Policies and Code of Practice

This section includes PDC policies on Collection Management, Confidentiality and Data Protection, e-guidance, Equal Opportunities, Evaluation, Guidance and Health and Safety.

We adhere to our nationally recognised AGCAS Codes of Practice

Brunel PDC Collection Management Policy

The PDC Information Library is located on the first floor of the Bannerman Centre. Opening hours are on the PDC website and on display in PDC and computers are available for student use within the PDC.

Information Management

Information Officer and Information Assistant look after the PDC information resources – hard copy, a selection of the PDC website material and respond to student queries; Campus Communications Officer oversees  website and social media developments; Receptionist responds to student queries.

Formats include

  • Websites and electronic data
  • Printed materials – careers related books, literature from professional organisations including AGCAS/ Prospects/Targetjobs, pamphlets, reports, journals, local newspaper
  • DVDs – on job-hunting (streamed via website)
  • Careers sites– eg Going Global, Prospects Career Planner,  iworkat
  • Social media - Facebook, PDC InfoBytes blog (events, resources and information for students), Twitter, LinkedIn - specialist groups

We reserve the right to select and retain only those items which are of an appropriate standard and level for our main client groups.

Factors affecting the information collection:

  • Selection
  • Acquisition
  • Balance of hard copy/electronic information provision
  • Access – ie how information is signposted
  • Maintenance
  • Preservation
  • Rationalisation of information

PDC aims to provide electronic resources and hard copy information for our students to help them increase their employability skills and gain work experience. Services are confidential to students and other users.

Purpose

A service is provided for current Brunel students – undergraduates and postgraduates, also for Brunel graduates in the first two years after graduation. 

PDC aim to:

  • Provide core information resources which are free of bias
  • Regularly review the information provided to retain currency, accuracy and relevance
  • Develop and maintain resources in electronic and hard copy formats as appropriate

Budgetary, space and staff resourcing constraints determine collection priorities.

Students from other universities may use the PDC information room resources and the open-access information on the PDC website, as may Brunel graduates of more than two years since their graduation.

Electronic Resources

Provision of information on the PDC website. The website currently includes:

  • Occupational links for sixty different career options, streamed AGCAS DVDs, information on postgraduate study, information for international students, working overseas, disability weblinks and psychometric testing links. Also on the PDC website are listings of careers events on campus and pdfs of careers publications – eg sample CVs compiled by Careers Consultants and booklets on CVs/applications and interviews   

New weblinks added as resources for the PDC website should:

  • Meet the needs of our clients
  • Be in line with services provided by the PDC
  • Not be discriminatory or at odds with the University's Equal Opportunities policy
  • Add value
  • Be in an appropriate format
  • Be up-to-date or still relevant
  • Compliment and not duplicate existing information on the PDC website or other PDC resource materials. Any duplication that does occur requires a judgement call on whether the resource adds value in each context

Database:

A vacancy database is used for all immediate graduate vacancies, graduate training schemes, part-time and vacation work, employer contacts and placement opportunities. Employers can add vacancy details using an online system which is then checked and made live by PDC staff. Students can browse the jobs online. 

Social media:

The PDC uses Facebook, Twitter and LindedIn to communicate with our students and runs a careers and events blog (which gives details of careers events off campus and careers information in bite-sized formats). 

DVDs

AGCAS DVDs are streamed for students to watch online on the PDC website.

Books

Books are sourced from specialist book providers (eg Trotman, Kogan Page), from Phoenix careers magazine, by recommendation from PDC staff/students, from professional bodies, AGCAS,  and websites, from recommendations via social media, eg LinkedIn, from bookshops, magazines or newspaper articles or articles in professional journals.

The selection of books takes into account cost and anticipated use of the materials by student client group.

Careers books are available to read in the PDC library. There are books on: applications, interviews, aptitude tests, career skills; types of jobs; working abroad; books about further study; law; media and performance. A complete listing of all books is kept for reference.

Books are loaned on a short term loan system by information and reception staff as required. 

Books over three years old are kept if felt to be still useful and labelled to alert students accordingly and are reviewed on an annual basis.

Professional Library

A Professional Library is available for use by the Careers Consultants and other staff within the PDC containing labour market information, government reports, skills development etc. A log-in/log-out borrowing system is used for university staff both in and outside the service who may wish to borrow the information.

Update

Information resources are developed to meet new student needs and changing student profile.

  • Career options links are reviewed on an ongoing basis as is diversity/equal opportunities, postgraduate study and work/study abroad information
  • Careers books are reviewed on an ongoing basis with an annual overall review 
  • Handouts of job hunting information for students – advice on CVs, interviews, sample CVs etc are compiled and updated on a rolling programme by Careers Consultants, with some input from the information staff
  • Information Officer has compiled an information annual activity cycle of various individual activities and dates of receipt of careers information resources  

 Information support

Information staff provide support for students to enable them to use the resources effectively.

