Students Staff

20 October 2015

Challenge takes students to heart of local government

Filed under: Latest news, Student experience — Tags: , , — Communications Office @ 11:35 am
Students at County Hall

Essex Challenge Project students at County Hall

A group of Essex politics students have seized a valuable opportunity to learn at first-hand how local government works, as part of a new joint module between the University and Essex County Council.

The module is based around a Challenge Project, called Reinvigorating Essex, to be undertaken by the students, allowing them to gain an understanding of how local government works.

The Challenge Project, which is made up of three streams, will task the students with researching questions and producing proposals on how to unlock economic growth, revitalise civic participation and improve community resilience across the county.

An Insight Day at County Hall in Chelmsford last week allowed the students to gain an overview of local government in Essex and the many services the County Council provides, as well as finding out about the challenges facing public services.

The Challenge Project will see the students ultimately producing a think-tank style report which will be used by senior leaders and commissioners at Essex County Council to help inform decision making.

Director of Employability at the University, Dave Stanbury, said: “This project offers our students the opportunity to develop valuable workplace skills while building a network of contacts.

“Visiting County Hall and having access to high level briefings brings the project to life and embeds the students’ learning in a realistic context, helping to prepare them for professional and personal success.”

Jodie Sheridan, one of the students, said: “I’ve always wanted my future job to be one in which I’m influencing people’s lives in a meaningful way. It was the main reason I decided to be a part of this project, as it represents a direct experience in local government, as well as giving me some insight into who and what makes up government. This was something I previously felt was quite mysterious.”

Cllr Kevin Bentley, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Infrastructure, said: “We are delighted to be working with the University of Essex on this project. It will allow students to not only progress their studies with new insight but also perhaps forge a future career in local government.”

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9 March 2015

Take part in a groundbreaking development programme for women

Filed under: Latest news, Student experience — Tags: , , , — Communications Office @ 2:54 pm

We’re offering our female undergraduates and postgraduates a unique chance to take part in a groundbreaking development programme aimed at helping our students achieve their full potential.

Sprint is designed for female university students of all ages, from all backgrounds, ages and stages in their lives and study. Regardless of subject, department or career aspirations, Sprint is designed to develop and support female student.

The programme has already been successful at other leading universities and we’re offering 25 free places to undergraduate and postgraduate students who apply by Friday 13 March.

What is Sprint at Essex? 

  • Sprint is a women’s personal development programme for undergraduates and postgraduates
  • The programme will run for four days over the Easter break
  • It aims to enable women to take more control over their lives
  • All female undergraduates and postgraduate students can apply for a a free place – although we ask for £20 deposit which is fully refundable after completing the course.
  • You’ll be helped to identify the clear, practical and realistic steps you want to take to achieve your personal goals. You’ll also be supported to develop the skills and confidence to take those steps.

When it’s happening

  • Monday 23 March 9.30-4.30
  • Wednesday 25 March 9.30-4.30
  • Tuesday 14 April 9.30-4.30
  • Thursday 16 April 1.30-5pm

What your course will cover

  • Understanding your values, skills interests and relationships
  • Getting support for you
  • Dealing with change, feelings and stress
  • Assertiveness
  • Goal-setting
  • Listening and making an impact
  • Putting yourself across positively
  • Planning your future with confidence and flexibility

To apply please email: by Friday 13 March stating in no more than 300 words why you want to take part and to confirm you’ll be available for four days. A total of 25 places are available and the first 50 applications will be considered. We will ask for a £20 deposit from successful applicants which is fully refundable upon completion.

To find out go to the Sprint website at:

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17 October 2014

Strengthening our employability

Filed under: Latest news, Student experience — Tags: — Communications Office @ 4:16 pm
From left: Lynne Jordan, Charlie Wheeldon, Ivan Hutchins, Dave Stanbury, Liz Guyar-Brown and Gillian Powell Davies.

From left: Lynne Jordan, Charlie Wheeldon, Ivan Hutchins, Dave Stanbury, Liz Guyar-Brown and Gillian Powell Davies.

