We’ve worked with careers to build student engagement and promote employability

Jacob Webb is Head of Student Voice at Undeb Myfyrwyr

In tough financial times, it becomes even more important to collaborate to get things done. Over the last year, we have collaborated with our careers service regarding skills development, events, and awards, providing significant mutual benefit.

With employment rates of Aberystwyth Students less than average in the sector, boosting employability is one of Aberystwyth University’s key targets.

So over the last year, we have worked with careers to deliver paid and unpaid skills development opportunities for students – enabling students to develop their skills and experiences, and supporting our capacity to deliver for students at large.

Utilising core university funding, our Careers service provide funding for a significant number of quality jobs, open to students and recent graduates, to help develop their employability.

During the 2023-24 academic year, we took on 10 such “Aberforwards” – some working full time across a month, and others working part time over a longer period.

Delivering SU projects

Full time placements varied in nature. For example, during our second term, our Student Opportunities department hosted an Aberforward to assist with the planning, delivery, and evaluation of our annual Superteams and Varsity events.

And during our third term, our Communications and Engagement Department supported an AberForward to support our promotion of our Awards ceremonies and annual Aber7’s Rugby tournaments, before and during the events.

For our part time placements, from November to March, we had a staff member work 7 hours a week to plan and deliver our Green week, and another person, working the same timeframe, to support in the administration of BUCS games.

Micro-placement opportunities

In addition to providing paid work opportunities, we also collaborated with Careers through their Career Readiness Programme to provide a variety of unpaid “micro-placements” targeted at students within identity categories less likely to find employment.

One such placement involved analysing the results of a university wellbeing survey then briefing the relevant officers on the key findings. Another involved helping organise volunteer action days for students to take part in.

For the careers service, SU participation in these projects means more quality opportunities for students to develop their skills in a workplace. For the SU, this means increased capacity and student engagement. For students themselves, this is good all round.


We have begun to work with careers to deliver events, helping students understand more about the world of work, whilst also meeting key SU goals.

As part of this, we have begun to utilise the experiences of SU staff as people on an employability journey to help students plan their own journeys.

Our staff are graduates of a wide range of disciplines and utilise a broad range of varied skills in their jobs. Further, many within the staff team have a Neurodivergent condition and/or a disability.

As well as helping make the SU a vibrant and inclusive place to work, each of these characteristics can be utilised to inspire students from similar backgrounds or experiences.


We have also actively worked with careers to introduce a new award to our annual Awards. We already had an award that celebrated our student staff, but this year we introduced an employability champion award celebrating staff that actively promoted employability within their roles.

For careers, collaboration here has enabled an award to incentivise and celebrate staff who champion their goals. For us, it meant careers actively advertising our awards as they had an active interest in their success.

In a time of financial uncertainty, collaborating with careers has helped place us as an SU to be front and centre of a key University wide agenda, making us particularly relevant as budget negotiations approach.

In the future, we look to further develop the relationship to mutual benefit and also scan for other win-win relationships within and beyond the university.

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