Careers Consultants and information staff introduce students to relevant information sources to develop their independent research. This includes one-to-one interactions and group tours and curriculum sessions highlighting relevant resources. It also includes outreach information sessions accompanied by student reps, taking information about the service out on to the campus to try to reach non-users and to alert users to activities organised by the PDC team – eg careers fairs, workshops etc.

The PDC use student reps on a regular basis at events etc, to help inform students about the service and the different ways they can be helped throughout their time at the university – careers advice and information, placements and work through the Job Shop.

User Feedback

Feedback from students is gained by questionnaire – both in the service and at events. An online questionnaire system is used in the service and paper questionnaires at careers events to gather feedback. Also, targeted focus groups are run jointly by student reps and PDC staff.

Feedback is also obtained from having a suggestions box in the PDC library and from having feedback forms always available. On the feedback form there is an option for students to put down their email address so that we can reply to them individually re their query – if they wish to give us their address. The forms are checked by information and marketing staff.

There is also a chance for students to give feedback via the PDC website,  the PDC Facebook site and the blog.

We respond to student suggestions by informing them of actions taken in response to their requests, any limitations in resources we can provide and how we have addressed them if appropriate.

The PDC runs a ‘Quality week’ once every term. Student clients complete an online questionnaire to obtain their views on the information resources available, the PDC layout and their feedback on sessions with Careers Consultants and Placement and Internship Advisers. 

Sourcing of Information Resources

  • Professional careers information provider resources – eg Targetjobs/Prospects/InsideCareers
  • Professional bodies
  • Websites
  • Recommendations via social media - eg LinkedIn specialist groups
  • AGCAS email
  • Other universities’ careers websites
  • Bibliographic sources from books/journals/articles
  • Publishers’ promotional literature
  • Careers Consultant/student recommendation
  • Libraries (maybe specialist)
  • Bookshops
  • Information training days/careers fairs/events
  • Magazines/online articles
  • Newspaper articles
  • Professional journals/online articles
  • Phoenix online magazine for careers specialists
  • Amazon (re books)
  • Specialist publications
  • Unsolicited information received in the PDC

Selection criteria used for non-book information resources

  • Content
  • Functionality
  • Ease of use
  • Cost
  • Integration into existing service
  • Hidden cost (eg staff time factor)
  • Format
  • Technical requirements – eg need for IT support
  • Physical layout of information rooms
  • Authentication/reliability of source

Information Review

Information is reviewed regularly in light of evolving user need, to ensure relevancy, to update and in light of constraints of space and availability in alternative electronic formats.

Referral

Should our service not be able to meet client needs we have agreed referrals procedures. We invite representatives from other services within Brunel to update us on what they are doing.  

Alternative Formats

We will do our best to supply alternative formats or refer the client to other suitable resources. More detail can be provided on request.

The Assistive Technology Centre (ATC) at Brunel can be accessed for further advice re formats.

Replacement of Information 

The Information library will replace purchased items missing from the collection if it is still felt to be an appropriate renewal.

Policy Review

This statement is reviewed annually.

Brunel Professional Development Centre Disability Policy

We welcome students with disabilities and our aim is to offer support in all aspects of your career, from finding part-time jobs to work placements and career planning. We aim to make our services and the information we provide accessible to all.

In order to achieve this we will: 

  • Work closely with the Disability and Dyslexia Service (DDS) and the Assistive Technology Centre (ATC), seeking their advice where appropriate and acting on their recommendations
  • Maintain an accessible centre and work proactively with Estates and Bannerman Tenants group to anticipate and solve any physical obstacles
  • Ensure that our services are publicised widely on our website and in emails and newsletters
  • Invite you to let us know of any adjustments that are needed when booking into workshops, appointments, registering for placements
  • Work responsively without being intrusive, respecting that you have the right to choose whether or not to disclose your disability to us
  • Make reasonable adjustments to existing service provision and provide additional services appropriate to individual requirements
  • Provide or organise on-going disability training for all Professional Development Centre (PDC) staff
  • Review the accessibility of the PDC website on a regular basis by seeking the views and suggestions of disabled students
  • Provide links to specialist disability organisations from our website
  • Review PDC policies and procedures in light of university policy and changes to legislation

Training sessions and workshops with regard to disability for PDC staff members have included:

  • Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and other SLDs
  • Reasonable Adjustments in the Workplace
  • Helping Clients with Communication Difficulties
  • Access to Work Scheme
  • Impact of Equality Act on Recruitment Processes

