Personal Tutoring at Teesside University provides a consistent, equitable and structured approach for all students to pastoral, general academic and professional support. With relation to providing professional support, Student Futures have pulled together some top tips; for all these tips, help is available from the Student Futures team. More information about many of the topics covered can be found on their website at this link: https://www.tees.ac.uk/depts/studentfutures/.
- Beginning in first year, discuss career plans with students and help them reflect on the experience and skills they have and will need, explaining where they can gain these throughout their first year. Encourage students to do some early research into options e.g. what can I do with my degree? What are the career routes and essential experience? Suggest they talk ideas through with a Careers Adviser and view the videos listed at the end of this article.
- Volunteering, work experience, mentoring, live projects, employer visits and informational interviewing can all help students to build confidence, improve their network and find out about careers, even if it is to rule an idea out. Help students to identify one or two timely and achievable activities. Reviewing their progress shortly afterwards and at your next meeting with them will help to stay on track.
- Students often underestimate what they have to offer employers. With your knowledge of their course and the student, you can help identify tangible evidence of their skills, strengths and experience for their CV, application forms and job interviews. You can also refer the student for a Student Futures workshop on CVs/ applications/interviews and a 1:1 review with an Adviser.
- Help tutees gain recognition for work experience, skills development and career planning by telling them about Student Futures Employability, Enterprise and Volunteering Awards.
- Encourage finalists to get early advice about post-course options, including graduate schemes, internships and applications. Many don’t realise that graduate opportunities are promoted from early September with closing dates shortly afterwards.
- NCUB found that placements have a significant positive impact on graduate outcomes and careers, yet few of our students opt for one. Normalise placements by introducing the possibility in year one, citing successful examples (available on SF’s website) and constructively debating concerns about the extended time it would take to complete a degree, versus longer-term benefits. Refer students to the Student Futures Work Experience and Placements team for advice on finding and securing a placement.
- In a volatile and complex graduate labour market, particularly in Tees Valley, students can be daunted by finding and applying for roles, resulting in procrastination. Give students small actions towards their goals: speak to a Student Futures Adviser; look at the Student Futures’ vacancy site to see what is available; attend virtual/on campus employer events; find out about internships; get help to refine applications and prepare for the next stage. Refer the finalists to the Graduate Employment team who will help find vacancies and make successful applications.
- Over a quarter of our students say they are interested in running their own business with 17% saying they already run a small business. Include this as an option in your tutorials in all years, referring to the Student Futures Enterprise team for practical steps to making the seed of an idea reality and for advice on how to scale up an existing business.
- Critical points for wavering over whether or not to continue on a course are during/after Christmas and assessment periods. Often concerns can be resolved with discussion and support, avoiding an early exit. Rather than leaving with no clear plans, the Student Futures team can help with advice about options and referrals to external organisations.
- When students are making applications for roles and not being successful they can lose motivation. Reviewing strengths and reminding them of their achievements can be reassuring. Refer the students to the Graduate Employment team for advice – tips on job search and interview techniques and tweaks to applications often result in a positive outcome, but can feel insurmountable to students at the time.
Employability Essentials Series
To help students and graduates access the advice they need on a range of employability topics, the Student Futures team has recorded a range of short sessions, which we encourage you to use in your teaching or when personal tutoring. Topics include:
- Application forms
- Assessment centres
- Job search
- Placements and work experience
- Teaching – options and applications
Further information around Personal Tutoring including the University’s Code of Practice and a Staff Guide (Developing Excellence in Personal Tutoring) to support staff in their practices can be found on LTE Online via this link: https://blogs.tees.ac.uk/lteonline/learning-and-teaching/personal-tutoring/