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Leading voices

LaunchPad: Helping our students to kick-start their career

Emma Vincent, Head of Professional and Career Development

In 2018 we introduced LaunchPad, a fresh new service at the heart of our campus bringing together everything students need from our Careers, Placements and Student Opportunities team.

The team is now based in a specially designed student-facing space on the ground floor of the Holgate building – the university’s main reception. We moved there specifically to make us more visible and to highlight the emphasis the University is placing on employability and the valuable work we can do to help students navigate their futures.  In LaunchPad’s first year we’ve seen student engagement with our services increase from to

Careers, Placements and Student Opportunities is divided into four key elements; Careers Education, Information and Guidance, Employer Engagement, and Placements and Study Abroad, together our aim is to establish York St John as a leading centre for graduate employability.

Careers services are evolving. We know we need to be agile, fast-paced and create an environment that’s business focussed, yet supportive and understanding. We want to provide real-life opportunities for our students and prepare them for the ever-changing world of work. It’s a competitive market and we want our graduates to shine.

A big part of our role as a service is to excite and engage students with the possibilities out there and encourage them to have the confidence to apply for graduate level roles, or indeed forge their own pathways if they don’t exist! It’s also about working collaboratively with Academic colleagues and Professional Services to help shape the future of our programmes and ensure our students are taking advantage of - and able to - access everything life at York St John University has to offer.

LaunchPad offers a wide range of services, including employer talk back events, LinkedIn and CV sessions, advice on further study, volunteering, work experience opportunities, placements, year in industry and study abroad options.

It is not just about supporting graduates into traditional employment.  The labour market is changing – the gig economy is increasing every year.  So, we now offer support for students who would like to become self-employed through our Grad2Freelance programme or set up their own business through Grad2Director, including online development, one-to-one coaching and business start-up funding. Students can book Careers appointments through LaunchPad online and at the same time they can access a wealth of resources to support them in planning for their futures 24/7.

Working collaboratively with Sodexo, we also offer a selection of bursaries for students. These can be used to contribute towards travel and accommodation expenses for students to undertake work experience in London or internationally. Funding is also available to enable a student to start their own business.

We have strong performance to build on. 97% of our students are employed or in further study within six months of graduating, while 73% move into graduate level positions or go on to further study. This makes the University 23rd out of 153 institutions in the country - and second in Yorkshire.

Our ethos is about working in partnership with students and graduates - treating everyone as an individual. Our size makes us flexible enough that it is possible to create an individual employability journey – not just while our students are here on campus but also after graduation. We are a service for life and regularly support alumni to gain their second, third and even 10th role. We also work with the Student Recruitment team to develop our talent pipeline into the University. We share our labour market insights and help to raise the aspirations of young minds – engaging them early on the importance of doing work experience and volunteering. We believe it’s never too early to start developing the skills employers are looking for and never too soon to dream about the future.

For more information visit our Careers, Placements and Opportunities pages.

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