Our Employability and Careers Centre (E and CC) is growing bigger and better than ever with a restructure of its team, bringing careers help right to where it is needed.

The new “hub and spokes” model means that a number of new student contact roles have been created which aim to build on the success already achieved and push the work into higher gear.

Director of Employability, Dave Stanbury, said: “The aim is to get closer to the action. That is closer to where students are so we can really understand what makes them tick, closer to academics so we can build even more effective partnerships, closer to employers to bring in more internships, placement projects and jobs, and closer to overseas institution to secure more mobility opportunities.

“We recognised that being able to provide bespoke employability activities within each faculty was one of the keys to helping our students find the careers that best suit them and our new look teams have already begun doing just that.”

As a result of the restructure each Faculty will have a dedicated team within the E and CC bringing together a mix of specialist skills to enrich the work that goes on in departments. An active partnership with academics is crucial and the extra resources gives us the capacity to work even more closely with departments to develop ground up initiatives informed by solid labour market research and employability expertise that really address students’ career learning needs and  to find solutions that work at a local level.

Being responsive to the changing opportunities and challenges facing students is vital. The Senior Faculty Employability Manager is integral to this as. A key part of their role is to coordinate activities within the Faculty team which they lead.

The Hub is composed of three teams: the Central Services team which operates the careers centres (at Colchester and Southend), runs the Essex Employability Award, and supports enterprise; the Employer and Internships team which runs frontrunners, internships, the central events programme and employer engagement and Essex Abroad which manages incoming and outgoing students exchanges, staff mobility, Erasmus + and related partnership agreements.

By adopting a ‘hub and spokes’ model the E and CC will be able to provide effective central support to support to the three Faculty facing teams.

The restructure has come in two waves, with some roles being created and filled over the summer with more to come during the autumn term. The roles include Faculty Careers Advisers, Placement Officers, a new  Enterprise Officer, an employability Mentoring Officer and Education Abroad Manager.

The E and CC has been going from strength to strength notching up a host of achievements including: 505 students completing the Big Essex Award, 207 students and graduates being placed in internships with local and national companies, 363 students completing frontrunner placements on campus and more than 1,200 students and 55 different employers making the last careers fair one of the biggest ever, with 401 students going overseas in 2015-16.and over 700 students registered for a Year Abroad in 2016-17,An exciting new development this year will see the launch of a recruitment agency as well.

The E and CC website has lots of useful information for staff, from understanding employability, to our Employability strategy. It is also really important that employability is connected to the curriculum and you can find out more about how to do that on our website. If you work directly with students, why not recommend they look at our EssexCareerHub vacancy board or book a one-to-one appointment with a careers adviser?

Dave said: “Employability is much more than skills. Employability is about creating a rich educational experience that helps students develop as rounded individuals, able to chart their course through life and fulfil their potential. We all have the opportunity to help our students achieve their full potential and I am delighted tat the University is putting more resource behind this vital part of the student experience.”

The latest figures from the Times Higher Good University Guide show that the proportion of graduates entering graduate level work/study has increased by 13.2% propelling the University from 113th place to 65th.

  •  This week the E and CC team are running Employability Week – from Tuesday 21 to Thursday 23. Students will be invited to Square 2 to take part in a range of events and workshops, a brand new Careers Garden as well as chance to meet the team, enjoy free food and be in with a chance of winning an iPad mini. Find out more on the E and CC website.
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14 January 2014

New Year brings new prospects for 2013 graduates

Filed under: Latest news, Student experience — Tags: , , , , — Communications Office @ 11:04 am
graduate interns Borislava Borovanska and Joshua Neville at our Colchester Campus

New graduate interns Borislava Borovanska and Joshua Neville at our Colchester Campus

A new graduate internship project, launched by the University in partnership with Santander Universities, begins the New Year in full force this week as 40 graduates from 2013 start new roles at the University or with local, regional and national employers.

The internship scheme, looking to eventually provide first class opportunities to over 60 graduates, will see interns working in various positions from project officers and market researchers to social media managers.

