Enhancing employability: STEM undergraduates

Enhancing employability skills of STEM undergraduates

A HE STEM funded project in collaboration with the Universities of Exeter, Bath and Plymouth and Devon Education Business Partnership to develop and deliver training that would enhance the employability skills of Student Ambassadors studying STEM subjects at Undergraduate level.

The aim of the project was to help STEM Student Ambassadors to identify and develop employability skills during their time at University. The project consisted of training workshops and resources that encouraged students to reflect on their ambassador experience, recognise the skills they have developed and learn how best to sell these to potential employers.

Student ambassadors play an important part in South West HEIs’ outreach and engagement activities by acting as enthusiastic and capable role models. In turn, student ambassadors develop a wide range of skills through their participation in these activities; skills that are highly valued by employers. However, many ambassadors fail to recognise the transferability of the skills they are developing or that this experience can provide them with evidence of vital skills and attributes sought by employers.

Graphic Science was a key member of the steering group that developed the two sets of training for the project. The first helped STEM Student Ambassadors to identify key employability skills, find ways in which to develop them and practice giving evidence of them in an interview setting. This training was delivered to students at the University of Bath by Graphic Science.

The second was a ‘train the trainer’ event where ambassadors who had already attended the employability skills workshop learnt how to deliver the same workshop to new student ambassadors. This training equipped students with valuable facilitation skills as well as making the programme sustainable.

Graphic Science trained 10 Student Ambassadors from across the three participating universities. These ambassadors then supported the training of a new cohort of students at their own institutions. The HEIs involved found the ‘train the trainer’ element of the project so valuable that they have now incorporated it into a number of their training packages.

Graphic Science has also put together 9 case studies illustrating the benefits of the training to the Student Ambassadors and the HEIs involved.

The case studies and other resources associated with the project are available through the HE STEM South West website: www.hestem-sw.org.uk/project?id=18&pp=254