SustainabilityProducts, systems, web siteSkills and confidence of participating staff and studentsGood will of satisfied employerWork experience (esp.with SMEs) is a resource intensive activityUCE secured funding to continue work
Motivations - Why we did what we did, what needs we were trying to meet and the institutional agendas we were hitting.
Getting People Involved - Employers/students/Our Institutions - what worked, what didnt, barriers we had to overcome and how we did this.
Lessons - What we wished we had known before we started, sustainability, impactMy name is PG, Head of Student Support at Southampton Institute. I managed the AGCAS/MERITS programme at Southampton Institute with my programme coordinator John Ghey.We had a target of 35 ethnic minority students and graduates.The aim was to deliver a 12 week programme involving one day per week. The first six weeks consisted of an introduction to the programme, followed by the teaching of career management skills and race legislation.The teaching included the involvement of employers.The participants then moved on to work placements for the next six weeks with local employers in the Southampton region. This involved a combination of work experience, shadowing and mentoring, for 35 minority ethnic students and graduates, with employers of different sizes
a twelve-week Programme of classroom-based sessions and work experience with local employers for its minority ethnic students and graduates as follows.
The buddy approach simply meant that students attended placements at least in pairs in order to provide support to each other All students received a payment of our standards Jobshop rate of 5.00 per hour Professional careers and CV advice All students were given a log book during the introduction to the programme and this included the recording of their views on the programme at each step of the way including the teaching programme and each visit to an employers premises. It also included an action plan and a CV. Prizes were awarded to the best log bookFormal feedback meetings were held separately with the participating employers and students.
Work Experience - very wide definition used.
Mentoring - Had existing mentor scheme for ethnic minority students - through MERITS we committed to using alumni mentors to see if this had any additional benefits. Results suggested not, but only a very small sample.
Support materials - placement pack - advisor and student went through pre placement, during placement and after to help student capture learning and development of employability skills.
Web site - Experience Works - link from UCE Careers Service site.
Commitment to track - results way beyond term of project.Research carried out at Southampton Institute, at UCE and by HESA, focusing upon the first destination survey (FDS) statistics, showed that minority ethnic graduates were twice or three times as likely to experience unemployment when compared with their white peers. UCE has a high percentage of ethnic minority students I.e. about 30%. Southampton Institute has about 10% ethnic minority students which is lower than at UCE but twice the percentage of ethnic minorities in the Southampton region. Loughborough?Loughborough University, Southampton Institute and UCE Careers Services, have a record of promoting research and piloting programmes to combat career barriers for minority ethnic students.Southampton Institute has delivered such positive action programmes annually since 1997/1998 funded variously via SRB and Hampshire TEC, including one programme delivered for disabled students. These programmes indicated that classroom-based sessions were useful in helping minority ethnic students to develop career skills, and they showed that employer contact and involvement was needed to raise confidence levels in students and to provide practical experience of employment.From this experience we had a vision of what we thought would work Loughborough University was awarded the Marks & Spencer prize in 1997 for a work experience programme for mature students; and has organised a work shadowing scheme for second year undergraduates annually for the past seven years. This experience led Loughborough to believe that they could run a work experience programme for another group of students, I.e. first year ethnic minority students.UCE had experience of student mentoring and saw AGCAS/MERITS as an opportunity to open this up to a larger audience.In addition, UCE had at the time wanted to improve its work with employers, particularly SMEs and perceived that MERITS could provide an opportunity to enhance its work with employers. This intent to raise the profile of SMEs in the eyes of students and graduates and vice versa, was also part of the plans of Loughborough University and Southampton Institute.
UCE was also aware that AGCAS/MERITS allowed them to explore the delicate issue of organising a programme of positive action for a particular group of studentsSouthampton Institute had organised a series of conferences before and after MERITS, which were initially aimed at staff and eventually included employers and the community. These events focussed upon the question of how we could improve the chances of minority ethnic people to achieve their career ambitions. One of the conferences led to a working group of employers keen to explore together the challenge of developing and maintaining a diverse workforce. As result I am now chair of a group of local employers called LEADER (Local Employers Acting on Diversity, Equality and Race) Another reason why we did what we did was that we had some staff who were intent on working to deliver change and who had expertise in the field of race and equal opportunities. Eg Tony Acland had worked and published with Tariq Madood, and Harinder Bahra had undertaken research within the NHS.
That is my insight into why the three institutions did what they did and participated in the AGCAS/MERITS programme. Sue will now talk about how we secured the involvement of the various stakeholders.
Student demand - Loughborough over-estimated - S.I. And UCE swamped. SME element less popular with Loughborough students.
Differences - Large companies have diversity agenda - see business case of being inclusive. SME saw business case for the skills the students could bring to their companies. Pleading on behalf of disadvantaged students did not work.
Flexibility - Product we were offering needed some flexibility to attract employers. UCE offer was so flexible that it needed quite a bit of explanation
Prep time - finding students, preparing them and same with employers takes considerable time. Warming up cool employer contacts is very resource intensive. With SMEs found that using intermediary organisations was effective - but long lead in time.Profile - Many good new employer contacts and relationships. Participation has helped to better position Careers Services within their institutions because they are contributing to issues that are currently high priority.
LEADER group at Southampton. Conference March 2003 on equality and diversity
Industrial placements at Loughborough - further offers of experience for UCE students.
Skills - sales, negotiating, networking,
DfES Widening Participation Programme Manager visited Southampton pilot
Student evaluations of experience very positive
Sustainability - A big issue. - Have produced products that can be accessed and used by others (eg Southampton Guidance Pack, UCE Work Experience preparation pack, web resources etc.)
Staff development and shift in service priorities have occurred and will continue on after this work
Has been a positive experience for our staff and for student and employer participants
HOWEVER - The work of organising and supporting work experience has proved to be very resource intensive. It requires dedicated resource to do properly.
Southampton are seeking this. Loughborough cannot continue without further resource. UCE have got funding from Widening Participation to continue the work and are now doing so alongside their mentoring scheme.