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Placements? Speak to those older students on the course

29 Mar 2021 | Vianna Renaud In the final piece in our series on employability, Vianna Renaud, Placement Development Advisor for the Faculty of Media and Communication at Bournemouth University and ASET Trustee, shares her thoughts on the potential impact of her research on peer to peer employability coaching and mentoring within the sector.

Throughout February and March we have been sharing blogs and videos from contributors to the 'Employability: breaking the mould' case study compendium. In the final video in the series, Vianna Renaud from Bournemouth University discusses her contribution to the compendium, where she looks at the impact of her research into peer-to-peer coaching and mentoring which aims to improve placement opportunities and experiences for students.

She said: "I say to students, tell me about your placement search, how is it? More often than not they will say 'I lost the will to live'.

"My next question is usually, 'ok, what is on your CV that relates to that?'. And also, most of the time, the student would reply 'there's nothing on my CV'. That's when I realised there was a major disconnect."

It was this realisation that prompted Vianna to think about how placements and students' preparation for placements could be improved, and she decided to try a peer-to-peer mentoring scheme, where final-year students could help first-year students with their placement applications.

"I found seven final-year students to match up with seven first-year students, devised a series of guidelines for four to six different sessions and offered them the opportunity to meet however they wanted.

"The first one would be about the journey, so the final-year student would talk about their personal experiences with their CV, interviews and placement. This created the perfect opportunity for the first-year to think about how they would look for a placement [in the] next year and it went absolutely phenomenally well."

Watch Vianna discuss the project in more detail below:

To find out more about Vianna's peer mentoring programme and its impact, download the 'Employability: breaking the mould' case study compendium, which brings together practices from across the sector to embedding employability in student learning.

Book your place on our Employability Symposium 2021: 3Es for Wicked Problems, 09:30-16:30, Thursday 22 April 2021.

Find out more about Advance HE's work to support institutions prepare graduates for life beyond higher education through effectively embedding employability both in the curriculum and within extra-curricular provision.

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