training for Postgraduates (1998)

Table 7 shows that a number of postgraduates move from taught courses into research based ones, while others may move from diplomas and certificates into higher degrees.

FURTHER STUDY OR TRAINING NOS '98 NOS ‘97
Diplomas, Certificates, Professional Training Courses 7 9
Higher degree by research 45 34
Higher degree - taught courses 13 3
Other study or training 2 3
     
TOTALS 67 49

TABLE 8 - Standard Occupational Classification of Graduates and Postgraduates (1998)

An analysis of the 1998 returns has been received from HESA. The following table combines both the graduate and postgraduate return and illustrates the nature of the employment entered by both groups as defined by the Standard Occupational Classification. Experience shows that employment outside the managerial, professional and technical occupations is regarded as a stepping stone to occupations at a higher level.

DESCRIPTION NOS '98 NOS '97
Managers and Administrators 222 190
Professional Occupations 287 241
Associate Professional and Technical Occupations 216 212
Clerical and Secretarial Occupations 113 125
Craft and Related Occupations 3 3
Personal and Protective Service Occupations 56 55
Sales Occupations 69 70
Plant and Machine Operatives 6 4
Other Occupations 7 13

TABLE 9 - Expected length of employment in the first destinations entered by Graduates and Postgraduates (1998)

Table 9 shows the leaver’s own assessment of the duration of the employment entered. This is another problematic area as the leaver often expresses an intention rather than a commitment. Leavers unhappy with their employment often use this category to state their intention to leave 'as soon as possible'.

LENGTH OF EMPLOYMENT

1998

1997

Not known. 10 26
Terminates after 30/9/99. Not fixed term 835 809
Terminates before 31 March 1999. 81 33
Terminates between 1/4/99 & 30/9/99 45 45
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