PDC Disability Group

The PDC has a Disability Interest Group which was formed to promote the interests of students with disabilities by:

  • Sharing good practice across the three teams of the PDC (but not acting as an “expert” in disability matters)
  • Raising issues relevant to disabled students (eg accessibility of website; monitoring of disabled students use of PDC; ensuring information materials are accessible and inclusive)
  • Keeping a watching brief on disability legislation
  • Working to ensure a consistent standard of service across the PDC (eg consistent processes and procedures)
  • Liaising with DDS and other university disability groups

Feedback from Users

  • Evaluation is carried out during our twice yearly Quality Week Survey which asks users to evaluate the services they have received in Quick Query, guidance appointments, careers library and workshops  
  • The information collected is anonymous allowing students the freedom to make both positive and negative comments/suggestions. Bio data (including disability) is collected which enables us to monitor usage of the service by specific groups
  • PDC evaluation policy and complaints procedure details methods for gaining feedback. To give feedback use our online form
  • We regularly consult with the Disability & Dyslexia Service and Assistive Technology Centre on how to improve our service including our web pages
  • We endeavour to make adjustments based on any feedback we receive on an ongoing basis. View a list of our adjustments

Employer/Placement Vacancies

We adhere to the codes of practice as set out in the guidelines from AGCAS, to work within the AGCAS Equal Opportunities policy and follow this with regard to our own staffing as well as our professional practice.

In addition, Brunel PDC makes every effort to ensure that the vacancy information publicised is accurate. We advise students to clarify all details relating to the vacancy and subsequent employment directly with the employer.

We are proactive in ensuring that the job vacancies we publicise do not discriminate against an individual in any way. We advise students to contact us if they feel that this is not the case. If for a reason related to a disability, students feel that they would have difficulty meeting the essential requirements of the job as advertised, we can advise the student on how to approach employers regarding making reasonable adjustments. We will also provide information and guidelines, where appropriate, to employers on how to make their vacancies and internships accessible to disabled students and signpost to relevant information resources.

The Placement Team works closely with students to empower them to negotiate reasonable adjustments with their placement employers. The Placement Team, Academic Visiting Tutor or DDS mediate between the employer and student should any problems arise.

All registered disabled placement students are invited for a placement support meeting with their Placement Officer and DDS Adviser. An individual action plan and support package is developed with the student to assist them throughout the placement process.

Brunel University is required to produce a Disability Equality Scheme (DES) which outlines the progress made in establishing effective services and support for disabled people. 

12 Month Plan

The PDC works to an action plan which outlines objectives and tasks contingent with the aims of the Disability Group and which is tied into the university Disability Equality Scheme. 

In the last 12 months we have:

  • Contributed to a pre-University study programme for students with disabilities/learning difficulties prior to joining Brunel
  • Made a number of our most heavily used information handouts inclusive
  • Added content relevant to disabled students to the PDC website
  • Liaised with employers and internship providers to maximise placement and employment opportunities for disabled students
  • Delivered a session on Disclosure in conjunction with DDS as part of our Employability Week programme
  • Organised training on Access to Work for all PDC staff
  • Promoted placements to disabled students to encourage greater take up
  • Analysed student swipe card data to compare levels of service take up between disabled and non-disabled students. The results showed that the proportion of disabled students using the PDC was equal to that of non-disabled students

In the next 12 months we will:

  • Continue to work on making our information handouts inclusive
  • Add in further content relevant to disabled students to the PDC
  • Continue to liaise with employers and internship providers to maximise placement and employment opportunities for disabled students 
  • Offer additional disclosure workshops as part of the PDC’s workshop programme
  • Analyse the data from student swipe cards to find out the percentage of students with disabilities undertaking placements compared with that of non-disabled students
  • Explore the potential of our social networking sites to enhance communication with disabled students
  • Continue to promote placements to disabled students to encourage greater take up
  • Assess the new web technology being developed in PDC to see if it offers new ways to enhance service delivery to disabled students, and to exploit new methods of obtaining feedback
  • Identify appropriate training events for PDC staff and update training in line with changes in legislation
  • Work with DDS to find a way of sending targeted information direct to disabled students registered with the service

Brunel PDC Equal Opportunities Policy

The Professional Development Centre is committed to providing services that meet the needs of our clients and promotes equality of opportunity in education, training and employment. This is approached from two different perspectives – the services we offer our students and graduates and the recruitment and development of PDC staff.

PDC fully endorses and operates by the University’s Equal Opportunities Policy which states that:

‘Brunel University London values inclusiveness and confirms its continuing commitment to the principles of equal opportunities in employment, admissions, and in its teaching, learning and research activities. It endeavours to ensure that all members of staff, students, visitors and applicants for employment or study are treated on the basis of their merits and abilities and that no one suffers discrimination or disadvantage regardless of their gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief and age.’

