The pilot for The Northampton Employability Award was launched in October 2011 and the first undergraduates received their certificates at a special ceremony hosted by the Vice-Chancellor. Professor Nick Petford said: “We understand that graduates need more than a high quality degree to secure employment so developed ‘The Northampton Employability Award’, to give recognition to those students who have gone above and beyond their academic studies whilst at university.”
Students studying for the Award self-assess their academic and key skills and also work with support staff to identify how to improve their long term employability. They complete 100 hours of self-development through a range of activities including; part-time or holiday work, Student Union societies and sports teams, volunteering and various development sessions offered by the Careers and Employability Service.
Among the first students to attain the Northampton Employability Award, Vesta Simkute received special recognition. The 20-year-old second year BSc Physical Activity & Health student said:
I had a part time job and juggling that with volunteering, completing the Employability Award plus my academic studies meant I really stepped out of my comfort zone to complete everything on time. But it was worth the effort and I am very proud of myself. It is something that would benefit any student and I would recommend it to everyone.
Vesta Simkute, first student
Lisa Hartnell, PDP & Employability Award co-ordinator said: “This Award makes the link between academic work and extra-curricular activities – whatever they may be. The key to all of this is getting students to understand the skills they have developed during their time at university and to realise how desirable some of these skills are to employers after graduation. I am delighted this pilot will be rolled to all undergraduate students across the University this September. It will make a huge difference to the confidence of so many of our students when they leave us and enter what it is a hugely competitive job market.” The event also recognised the achievements of students who completed the Institute of Leadership and Management programme also run by the Careers and Employability Service.