Using guidance to encourage diversity by graduate recruiters
As widening participation in higher education attracts an increasingly diverse student population, so careers services, academics, tutors and employers must confront the issues of discrimination against students from non-traditional backgrounds, says John Gough, president of the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS)
A new report entitled Higher Education Careers Services and Diversity calls for academic departments and lecturers in higher education to take a more proactive role in enhancing students’ awareness and use of careers services. It also says that career services should have a much higher physical presence on campus and should be easily accessible to all students.
According to the report, careers services should be at the centre of all HE employability issues including hosting job shops, which are often run by the students’ union or a central service department, and in the embedding of employability into programmes of study rather than simply providing bolt-on activities. Careers services are best placed to do this as the natural and established link between education and employment.
However, the core concern of the study - commissioned by the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU), AGCAS, and the Centre for Research into Quality - is to identify what careers services can do to enhance the employability of graduates who enter university from non-traditional backgrounds.
Full details of all the recommendations and the report findings are available on the website at: www.prospects.ac.uk
AGCAS has also launched A Level Playing Field, a guidance manual targeted primarily at HE careers advisers and graduate jobseekers but useful to anybody interested in employment or diversity in a personal or professional capacity.
The manual includes sections covering disability, ethnic minorities, gender, mature students, offenders, refugees and asylum seekers, political and ethical issues, sexuality and sexual orientation, social and class issues and transsexual and transgender issues.
Each section contains information on the law (including recent and imminent changes to legislation), marketing yourself and finding positive employers. Case studies, sample CVs and lists of resources are also included.
Hard copies are available from AGCAS or electronically via the Prospects website mentioned above.
Diversity has taken centre stage in the graduate employability debate and AGCAS is committed to ensuring that the issues it raises are addressed and that its members are well placed to provide guidance to students and employers on diversity issues. A Level Playing Field is a major step to achieving this by giving practical help and guidance across a range of potential issues that students and careers advisers may need to address.