Jess- The Story of a Graduate Intern

My role as Communications and Information Officer in the Technology Enhanced Learning Team within Quality Enhancement, Student and Learning Services (SLS) over the past ten months has allowed me to be involved in a range of great projects which have helped me to understand and demonstrate my skills and attributes. I am leaving today to start a new and permanent role in Sheffield Business School as a Business and Research Assistant Administrator so I would like to share with you some of the work I have been involved in relating to Employability.

My work has meant that I have been heavily involved in Employability as I worked closely with Paul Helm and Michelle Boughton. I have had responsibility for regularly updating The Employability blog and I have written and edited posts as well as promoting them on Twitter.

I have created a web presence for myself through Twitter (@jessicag_shu) which has allowed me to promote the work I have done, provide information to student and graduate followers and I have even been retweeted by NASES UK on National Student Employment week 2013 and quoted in their storify and by the HEA in relation to events about the Global Graduate Seminar held at Sheffield Hallam earlier in the year. I am especially proud of this; I have increased my network of contacts and gained work helping others to use social media within their teams.

I have also been involved in the creation of a timeline which maps out a student’s employability over the course of their Undergraduate degree. This has led me to use programmes I had no experience of including Visio and Project. I also had the opportunity to work with colleagues in the Careers Service to produce some of the content and a student on the design aspects who came to the project through Venture matrix. I was also required to present this work and update senior management regularly so they could see the progress I was making with this project.

My Employability was something I did not think about until my final year of University and after doing a number of things, such as joining societies and sports teams to enhance this I feel that this internship has been invaluable in enhancing my own employability as a recent graduate and this is something that really puts me in a great position and is a good grounding for my future career. The skills I have gained will no doubt help me in my new role in Sheffield Business School and will be transferable but also the challenges I have overcome give me confidence that I will be able to do the same elsewhere.

Unfortunately I am unable to demonstrate all the work I have done and all the skills I have acquired as there are many but I have really gained so much from my time here and have had a large number of people who have supported me in my role and encouraged me in the work I have done so to those colleagues I would like to say thank you.

If you would like to read more about the other projects I have been involved in you can find details in SLS News.

Sheffield Hallam Open Day 15th June

The University open day took place on 15 June, and was attended by about 3000 people.  Careers and Employment always have a presence at the open days, but this time Paul Helm did a support talk called “Preparing you for your career.”  Paul commented that, ‘…more people signed up for the talk than I expected, and think it was definitely something worth doing. The main points that I made were about the massive range of opportunities on offer for students to enhance their employability, and the support that is there for them from day one’.

Sheila Quairney from the Research and Innovation Office then talked about the support on offer for self employment and how Sheffield Hallam supports students in developing enterprise skills. Sheila also described the work of the Venture Matrix.

Also, three of the students who feature in the Tomorrow’s You campaign – Henna, Tom, and Laurie spoke about different aspects of the support they had in preparing for their career. You can watch their videos here.

Careers and Employability Centre coming soon! More posts to follow.

This is the first of regular series of postings aimed at keeping you up-to-date on the development of the new Careers and Employability Centre.

After many months of planning and consultation, we’re almost at the stage when the building formerly known as Blackwells will start its makeover, here is a Floorplan– as soon as we have more details of the planned works, I’ll post them here.

As you can see with the ‘before’ shots below, a fair amount of work needs to be done by the beginning of October – I will keep updating the photographs to show progress over the next couple of months.

Ground Floor: access to the Centre will be via the ground floor (entrance on Hallam Square).  Staff from the Careers and Employment  Service will be on hand to help with employability related queries including help and support in finding and applying for part-time and graduate jobs.

Students will also be able to book in to see a careers advisor or employment adviser.

First Floor:  four interview rooms will be available for appointments and for employers  who may wish to use the facilities to interview students.  There will be a large open space which can be divided into 2 smaller spaces which can be used for presentations and events.

This aim of this space is to be as flexible as possible –  chairs and tables can be reconfigured depending on the activity taking place.

The space on both floors is very much aimed at  ‘delivery’  and will therefore not include staff offices.


RBS ESSA- Sheffield Hallam University has fifth most enterprising students in the UK

This year Sheffield Hallam Student’s Union has been working hard to encourage its societies to become more enterprising. Using the RBS Enterprising Student Society Accreditation as a benchmark, 10 Hallam Union societies have become accredited by the scheme since October 2012 and we have encouraged and supported them to achieve the accreditation via building their membership, increasing their enterprising abilities and raising their regional profile.

Find Invest Grow and the Royal Bank of Scotland Group think that enterprising student societies should be recognised for their efforts. As such, the RBS ESSA is a national scheme which proactively rewards and recognises student societies and the teams of students behind them. The RBS ESSA certification is the official stamp of achievement.

With the launch of the RBS Enterprising Students Ranking table, Sheffield Hallam University has been ranked fifth in the country. A university amasses ranking points based on the number of societies receiving RBS ESSA accreditation, as well as entries to the Bronze, Silver and Gold categories of the RBS ESSA Awards. Circus Hallam, our circus skills society are currently working on their entry for a Gold award and we look forward to hearing the result later this year.

See our list of Societies on the Hallam Union pages.

Find out more about RBS ESSA here.

Graduate Employment Conference

The Graduate Employment Conference took place in Sheffield on the 30th of May and gradcore have put together video clips from the day on their site for those of you who missed it or for a recap of the best bits of the day.

