What does Graduate+ mean for employers?

The Suffolk Business School at UCS has developed a new extra-curricular award for our students: Graduate+. Graduate+ is our Graduate Management Development Programme, designed to help students enhance their employability. Here at the Suffolk Business School, we are dedicated to creating Business Ready Graduates – business professionals who are able to contribute to their organisation and community from the moment they start their course.

The Suffolk Business School offers a unique student experience, blending academic study with practical experience with the industry. Graduate+ supports that learning experience, by helping to develop self-efficacy, self-confidence, and self-esteem (Darce Pool & Sewell, 2007) among its students.


What do the students do for Graduate+?

When recruiting new staff, there are a set of core skills that employers usually look for: communication, organisation, teamwork, flexibility, commercial awareness, critical thinking, motivation, drive, and confidence (among others).

Graduate+ helps students become more aware of these skills, and helps them develop and communicate them to others. Students are encouraged to get involved in extra-curricular activities, such as academic and employability workshops, business networking and employer events, internships and work experience. These are documented on a Professional Development Record (PDR), and students are encouraged to reflect upon how these have helped in their personal and professional development.

At the end of the year, students submit the PDR alongside a Professional Development Plan (PDP) for the following year, a CV, and a short reflective statement discussing how they feel they have engaged with their chosen career and industry throughout the year.

The Graduate+ award will then appear on a students HEAR: Higher Education Achievement Report:

The Higher Education Achievement Report Introduction from Higher Education Academy.

What does this mean for employers?

The recruitment process can be long, and differentiating between good candidates difficult. The purpose of our Graduate+ award (and the HEAR) is to help make it easier for businesses to find the right person for the job. You will have a clear and concise record of a graduates abilities beyond the academic – their communication, motivation, initiative, and organisation.

Graduate+ helps students to demonstrate their skills and strengths. It offers them a chance to document their achievements, making them easier to talk about in applications and interviews, while also building their self-confidence – making them more likely to be motivated to succeed in your organisation.

The 'CareerEDGE Model' (Darce Pool & Sewell, 2007)
Graduate+ can help businesses differentiate between graduates to help them choose the best employees for their organisation.

How to get involved

There are a number of ways that employers can get involved with Graduate+.

  • Sponsor a Graduate+ Award: Recognition for exceptional achievements is an important part of building the self-confidence of our graduates, and we already offer a number of awards at Undergraduate level, including ‘Best Dissertation’ and ‘Best Overall Degree’. We are always looking for businesses to help us recognise talent, and would greatly appreciate offers of sponsored awards for Graduate+
  • Offer work-placements, internships, and shadowing experience: Graduate+ requires students to engage in industry relevant work experience, and we are always happy to help facilitate paid work-placements and internships, and shadowing experience
  • Seminars, workshops, and talks: Part of the development programme involves students networking with businesses, learning more about the industry, and gaining commercial awareness. UCS hosts a number of employer events throughout the year. If you would like to become involved, or run your own event, please get in touch.

Contact: Suzanne Nolan, Lecturer in Employment Development at s.nolan@ucs.ac.uk or call on 01473 883 507.


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