How can alumni support the careers of current University of Birmingham students?
We believe that alumni are in a unique position to inspire, motivate and encourage students as they transition from university to professional employment.
Whether you’re based in the UK or overseas, here are some of the ways in which you can share your expertise and skills with our current students:
Are you able to give about an hour per month of your time to share your careers expertise with a student? Ideally, you will meet your mentee at least once, but mentoring can also take place by phone, e-mail and Skype. Mentoring can include: reviewing CVs and applications, giving careers advice, and encouraging them to source work experience and jobs.
Would you be willing to host a student for a day or two, offering them an insight into your job? Work shadowing provides students with the opportunity to observe a professional, gaining real understanding of a specific role, organisation and sector.
Can you offer work experience? This is a short-term experience of employment (no more than 20 days), and is unpaid, during which the student(s) will assist with tasks and ‘get a feel’ for a specific professional field. Students can help on a specific project that you need support with.
Do you want to hire an intern? Internships are paid opportunities (at National Minimum Wage or above) for students to work on real-life projects, adding value to your business. They typically last between 4-12 weeks over the summer, although some students may seek part-time internships during term-time.
Placements are embedded within an academic course, and allow students to work on a specific project related to their degree. This typically takes place one day per week over the course of one or two academic terms. Placements are unpaid.
Do you want to inspire students to think about the career options available to them? The university is keen to have speakers at various events on campus, from informal talks and Q & A panels to more formal presentations about employability.
Can you motivate students by speaking about your experiences and fantastic achievements since graduating? We are seeking alumni in high profile roles and organisations to deliver hour-long guest lectures. Students will also be given the opportunity to ask you questions from an employability perspective.
Can we feature your career profile on our webpages? This is a great way to share your expertise and insights, either through a video or a written interview, with students.
Widening Participation schemes
Much of our careers activity is targeted at students who are under-represented in Higher Education including: students from lower socio-economic groups, BAME students and those who are the first in their family to attend university. You can specifically ask to support these students through any of the above opportunities.
In 2015/16 those students on a Law degree who were matched with an alumni mentor achieved 100% graduate employability success.
'It’s so important to get fresh talent and new ideas into the business, and we thought that the internship scheme with the University of Birmingham would be the best way to do that.
'It’s been great to see how the interns have developed. We’ve given them a live brief with a lot to get through and they’ve far exceeded our expectations, culminating in a final pitch to creative directors and senior management. We’re so pleased with them.'
William Hazelton (BA Ancient History, 2014) is Special Projects Account Manager at Spark44 and took on five interns from the University in 2017.
If you would like to support the University of Birmingham's careers programme, please contact our Head of Volunteering Becky Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0121 414 6682.