We are members of the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) and work to its professional equal opportunities code of practice which ‘aims to create a culture that respects and values each others’ differences, that promotes dignity, equality and diversity and that encourages individuals to develop and maximise their true potential. We aim to remove any barriers, bias or discrimination that prevent individuals or groups from realising their potential.’

We are also members of the Association for Sandwich Education and Training (ASET) and work to its professional code of practice which requires all members to ensure that the University and employers comply with Equal Opportunities legislation.

We aim to support all students in making the most of their personal potential and in achieving career outcomes that are appropriate to their individual talents, ambitions and interests. We also recognise that some students may face additional challenges in achieving their desired careers and we take extra steps to help those who may face discrimination because of issues such as their age, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, religion, nationality or spent convictions.

In terms of the services that we provide to our clients we have developed the following practical measures

  • Regular review of provision and progress within the department on equal opportunities issues.
  • Having staff with particular responsibility for the promotion of equal opportunities awareness within the team – this includes membership of the university’s Equality and Diversity Advisory Group and the PDC Disability Group.
  • Working actively and proactively with other Brunel departments such as Widening Participation, the Disability and Dyslexia Service and Brunel International to share best practice and promote equal opportunities issues.
  • Active contribution to equal opportunities activities at national level through AGCAS and ASET.
  • Reflecting the diversity of student interests in our careers and placement information and researching new areas to reflect demand.
  • Maintaining a professional library of current research on equal opportunities and graduate employment.
  • Development of an extensive ‘diversity’ area on our website.
  • Refusing to distribute materials that reinforce stereotypes.
  • Supporting students who are considering non-traditional as well as conventional graduate careers.
  • Development of a PDC Statement for disabled students which outlines the services that they can expect from us.
  • Actively participating in University projects such as providing mentors for ethnic minority and disabled students.
  • Regularly providing and disseminating equal opportunities training throughout the staff.
  • Seeking student feedback which is used to adapt our services to reported needs.
  • Working with employers to encourage diversity of recruitment which embraces the skills of all students.
  • Checking that all vacancies advertised on our website on behalf of recruiters meet equality legislation and best practice.
  • Ensuring that all documentation regarding placement activities complies with Equal Opportunities legislation and this includes documents for student and placement providers.

In order to ensure that equality of opportunity among staff members is promoted and discrimination and harassment eliminated, we routinely carry out the following

  • Flexible working hours and job share opportunities are promoted when advertising staff vacancies within the department.
  • Requests for amendments to individual working hours are welcomed in circumstances such as staff returning from maternity leave.
  • Equal opportunities training throughout the department is regularly provided and disseminated.
  • Active and proactive work with other Brunel departments such as Widening Participation enables us to share best practice and promote equal opportunities issues.
  • Two members of the PDC management team have received training in equality impact assessment.
  • One member of the PDC management team is represented on the university’s Equality Impact Assessment Group.
  • Feedback on all PDC policies in terms of equality impact assessment has been sought and acted upon.

Brunel PDC Evaluation Policy

Purpose

Seeking, analysing and acting on feedback is essential in order to review and evaluate the services we offer. Our overall purpose is to improve our user-friendliness and effectiveness without creating ‘evaluation fatigue’.

Where possible, advance consultation on proposed additions or changes to our services determines implementation and practice.

To be useful, feedback needs to invite constructive criticism not self-congratulation and to involve those who are not already committed users of the Service.

Methodology

We require regular feedback from as many different stakeholder groups as possible and also need to balance quantity of feedback (most easily achieved through questionnaires) with depth, focus and diversity of viewpoints. While clients can opt to give anonymous feedback through questionnaires, we particularly invite those who have strong views (positive or negative) to discuss them further with us. Placement staff have frequent contact with students, employers, and School staff as part of the placement process, and verbal feedback has always been an important way to determine the need for change.

We currently use a variety of methods:

Questionnaires and surveys

Evaluation forms are distributed during our twice-yearly Quality weeks which ask users to evaluate the services they have received in Quick Query, guidance appointments, careers library and workshops. The information collected is anonymous allowing students the freedom to make both positive and negative comments/suggestions. Bio data is collected which enables us to monitor usage of the service by specific groups.

We combine Quality weeks with random sampling so that staff are not necessarily aware that students are being asked for feedback on a particular day.

Careers and Placement Fairs provide a convenient way of accessing students who may not be users of other services. Experience suggests that using PDC ambassadors as market research interviewers is more effective at eliciting quality information than student self-completion of questionnaires in the hectic environment of fairs. Fair surveys have included an analysis of what PDC offers and what additional services students would like. We also use more informal methods such as ‘graffiti boards’ so that students can post up their comments on our careers fairs on a post-it note as they are leaving.

