Leeds Trinity University: Integrating the real-world into learning

Today’s recent graduates often express concern and even apprehension regarding their work-readiness. They emerge from university with a strong grasp of the theory underpinning their chosen field of study, but they often feel they lack the more practical skills needed to gain employment, work as part of a team and advance professionally.

And it’s not just students who feel they’re underprepared for the workforce; employers generally agree. According to the BBC, employers claim that today’s graduates often come up lacking in the following areas:

  • Written and oral communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Analytical reasoning

The job market has improved considerably since the recession in 2008, but employers are still having trouble finding young, qualified candidates.

Graduates lacking real-world experience is nothing new (here’s an article on the subject published in Times Higher Education back in 1997). And to be fair, there’s no doubt that this is – at least to some extent – a matter of perception. Some employers may have unrealistic expectations for recent graduates. At the same time, it’s probably also safe to assume that universities need to be doing more to prepare their students for real-world employment.

This is an area in which Leeds Trinity University is going above and beyond. A degree from Leeds Trinity represents more than an academic background – it also offers a blend of professional work placements, career-building extra-curricular activities and one-to-one support.

This forms what the university calls its ‘employability formula’, and it makes an enormous difference to the professional prospects of Leeds Trinity students. Graduates emerge work-ready, with impressive real-world experience and a high degree of confidence in their own skills and abilities.

Coursework created with careers in mind

At Leeds Trinity, the Careers and Employability team work with students from day one to help them prepare for their future careers. One of the core ways the university accomplishes this is through professional placements.

Leeds Trinity University is a verified pioneer in professional work placements, being one of the first universities in the UK to make such placements compulsory with Bachelor’s Degrees, ensuring that all of their students graduate with hands-on professional experience.

The institution works in partnership with more than 2,000 employers across all sectors annually, guaranteeing students the best possible opportunities to hone and harness their skills through practical work. Some of the more notable companies that Leeds Trinity works with include Sky News, the BBC and ASDA, among hundreds of other organizations and businesses of international repute.

But it doesn’t end there.

These partnerships also mean that Leeds Trinity engages with firms not just to secure placements for students; employers actively participate in forums hosted by the university, providing industry-relevant feedback that is in turn used to design some of its courses.

For example, as part of its placement preparation programme, the university combines feedback from both students and placement providers to help the former make the most out of their placement. Employers, on the other hand, with some assistance from peer facilitators and other external professionals, help soon-to-be graduates get prepared to work outside their comfort zones and in a real-life work environment.

These initiatives have proven to be greatly beneficial to the Leeds Trinity graduate.

One survey conducted through the university found that 90 percent of their students felt their career prospects had improved due to their work placement. And it’s safe to say that their perception is correct, as an incredible 95 percent of all graduates are either employed or undertaking further study within six months of graduating.

In addition to that, Leeds Trinity says that about 60 percent of its placements have also led to further part-time work, volunteering opportunities, graduate internships or graduate freelance and full-time jobs.

In today’s volatile jobs market, statistics like these really do speak for themselves.

Volunteer work that counts in more ways than one

Volunteering is also a significant element of the Leeds Trinity experience. Employers view volunteering positively, taking it as a sign that candidates are well-rounded and experienced.

Leeds Trinity is a vinspired award validator, which means that any volunteer work students complete as part of their curriculum will be recognised by one of the UK’s leading youth volunteering charities. In other words, the volunteer work students engage in will form a prominent feature on their professional CV.

Volunteering is a great way to build experience in their chosen field of study. Of course, at the same time, student volunteers are also contributing to a worthy cause. In that sense, volunteer work completed through Leeds Trinity University counts in many more ways than one.

Professional support that goes beyond the classroom

Professional placements and advanced volunteer opportunities help prepare students for the workforce, allowing them to develop skills and gain confidence.

But that’s only part of the equation.

Leeds Trinity also provides a host of support services that extend beyond the classroom.

This begins with the Leeds Trinity University Job Shop, which advertises employment opportunities for students. Since these vacancies are co-ordinated through the university, they’re conducive to student life. Whether it’s looking for a part-time job to fit in around their studies or a full-time summertime position, students will find something to suit them in the comprehensive Job Shop.

Even after they graduate, students enjoy ongoing professional support through the Trinity Enterprise Centre. This is an extremely useful resource that provides vital information students need to establish and develop their professional profile. These are some of the services offered:

  • Information related to starting a business, working freelance or funding operations
  • Space to work on the student’s business development, with access to IT facilities, specialist software, meeting rooms and other resources
  • Specialist support from business mentors
  • Frequent workshops focusing on marketing, finance, legal issues, and more
  • Networking opportunities

The Trinity Enterprise Centre is like a secret weapon for students and graduates, providing them with a decided advantage over their peers when they enter the workforce.

Powerful careers begin in the classroom at Leeds Trinity University

Fresh graduates have been coping with a highly competitive employment market for several years. This makes it all the more important for university students to actively seek out programmes that provide more than an academic education. It’s also essential that they’re establishing and honing professional skills throughout the course of their studies.

Leeds Trinity boasts impressive employability rates, and the reason for this is clear: for Leeds Trinity students, professional development begins in the classroom – but by no means is that where it ends. Instead, it’s enriched through highly relevant placements and an enviable suite of supporting services. With that in mind, it’s easy to see why graduates from Leeds Trinity enjoy such a strong advantage when it comes to securing high-powered employment early in their professional careers.

All images courtesy of Leeds Trinity University