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Better together

Week 22

4 February 2019

There's more to uni than lectures and parties. Make the most of the business and institution partnerships on offer and they'll open a world of opportunity for you, both as a student and once you've graduated.

When looking at universities, you’ve probably checked out the course, how far it is from home, and what the nightlife is like.


However, it’s worth thinking a little more long term and looking into the relationships that universities have with businesses or other institutions, as this could seriously impact where you end up working once you’ve finished your studies.

What are business partnerships?

Quite often, unis will team up with local and international organisations for a ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ type of agreement. The business gets university resources and bright ideas from students, and students have access to valuable work experience, plus live brief experience and placements as part of their course.

Most universities will have their own job board, with employers registering the roles they have available. These are the best place to find part-time or campus jobs, placements, or jobs or placements for once you graduate.

More importantly, they’ll save you time, as they’re the easiest way of checking out the partnerships and relationships a university has with employers. 

What are partner institutions?

If you’ve ever thought about studying abroad, this part will interest you. Universities often list the other institutions they work with to offer exchange placements. As an example, they may work with a business school in Denmark, or a computing course in Portugal.

Studying abroad is generally something you do in your second year of university with the agreement of your course leader. You’ll need to arrange your own transport, transfers and accommodation though.

What kind of opportunities are out there?

Using Solent as an example, a great business prospect to take advantage of if you’re studying sport, coaching or football is the university’s partnership with Saints FC. Students can apply for a range of volunteering or work experience roles, and some have even gone on to work at the club.

If media or journalism is more your thing, for the last 13 years, Solent students have been filming and providing other assistance at Glastonbury festival

What’s more, Southampton is home to many large businesses, from B&Q to Carnival’s headquarters to the smaller businesses in and around the city.

If you’re all about the je ne sais quoi of other countries, there's a whole list of places you could go.


Why is this important?

It’s always worth considering the future while you’re at uni, and if you go to a place with links in the industry you want to get into, you’d be silly not to take advantage.

Most importantly, if you’ve had work experience at a company and made an impression, they are much more likely to choose you over graduates with a similar CV to yours.

It's a similar situation if you've studied abroad. Even if it’s just for a semester, you’re more likely to have picked up some language skills, and you’ll have shown you’re more adaptable, appreciative of other cultures, and able to cope with the stresses that living in another country can bring.

On an even better note, according to research by Go International in 2015, students who have worked or studied abroad are less likely to be unemployed when they graduate, and are more likely to earn more than the graduates who didn’t.

Tasks for this week

  • Look at the universities you have applied for and find out what business links they have. Plan how you might like to take advantage of these links.
  • Make a plan for your work experience over the duration of your course. In some industries, such as finance, there are competitive internships you need to apply for in your first year.
  • Take a look at your university’s partner institutions, or opportunities through Erasmus. Is there anywhere you’d like to study?
  • Follow your university on social for the latest news and info.