They have provided video clips, one of which is by the CEO Martin Edmondson, on the various themes including Employability strategies and bridging the gap between SMEs (small to medium enterprises) and graduates. Find them here.

On the site you can also find the programme for the day.

Graduates need play, passion and purpose.

Tony Wagner, a Harvard Education Specialist, has been interviewed by Thomas Friedman  at The New York Times and you can find the article here.

Tony Blackshaw from Sheffield Hallam University has commented on this, ‘We spend a lot of time talking about the knowledge and the skills students will need to make themselves employable, but drawing on the ideas of Tony Wagner, the Harvard education specialist, what Friedman makes clear in this short piece is that those entering the work place into graduate jobs increasingly have to be ‘innovation ready’ — have up to date knowledge and skills like critical thinking, communication and interpersonal skills and so on, but most crucially of all be able to innovate— in order to be ready to add value to whatever they do. Even if they are lucky in securing a good first job graduates will not only have to be open to new knowledge but constantly be able to reinvent, re-engineer and re-imagine that job in new ways.

So, graduates must leave university with up-to-date knowledge and a whole host of skills but perhaps most importantly be ‘innovation ready’. This means that we must ensure that they are intrinsically motivated. How do we make students intrinsically motivated? That is a major challenge. Wagner suggests that the key lies in bringing those three most powerful ingredients of motivation into the classroom: play, passion and purpose.’

Learning and Teaching Conference 2013

Booking is now open for the Learning and Teaching Conference on the 19th June 2013, go to the conference blog to register.

Our Students as Researchers will be presenting their initial findings at the conference. You can find out more about our Students as Researchers Project here.

The conference, ‘What makes an excellent course?’, aims to share practice in creating and delivering an excellent course experience for students covering:

  • course identity
  • credibility
  • supporting students
  • the technology enhanced course
Follow @SHULTConference and use the hashtag #SHULT13 in your tweets.


Social Enterprise Unleashed

Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) was recently named as a HE social entrepreneurship partner by UnLtd and HEFCE as part of their HE Support initiative. During the last few months SHU and its Student’s Union have been working on establishing a social entrepreneurship culture which will allow their staff and students to start up social ventures and create social change.

So far the awards have gained a great deal of attention in Sheffield and have sparked new conversation around social innovation. Sheffield Hallam University are being looked at as one of the leading HEIs involved in the programme and have already awarded 13 projects with grant funding, with more to be issued in the summer.

With support from academics working in Social Enterprise, SHU and the Students Union have been able to run specialist workshop days enabling applicants to gain one to one advice on writing bids and starting their own social ventures.

Sheila Quairney, Business and Enterprise Manager at the Research and Innovation Office commented, “We’ve been delighted with the dramatic increase in interest in social enterprise across the University since we launched the UnLtd programe.  The partnership between the University and the Student’s Union has been key to achieving this and has worked extremely well. The programme has also attracted the attention of senior staff who value the impact that it is having on the student experience”.

The collaboration between SHU and it’s Student’s Union has led to a great start to the HE Support initiative. With over 50 applications already, the SHU & Students Union partnership expects to create further developments in the ever growing student led social enterprise landscape.

You can follow the Union, the Research and Innovation Office and Sheffield Hallam University on Twitter 

To find out more look on the Hallam Union website.

Student as Researchers Project

The Students as Researchers Project funds students to undertake a small research project in collaboration with staff to improve academic practice and the student experience.  One of the themes for this year is ’embedding employability in the curriculum’.  Of the many applications received 12 research projects were approved.  The Student Researchers are supported by Quality Enhancement and Student Success (QESS) throughout the duration of their appointment. Research outputs will be presented at the University’s Teaching and Learning Conference on 19 June 2013 and the work will also lead to a submission to the University’s peer-reviewed Student Experience and Engagement Journal.

Details of each of the projects currently underway are available here.

If you would like further information of the Students as Researchers Project please contact Dr. Manny Madriaga on 0114 225 4022 or by email at

A great year for Venture Matrix!

As the 2013/2014 academic calendar draws to a close, the Venture Matrix team reflect upon another fruitful year. The significant increase to enterprise projects with local Sheffield schools, especially through the city-wide enterprise initiative – The BiG challenge, resulted in over 200 students working and mentoring over 1,700 high school pupils through 150 projects.  It is also noteworthy that 70% of the pupils, who were shortlisted for a Big Challenge award, had been supported by Venture Matrix students.  A number of these students have now successfully been accepted on to PGCE courses, using their Venture Matrix experience as a key feature of their application form.

Additionally, the Venture Matrix team are currently receiving extremely positive feedback from external clients, who have been providing over 180 projects for Venture Matrix students from across the University, many providing personal references and testimonials for the student groups they have worked with. The external clients, from all three sectors, are often organisations that have previously not had any business relationship with the University.  However, a pattern is now emerging whereby these organisations are now building their relationship with SHU outside of the Venture Matrix scheme by offering placement, internships, guest lectures and research projects. 

Venture Matrix students have also raised over £3,000 for local charities as a result of their external projects. It has also been significant through feedback from external examiners, in particular Graphic Design, Business and ICT and Early Childhood Studies, that the Venture Matrix scheme is recognised for adding innovative value to the curriculum, in addition to developing student’s skills.

Learn more about Venture Matrix here