Stirling University students are being encouraged to make the most of getting the best career advice available by attending Work Fest.
The University’s annual programme is a month-long series of events led by various employers and organised by the Career Development Centre (CDC).
The events are designed to provide students with the tools they need to compete in the graduate job market. Careers Development Adviser Lucie Johnston, an employee of the CDC, told Brig that they “have noticed a degree of apathy this year” from the general student population.
She said, “When we have an undergraduate body of 7,000 students and 2,500 post graduate students but only a handful turn up to key events it does make us worry.”
The CDC has been working to bring some of the biggest graduate employers to the campus, including Morgan Stanley and Standard Life. However, low attendances would seem to show few students are taking advantage of the opportunities available.
Johnston added: “It is a struggle for the CDC to convince a lot of the big companies to come to Stirling rather than just going to larger cities like Glasgow and Edinburgh.” A key event in the Work Fest programme is a subsidised bus to the Graduate Careers Fair at the SECC in Glasgow taking place on the 16 and 17 October.
The cost is £7 and this ensures that Stirling students can get a chance to meet and talk with those employers who cannot attend the smaller fairs on-campus. The main events that took place on campus were the Graduate Jobs and Internships fairs, workshops aimed at getting into specific areas such as teaching, sports development and museums, as well as workshops on how to handle online applications, interviews, CV clinics and even professional advice on starting your own business.
During the fairs, students can attend talks by specific companies and also speak to employees face-to-face. Catriona, 20, was one of only three students who attended the talk by the NHS on Monday 1 October.
Speaking to Brig, she said: “It was actually really useful”. However, she was surprised at the low turnout, which she attributed to the clubs and societies’ schedule. She added, “A lot of clubs do have their meetings on Monday evenings so a lot of people will choose to be there instead.”
Jennifer, 21, is a third year student who has attended Work Fest events and found them very helpful. She said, “The employers were very friendly and were willing to answer all of our questions.” Johnston stressed the importance of high attendance at these employer- led events.
She explained, “Employers will only come if they are going to meet good students and they will stop coming to Stirling if numbers attending are too low.” There is concern that current students who choose not to attend could be missing important networking and skill-building opportunities as well as essential career advice.
Johnson concluded, “A lot of students don’t realise that the employers attending are often the same ones who will be looking through the application forms. “If they [employers] meet a student who shows they have done their research into that particular company and asks some interesting questions they will fast track their application – it’s not just an opportunity to pick up some freebies!”