All placement students are sent an evaluation form before they commence their placement inviting them to give us feedback. The result of the survey is analysed and recorded for discussions at placement team meetings.

All employers are sent an evaluation form at the end of the placement so that we are better informed of their expectations. This feedback is disseminated to academics and at pre-placement talks so that students understand what employers expect.

We also seek feedback from employers who attend our fairs on all aspects of the day including organisation and the students who attended.

PDC student ambassadors have also carried out an extensive survey of non-PDC users which collated information on the reasons for not using our services and what would make them start.

Careers workshops are routinely evaluated by questionnaire unless there is a specific reason (e.g. the session is very short) not to do so.

Academic staff often attend curriculum-based sessions and we invite their verbal or written feedback.

Focus groups

Focus groups are held to gather student feedback on different aspects of service delivery. We constitute focus groups carefully to represent different client interests in terms of discipline, year groups and particular needs.

A focus group, in partnership with the Assistive Technology Centre, asked disabled students to evaluate the accessibility of our website which enabled us to make significant improvements.

On-line feedback and suggestions box

A ‘Give us your feedback’ form can be found on our website and invites students to provide comments and suggestions on our website, PDC services and anything else they feel is important.

Employers who advertise their vacancies with us are asked to provide feedback on the services they received from us.

A suggestions box is prominently positioned in PDC and provides the opportunity for frank and free-ranging input.

Informal mechanisms

Verbal feedback from students is a normal part of the guidance contracting process which establishes their needs at the outset and checks the extent to which they have been met at the end of the discussion.

Students can also provide feedback to all Placement and Internship Advisers verbally on an on-going basis.

Staff forums

Regular staff and professional issues meetings, annual operational planning and periodic review meetings and functional team meetings enable staff to make suggestions for change or give feedback on all aspects of what we do.

We have recently developed a system of peer review so that staff can provide feedback on each other’s performance and share good practice.

Complaints procedure

Please refer to the Student Complaints Procedure for further information.

Acting on feedback

Results of Quality week questionnaires and surveys are collated by the Deputy Directors of Careers and Placement and discussed at the next Careers/Placement meetings. Many changes have been made as a result of feedback gathered.

We respond directly to anyone who provides contact details on their questionnaire.

Workshop evaluation forms are stored with the session notes to ensure that comments are noted and adjustments made. Adjustments may be both to the workshop content and to the pre-publicity and initial contracting with students to ensure clarity over purpose and learning outcomes.

Where possible, compliments are used in pre-course publicity and web pages are currently in development as a place to present student testimonials.

Neutral or negative feedback on one to one guidance is rare but is discussed by the Director/Deputies with the person concerned. Professional issues meetings provide a forum for Careers Consultants to seek advice on client queries which they found difficult to handle.

Brunel PDC Freedom of Information Policy

From 1st January 2005 the University has been subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000. This documents aims to outline the responsibilities of the PDC in relation to the FOI act. Full details of the Universities policy can be found at http://www.brunel.ac.uk/about/administration/information-access/freedom-of-information

External Requests for Information – Definitions

“Routine” or “Business as Usual” requests (for example a request for a PDC information leaflet, copy of an example CV, or DLHE data) are handled in the usual way and information is provided to the recipient as requested by the PDC.

“Formal” FOI requests (for example how many students have been placed in jobs, how many employers the PDC engage with) are handled by the Information Access Officer details of which can be found at http://www.brunel.ac.uk/about/administration/information-access/freedom-of-information 

Requests for personal information held by the PDC should be forwarded to the Information Access Officer using the Subject Access Request form which can be found at http://www.brunel.ac.uk/about/administration/information-access/data-protection/

Handling FOI requests

Routine Requests

  • The PDC encourages requests for information via email to careers@brunel.ac.uk although will accept requests via telephone in line with the University procedure.
  • The named Data Protection & Information Officer (DPIO) and main contact for information requests to the PDC is Jane Standley – Director of Careers & Student Employability. In any absence information requests should be directed to Kate Croucher – Deputy Director (Careers), Michelle Kavan – Deputy Director (Placement) or Rebecca Main – Job Shop Manager.
  • Where information is already available on the PDC web pages recipients will be directed to the relevant pages. Where it is not available on the website information will be provided to the recipient within 20 days of receipt of request.
  • A copy of the request will be recorded by the DPIO.

Formal Requests

  • Where a request is considered “formal” it will be passed to the Information Access Officer.  

