On a remarkable and surprisingly nice autumn day (considering the weather of the previous week), the University’s Great Hall played host to the next of the Careers & Employability Centre’s fair… the Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) fair. These fairs are a perfect opportunity to start the process of networking with some of the largest employers in this particular field, speaking face to face with the people “in the know” within the various companies.
Jaguar Land Rover were typically on form out the front of the Great Hall, drawing students in with some nice new shiny cars, while other companies kept it on a lower key note with some freebies being handed out to students when they inquired at the various stands.
Every company that was represented at the fair was perfectly turned out, with the perfect combination of information and colour on their stands; all complimented with a variety of freebies from a squeaky duck to coffee mugs and pens. There was a strong variety of companies present at the fair alongside the University’s own Careers & Employability Centre ranging from the old faithful (Jaguar Land Rover and Deloitte), to other well known companies such as Blackberry (Research in Motion), IBM, BP and the Royal Navy.
The atmosphere during the fair, starting at a very reasonable 11am, seemed to be very positive. In particular IBM saying “there’s lot of interest in this fair today, so far we’ve had a steady stream of people coming up to ask questions”. This was also backed up by several students who visited the fair, in particular a friend of mine who is a 3rd year mechanical engineering student)who commented that the fair “was really helpful and was a great way to find out and understand what the companies can offer me in terms of undergraduate placements and careers post-graduation”.
Several companies, while on my travels around the fair also stated that preparation from some of the students was very positive. By this they meant that there were numerous questions that were posed to those manning the stalls were different from the stock questions asked by the majority of students. This showed a willingness and drive from students of the University of Birmingham in finding out opportunities for placements or graduate jobs which is needed in the current economic climate.
Both Land Rover and IBM commented on the drive of the students while at the fair, with Land Rover stating that even students with the wrong degree classification were asking about potential placements/graduate opportunities. They said that this was very positive from the students and that it was with regret that they had to turn them away due to the high demand for engineers and the small number of placements available. The Blackberry stall also had a strong diversity of students, with every single year of study going to talk to them, and degree courses ranging from computer science to geology and chemistry. The Blackberry representatives managed to take it in their stride regarding all the questions based around the server going down in Slough, and even managed to crack a few jokes themselves about it!
Finally the University of Birmingham’s own Careers & Employability Centre was doing good trade throughout the fair as well, with a full schedule of CV checking and presentations demonstrating their own >>PROGRESS>> service, both helping you provide that killer combination of strong CV packed with practical applications of said skills, while the CV checking service provided constructive criticism regarding structure and content of the CV.
So another productive careers fair is completed, and hopefully those in the future will be just as successful!
Patrick, Final Year Undergraduate