Policy Inquiry: Careers Support

Attending university is about so many things – from expanding your knowledge, learning new things and meeting new people, to formulating your views on the world, or even simply moving away from home. We all have our own reasons for the main driving force that brought us to university.  

But one thing that we all likely have in common is that once we graduate, we want to enter a job that we truly enjoy, or one that pays the bills.

Careers support is one of the most important things that a university can do, and that is why it was front and centre of my campaign to becoming President. I promised that I would lobby the College so that we all had support in our career choices and implementation.

Myself and the rest of the Officer group called a policy inquiry into this topic during the summer.

What have we done so far?

Thankfully, we have a plethora of data. Towards the end of last academic year, we included lots of questions relating to this area in our yearly Rate Your Union survey – this means we have thoughts from over 1200 students on the current support offered across the College.

I have also been conducting external research on this subject. This project requires a huge amount of student insight – gaining all of your feedback on current support is essential, but we don’t always know what we don’t know! This included benchmarking the best practice support offered in other universities, as well as including wider research into what makes careers support fit for the 21st Century and beyond.

Where are we now?

We have now compiled a hefty briefing document that consolidates all of our research into one place, this details the current state of play, as well as proposing some examples of where we could be.

Briefing Document

In fulfilling the guidelines for policy inquiry set out from our Democracy Review, I now want to consult all of you on our findings.

We have done as much ‘education and information’ as we can at this stage, so I am throwing it back to you.

  • Have we missed anything blatantly obvious?
  • Have we highlighted something that works wonderful as it is?
  • What are the solutions to these problems?
  • What are the priorities for you?

Where are we heading?

By the end of this academic year, the aim is to publish a Student Voice Report on this issue. What is a Student Voice Report? I hear you ask! Well, in my opinion, the Democracy Review told us one thing above all else: the Union should be equipped to produce clear policy based on extensive research and consultation.

This report would involve the current assessment and state of affairs alongside very clear recommendations. Effectively, a report that grounds our future work within this policy area to ensure you receive the best support for your career.

What’s next?

Now that we have elected all of the positions for our new democratic structures, Education Executive will be consulted on the briefing document so far. This will involve discussions to see if we are on the right track with everything.

Following this, on Wednesday 20 November, I will be hosting an event with an open invite to all students to discuss, consult and deliberate over the topics of the document and what solutions we can provide.

A similar consultative event will also be run with RH100 before sending the draft report out for mass consultation in February!

I am incredibly excited by the possibilities of what we can all achieve with this policy area, there truly is an opportunity to rethink the careers support at Royal Holloway so that all students receive the support that they deserve.

If there are any questions over anything in this blog or in the briefing document, then please do get in touch!

Jack O'Neill // President