Brunel PDC Guidance Policy

Covers policies and practices relating to ‘Quick Query’, ‘Drop-in’, guidance appointments and email interactions in relation to our work with Brunel students and graduates (for up to two years after graduation).

The guiding principles of our service are based upon the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) Code of Practice on Guidance.

Our aim is to provide a welcoming and supportive environment where students can receive impartial advice and guidance from professionally qualified staff who follow all established precepts and policies relating to Equal Opportunities and Diversity.

Interactions take place in privacy in designated rooms. The only exception to this is the use of an open booth in the Centre which is used when all other rooms are booked and only with the student’s consent. 

Unless there are exceptional circumstances there is no restriction to the number of times a student or graduate may see a Careers Consultant or Placement/Internship Adviser, however this may not always be possible during busy periods and students with no prior appointments may then take precedence.

Graduates who have moved on to study at other UK universities are encouraged to use the Careers service of their present university and, during busy periods, current students at Brunel may take precedence.

Evaluation is sought on a regular basis – via two, weekly term-time ‘Quality Weeks’ where feedback forms are completed, collated and the findings discussed in team meetings. Feedback forms are also handed out on an ad hoc basis outside quality weeks. Resulting actions are communicated to students via our website and in notices displayed in the Professional Development Centre (PDC).

Careers Quick Query

Quick Query is an intentionally short appointment dealing with queries that can’t be answered by information or reception staff and is hosted by the team of Careers Consultants. It is part of the guidance process and might be a self-contained intervention or lead to a longer more in-depth appointment or other activity.

The first point of contact for guidance is usually through Quick Query although some students may wish to make appointments direct with their subject discipline Careers Consultant (see Guidance Appointments) or via email (see E-Guidance).

In term-time, Quick Query is currently provided over a four hour daily (Monday-Friday) period. In vacation this is reduced to two hours daily (Monday-Friday). Students receive a minimum 15 minute appointment time although we may experiment with timings and duration in response to student feedback.

Placement pre-arranged appointments

Placement/Internship Advisers advise students on all aspects of the placement process including applications, CV writing, attending assessment centres and interview techniques. They also provide general advice on placement opportunities and information on employers. Students can meet their Placement/Internship Adviser via pre-arranged appointment made using an online booking system.

Office hours are publicised on Blackboard Learn where students registered on a course with placement can find a relevant module giving essential information.

Job Shop

Job Shop provides open access (drop in) to students and can provide general advice on finding part-time and vacation work, work experience, limited information on immigration implications and working in the UK and work related queries such as tax, national insurance and employment rights.

Guidance appointments

All Brunel students have access to impartial and client centred careers guidance and support. Our aim is to empower the student to make their own career decisions and take responsibility for their own career planning and progress.

Students are able to book guidance appointments with their subject specialist Careers Consultant. They may also be referred during the Quick Query process.

Appointments may be followed up by email correspondence and if the student wishes to keep notes the Careers Consultant will help as required.

We can also offer guidance via email, telephone and Skype in cases where a student is unable to come to the PDC in person.

E-guidance

We also respond to student queries via email. These are received from the careers@brunel.ac.uk (Careers Consultants) and jobshop@brunel.ac.uk (Job Shop staff) email account and from individual requests sent direct to Careers Consultants, Job Shop staff and Placement/Internship Advisers.

Although we can help by email it may sometimes be appropriate to follow-up initial emails by telephone or in person. This is particularly appropriate for CV checking.

We usually respond to email requests within three working days providing the Careers Consultant, Placement/Internship Adviser or Job Shop staff is not on annual leave or away from the office. Staff use automated replies and in these instances another colleague will reply in their absence although it may take longer than the three day response time. 

Where students request guidance via email every effort is made to ensure that the information and advice contained in emails is accurate and up to date. However, any suggestions made should not be viewed as conclusive and we advise individuals to follow up any recommendations as part of their own research. This is outlined in a closing statement at the end of each email.

Referral

Any member of staff may, in the course of his/her interaction with students and graduates, suggest other sources of help, advice and information which might be internal or external to the university.

This might occur in cases where PDC is not the appropriate source of assistance or where additional help to that which PDC can provide is required. The referral might come in response to a direct enquiry from an individual or it might be that a need becomes apparent during an interaction with a member of staff.

It is not our normal practice to contact another service on behalf of a client to recommend or facilitate a meeting or appointment. We will provide contact details and, if applicable, explain the benefits of accessing the service in question to the client. PDC staff work closely with other student support departments and do our best to maintain up-to-date information about the services they offer and opening times.

One exception to this relates to disclosure of disability. If a student discloses a disability for the first time and gives their permission, we will contact the Disability and Dyslexia Service (DDS) on their behalf so that they can then be followed up and registered with the Service.

