UEL Prize for Careers-1st Employability Strategy

The University of East London (UEL) has won top prize for its work preparing students for the world of work, underscoring its credentials as a Careers-1st institution.

At a glitzy ceremony at the Grosvenor House, hosted by celebrity Jason Manford, the University’s careers team picked up the Best University Employability Strategy Award 2022 at the Target Jobs Awards – the largest early careers recruitment awards in the UK.

UEL was one of 10 universities shortlisted for the award, sponsored by Clifford Chance, only one of two awards that were open to higher education providers.

The award recognised the extensive careers-focused work undertaken by the University to give students the best chance to move seamlessly into the world of work.

The judges, drawn from graduate employers and industry experts were impressed by UEL’s accredited and embedded Mental Wealth and Professional Fitness modules as well as Career Zone, the online and physical network of spaces where collaboration with industry partners takes place.

UEL ensured its undergraduates were “best equipped to achieve their potential when searching and applying for graduate roles and transitioning to employment”.

Vice-chancellor and president of the University, Professor Amanda Broderick said, “We’re proud and pleased to secure an award which reflects the transformation we have made in recent years in our provision of graduate employment support.

Becoming a careers-first institution – increasing the diversity of the talent pipeline to flourish and thrive in a 4.0 and 5.0 economy – is the central theme of our Vision 2028 strategy. This award validates and celebrates the helix approach of student-university-industry partnership that we have advanced.”

Dr Paul Marshall, pro-vice chancellor (careers and enterprise) said, “Through our Graduate Employability Action plan, we have placed careers at the heart of everything we do. This priority is instilled across the University, in every discipline and at every level, so our students know we are committed to providing support for their career journey from day one.

“We take great satisfaction that our employability strategy has been recognised by leaders of the student recruitment sector with this award – it is a hugely significant milestone on our journey.”

Cherise Basslian, director of careers and student enterprise, said, “Our strategy sets out to engage every single student through the Career Zone platform by providing careers resources, connection with industry and access to in-person support.

“For example, we run programmes that support social mobility, provide paid work experience and professional mentoring. We also help students launch their own start-ups and have created a bespoke freelance marketplace platform where they can promote their skills and products.

“We hope this award will help us to attract more employer partners so we can offer even more experiences to our students, widening their sense of what is possible when they graduate.”

Over the last two years the University has seen a 30 per cent increase in the number of organisations providing meaningful engagement. There are 10,000 unique users of Career Zone – rising from 2,500 two years ago. Over 5,000 students completed work-based learning experiences, up more than 40 per cent in the last two years.