Man united praised for career counselling

October 3, 2003

The careers advisory service of the University of Manchester and the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology has been voted the best in the country by employers for the second year running, writes Tony Tysome.

The service won twice as many votes as second-placed University of Warwick in the Association of Graduate Recruiters/Barkers national graduate media audit.

Behind Warwick were the careers services of Cambridge University, Oxford University and the University of London.

The audit surveyed more than 160 graduate recruiters who between them had hired a total of nearly 14,000 graduates in the past 12 months. All of the recruiters continued to rank university careers advisory services and campus fairs as the most effective ways of attracting high-calibre graduates, despite rapid growth in online recruitment.

The employers cited work experience and personal recommendations as the biggest influences on graduates' career decisions.

Jane Ratchford, director of Manchester's careers advisory service, said the survey findings were good news for a service that had been heavily criticised in the past. "Careers services have got better because they are under the spotlight more," she said.

The strength and popularity of the Manchester service grew out of its approach to careers advice, which concentrates on the needs of employers and students. "We have a can-do attitude that allows us to be innovative and to take risks," she said.

Carl Gilleard, AGR chief executive, said: "University careers services play a vital role in preparing students for the world of work and in helping graduates start their working lives. It is going to be increasingly important that universities and employers work together, as higher education expands and the competition for graduate jobs intensifies.

"Manchester and Warwick provide great examples of the potential for effective business relationships between employers and university careers services."

THE BEST ADVICE

Top ten university careers advisory services as ranked by employers in AGR/Barkers national graduate media audit

1 University of Manchester/Umist (joint service)

2 University of Warwick

3 University of Cambridge

4 University of Oxford

5 University of London

6 Loughborough University

7 Aston University

8 University of Strathclyde

9 University of Leeds

10 Imperial College London

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