Finished university? Now what?

Student Retention

There’s a lot that comes with being a student, that often most aren’t prepared for. Despite the growing list of benefits for students in this country, from student discounts, tax allowances and the comfortable bubble of ‘all bills included’, students are faced with a lot of issues that are often overlooked by the government, the general public and institutions. With issues such as low housing standards, a continuing lack of support due to budget cuts and a breakdown of communication with the institutions and the employers, it can be hard for a student to feel prepared for the big bad world when their course is finally over.

Student retention is a nationwide issue, but when a city with a fifth of it’s population is made up of students, it’s obvious how important it is for the local economy to continue to feed jobs and opportunities to the thousands of fresh faced graduates. With Plymouth University boasting one of the largest in the country, and Plymouth College of Art poised to receive university status in the next year, the city is set to swell with students over the next few years. With the help of bodies such as NUS, students are better equipped now more than ever to understand and defend their rights, but often a feeling of isolation can creep in once the graduation caps have hit the ground.

With Plymouth University scoring an 89% success rate of employment or further study after attendance, and with the University College Plymouth St Mark and St John scoring a whopping 93%*, it’s clear to see that the opportunities are out there, but just not on our doorsteps. Local recruitment agency Upgrad, who specialise in helping recent graduates get on the career ladder, have been working hard to make opportunities more accessible. Utilizing the mobile generation, Upgrad send you text and emails to alert you of upcoming jobs available to you, as well as assisting a network of graduates, supporting local businesses and encouraging entrepreneurship and enterprise. Being graduates themselves, they know the struggles of day to day life once the university is no longer your second home, and it can often be a struggle faced alone. If you would like to receive updates, text UPGRAD to 66777.

Emily Dymond (L) and Rosie Drake-Knight

Emily Dymond (L) and Rosie Drake-Knight

Two graduates who have been working hard against all odds are Emily Dymond and Rosie Drake-Knight, the brains behind local craft market Native Makers. After the success of their festive market in December, they’ve decided to expand further to the Devonport Guildhall for a summer of arts and crafts on June 6th. Rosie, Textile Design graduate of Falmouth University told us “On graduating, both Emily and I faced the struggle of finding a suitable selling platform in Plymouth, so we decided to create one ourselves. Native Makers is specifically designed to support young, local artisans.” Illustration graduate of Plymouth College of Art, Emily says, “The popularity of our first market was unimaginable. We knew that Plymouth was missing an event like ours, but we had no idea how great the attendance and feedback would be.” If you would like to know more about Native Makers, find them on Facebook or email nativemakersdevon@gmail.com

*Statistics taken from http://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/jul/04/which-graduates-are-finding-work

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