June 27, 2019

Do you still recognise us?

Careers Fair, 2014


I love this time of year. Christmas is special. A time for getting together, for celebrating and for reflecting on the year gone by. Many readers of this blog have joined me on a journey as my department has grown and developed. At times that journey has faced challenges and I can’t pretend it’s been as straight forward as driving on the M25 on Christmas Day.But it has been fun. It has definitely been rewarding and I’m so pleased with what we have achieved in such a short time. So, time to indulge me…..

My Highlights:

  • Team: I’m grateful that both Sandra Rhule and Hodo Aden have been so supportive of the growth of the department. Like me, they have welcomed Chris Naughton, John Liberty and Paul Cannons as Employability Consultants, Ajaz Hussain as Careers Education Manager, Teddy Marhsall (Events & Operations Manager), Janki Amin (Employment Services Manager) and Venus Speedwell (Careers Adviser). We have also benefitted from the work of Siddharth Singh, Sonia Taher and Iweta Sokolska throughout the year. It has been such a pleasure to work with this new, energetic, committed and enthusiastic team.
  • Careers Education:  We have delivered over 180 hours of employability lessons within academic departments since February 2014. We know there are a couple of departments (Travel & Tourism, Events Management) that we haven’t reached yet – don’t worry, they’re coming! In these sessions we have covered career decision making, CVs and Applications, career options, business ethics and networking. Beyond the classroom we have delivered over 100 hours of careers skills sessions at both campuses. It has been amazing for the team to be so deeply involved in writing modules for the proposed new curriculum.
  • Careers Events: We have organised over 200 careers events since November 2013.  Our first, “Your Career. Sorted” in Greenwich was a great success and, over the year, hundreds of students have attended events including our mock Assessment Centres,  HR, Law and Accountancy Panel discussions, author Mildred Talabi, Low Pay Commission and Instructus Trading. Employers attending the campuses have included Deloitte, General Electric, Halliburton, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, KONE UK.
  • Careers Weeks: Our thematic approach to Careers Events has been very succesful. We’ve already had weeks around Business Management, Accounting, Banking and Finance, Public Sector and Law and spring will see Energy Futures, Digital World and Entrepreneurship Weeks. With more planned throughout next year. Students have also visited the Bank of England, Royal Albert Hall, Rolls Building and Parliament. Just fantastic.
  • Careers Fair: Careers Fairs are notoriously expensive (ours cost circa £3k) and resource intensive. Janki Amin and the team worked on the Careers Fair for several months. My target was for 15 exhibitors. We had 25 on the day, and actually had to turn two away. Don’t underestimate how challenging it is to organise a Fair like this. My team pulled together to make our first really memorable. And yes, we are committed to running another next autumn. We also hope to run some mini sector specific fairs next year. We have also run part-time job fairs and volunteering events during Opportunities Week.
  • Consultations: We now offer one-to-one consultations on both campuses Monday – Thursday and hundreds of students are already benefitting from the range of expertise in the team. We are also researching how better to support parents and carers. We know our consultations are popular and will continue to make them available.
  • This Blog: Next year we will be merging this blog with the main GSM London one. If you look back over previous posts you’ll see how much valuable content there is. Blog posts have largely been written by myself, John Liberty, Paul Cannons and Chris Naughton but with many contributions from industry experts. There are exclusive posts about management styles, culture, skills, law – lots!
  • Horizon Award: Many universities offer students an Award in recognition for their work outside of the curriculum, in the community or their own personal development. We know that employers really value these awards and that award holders are often better at articulating their skills and attributes as a result. John Liberty is leading on the Horizon Award at GSM London. Definitely one to get involved in.  Email John for details.

So, what defines a journey? A journey must have a destination, a purpose. I laid out that initial journey last year and we’ve already made such great

Students attended a briefing breakfast with McDonalds franchise owner John King in Greenford.

progress that the trajectory needs to be updated. Earlier in December I invited employers, occupational psychologists, alumni, entrepreneurs, careers and diversity experts to contribute to a review of our employability strategy. The review will continue in January and hopefully will be approved by the institution in February. This will map the student journey and the careers support required at different points. It means that there will be no excuse for any student not to benefit from our expertise! It is genuinely exciting and could mean that GSM London is ahead of the curve on employability support.

Coming up next year:

  • 2nd to 6th February – Welcome Week
  • 16th to 20th February – Digital World Week
  • 2nd to 6th March – Energy Futures Week
  • 16th to 20th March – Entrepreneurship Week
  • 9th April – Part-Time Jobs Fair
  • 1st to 5th June – Welcome Week
  • 15th to 19th June – Events, Marketing & Tourism Week
  • 8th July – Part-Time Jobs Fair
  • 20th to 24th July – Post Grad & Finalist Week

We’re hoping to pilot:

  • Sector specific mini careers fairs
  • Video feedback for CVs
  • Graduate internships
  • Alumni careers events

I hope you agree with me that this has been a highly succesful journey so far. I’m very proud of what my team has achieved and thank them all for their commitment and support.  I’m always keen to hear directly from students and alumni so don’t hesitate to contact me. Alumni get access to our services for life – something few universities offer nowadays.

Best wishes for the New Year,





Andrew Falconer

Director of Careers & Employability


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