We will not record or follow up referrals (unless there are exceptional circumstances).

Confidentiality

PDC acts independently of colleges, academic disciplines and other Brunel departments. Students and graduates can feel confident in discussing any aspect of their career or student experience in the knowledge that we will not reveal information about an individual to academic staff or to anyone else outside of the department without an individual’s permission.

The single exception is that we would disclose to appropriate staff within the university information which suggested that a student might harm themselves or others. In this case there is a duty of care issue and confidentiality cannot be maintained. This would be explained to the individual at the time of the request.

Brunel PDC Marketing Policy

Aim

  • To establish the PDC as a market leader in information, advice and guidance for all our target client groups.

Objectives

  • To research and respond to the changing needs of our clients with attractive and appropriate services.
  • To encourage more students to develop their employability and experience early in their degree.
  • To target non-users.
  • To promote equality of opportunity.
  • To maximise budget utilisation and measure effectiveness.
  • To understand our own strengths and weaknesses and those of competitors in order to provide a superior service.

Target groups

  • Brunel students who may be targeted differently by different parts of the PDC.
  • Employers.
  • Specific student groups with particular needs such as students with disabilities, international students etc.
  • The University community.

Methodology

  • Employ a proactive and holistic approach ensuring that we think and plan for the impact of clients needs on the services as a whole and execute marketing activities well ahead of deadlines.
  • Forward plan client research to capitalise on opportunities for gathering opinion from large numbers of people eg at fairs and other major events.
  • Reduce information overload by taking a ‘just in time’ approach to promoting appropriate services to our different client groups.
  • Create month by month student marketing calendars for each part of the service and co-ordinate through the Marketing Group.
  • Employ multimedia approach that embraces podcasts, dvd, social networking sites, e-vision etc and events as well as materials.
  • Increased use of positive feedback from service users eg employers helping to promote us to other employers.
  • Increased use of intermediaries to help convey key messages to clients eg academics and UBS encouraging timely use of the PDC amongst students, business organisations helping us reach employers.
  • Utilise joint activity and promotion with other Brunel support services and seek employer sponsorship wherever possible to maximise impact and value for money.
  • Involve clients in development and use formative evaluation of materials/events for their peer group eg getting student ambassador input to new student materials.
  • Increase discipline focus in student materials and events and promote to academics as well as students.
  • Ensure that relevant staff are trained in skills needed to deliver modern communications eg Dreamweaver, U Link etc.
  • Undertake annual evaluation of marketing effectiveness by the Marketing Group to establish value for money/effort.
  • Ensure linkage to overall PDC planning and activity through monthly input to Management Team meetings.
  • Marketing strategies and activities take account of feedback from users e.g. talks from students who had been on placement were introduced into the placement induction session after several students had suggested that this was the best way of promoting the benefits.

National minimum wage & unpaid work experience policy

What types of vacancies can I advertise with the PDC?

We recognise that employers recruit for “real” positions and expect students and graduates to be able to quickly adapt into the role. Students need valuable work experience as evidence of their skills, commitment and understanding of the industry. We are happy to advertise all legitimate vacancies that meet with current employment law, which includes the National Minimum Wage Act (1998).

National Minimum Wage (NMW)

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) is a minimum amount per hour which most workers in the UK are entitled to be paid. With a few exceptions, it applies to all workers over the compulsory school leaving age. The rate is reviewed every year and any changes take place in October. All employers have to pay the NMW to workers who are eligible for it – there are no exceptions for different types or size of employer. Where an employee works in the UK makes no difference to the level of NMW a worker should receive.

There are different levels of NMW, which depend on your age. The rates from 1st October 2015 are:

  • Adults (which means people aged 21 and over) receive the full rate of £6.70 per hour
  • Workers aged 18 to 20 inclusive, receive a rate of £5.30 per hour (often known as the developmental rate)
  • Young workers receive £3.87 per hour (often known as the youth rate). A young worker is someone who is older than school leaving age and younger than 18.

As an employer, you are breaking the law if you do not comply with the National Minimum Wage Act. To find out who is entitled to the National Minimum Wage please look at the information on Directgov.

Can I advertise unpaid opportunities with the PDC?

Due to current legislation surrounding unpaid vacancies and National Minimum Wage, Brunel’s PDC will not be able to advertise your vacancy if it is unpaid unless you are a registered charity or statutory body. Our position is in line with our professional Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) body and is explained in their position statement

We require all employers advertising opportunities with us to pay the National Minimum Wage unless covered by one of the exemptions currently in place and allowed by the Act. HM Revenue & Customs have detailed information about employers PAYE obligations including National Minimum Wage.

