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Lancaster University has been ranked top in the North of England for graduate employment, and 13th nationally, according to the Sunday Times University Guide.
Lancaster’s recent improvement in graduate employment is expected to be furthered by ‘The Lancaster Award’, a new idea being put forward by the university’s Centre for Enterprise, Employment and Careers (CEEC).
The award, which was advertised to students via email over the Summer, gives students an opportunity to get prepared for the job market by taking part in work experience, volunteering and other activities.
To successfully gain the Award, students must fill in a skills audit and job application form, and take part in a mock job interview. The interview panel consists of an employer, careers advisor and academic. The award acts as proof of skills for future employers.
The Award also includes a two-day course on Insight to Enterprise and Employability.
Over 400 freshers signed up to take part. Ten per cent of second and third years have also signed up to take part in the scheme.
CEEC has received a lot of praise for its innovative projects to increase the future employability of Lancaster students from the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Service (AGCAS). The “Insight to Teaching and Enterprise” placement programme set up by CEEC was runner-up in the AGCAS Awards for Excellence for Innovation.
The scheme has also had success in the business sector: CEEC’s Nucleargraduates scheme came 72nd in The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers 2010.
LUVU, the University’s volunteering service is helping the scheme by letting students gain experience in voluntary work, something which they can draw off to help them with the Award.
Through work with Create, LUVU’s partner organisation, LUVU was awarded the title of ‘Work Experience Provider of the Year 2008’ by the National Council of Work Experience.
LUVU has helped 450 students into voluntary work, which has in turn affected the lives of 5,500 young people across Lancashire, in this academic year alone.
The Director of CEEC, Paul Blackmore said to LU News “The Lancaster Award will be invaluable when applying for a job because it provides real experience and preparation for the personal skills analysis, job application and interview process that all job applicants will go through when applying for jobs.”
CEEC also gained second and third place for the AGCAS Awards for Excellence in the “Employer Award for Work-related Learning” category for its UNITE SME placement scheme and learning partnership with PepsiCo International.