Careers and Employability success…and opening up Future Worlds
The academic year has such a rapid momentum and is so packed full of activity that it’s often hard to find the time to take stock. But as we prepare to welcome our students back to Southampton in September, as well as the many new students who have chosen to do their undergraduate or postgraduate degrees in Electronics and Computer Science, it’s a good time to focus on what was achieved over the last 12 months of initiatives to support careers and employability.
It’s been a great year – possibly the best we’ve ever had! Our success can be gauged from some of the statistics – we came first-equal nationally for graduate employability in Electronics and Electrical Engineering and second-equal nationally for Computer Science (equal both times with Cambridge University). A number of our courses showed 100 per cent employability of graduates. Our Careers Fair in February 2015 was the biggest so far, with 85 companies taking stands. The 2016 Fair (on 9 February) is already fully booked! Our continuing success in the UK Electronic Skills Foundation Scholarship programme pushed our success rate to 35 per cent (the highest of any university), and we recorded the highest number of scholarships awarded in the programme (51).
Around 50 companies visited ECS to give presentations or hold workshops, and over 365 positions were advertised on the Careers Hub (not including the many graduate schemes). Over 30 new companies became affiliated to the Careers Hub, including tripadvisor, Palantir, Betfair, Hawk-Eye, Cirrus Logic, IG, NetPay, and QinetiQ. We built many new partnerships with great opportunities for our students, including internships in Silicon Valley.
Our student societies organized lively and imaginative programmes, including weekend-long hackathons, coding challenges and design competitions. All of these attracted company sponsors, and Imagination Technologies organized a weekend challenge to design new in-car displays.
The most exciting event of the year was undoubtedly our Dragons Den in May, when six student projects pitched for investment from four ‘Dragons’ including two alumni and two of our company partners. Over 200 students formed an attentive audience as investments of over £60,000 were made with further promises of advice, equipment and introductions. The event was a joint initiative between ECS Entrepreneurs and our new ‘Future Worlds’ platform, which will transform our enterprise and impact activities. Future Worlds will take our enterprise activities, and our careers and employability initiatives on to a new level, as well as opening up new opportunities for engagement with our alumni and with business, and new avenues to demonstrate the impact of our research. The official launch will take place later this year … watch this space!!