Our college launched the first Career Center in Morocco in 2015. Being the project lead, the endeavour presented a challenge because there was no such service inside any higher education institution in Morocco. In other words, we had no model to get inspiration or learning from. The approach that was adopted relied on the following activities: desk research to identify benchmarks, organising focus groups with college staff and alumni, and finally the most important phase that was an internship at The George Washington University (GWU). This latter experience offered me the opportunity to have hands on knowledge of the missions of career services, the daily management, and, having visited three career centers at GWU, I was able to understand that “all career centers are different and that all career centers are the same.” Hence, team and myself were able to come out with a career center which includes the core missions of career services, and also tailor-made services which match the culture and structure of our college. After six years of existence, we can proudly say that we made a real difference by improving employability metrics and empowering students and alumni.
The BlackLivesMatter movement sparked further momentum within the University and demanded a targeted solution to a demographic-specific problem faced by the Black community. Kingston’s Careers & Employability Service came together with a sense of urgency to launch ‘ELEVATE’ in Autumn of 2020.
The ELEVATE programme offers Black Heritage students targeted careers and employability guidance, tailored opportunities from partner employers, a peer-to-peer support network and consistent touchpoints throughout the year. These include insight days and employer challenges, workshops, keynote talks, and the sharing of Black success stories to increase representation and amplify Black voices in industry. From the employer perspective, the programme creates opportunity for meaningful engagement with Black talent.
The Career Center invited UNC Charlotte faculty and staff to partner on the integration of career competencies into their academic courses in order to support students in their overall skill development. The institute did not intend for faculty and staff to create new assignments (although it did happen on occasion), but rather assist them in making the career competencies found in current activities and curriculum to be more visible to students.
This institute began in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences by engaging select faculty in a process of rethinking the activities and assignments in their courses to enhance the visibility and transfer of career competencies; the long term goal is to work towards a “competency-integrated” major. In such a major, students would build competencies in an intentional and scaffolded fashion as they progress through the curriculum, and they would be encouraged to take advantage of co-curricular opportunities and to build their capacity to showcase these competencies by taking full advantage of Career Center resources.
The need for this effort is clear. Elevating competencies puts value on the very qualities and capabilities that are developed by academics while simultaneously taking advantage of the fact that employers are focusing less on a students’ major and more on the skills and competencies. Reimagining the major to take advantage of this duality is particularly important for equity. Low income and first-generation students are less likely to have the social capital that helps them to translate their college education into job-ready talking points and less likely to have access to the connections and resources to get a foot in the door and learn from experience. Graduating, often times with debt, UNC Charlotte students need to be able to move seamlessly from college to career if we want them to become active and thriving members of the active engaged citizenry we are educating.
The Queen’s Skills Cards are a creative, easy-to-implement tool for helping students assess and articulate their skills. The cards cover a range of employability skills and, by working with campus EDII experts, include key skills related to intercultural competencies, diversity and inclusion, and Indigenous ways of knowing. Using student-friendly language, each of the 44 cards defines a skill, breaks that skill into components, and provides an example of a student using that skill. Initially available in print only, the new virtual Skills Sorter provides an interactive, remote way to use this tool.
The main goal of the program is to provide the systematic approach to the preparation of ADA University students for future employment opportunities. Strong and trustful collaboration between ADA University Career Services and Employers will lead towards meeting the interests and needs of both parties.
• Employers will be able to acquire the knowledgeable, skillful, creative and innovative talents;
• Students will be able to gain practical knowledge in the industry they are interested in and passionate about, which will provide valuable input into their future career.
We have enrolled more than 200 students across different majors at the University from Public Administration, International Affairs, Economics, Computer Science, Information Technologies, Computer Engineering to Business Administration and Law into 10-day intensive series of trainings to help them walk through initial career planning stages. All trainings were delivered by 50+ distinguished industry professionals from 14 companies, granting the chance to tap into trends of various occupations.
Selected students as a result of the assessment conducted by companies got incredible chances to intern, participate in mentorship, traineeship or shadowing programs within those companies. These practices aim to further exposure of students into the:
• knowledge of the field area and profession;
• communication and professional skills
• development of analytical and decision-making skills
• understanding the value of ethical behavior and compliance with rules in the world of work
Long-lasting partnership and trusted collaboration with Industry paved a way to the success of ADA University graduates professionally. High employment rates maintained through years is a vivid result of the cooperative efforts, when potential employers take active part in developing talents and contributing to their growth.
ADA University Career Services is missioned to Bridge Talent to Careers hand in hand with Industry partners.