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Two students walking into the Careers Office in teh Palatine Centre

We have been named as one of the top universities in the UK for Work-Based Learning, with a new award from leading job simulation platform Forage. The award recognises our position at the forefront of the work-based learning transformation taking place in higher education by honouring the top institutions innovating to help set students up for career success.

Forage announced that Durham ranked 9th on its inaugural list celebrating the top universities providing students with outstanding work-based learning opportunities. The Awards recognise the top 30 institutions in the UK that have excelled in driving student engagement, early participation and faculty involvement in work-based learning. Forage independently analysed the experiential learning offerings at over 100 universities.

Developing skills

Recent surveys provide overwhelming evidence highlighting the importance of work-based learning. 86% of students said ‘getting a better job’ is the primary reason they attend university and 87% of employers said they’re facing a skills gap or expect to be unable to find the talent they need in the next five years. This award highlights the work of our  Careers and Enterprise team in working closely with employers, to help equip students with the skills and experience they need for their future careers.

Careers and Enterprise liaise with a wide range of employers to facilitate work experience opportunities, internships and placement years for students. The aim is to provide students with the opportunity to gain a broad range of skills that employers are looking for. The team also help to develop bespoke opportunities, exclusively available to our students and advertise extensive work experience opportunities through their dedicated Student Services Portal. The Team also support students to understand requirements of specific roles and develop excellent application documents as well as providing a regular point of contact during the work-based learning experience.

Essential support for students

Laura Dorian, Acting Director for Careers and Enterprise explained why the University places such importance on work experience; “learning is essential to support our students to develop their skills and knowledge to be ready for graduate employment. The Careers and Enterprise team have worked to substantially develop our work experience offer to students with bespoke internship programmes, exclusive opportunities with employers, funded programmes and established placement year opportunities. We are already seeing the impact of this with students and employers and are delighted this has been recognised by Forage.”

The value to students is clear, as Sing Wai Cheung, a Politics, Philosophy and Economics student, currently on a placement year working with Careers and Enterprise explains; “My placement experience has been invaluable in giving me a varied work experience that helps me prepare for the transferable skills that I need for any future career. I got to take charge of the project to increase SME engagement, building my confidence in project management in particular. My colleagues are friendly and always happy to help, plus I get to stay at the university whilst I’m working!’

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