Durham University

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New initiatives help students overcome barriers to employment

(19 November 2018)

Two new schemes, targeted at students who face particular barriers when accessing work experience and employment opportunities have been launched by the University’s Careers & Enterprise Centre.

Student Employability Fund

The new Student Employability Fund will be available for students for whom financial barriers may inhibit their access to recruitment and employment activities.

In the pilot year, the fund will be available for all students whose household income falls into the lowest bracket (under £25,000 per annum). If there is significant demand for the fund, it is hoped that the fund will be made available to a larger cohort of students next year.

The scheme will provide a contribution toward the cost of travel, clothing and subsistence for current, registered undergraduate and postgraduate students who are attending external recruitment activities and employability development experiences.

Charlie Walker, DSU Opportunities Officer commented: “Every student in Durham should be able to access the wider opportunities available to them while studying here. This includes being able to attend recruitment events and interviews, which will then go on to shape their futures. I’m really pleased to see the introduction of the Student Employability Fund, and know the difference it will make to so many students when planning their progression from Durham.”

Enabling Opportunities

Careers & Enterprise will also be launching the Enabling Opportunities work experience programme which will provide support to students with a disability seeking work experience.

The programme is particularly aimed at students with a disability who have encountered obstacles when applying for work experience. 

The twelve month programme will support students – from the initial research stages, through to support with networking and applications, it will culminate in a 2 – 4 week funded internship in the summer months.

Access and Participation

The University’s new Access and Participation Plan, recognises that further work is needs to improve outcomes for students from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. Durham University has committed to improve equality of opportunity for students throughout the student journey, and in accessing their chosen career paths.

The Employability Fund and Enabling Opportunities Work Experience Programme are two examples of initiatives which have been developed to address some of these challenges.

Professor Alan Houston, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) commented: “We been have undertaking a rigorous process of self-evaluation to inform our Access and Participation Plan. This has really helped us to identify areas where we can better support our students and level the playing field for those seeking employment, or exploring potential career paths. 

“For students in the lowest income bracket, finding the money for a last minute train ticket for an interview, or even acquiring smart clothes for this, can be prohibitive to opportunity. We don’t think this is acceptable. The Employability Fund will help tackle some of these practical constraints. It has been set up to be straightforward to access for eligible students – and we whole-heartedly encourage them to make the most of it.”

“We also appreciate that the barriers to employment can go further than financial considerations. The Enabling Opportunities programme will offer support, guidance and build confidence, enabling students with a disability to access work experience opportunities.”

How to apply

The Employability Fund will be available to eligible students throughout the 2018/2019 academic year. The application process has been designed to be straightforward and efficient. For further information, and to apply please go to the website.

For further information about both schemes can be found on the Careers & Enterprise website.

Useful Links

Student Employability Fund

Access and Participation Plan

Careers and Enterprise

Scholarships and Bursaries

Enabling Opportunities