#HertsHeroes: Careers and Employment

The Careers and Employment staff have been incredible in their efforts to continue supporting students during this uncertain time. They immediately switched to remote working so not a day of appointments or events were missed, offering the same invaluable service to students about to enter the professional world. They have also been working on a summer programme of activity for all students to both upskill them and help them to gain the GO Herts Award.  

Since lockdown, the team have shown great flexibility in juggling working from home alongside their daily lives and other commitments, such as childcare. We are very proud to call them #HertsHeroes and thank them for their exceptional work during this challenging time.  

Innovating to support our students: 

We have always offered webinars, remote appointments and extensive online resources but we have quickly adjusted to new technologies to continue supporting students and graduates. The team have been liaising with LCS to find new ways to do this going forward, such as Microsoft Teams, to ensure we continue to give users the best experience possible. 

We have also been looking into technology to host virtual events, such as careers fairs and virtual internships, to keep our students, graduates and employers connected. One employer has asked us to host a week of activity on Instagram so we are adapting all the time. 

Above and beyond: 

When the pandemic hit, the Placement Team contacted placement students overseas or away from their home country to offer advice and support. The team showed real teamwork and dedication in their efforts to reach these students in an intensive burst of activity. The team also contributed to drawing up new guidelines to help students to achieve the placement year.    

We are currently supporting students to apply for available placements for the next academic year, whilst sending hundreds of emails every day to keep in touch with students currently on placement to check they are ok and keep them informed of what the University is doing to support them through this period.  

We are proactively following key online news sources and labour market information to seek out the opportunities available to our students and keeping on top of how employers are now recruiting virtually. We’ve adapted our offer to best prepare students, this includes a focus on video interviewing and engaging sectors that are still buoyantly recruiting.  

Response from our students: 

We received a great email from one of our students who applied for a placement advertised on CareerHub back in January. The student’s application was shortlisted, and their interview changed to a Skype interview in light of current events. He spoke to the team to get some support ahead of these interviews.  

The student wrote to us to say: “None of this would have been possible without your announcement and the help of the many great staff of the Careers and Employment service through which I had many CV feedback and interview preparation sessions.” 

Keeping connected: 

Microsoft Teams has been instrumental in keeping us all connected and able to pull together. Many colleagues are holding daily catch ups to check in and see how everything is going. We are also holding weekly team meetings to find out what is happening across the department.   

The Careers Advisers have held joke competitions to keep the mood light and are participating in the Active Staff coffee breaks whenever possible. The Enterprise Team held a 'GIF off' (well done Steve!) and there has been across the board collaboration to support fellow colleagues when they have experienced technical glitches. 

The Placements Team have also been making great use of MS Teams chat to share tips on supermarket queues and really supporting each other’s welfare. 

Getting outdoors:  

The team has been lapping up the sunshine and holding meetings from the garden or holding ‘walking meetings’ to get some valuable vitamin D whilst staying in touch. Activities outside of work have included online choirs, entertaining children and several of the team have valiantly signed up as NHS volunteers too. 


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