Sheffield Hallam University has received a prestigious award for a ‘bold and ambitious’ initiative which supports students into skilled, graduate jobs and professions.

The Strategic Innovation Award was presented to the University at the AGCAS Awards for Excellence showcase webinar.

Sheffield Hallam received the award for its Highly Skilled Employment strategy, which was set up in 2017 to deliver a transformative employability experience across the University.

The new strategy implemented changes including the student support triangle, where all students are allocated their own student support, academic and employment supervisor to reviewing the curriculum to ensure that time is built in for students to gain real world experience.

It is an approach which has seen 73 per cent of 2017/18 full-time home undergraduates find highly skilled employment or further study 15 months after graduation, above the sector average of 68.9 per cent.

Two students that have benefited from the employability support provided by Sheffield Hallam are Joe Palmer and Daniel Bale, who set up their own production company, Open House Pictures, when they graduated in 2018.

Co-founder, Daniel Bale said: “The workshops and one-to-one business advice we received at Sheffield Hallam was integral in our understanding of operating our company and making it sustainable. The Enterprise team have always been on hand and committed since we joined, providing support in a great number of areas.

“We’ve had help through their grant schemes, talks and personalised workshops to make our business the best it can be.

“The fact that Sheffield Hallam put such a focus on the graduation journey of each student makes me really proud to be an alumnus of the University.”

Conor Moss, group director of business engagement, skills and employability said: “At Sheffield Hallam our aim is to become the world’s leading applied university, shaping students’ futures to prepare them for whatever they choose to do.

“A key part of this approach is to ensure all students are prepared for highly skilled employment at the end of their studies by embedding employability experience for every student, on every course, at every level. That is why we launched the Highly Skilled Employment strategy, to ensure our graduates thrive when they enter the world of work.”

Rebecca Walker, business development manager at consumer good wholesaler Pricecheck said: “The employability service at Sheffield Hallam makes graduate recruitment easier. The service is a great source for talent and with most students wanting to stay within the Sheffield area, we find it’s a great tool for attracting the graduates our business needs.”

AGCAS is the expert membership organisation for higher education student career development and graduate employment professionals.

It recognises members who can show the effective design or redesign of the way in which a service is delivered in order to adapt to changes and/or meet new demands, whether institutional, regional or sector-wide.

Of the winner, the AGCAS Final Judging Panel, said: “This is a bold and ambitious initiative. By including every level of study and every faculty, this is clearly a cross-university strategic initiative, showing innovation, depth, and impact.

“At Sheffield Hallam, careers and employability engagement is not optional. This project is at the heart of the university’s strategy, and the range of initiatives is very impressive.”