Borislava Borovanska, who is now working as Stakeholder Manager and Project Officer in the Vice-Chancellor’s Office, said: “I believe this will be really useful to me for my future career and it will allow me to develop many valuable skills.”

Joshua Neville, who started a three month internship in the Communications Office at Essex on Monday, said: “In a highly competitive market, where employers not only look for academic excellence but also broad work experience, the Essex Interns Graduate Project shows just how invested the University of Essex is in their students and graduates. An Essex student has a large variety of opportunities available during their studies, and the graduate internship scheme looks set to build on that to propel Essex graduates into the workplace and help them stand out from the crowd.”

The project has proved to be a success with strong support from employers and is providing fantastic work opportunities to compliment the high academic achievements of Essex graduates. As the scheme provides £1,500 to enable the employment of an Essex Intern (towards the wages of the interns), it is not only the graduates but the employers who reap the rewards of the scheme by having highly qualified graduates providing fresh ideas and input at an affordable cost.

Employment Engagement Manager Susan Stedman said: “There was a very tight deadline for this pilot project, but the reaction from employers and the University has been amazing. We are really pleased to have helped so many graduates into paid internship placements and we will be continuing to work to make sure other graduates are able to benefit from the internships we offer. We hope these placements will really make a difference to the lives of our graduates and also benefit the organisations they are going into.”

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6 December 2013

Charlotte procures Apprentice of the Year award

Filed under: Latest news, People pages — Tags: , , , , , — Communications, CER @ 4:59 pm

Our procurement apprentice, Charlotte French, has scooped the Apprentice of the Year Award at the Colchester Business Awards. Charlotte is in the final year of her two year apprenticeship with the procurement team and after

Charlotte French, Apprentice of the Year 2013

Charlotte French, Apprentice of the Year 2013

being shortlisted in a very close competition last year, has this year won the top award.

Charlotte attended a black tie awards evening at Charter Hall in Colchester which she attended with Keith Mason, Deputy Director of Estate Management (Purchasing), who nominated her for the prestigious award.

Keith had to go through a gruelling process with the judges, from filling in the awards submission with examples of her achievements, to meeting with the judges to ensure they knew just how hard she had worked and everything she had achieved over the last two years.

Keith said: “Charlotte has done an excellent job for us, she hasn’t been afraid to liaise with suppliers; she has produced great written work and has been excellent at getting things sorted. We told her she could work in the background if she felt more comfortable or she could get stuck in straight away and start answering correspondence and dealing with difficult jobs – which is exactly what she did. We don’t hold people back here, if you’ve got the ability to speak to suppliers and liaise professionally with them, we’ll let you get stuck in and really learn the business.”

This was Charlotte’s last chance to take the title as her apprenticeship is nearing an end so she was particularly delighted to have snatched the accolade this time around.

She said: “I am so pleased. I’ve learned more here than I ever expected and really want to further my career in procurement. I didn’t really know what procurement was all about before but this apprenticeship opportunity has worked out perfectly for me. It’s a really interesting job, I’ve learned so much, I’ve been involved in tender processes and completed NVQ2 and NVQ3 which put me in a perfect position to start my Chartered Institute of Procurement qualification next.”

She added: “If you don’t know what to do when you leave education, an apprenticeship is a great way of getting work experience, being paid and getting that first step on the career ladder.”

Charlotte was presented with a special plaque to mark this very high profile achievement.

There are lots of exciting opportunities for our own students to improve their employability while studying with us. For more information about gaining work experience or other vital employability skills visit our Employability and Careers Centre website. 

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22 November 2013

Solving the problem of employability in Maths

Filed under: Latest news, People pages — Tags: , , , , , — Communications, CER @ 10:59 am

Improving the employability of our students is a big responsibility and we are doing more than ever to support academics, work with the Students’ Union and switch students onto employability from day one.

Dr Chris Saker and Dr Edd Codling have solved the problem of employability in the Maths department

Dr Chris Saker and Dr Edd Codling

As part of our intensified focus on employability, all departments will be introducing Career Development Learning (CDL) from 2014. This is a shared responsibility with Faculty Careers Advisers and Faculty Employability Coordinators (FECs) working closely with Employability Development Directors (EDDs) to tailor the employability offering in their department to fit within their curriculum.

