sessions, delegates gathered to consider how alumni could play a role in
expanding the career opportunities of students and recent graduates. These
highly engaged ambassadors are increasingly used to support recruitment
efforts. In fact a recent report by Cturtle suggests that alumni are already seen
as the most reliable source of accurate information for international students
looking to study in the UK. And while that report focuses on what more can be
done to utilise graduates in recruitment, we should also be asking how alumni
can play an active role at the other end of the student journey.
Bournemouth University, we have been developing an alumni mentoring scheme
focused on helping final year students make the transition from study into
The scheme matches
students with graduates working in a sector they aspire to enter, and invites
them to work through areas such as preparing for interviews, building networks
and developing the soft skills required for success. While there is no
expectation that the mentoring should lead to a job offer, in the first 18
months of the scheme students have taken up internships and interviews as a
result of the natural networks they are building. In collaboration with
colleagues in international student recruitment and careers, we have now
translated the scheme to our first international cohorts – with pilots in
Taiwan, Nigeria and Turkey.
here has been on helping current students to make connections with graduates
who have also studied at Bournemouth University, returned to the home country
they share and who have now built a career in their sector of choice. It’s
early days, but we are hearing feedback that these connections are helping to
overcome anxiety about making the reverse transition and getting that important
first step on the career ladder.
begin to take up the offer of a post study work visa, we expect that mentoring
can play a further role in connecting alumni who have built successful careers
in the UK and who have valuable experience and insights to share. At the same UUK
and UUKi conference Charlotte Richards, Alumni Networks Manager at University
of Oxford, shared how they were calling on alumni groups around the world to
increase the number and range of internships available to students. This is
another approach which utilises alumni to enhance the employment outcomes of
graduates. The experiences from Oxford show that by undertaking internships, students can feel more confident, gain knowledge and develop transferable skills, as well as make friends and work with strangers. Alumni hosting the interns can deepen their connection to the institution, which is of further benefit. The placements organised in collaboration with alumni groups have yielded some impressive results.
We know that
international student satisfaction with UK higher education is already high. According
to the first International Graduate Outcomes study
last year, 82% of graduates said their degree was worth the investment and 83%
said their degree helped them to get a job. Satisfaction with the learning
experience and the support provided was even higher at 90%.
the positive feedback, the employability outcomes of our international graduates
will be increasingly important if we are to maintain a competitive advantage. Putting
time and effort into building and maintaining relationships with alumni around
the world could pay dividends for the institution and its students alike.
The report published at the conference, 'Supporting international graduate employability: making good on the promise' can be found here.
Jonathan Goode is Head of Alumni Relations at Bournemouth University
With contributions from Charlotte Richards, Alumni Networks Manager, University of Oxford.