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Initiatives and resources supporting the objectives of UCL's Education Strategy 2016-21

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Preparing students for the workplace and the world: objective eight of the Education Strategy

To expand our co-curricular offer in response to student feedback about employability and our commitment to education in the round.

Our London location and our reputation as a world-class university, together with our huge network of industry and business partners, puts us in an ideal position to prepare our students for the world of work.

A decision to expand our support for student employability responds to feedback from both students, and from employers about the qualities and experience they are looking for in graduate recruits. 

The Connected Curriculum framework will support the expansion of work-relevant learning in our taught programmes. We wish to enhance that by providing a comprehensive offer to students that responds to their personal circumstances and aspirations. Our work here complements the Global Engagement Strategy’s commitment to supporting student mobility and expanding opportunities to study and work abroad. 

Additionally, we want to continue to ensure that we provide high-quality opportunities for students to learn from co-curricular activities, such as:

  • volunteering;
  • running clubs and societies;
  • participating in sports; as well as
  • extra-curricular learning opportunities such as the Global Citizenship Programme.

Such opportunities have an important role to play in fostering a sense of community among our diverse student body and we will continue to prioritise space within the timetable to allow our students to participate fully.

Our priorities for objective eight

1. Provide targeted careers support for all students

The introduction of annual careers registration for all undergraduate and postgraduate taught students, in order to provide targeted support and in particular, to reach those students who would benefit from intensive careers advice and support at a much earlier stage.

This is in line with our commitment to careers education: supporting students to take a proactive, informed approach to their career, rather than simply facilitating their engagement with employers.

We will have expanded our existing support for non-academic internships and placements, led by UCL Careers in collaboration with faculties, and be in a position to offer UCL-facilitated, structured work experience to a sizeable element of UCL’s cohort by 2021.

  • Work is underway to analyse, present, and share data about the annual careers registration with faculties and departments. PGR students will be included from 2018-19 onwards. (March 2018)

2. Develop opportunities for students to develop work-related skills

The continued development of our Global Citizenship Programme, which brings students together to collaborate on projects in an interdisciplinary context.

We will link this programme with our new, pre-entry Introductory Programme, so that participation in both contextualises the first year of students’ undergraduate programmes,

The Global Citizenship Programme will be established as a core element of the UCL year with competitive entry for the academic strands of the programme and participation recognised as prestigious by students.

  • The second Laidlaw Students’ Conference was hosted by UCL in October 2019.
  • The Laidlaw Research and Leadership Programme improved recruitment in 2018/19 and 170 first-year undergraduates competed for 25 places on UCL's branch of the prestigious programme. 
  • In spite of the changes to the main exam period the Global Citizenship Programme attracted 1,357 registrations and completers’ satisfaction scored 90%. However, the programme experienced issues with retention of students that need to be understood more fully. The programme has been restructured for 2019/20 and a wider evaluation of the GCP will be undertaken later 2019/20. 
  • Laidlaw Research and Leadership Programme: second cohort of scholars chosen. (April 2018)
  • Global Citizenship Programme registration is now open, working towards a target of 850 completing students in 2018. (March 2018)

3. Consolidate volunteering opportunities

Consolidation of the work of the Volunteering Services Unit (VSU). The VSU is one of the largest student volunteering services in the country and approximately 10% of our students are currently engaged in some form of volunteering through the VSU.

  • The Volunteering Service supported more than 2,100 students to give 64,000 hours of voluntary work to charities in the capital. (2018/19)

4. Embed a framework for work experiences and skills into all programmes

Through the Connected Curriculum framework, we will promote an expansion of opportunities for students to engage in work-based learning through their taught programmes. 

  • UCL Community Engaged Learning Service introduced to help academic staff introduce collaborations with external partners into their programmes, tailoring its approach to the needs of the different disciplines.
  • Two departments developed Master’s level degree apprenticeship schemes for first intake in September 2019.