To help our students through this challenging time, your alumni community responded in their thousands to offer support, guidance, and advice through a range of employability events and activities. The results have been truly inspiring, and clearly demonstrate the good that can be done when people of all ages, backgrounds, and stages of their careers come together.
Global online mentoring scheme
During last year’s Volunteers Week, we launched E-Mentoring Southampton to enable our current students and recent graduates to connect with more than 2,500 alumni – including business leaders, entrepreneurs, and chief executives from 82 countries around the world.
The platform’s directory allows students to search for a potential mentor by job sector, industry, level of study, location, or subject area. Each mentor gives hours of their valuable time and expertise in a number of different ways – from being on hand to answer questions, to offering tips and advice, to engaging in a full mentorship programme. More than 1,600 current and recently graduated students have sought mentorship via the scheme.
Claudia Allen, who is currently studying psychology, said: “E-Mentoring has been so useful for finding contacts in the field I’m interested in. Being able to ask so many people how they’ve got to where they are today is invaluable information.”
To join our alumni volunteering community on E-Mentoring Southampton and help our students to thrive at the University and beyond – or to sign up for advice from other experienced members of our community – visit the platform now.
This year, we held a new virtual employability festival for 2021’s graduating class. A number of panels and keynote speeches took place – involving more than 20 of our alumni mentors – and focused on different topics relating to careers, development, and the workplace.
Topics included interviews tips and tricks, wellbeing at work, imposter syndrome, and how to break through the glass ceiling. The event was a resounding success, and gave our soon-to-be-graduates valuable advice and information on finding their perfect career and preparing for the world of work. We hope to run something similar next year – look out for more details in our regular communications.
Alumni career webinars
Students and our recent graduates have also been able to benefit from in-depth discussions with our talented alumni through a series of careers webinars. More than 100 people attended the exclusive webinars, which showcased the successful career journeys of our alumni, and covered key sectors including sustainable finance, law, and non-governmental organisations.
There was a particular focus on stories of those who have taken different careers routes to their degrees. Students had the opportunity to engage with our alumni, and receive valuable insights about how to keep your options open, how to develop your career along the path you choose, and how to deal with challenges. Alumni including Rohan Hewavisenti (Chief Financial Officer at Amnesty International) and Dame Jennifer Roberts (High Court Judge in the Family Division) took part. You can view three of the webinars below.
The Ignite Programme aims to make education at Southampton accessible to everyone, regardless of background, age, or financial situation. Opportunities such as scholarships, bursaries, and grants for extracurricular activities ensure a level playing field for all applicants and students. Not only have our alumni been supporting our Ignite Programme financially, but they’ve also given their time to the students through a series of workshops, helping them prepare for life after university.
The workshops have been attended by all 31 Ignite recipients in the 2020/21 academic year, and covered topics such as building networks, finance, and confidence to succeed. They included breakout rooms, which allowed our students to engage with the speakers on a more informal level. Students really valued the speakers’ honesty and sharing their own personal experiences, and felt they could use the information going forward – with one student saying: “The alumni speakers were a particular highlight – they were inspiring, inclusive, and diverse.”
Callum Bladon, who graduated from Southampton with an MA in Maritime Archaeology in 2016, led one of the workshops: “It was a great opportunity to be able to speak to the Ignite students about my experience at the University and work life after graduation. It’s a fantastic programme that gives students the skills they need to succeed in their studies and beyond.”
You can find out more about the Ignite Programme and how to support it here.
Online work experience
During the pandemic, the University has adapted the way it delivers its education experience to ensure students still gain valuable skills and knowledge. Southampton Business School has linked up with the international web platform Riipen to offer online and flexible project-based work experience opportunities.
So far, the School has connected with 11 international companies, and our students are working on live projects that focus on business innovation and marketing analytics – giving them valuable insight into the commercial world. Find out more and hear from the participants in our previous article here.
Staying in touch
Supporting our students does not stop when they graduate. We believe that offering advice and guidance as they embark on their post-university journey is imperative in helping them succeed in whatever they choose to do next. This has been even more important during the pandemic.
To help our graduating class navigate the employability challenges that COVID-19 has thrown at them, we have introduced regular careers emails providing bitesize information on everything from CV writing to interview skills – as well as letting them know about the personal services still on offer to them if they need more intensive help and support.
We are pleased to say that the emails have been popular with graduating students, and have showed that the Southampton community is always there to support them whenever they need it. To receive our emails, please make sure we have the right contact details for you by completing our short form.