Amidst Careers Week 2021, the subject of Transferable Skills for graduates into employment arises, with no greater example than that from the School of History. Here Dr Ambrogio Caiani, Senior Lecturer in the School of History reveals the true breadth of opportunities that comes from the study of History, saying:
‘It is wrong to suggest that when studying History, we must have the sole objective of a career as a Historian. Studying History holds a wealth of possibilities for not just sustained post-graduation employment but also for variety of opportunities in many fields. As I say: studying History opens many doors and shuts none.
‘To begin though, we can appreciate the skills that you will develop as a History student at Kent.
‘Essay writing is the pre-graduate version of a business report, a company statement, or an election speech. Developing the skill of efficient essaying is to demonstrate your ability to accumulate relevant information, cut the superfluous, edit to make it either “punchy” for the reader or attractive as a piece of writing to be enjoyed and convincing. This skill cannot be understated and is the hallmark of a History graduate.
‘Kent’s School of History in particular regards this skill highly, and employers hold it in even higher. Standing before a group of people and communicating is a basic for any workplace, from a simple office meeting, to conducting a Defence in a court of law. This skill emphasises your confidence with colleagues and strangers, suggesting you are able to relay information effectively and with style. Presenting your research as a student of History is the ground work for this.
‘No one likes exams, but employers love the confidence of those that know how to handle them. Knowing the key to success in an exam is the key to success in future career: strategizing your preparation and effective time handling. These two, combined with an understanding of how to make your work stylistically stand out and an ability to work under time constraints, are the means to success in any career.
Knowing the world
‘With an understanding of History, even niche areas of focus, comes an ability to make links and insights into other areas unexpected. Not only this, but it informs all ventures that go beyond typical market research – meaning that a Historian is the skilled employee that can provide insights from their time studying their subject. These insights inform sectors across law, social policy, public relations, business and politics and are vital to all.
‘In a usual year, Kent’s School of History students graduate either into highly skilled employment or further higher learning. Of those, 86% enter sustained employment or further learning.
‘However, pure employment is not the measure of a History graduate. With their developed skills and insights into the world, a History graduate is able to pursue vocation, which has led to a breadth of careers by our former students.
‘The School of History has graduates in the European Parliament and the House of Commons, as well as lawyers, teachers and academics, not to mention one former CEO of Easy Jet.
‘I myself, as well as being a Lecturer in History at Kent for the past eight years, have taught at the Universities of Greenwich, York and Oxford, have a forthcoming book ‘Kidnap a Pope’ (Yale University Press, 13/4/2021), have appeared on the American version of ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ with The Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons, consulted for the ITV/Amazon television production of ‘Vanity Fair’ and am currently providing historical advice for ‘Gentleman Jack’ which airs on BBC/HBO. I am, of course, a History graduate.
‘By now I have taught hundreds of students that have entered careers in the law, accountancy, business consultancy, teaching, museum curatorship, heritage, not to mention the UK and European Parliaments.
‘Such scope of opportunity comes only with study of a subject with such breadth of insight and required skill; in short – a degree in History.
‘Studying History open many doors and shuts none.’