The Leicester Award: employability ‘baked into’ study

Students consistently say that future career success is a key factor in choosing a university, and the University of Leicester has always been committed to helping its students and graduates secure meaningful and rewarding careers, a key aspect of being a true Citizen of Change.  

The University’s Careers and Employability Service puts the focus firmly on partnership working with students and their Colleges, and in embedding employability in their programmes. The vision for Leicester students is a holistic approach in which everyone has employability baked into their studies – an approach that finds its roots in the Leicester Award and Leicester Award Gold. Developing self-awareness with regard to interests, strengths, values, motivations and skills allows students to identify and explore potentially rewarding careers. The Leicester Award and Leicester Award Gold were designed to support students in this critical aspect of effective career development planning: The Leicester Award provides students with an opportunity to develop these attributes, while the Leicester Award Gold subsequently supports students to identify and prepare a competitive application for a suitable work-related experience. 

Originally an extra-curricular offer, Leicester’s commitment to students’ career success led to an institution-wide effort to deliver the awards through its degree programmes by embedding learning outcomes into existing academic content. 

Rich Wilcock, Head of Student Development, said: “Students are definitely seeing the benefit! Curricular delivery of the Leicester Award and Leicester Award Gold removes barriers to engagement associated with traditional careers and employability provision, and many of our Schools are now ensuring over 80% of their students are successfully completing the awards.  

“Further good news is that our analysis demonstrates that completion of the awards increases the likelihood of our students gaining valuable work experience and developing a sense of career confidence, measures which are proven to improve our students’ chances of securing a graduate role or going on to further study. 

“The Leicester Award and Leicester Award Gold are excellent examples of the commitment our University has to our students’ futures. These awards are just the starting point, and our students and graduates can look forward to seeing the career development support and opportunities available to them continuing to develop and improve.” 

The Careers & Employability Lead in the School of Criminology said: “We focus on careers and employability in every year of our degree programmes as part of our curriculum. This has greatly benefitted our students as they are able to identify their employability gaps right at the start of their time with us at the University of Leicester, allowing them to develop their skills with support from colleagues across the University. This means that our students not only have the knowledge expected of criminology graduates, but the skills and experiences required to gain their dream careers.”