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Partnerships with students to co-design employability resources

30 Jan 2023 | Sophie Apps and Madihah Ma’ruf-Lawal Two Swansea University students talk about their experiences as content creators, undertaking summer internships in the Employability Team - key examples of how development of partnerships with students to co-design employability initiatives and resources can benefit all parties involved.

Sophie Apps is a BA Literature graduate from Swansea University currently studying an MA Literature in Cultural and Creative Industries at the University of York. Here she shares her experiences of working as a Content Creator for Swansea University’s Engineering Employability Team.  

“From independent working to organisation, written communication to problem solving and research skills to time management, working as a content creator allowed me to strengthen all of those skills and many more.  

For those in the humanities, or STEM, who enjoy being creative and the process of research and writing, the content creator internship is perfect. With a lot of independence, you can really think outside of the box and craft some unique and engaging content. While you are independent, you do have weekly-catch-up meetings, and a line manager on-call to answer any questions or if you need guidance, so there is room for growth and much support. 

Personally, I found the internship highly beneficial as becoming an academic is a career goal of mine. While I have done research during my first and second year at undergraduate level, the scope of that was limited to the prescribed course material. The content I wrote for the Science and Engineering Employability Team, while confined to STEM and employability, still had a lot of creative freedom. That potential enabled me to think independently and relish in the creative process of brainstorming and thinking of ways I could entertain and inform current students. Employability and STEM were subjects that I had never written about and so it was challenging to both brainstorm ideas and write articles, but a rewarding one.  

With whatever field you go into, you are not inherently going to know how to do everything and being able to challenge yourself, in learning new skills or knowledge, is definitely a great experience to show off to future employers.  

In terms of practical skills, the internship has developed my ability to research and analyse information critically. With my research primarily taking place via online sources, I had to be cautious about where I was collecting my information and evaluate whether they were reliable. This is an essential aspect of being an academic, so it was an incredibly useful experience of practising these skills in a professional environment.”

Madihah Ma’ruf-Lawal is a third-year student at Swansea University studying Media and Communication who undertook a Content Creator internship and talks about her experiences in the role. 

“I did a Content Creator Internship with the Faculty of Science and Engineering Employability team over the summer. I noticed that the role was being advertised to Media students, so I applied for the role and ended up getting the Science Content Creator role.  

The role duration was from June to July 2022 for seven weeks. It was a flexible role, so I could work from home, which was convenient for me because I could stay home during the summer.  

The role involved creating content which included writing employability related articles for science students. This was somewhat new to me as a media student, but I did not let that discourage me. I carried out a lot of research about my article topics. One of my favourite things about the role was the way it challenged me. I wrote articles titled, “Science and Tech Careers in Movies” and “Creative Ways to Boost your CV”. Some of the articles I wrote provided application tips like identifying your soft skills.  

For the podcasts I recorded, I interviewed three different placement students about their work experience. Through this, I developed my communication skills. Also, talking with the placement students further made me realise how valuable work experience is.  

Since I had previously created Instagram content for the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences Employability team, I was glad to continue that in this role. I created some reels and some posts the team could use when the semester starts.  

In total I wrote 15 articles, recorded three podcasts and created a bunch of reels and Instagram content. I also put some content ideas together for the social media account.   

I will always be appreciative of this role because I had the opportunity to create content and it further built my interest in marketing. The FSE Employability team supported me and were helpful in informing me of the requirements for my role. I got to exercise my design and creativity skills. I can add the work I have done to my portfolio to show future employers. 

The role gave me more confidence about what I am capable of which would also benefit students who carry out work experience. Not only that, but roles like this also further complement your university education. The University offers  opportunities like these often and I think every student should apply for them. The roles are not just limited to Media students but also roles for those from other faculties as well.  

It does feel good to see my work on the University website.” 

Case Study Compendium: Contemporary Practices and Initiatives in Employability

Development of partnerships with students to co-design employability initiatives and resources by Gavin Bunting, Sam Rolland and Nishan Clarke from the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Swansea University is a case study included in the 2023 Advance HE Case Study Compendium: Contemporary Practices and Initiatives in Employability. Advance HE members can download it here

Employability Symposium 2023 

In 2023, our focus is Going Forward Together. Join us at the Employability Symposium 2023 as we bring people together to support professional development. Learn more: Employability Symposium 2023: Lighting the Labyrinth: Enhancing Student Success through the 3Es


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