Learning from student voices

Friday 6th December 2019

As team of Higher Education Progression advisers, we are always keen to keep on improving the work we do with students. During our feedback fortnight we collected and analysed feedback from group sessions with 153 students in 7 schools or colleges and one to one guidance sessions with 30 students to see if there was any impact on the students’ views about careers and Higher Education. Here are some key findings from results which include lessons for all practitioners working to support young people making decisions about their future.

1. The majority of students in all sessions gained wider understanding of their careers and education options

2. One to ones were more effective the group sessions in changing perceptions

3. Students valued experimental learning

A key theme that came out of the open questions following group work, was the value to students of doing an activity for themselves, rather than just being taught about it. This is serves as a prompt for all staff working with students to include participatory elements to maximise impact. When asked what was most useful about the sessions, quotes included:

“The research of job roles that you can really achieve”

“Jobs and seeing them instead of being told”

4. Students need support with career planning and decision making

Another key theme that was evident, related to career planning and the help required to understand the options available. With the breadth of options becoming increasingly complex, this is a reminder of the importance of school, college and careers staff, in helping young people navigate effectively and find the right path for them. Quotes included

“I learnt the different paths I can take when I leave school”

“I learnt what different careers involve”

“I am more sure of what I want to do in the future”

5. Don’t forget the basics

Whilst important for sessions to be innovative and cover diverse areas, we still need to ensure the basics are covered and students are empowered with the tools to find out more. When students were asked what had been most useful following a group session, the most popular answer related to websites that could be used to find out about HE options and careers and being shown how to use them effectively. A number of students were surprised that different universities had different entry requirements and that there were still options even when you get a lower grade. Do we make sure we emphasise these factors in our sessions? Following a one to one appointment, a massive 100% of students felt confident they knew how to find out more about the careers and education options discussed indicating that our sessions are empowering young people to continue to research areas they are interested in.

So, is it worth booking a H.E Progression adviser session for your school?

“The whole lesson was useful because everything I was told, I have never been told before” Y9 student, Thrybergh Academy student

“I didn’t know there are as many options are there are” Y10 student Winterhill School

“I feel more positive as Higher Education feels more accessible” Barnsley College student

These quotes suggest it is, so do get in touch to book individual or group sessions and help your students take their next step in their journey of career exploration. You can find contact details of your area based HE Progression adviser on the team section of this website, if you would like to receive a full copy of the report please email Caroline on c.hanson@shu.ac.uk.