In today’s competitive jobs market, it takes more than just a good degree to get a foothold on the career ladder.
Combining studies with work experience is essential if a graduate wants to stand out from the crowd – something University of Northampton graduate Matt David can attest to.
He undertook two work placements while studying Sports Marketing at the University, and that helped him land his dream first job in June 2015 – a full month before graduating.
Matt, who is a Marketing Coordinator with Southampton-based Pairview Ltd, a leading provider of business analytics and training, said: “A degree alone is no longer good enough – students have to get real hands-on experience whilst completing their degrees.
“I have found first-hand how competitive graduate employment is, and especially within the marketing industry.
“I completed two voluntary placements – at Northampton Town Football Club and The Hummingbird Centre Midlands, a cancer support group in Rugby – which provided me with the opportunity to put into practice the academic theory I had been learning. I’m convinced that without both of these opportunities I would not be in the position I’m in now working for Pairview.”
Pairview’s Head of Marketing, Rebecca Brown, agrees with Matt. She said: “We were inundated with applications from new graduates, but we were particularly looking for someone with a good degree, relevant work experience and a great personality – all of which Matt possesses.”
Undergraduates at the University are encouraged to seek work placements to bolster their career prospects – a move which has helped the institution achieve a top-five ranking for student employability*.
Picking up skills in a real-world environment also helps graduates from the University to hit the ground running when they start their first job.
“Matt has fitted in really well here and was put to work straight away on a new marketing campaign aimed at students,” added Rebecca.
“He was really thrown in at the deep end and it has probably been a huge learning curve but he has taken it all in his stride. The campaign has so far proved hugely successful and we are looking at achieving a good return on investment.”
Matt found he was given total support from his tutors during his time at the University. He said: “They were very supportive with regards to my work experience – they encouraged me to go out and put my academic theory and knowledge into practice.
“I cannot express enough the gratitude and thanks that I have for the staff who supported me throughout my degree.”
* The University of Northampton is ranked fourth in the UK for student employability. Source: HESA Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Survey 2013/14. July 2015, compared to full university status HEI’s in England, with a sample size over 1,000 students, for full time study first Undergraduate degree leavers.