With employers favouring experience over years of academic study, is it ever possible for a student to walk away with both? Meet the university centre in Leeds that could help you get ‘an edge’ in the job market.
It was while studying Business and IT in Keighley that William Chadwick-Wood was inspired by a guest speaker to pursue a Business, Enterprise and Management Foundation Degree. As a result of this decision, he is currently celebrating being selected for an internship with the IT services and consulting firm, Frame, at Slaithwaite, near Huddersfield.
William was just one of two candidates appointed following a competitive application process that left the business very impressed by the high standard of the applicants. The opportunity came through University Centre Leeds, a college-based higher education provider who specialise in employer-led qualifications that offer professional experience. One way this is facilitated is through their employer network. Students use it as a system from which they can draw support as they make choices about their future.
Real industry skills for real employment
The value of this is especially poignant considering the struggle people have faced securing jobs in recent years. University Centre Leeds were quick to recognise this and have used it to build a curriculum that addresses the national labour shortage for employers and students alike by balancing academic learning with relevant industry knowledge and employability skills.
Available in a range of levels and qualifications, courses include creative arts, business and leadership, computing, apprenticeships, engineering, law, science, teacher training, tourism and aviation, sports, professional courses, and health and digital.
Units and modules are refreshingly forward-thinking, enabling students to prepare for their future as a professional graduate. With lessons taught in industry-standard facilities, it’s not uncommon for learners to engage in work-based activities that match what they will later do in their industry.
Industry connections that make all the difference
The education provider is recognised for its collaborations and uses them to design programmes informed by the industry. Last year, it launched a new health play specialist apprenticeship standard in order to provide a vital skills boost to the healthcare sector. Then, in April of this year, University Centre Leeds held a week-long Employability Week where students could hear directly from professionals. Participants included Sky, the NHS and HM Revenue and Customs.
Students have access to direct tips and advice from employers, along with regular opportunities to attend masterclasses and networking opportunities. This was the case for Patricia Gibin, who attended the GenIE (Generation of Innovators and Entrepreneurs) bootcamp. While there, she met a valuable contact who lectures on a Masters programme which supports entrepreneurs in developing and launching their businesses. Patricia now hopes to successfully secure a place on the course.
This focus on improving employability for both its 16 to 18 and adult learners has resulted in the HE Science team at University Centre Leeds winning the Business/Industry Collaboration accolade at last year’s Educate North Awards. The prestigious awards event celebrates best practice and recognises excellence in the education sector.
Speaking at the time, Richard Keys, the former Head of HE Science, Health & Sport at University Centre Leeds, said: “The success of our programmes demonstrates the benefits of working collaboratively with employers across the science sector, creating a talent pipeline of highly skilled professionals with the experience, determination and skill set to succeed in a competitive labour market.”
Accolades aside, it’s clear that University Centre Leeds will continue to do all they can to produce work-ready graduates equipped with the confidence to hit the ground running.
If you want to find out more about UC Leeds, the courses on offer for 2022/23 and any forthcoming employability events, visit the website here.