Swansea University celebrates a successful employability year

The Swansea Employability Academy (SEA) has recognised outstanding contributions to employability by Employers and staff at its 4th Annual Awards Evening.

Employability Academy Awards 2015

The Vice-Chancellor Richard B Davies, speaking at the Awards Evening, celebrated an exciting and successful year of achievements, student successes and employers partnerships. Senior Pro-Vice- Chancellor Hilary Lappin-Scott, who established the Swansea Employability Academy, presented the awards to employers, staff and students for their contributions to employability. The Swansea University Academy provides a coordinating role across the University, linking the career development support offered to its students through their Colleges, University Departments and the Students’ Union

The celebratory evening rounded off a busy ‘Get Ready for Work Week’ – a range of events designed in response student feedback, which welcomed 20 employers who met students as part of a speed networking afternoon.

Vice-Chancellor Richard B Davies said: 

“Employability is the key that links a good degree education and the ability to make a difference in the world.  We do this by working in a way where students and employers all benefit.  This we achieve via a range of activities delivered in partnership - be it interview practice, networking events or our range of funded placement opportunities.  The work of the Academy, as recognised in the achievements that we celebrate on this occasion, is reflected in the calibre of Swansea University graduates.  We can be truly proud of how we prepare our graduates for life after university.” 

Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor Hilary Lappin-Scott said:

“Swansea University has confirmed its place as a top-20 institution for employability indicating that our graduates are well supported and equipped to find graduate level employment once they leave university. The Academy awards recognise this success but also pay tribute to the partnerships we have developed between our dedicated staff, employers from across the region and nationally, an expert Employer Advisory Board, supported by Sir Terry Mathews and Simon Gibson and our students, who are our ambassadors in the world of work.” 

Chris James, director of award-winning employer Ciotek, said:

“From an employer’s perspective, the Swansea Employability Academy is a truly excellent resource.  It is now our first port of call whenever we are looking for enthusiastic and capable placements and graduates.

Our experience with SEA is of an exemplary employability support resource and we have recommended it again and again to our business clients.”

Key highlights that the Academy celebrated over the last year included:

  • acceleration of the relationship building, each College has made tremendous progress in the creation of their own employability committees under the stewardship of our dedicated Employability Directors
    • placement schemes continue to grow –
      • the Winter Week of Work took involved over 600 placements – and saw the Academy working with new partners including ABMU, the Army, South Wales Police and the WRU;
      • working with colleagues in the International Development Office  to develop for the first time an international SPIN’s (Swansea Paid Internships) which will enable students to  take up paid internships this summer across the globe – Africa, China and the US
      • joining the Santander Internship programme – offering match funding to SME businesses looking to recruit graduates

  • Another successful Global Entrepreneurship Week – 14 events in total held last November, which resulted in a High Impact Host Award for the University - and lots of advice and opportunities for the students:
  • Four students succeeded in securing places on the Canadian Challenge – to join Sir Terry Matthews working in Canada this summer

  • Sir Terry, along with our prestigious local entrepreneurs, Simon Gibson, Debbie Williams and Jill Burgess once again provided advice at the business start-up day and launched this year’s £250 challenge

  • In partnership with the Student’s Union we launched the ‘SEA Your FutureNetworking– an opportunity to welcome alumni back to campus, to share their career journeys and tips for networking.  Students heard from alumni including Philip Green, Chairman, Carillion Plc; Gareth Powell, Chief Operating Officer, BBC Cymru; Martin Spray CBE, CEO of the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust and Ben Donovan and James Snaith from Swansea City FC.

  • Student partnerships became even more engrained this year with the development of the Student Employability Rep programme – whereby students support their peers in making the most out of a vast range of events and talks. 

The Swansea Employability Academy is being noticed outside of the region as well.  Having been invited to present at a recent QAA conference on our approach to developing placements – next week a number of colleagues will join a HEFCW conference to lead discussions on our approach to employability in the curriculum and employer engagement.  At the start of the new academic year, SEA will present on ‘putting employability at the heart of university-business collaboration’ at the annual global conference of the European Association for International Education.

In September the University will be welcoming students to two campusesfor the first time – and with that comes two careers fairs with one at the Bay and one at the Park: after our most successful careers fair to date last October, we plan to double the opportunities and successes.

Picture: (left to right) Simon Gibson, Chris James, Hilary Lappin-Scott.