We ask that you consider the implications for your organisation of not making all positions, including internships, accessible to anybody with the skills and potential to succeed and avoiding restrictions on social mobility.

For information regarding work experience, internships and National Minimum Wage DirectGov provides clarification. 

Are there any exceptions to National Minimum Wage?

There are some situations where exemptions apply and Directgov can provide more information.

What other options are available to me?

We know that without experience, particularly in sectors such as media, advertising and PR, it is very difficult to compete for work and for many students unpaid work experience provides a route in.

Work experience can take many different forms with some employers offering established work experience schemes for six months to a year. These are generally limited to students who have taken a placement year as part of their course and tend to focus on a particular subject or year group.

The Placement team within the PDC can provide information about recognised schemes. Accredited undergraduate placements (6-12 months full-time) generally need to meet specific requirements and although placements are exempt from NMW, they are generally paid. Further details and general information including expectations for the type of work and salary can be provided by contacting the Placement team at placement-team@brunel.ac.uk.

We also recognise that some employers are able to offer paid work experience during the vacation periods, on a part-time basis throughout the year or for a short period to current students and recent graduates. The Job Shop within the PDC is able to advertise such vacancies and can be contacted at jobshop@brunel.ac.uk.

Please feel free to contact us if you would like to further discuss your needs at 01895 266840 or careers@brunel.ac.uk or on one of the email addresses listed above.

Where can I find additional information?

Additional information for employers can be found at:

Brunel PDC Staff Development Policy

All PDC staff are encouraged to develop their potential and career in terms of knowledge, skills, personal abilities, competencies and understanding, in line with the aims and objectives of the Placement & Careers Service. Training embraces a wide range of learning experiences, both within and outside the workplace, and is a continuing process. It can help individuals:

  • To identify and develop their potential
  • To respond positively to an ever-changing HE environment and developing job role
  • To increase their job satisfaction
  • To improve their self-confidence, motivation and initiative
  • To extend their range of performance.

Staff training can thus help to create professional staff who are skilled and effective in their performance, able to take on new challenges and progress in their career.

Responsibilities

PDC Director

  • Identifying major training needs arising from new initiatives and new demands on the Service. Many of these will become obvious at annual planning days.
  • Sourcing appropriate training provision within the available budget and ensuring value for money.
  • Ensuring that all staff receive training regardless of length of service and whether they work full or part-time and that all are competent to deliver a high quality service.
  • Ensuring appropriate induction, mentor support and intensive initial training as required for new staff.
  • Conducting an annual review to ensure equitable and appropriate access to training for all staff.
  • Liaison with line managers to ensure that staff are appropriately supported and that training undertaken is relevant to their role
  • Ensuring that all staff undertake regular training in issues such as equal opportunities and health and safety as required by the University.

Line Managers

  • Supporting the development of the staff whom they line manage and identifying appropriate training opportunities through Performance Management reviews which are conducted at least annually.
  • Identifying appropriate internal courses wherever possible to make best use of staff time and budget.
  • Providing constructive feedback on an individual’s performance to date; setting clear work objectives that are mutually agreed through two-way discussion and planning of the individual’s role and responsibilities in the context of their professional development, through performance management meetings and day to day liaison.
  • Relating staff responsibilities and training needs to the annual action plan.
  • Ensuring minimum disruption to the Service by ensuring wherever possible that staff in similar roles are not out for training on the same day.
  • Ensuring that the staff whom they manage are competent to deliver a high quality service.
  • Alerting the Director to any unmet training needs or cause for concern in relation to competence.
  • Providing opportunities to gain practical ‘on-job’ development experience e.g. peer observation, to complement training.
  • Gaining feedback on the effectiveness of induction and other training.

Individual staff

  • Keeping themselves updated and informed about developments in their own field or area of work.
  • Thinking about their own training and development needs and career aspirations and being prepared to devote time and energy to meeting those needs.
  • Alerting their line managers and/or the Director to any concerns they have about their ability to perform the tasks required of them so that support and training can be provided.
  • When attending external training courses, disseminating information and materials of the training to other members of staff at PDC at an appropriate PDC, Placement or Careers meeting or at a separate meeting if more time is required.  
  • If a written report is required, writing the report within 4 weeks (unless otherwise agreed with the Line Manager and saving the document in the shared drive.
  • Maintaining an up to date calendar of training attended in the training folder on the shared drive.
  • Completing a training request form for external training and consulting their line manager before booking internal training.

Essential Training

  • Equal Opportunities: all staff must attend EO training once a year
  • Disability Awareness: all staff must attend Disability Awareness training at least once
  • Health & Safety: all staff must attend Health & Safety training at least once
  • Display Screen: all staff must attend this training at least once 

Page last updated: Wednesday 23 September 2015