FAQs about the Faculty of Social Sciences In Shape Programme

What is the In Shape programme?
A programme of workshops designed to help you plan your career, develop employability, and understand the graduate labour market.

When does it take place?
There will be two or three Wednesday afternoon sessions each semester.  The dates for this year are:
Wednesday 12th March (1pm – 5pm) – our official launch, at the Edge at Endcliffe Village, with a free lunch (yay), an introduction and overview of the programme, some advice on gaining work experience, and a skills workshop led by Teach First, the UK’s top graduate employer.
Wednesday 26th March (2.30pm – 5pm) Session 2: Time management and planning
- input from 301 Skills Centre on managing your time as a student; employer-led workshop on time management in the workplace; Careers Service input on forward planning from here to graduation and beyond
Wednesday 7th May (1pm – 5pm) Session 3: Employability, skills, work experience
- inputs from CS colleagues / students on: SGA; SfWC; DEE; HEAR; SfS
- employer input on what they look for in applicants; activity on presentation skills

Who is it for?
This small-scale pilot programme is intended for students from less well-off backgrounds. We have invited students who receive a full living cost grant and who live in areas with a low rate of participation in higher education (based on government criteria).

What’s expected of me?
Places on the programme are limited, so if you sign up, we hope that you’ll stay with the programme for the rest of your time at university; we’ll expect you to attend as many of the sessions as you can, join in with all the activities at the sessions, and to notify us in advance if you can’t attend. We also ask you to open any communications you receive from Transitions, and reply if relevant.

What will I get from it?
We hope you’ll develop a range of skills that graduate employers look for, learn about graduate careers, gain an understanding of the graduate labour market and recruitment practices, and build up the confidence and ability to apply successfully for work experience and graduate jobs.

What does it involve?
As well as the 2-3 workshops per semester, we’ll arrange a one-to-one employability / careers discussion with a careers adviser each semester, and email you with news of any opportunities we think might be of interest to you.

How do I sign up?
Complete this form by Sunday 23 February; we’ll contact you after this date to confirm your place.

Why the Faculty of Social Sciences?
All faculties are keen to make an effort to attract and support students from so-called “widening participation” backgrounds; Social Sciences have chosen to include this employability programme for current students as part of their plan.

Why target “widening participation” students?
Well it’s not because there’s anything wrong with you! Let’s be clear on that – you’re every bit as bright and talented as any other student, and probably had to work harder to get to Uni in the first place: if you’re the first generation you won’t have had the same kind of support from your family; if you’re from a school or neighbourhood with a low rate of progression to HE you may not have had as much help from school; so you’re already a high achiever.

But the graduate labour market can often work in favour of those from independent school backgrounds – they’ve grown up with the expectation of university and a career in the professions, they have networks of family contacts and the “old school tie” factor; they can afford to work unpaid to get a foot in the door. And there may also be a tendency for employers to recruit “in their own image” – if they went to independent school, they tend to favour applicants from a similar background.

First generation students, who probably don’t have an investment banker in the family or a barrister living next door, find it harder to get work experience, or to know how to market themselves for a graduate profession, or even to find out what the job is all about.

We can’t change all this but we hope we can help you compete on a more level playing field.

Pete Lord, Sarah Bows (Transitions Team, Careers Service)
Careers Service

Careers Service

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