We know that that one size doesn’t fit all. Some departments have chosen to embed CDL in the curriculum, some to provide a careers module through the University Skills Centre (USC), while others are going to use a co-curricular approach.

In the Department of Mathematical Sciences,  Dr Edd Codling (Employability Development Director 2012-13 and 2013-14) and Dr Chris Saker (acting Employability Development Director 2012-13) have been working hard to shape the way their students get involved in employability and have pioneered the co-curricular approach by designing a ‘module’ that perfectly ‘wraps around’ their curriculum.

Dr Codling explained: “The Employability and Careers Centre designed a range of modules but none of them quite fitted for our department so we came up with a new one and implemented it for the first time in 2012-13. We have a lot of joint honours students so dropping a core maths module and replacing it with an employability one wasn’t going to work. Instead we designed a zero credit extracurricular employability module (MA199) that is compulsory and cumulative over the three years of a degree. While it doesn’t count towards our students’ final degree mark they know it will appear on their transcript when they graduate and that’s enough for them to realise they must take it seriously.”

In the first year, the Maths employability module is mainly about reflection, giving students the opportunity to think about where they are, what skills they have, what kind of person they are, what their short and long term goals may be, and understanding how they need to develop themselves in order to be successful.

Dr Saker explained: “Students haven’t had to think like this before so the first stage is all about self-evaluation, knowing who they are and how being good at things like problem solving are actually valuable life and work skills.”

In the second year, the module focuses on the development of key employability skills and experience, both work and voluntary. This involves not just reflection on what experience they may already have, but how to go about getting additional valuable experience, before graduation.

In the third year, the emphasis is about applying for jobs. Students are asked to find out about jobs available in their chosen area and about routes into work, before researching and writing a full job application. Once the job application is in good enough shape, and if there is a suitable job available, they are encouraged to apply for it.

Dr Codling said: “By designing the module in this way it forces the students to reflect upon themselves, to set goals and then think about whether they met them and if not, why not? What can they do to improve? We don’t often get the opportunity to look back and reflect and it is a good habit to get into.”

The employability module is designed to fit with existing employability schemes within the University such as the ‘Big Essex award’, and students are encouraged to undertake these  types of additional activities as part of the module.

This year the maths department have held a careers seminar every week, bringing both first and second year students together. The seminars are timetabled and so the attendance levels have been much higher than in previous years, which is very encouraging. While students are not expected to attend every seminar they are expected to do an essay based on what is learned across a number of them, which also helps attendance levels. Dependent on the employability topic, the seminars are either delivered by Department lecturers, external speakers or Faculty Career Advisers. The Career Advisers have delivered workshops on CV writing, interview techniques and have assisted with CV drop-in reviews.

As well as seminars they have sessions on building confidence, problem solving, adaptability, interviewing someone with the kind of job they would one day like to hold, working in a group, working to a deadline and doing presentations as part of a series of Employability and Key Skills Days.

The co-curricular module template has been so successful for the Department of Mathematical Sciences that it is now being emulated by other departments who have been impressed by how well this tailored approach has worked.

The department also works closely with their Faculty Employability Co ordinator, Karen Gooch, to schedule a number of external speakers to attend throughout the year, from companies and industries that appeal to their graduates, such as Aviva, Teach First and the Institute for Maths and its Applications. They try to have at least three external speakers every term.

And if employability in the maths department continues on this track, those speakers will soon be University of Essex Alumni.

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18 November 2013

Staff can support Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey

Filed under: Latest news, Student experience — Tags: , , , — Communications Office @ 12:36 pm

University staff members are being reminded they can take part in the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey if they have recently completed their studies at Essex.

Some graduates move into employment at the University after graduation, but might not realise they are still eligible to take part in the DLHE survey.

The Employability and Careers Centre is encouraging all recent graduates to check their email and keep an eye on their post over the next few days to make sure they do not miss the invitation to take part in the survey.

