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Virtual career-boosting opportunities earn DMU two national employability award nominations


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De Montfort University Leicester’s (DMU) career support has been shortlisted for two National Undergraduate Employability (NUE) awards.

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The awards celebrate the achievements of employers, universities and students in creating original, innovative career-focused initiatives, and going the extra mile to support students in finding work experience during the pandemic.

DMU is up for awards in the Best Careers and Employability Service and Best University Placement Service categories.

Through the university’s careers service, DMU Works, students can boost their graduate prospects with industry experience and gain help submitting applications, preparing for tests and undertaking interviews.

Adaptations made during the pandemic and delivery of virtual support were cited in DMU’s nomination, including the launch of careers live chat, increased e-guidance and new CV-checking tool CV360. Last term, students completed more than 34,000 career development activities on the digital DMU Works Skills Hub.

The DMU Works team also reimagined the annual careers and placements fair to showcase employers online and, during the autumn term, helped more than 2,500 students to meet graduate employers through virtual fairs, employer-led talks and individual appointments.

Adele Browne, Head of Graduate Success at DMU, said: "We're excited to be shortlisted in these national awards, which particularly recognise the team’s success in transitioning to virtual delivery.

“It is fantastic how many students continue to take advantage of our careers events, appointments and internships online, gaining experience and thinking ahead to their future.”

The university was also shortlisted in the Best University Placement Service category for helping students to maximise access to work experiences. Opportunities include shorter, flexible placements to fit around individual circumstances, and partnerships with local organisations to integrate students with Leicester’s business community.

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Dan Middler, Senior Placement Manager, said: “We’re delighted to have been recognised as one of the top five university placement services in the UK, and it is testament to the hard work of our fantastic team.

“We worked very quickly with our employer partners to switch almost all physical placements to virtual during the coronavirus pandemic, meaning DMU students have continued to access this vital skills development and make contact with future employers.”

Within a week of the first UK lockdown, DMU Works facilitated short digital placements by connecting students with small businesses in Leicester. Computer Science student Trevor Wood supported local business National Forest E-bike Holidays.

Trevor said “I found this project very useful. I’ve developed skills with a website builder package that I’ve never used before. It’s also been a pleasure to help a start-up small business move their website on from a simple brochure to something more useful to them and their customers.”

Emily Fox, final-year International Relations and Politics student, said that the nominations were ‘very well deserved’. She completed her placement year in marketing and communications at Roca UK with the help of the DMU placements team.

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Emily on her placement. 

She said: "I chose to do a placement as I wanted to gain more real work experience outside my degree and develop a range of transferable skills. Throughout my time at DMU, the careers and placement teams have been invaluable in helping me secure both a Frontrunners internship and a placement year.

“At every point, the DMU Works team has helped me tailor my applications to be the best they can be, and provided me with vital feedback on how to improve in the future.”

Award winners will be announced later this month.

Posted on Thursday 18th February 2021

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