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October 16, 2018

The Hallam Award – What’s Extra about Extra-Curricular?

Andy Callard (SHU) and Doug Muzawazi (SHSU)

Sheffield Hallam University – Directorate of Education and Employer Partnerships (DEEP)

Strand Student Outcomes
Type Poster – take a look at the original poster
Learning objective(s)
  1. Participants will be able to identify how to support students to make strategic decisions about their extracurricular activities that will help them address skills gaps.
  2. Participants will be able to identify what activities would qualify students to undertake the Hallam Award and be able to sign-post students to get started.
  3. Participants will be able to explore how the Hallam Award could help them with their own curriculum.
The Hallam Award gives students recognition for their extra-curricular activities. Data from the longitudinal Future track study (funded by the Higher Education Careers Services Unit) states that employers value extra-curricular experience and use it as a means to distinguish between candidates with similar qualifications (Purcell et al., 2012, p114). Such experience can also support student experience, personal development, civic or community engagement (QAA).Whilst much of the literature confirms the benefits of extra-curricular activities – Thompson et al (2013) warn that engagement in any extra-curricular activity does not assure employability benefits and can be detrimental to academic study if not balanced correctly. Tchibozo (2008) argues that “”extra-curricular activity is important because of its potential to reinforce and market the outcomes of the education system”” and that “”involvement in a certain type of extra-curricular activity may influence a graduate’s transition process to the labour market.”” This idea is reinforced by the 2017 HEA UK Engagement Survey which concludes that participation in sports and societies have a much stronger impact on skills than part-time work whilst studying. Yet engagement in sports and societies is much lower in post-92 institutions (half of students) compared to three quarters in pre-92 institutions (2016 HEA UKES).

Thompson et al (2013) conclude that institutional schemes encouraging extra-curricular engagement facilitate reflection, enabling students to make best use of their experiences for their future careers. From 2018/19 the Hallam Award will roll out as a partnership project between Hallam Students’ Union and SHU with the ambition of massively scaling-up take-up of the Award. The scheme will mirror the Graduate Attribute model being applied to the curriculum.

  • How can we support students to make strategic decisions about their extra-curricular activities that will help them address skills gaps?
  • How can we help students engaged in PT work while they study articulate the skills they are developing?
  • How can extra-curricular activity reinforce/ support learning from curricula?
  • What falls within curricular and extra-curricular and does this matter?
References Clegg, S; Stevenson, J; and Willott, J (2010). ‘Staff conceptions of curricular and extracurricular activities in higher education.’ in Higher Education 59:615. Available at: (Accessed 16 April 2018)HEA (2016) Student Engagement and Skills Development, the UK Engagement Survey 2016. (Accessed 16 April 2018)

HEA (2017) Student Engagement and Skills Development, the UK Engagement Survey 2016. (Accessed 16 April 2018)

Jackson, N. (2012) Enabling a More Complete Education Encouraging, Recognising and Valuing Lifewide Learning in Higher Education. (Accessed 18 April 2018)

Purcell, K; Elias, P; Atfield, G; Behle, H; Ellison,R; Luchinskaya, D; Snape, J; Conaghan, L; and Tzanakou, C (2012) Futuretrack Stage 4: transitions into employment, further study and other outcomes. Available at:

The Guardian Higher Education Network Blog (22.01.2013) Why our students need co-curricular, not extra-curricular, activities. Available at: (Accessed 18 April 2018)

The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Extra-curricular awards stimulus papers: Centre for recording achievement (CRA) perspective (No date). Available at: (Accessed 16 April 2018)

Tchibozo, G (2008) ‘Extra-curricular Activity and the Transition from HE to Work: A Survey of Graduates in the UK’, in Higher Education Quarterly, first published 28 Jun 2008. Available at: (Accessed 16 April 2018)

Thompson, L.J; Clark, G; Walker, M; Whyatt, J D (2013) ‘It’s just like an extra string to your bow: Exploring HE students’ perceptions and experiences of extracurricular activity and employability’ in Active Learning in HE, first published 10 April 2013. Available at: (Accessed 16 April 2018)

World Economic Forum (2016) The Future of Jobs. Available at:

Yorke, M. (2010) ‘Employability Aligning the Message, the Medium and Academic Values’, Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability, 1 (2), pp. 2-12. Available at: (Accessed 16 April 2018)