If you do not receive anything, but you did leave Essex between January and July 2013, please contact Careers Information officer Oli Mawdsley by email at: to find out if the University has been trying to get in touch.

Many members of staff are also in contact with recent graduates and the Employability and Careers Centre would encourage you to mention to them the DLHE survey has just been launched and remind them to complete it when they are officially contacted by the University.

The latest DLHE survey was launched this month and will continue until next March.

As part of this process the University contacts all undergraduate and postgraduate leavers from the last academic year to find out what they have gone on to do since completing their course at Essex.

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15 November 2013

Maths support for all is back by popular demand

Filed under: Latest news, Student experience — Tags: , , — Communications Office @ 1:15 pm

The Maths Support Centre is again open for business at the University, offering help and advice to our students, staff  and the local community on a range of maths problems.

From left: Daniel Lesner, Dr Edd Codling, Rahul Karunakaran and Strefan Stoican at the Maths Support Centre.

From left: Daniel Lesner, Dr Edd Codling, Rahul Karunakaran and Strefan Stoican at the Maths Support Centre.

Launched last year, the one-stop-shop helpdesk for any maths issue, proved a big success both within the University and the wider business community.

The service is part of an on-going scheme by the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Essex to improve the employability of students and to allow local businesses to tap into local mathematics expertise.

The Support Centre, run by trained student advisors, offers support to the University community and businesses on maths issues on all levels. Last year, the Support Centre helped with many queries including those from Colchester Garrison, a removal company, and a home care provider. They even dealt with queries from as far afield as China and India.

For students, the Maths Support Centre can offer help and support with mathematical or statistical problems relating to your degree course, or with more general numeracy and problem solving that may help improve employability skills.

For staff, help can be offered for a range of maths problems, from calculating pension contributions to seeking advice on how to produce or interpret statistics.

Local businesses have also already tapped into the mathematical expertise at Essex via a number of collaborations which have helped solve issues including everything from helping improve operational procedures at the Port of Felixstowe and evaluating medical data for NHS Trusts to using mathematical modelling to detect early signs of ill-health in dairy cows.

“We are really pleased with the success of the Maths Support Centre, with businesses making the most of having mathematical expertise on their doorstep,” explained Head of the Department of Mathematical Sciences Dr Abdel Salhi. “It also gives our students the valuable opportunity to look at real issues in the business world.”

To contact the Maths Support Centre email:

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4 October 2013

Autumn focus on Employability

Filed under: Campus news, Latest news, Student experience, What's on — Tags: , , — Communications, CER @ 2:32 pm

Employability – hit the ground running

Employability is the name of the game and this Autumn the team are running a host of events to ensure all our students make the most of their time at Essex and start improving their skills and experience as soon as they can.

Employability Week kicked off this week in Square 2 and will offer students a host of opportunities, including:

  • Top employers running business games and career insight sessions
  • Big Essex Award – open to all
  • Finalists – essential job-hunting workshops
  • Second Years – get focused employability sessions
  • Frontrunner opportunities on-campus
  • Paid internships with outside companies

Square 2 is also home to the Employability-fest this week where, along with barbecue food and live music, there will be plenty of chance to speak to the team about all the opportunities on offer.

Later this month, 28 October, there will also be the Options Careers Fair where students can meet graduate employers in person, discuss career options, discover internships and graduate opportunities.


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1 August 2013

Help make the Big Essex Award a Big success

Filed under: Latest news, Student experience — Tags: , , , — Communications, CER @ 2:01 pm

Will you be employing a student member of staff over the next academic year, either on a paid or voluntary basis?

If so, the Big E team would love to hear about it!big_essex_group2

The Big Essex Award team are looking to expand on the success of last year’s pilot and want to encourage all students actively involved in opportunities on campus to complete the Award.

The Big Essex Award helps students identify and evidence skills they have developed through both paid and unpaid opportunities and successfully sell and articulate these skills to employers. The Big Essex Award is also recorded on the students’ degree transcripts.

Read more about the Employability and Careers Centre’s Big Essex Award and the fantastic achievements of last year’s students here!

Tel us about your opportunities by emailing

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