Paul Blackmore (right) accepts the award from Carl Gilleard

University wins national Employability Award

At the recent Graduate Development Awards, the University of Exeter was voted the winner of the prestigious ‘Preparation for Work’ Award (Higher Education) by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR).

The award recognises the University’s impressive achievement in embedding career planning sessions and the eXfactor programme (enterprise and professional skills development) throughout the undergraduate curriculum.

The AGR is the professional body which represents over 700 national and multi-national employers. The Award recognises “the contribution of University Careers Services in preparing students to succeed in the world of work.  It is given to Higher Education institutions for outstanding commitment to improving the employability and long-term career success of their graduates.”

In announcing the award Simon Reichwald, Director of Bright Futures said “This category was by far the most competitive. Just some of the reasons why Exeter won include: the initiative has real longevity - it’s not a one-off; there is a focus on attitude not just on skills; it focuses on personalising the experience for each year group and discipline and introduces compulsory elements to motivate engagement on a University-wide scale and finally, employer involvement in the design and delivery ensures that the University is tackling the skills that employers specifically say students and graduates lack."

Paul Blackmore, Head of Employability & Graduate Development (EGD) said “This is a fantastic achievement and provides public recognition of the remarkable commitment that the University has made in improving the employability and the subsequent employment prospects of its students and graduates. There is no greater accolade in this area of HE work than an award endorsed by the country’s top employers, many of whom also operate across the globe.

“It also provides recognition for all of the hard work, commitment and support that staff within EGD, the colleges, employers and colleagues across the University, have given which has helped turn an ambitious concept into reality. This award is a significant milestone and demonstrates the impressive and real progress we are making towards becoming the university of choice for both employers and career-minded students.”

As a recipient of the award, the University has also been shortlisted for the 'Best of the best' awards to be presented at the AGR Annual Conference in July in front of an audience of 500 employer delegates.

Date: 22 March 2012