Excellence award for Careers Service 

Mark Neale, Gavin Smillie & Annette Baxter

Congratulations to our Careers Service who have been awarded an Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) Excellence Award for their Careers Diagnostic tool.

The innovative system for supporting final year students was honoured in the Academic Engagement category of the AGCAS awards in Warwick on 2 September.

AGCAS Awards for Excellence encourage, reward and share good practice amongst higher education careers and employability practitioners.

Annette Baxter (careers adviser), Gavin Smillie (senior information assistant) and Mark Neale (information systems officer) from the Careers Service developed the tool along with 11 of our academic departments.

It's made up of an online questionnaire sent to final-year students whose responses allow the Careers Service to identify their post-university career intentions.

It also gives an insight into students' confidence with key career management skills such as application methods and interview technique.

Gathering this information means the Careers Service can work with academic departments to provide more appropriate and targeted career support, resources and activities.

Careers Service advisers can also use the information to proactively approach students with personalised emails directing them to relevant resources and support, rather than waiting for students to book in for appointments.

Academic departments using the tool during the development stage were able to identify and prioritise students who most needed careers advice, and to target support with the aim of improving graduate destination results and student satisfaction scores.

As part of the tool, the Careers Service created several resources for departments including an advice video, enabling them to confidently address the issues raised and refer their students as appropriate.

The tool has also equipped academic tutors to have meaningful conversations about career options with their students and to signpost them to the most relevant careers advice.

The School of English, the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and Aerospace Engineering have all used the tool as part of the academic tutorial process, during Career Days, one-to-one meetings, or in tutor groups.

For 2015/16, the Careers Service have also developed a new version of the diagnostics questionnaire which can be used with Level 2 students and focuses on identifying students seeking placement and internship opportunities.

In a similar way, the Careers Service and placement coordinators can work with departments to plan appropriate activities to support students through placement search.

Get in touch

If you’re interested in working with the Careers Service to enhance your students’ employability, get in touch with Annette Baxter on x20965 or a.baxter@sheffield.ac.uk for an informal chat.

What departments say about the Careers Diagnostic tool

"The tool has given our students the chance to assess their own skills and identify extra things they can do to make the most of their third year. The Careers Service can plan extra events tailored to student need; Level 3 personal tutors can check which of their students might need a follow up meeting. In terms of publicising our Masters programmes, we know that 47 of the students who replied to the questionnaire are considering further study — personal tutors could guide these students towards our MA programmes where appropriate.” -School of English.

"The Careers Service sent everything we needed to enable us to distribute the questionnaire quickly and easily. Any queries we had regarding the process were quick to be answered. It seems it was effective and we received some interesting results. The questionnaire has enabled us to identify some student needs and potentially come up with a plan of action for the next academic year with regards to workshops, talks etc." -Department of Politics.