Student careers advice needed early, says NUS head

Students should receive careers advice and support at the start of their studies, rather than towards the end of their time at university, the chief executive of the National Union of Students has argued.

February 10, 2013

Matt Hyde, who is leaving the NUS in April to become chief executive of the Scout Association, said the typical support offered to students by universities in the form of CV writing workshops or mock job interviews was “outdated” and did not address the current needs for undergraduates.

Speaking at a Westminster Higher Education Forum conference, titled Higher Education Student Experience Beyond Study, in London on 7 February, Mr Hyde said tutors and career advisers should seek to direct first-year students towards extracurricular activities that would enhance their CV, rather than take action in final years of study.

“Students should have interviews early on to help alert them to the plethora of opportunities available to them,” he said.

“We do not have enough discussion with students about how they are going to make their life journey and what they should do at university to get where they want to go.”

He added: “I learned about leadership and management by captaining a football team that lost every game than I did by studying [French sociologist] Pierre Bourdieu.

“People tend to focus on people in student unions who go into politics, but the chief executive of Vodafone has said his life as a businessman started when he was head of Teesside Students’ Union.”

Mr Hyde said universities needed to explore how student engagement with extracurricular activities helped to improve their academic performance, improve student retention and boosted satisfaction levels.

“Those students who get involved in leadership roles find it accelerates their learning in an amazing way,” he said.

“In the US, there are all sorts of master’s courses about student union development. We do not seem to understand [its importance] in the same way.”

Ruth Farwell, vice-chancellor at Bucks New University, told the audience that she felt student activities should be viewed as “co-curricular”, rather than “extracurricular”, given their central importance.

“It is all an aspect of learning – social life, work, volunteering, sport. It is all part of the engagement process,” she said.

jack.grove@tsleducation.com

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Assistant Recruitment - Human Resources Office

University Of Nottingham Ningbo China

Outreach Officer

Gsm London

Professorship in Geomatics

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

Professor of European History

Newcastle University

Head of Department

University Of Chichester
See all jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands

Humboldt University, Berlin

As the country succeeds in attracting even more students from overseas, a mixture of demographics, ‘soft power’ concerns and local politics help explain its policy

sitting by statue

Institutions told they have a ‘culture of excluding postgraduates’ in wake of damning study