QMYOU Alumni Magazine Issue 85 - Page 5

Ground-breaking employability initiative expands to Military Tattoo 2 QMU has top graduate employment rate in Scotland I T’S OFFICIAL – QMU is top in Scotland and third in the UK for employment of our undergraduate leavers. 98.2% of our graduates are in work or further study six months after graduation. The Scottish university sector average is 95.2%. This information was released by Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), which published the UK performance indicators relating to the employment outcomes of students six months after completing their qualification. The statistics, which were published in July 2017, are based on students who graduated in July 2016. QMU’s Principal, Professor Petra Wend, said: “We are delighted that our efforts to continuously improve the employability of QMU students are reflected in these figures. Over recent years, we have been ambitious in our vision to strengthen our employability strategy by creating outstanding development opportunities for our student community, including mentoring programmes, internships, networking events, scholarships and volunteering opportunities, employer engagement networks and international travel opportunities. Our academic staff are well connected within their industries and many of our graduates acknowledge the assistance that individual staff have provided in helping them secure employment in their chosen areas. “QMU offers an impressive range of career-enhancing extracurricular opportunities and our size means that a high proportion of students, particularly those who seek out opportunities, can easily take full advantage of these benefits.” This issue of QMYou features many stories about student and graduate development opportunities, demonstrating the University’s work in preparing students for successful careers. ❒ A ground-breaking initiative which offers paid work experience opportunities for students expanded in 2017 to provide tourism ambassadors for The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Pioneered by QMU, the Student Tourism Ambassador Role Scotland (STARS) programme was designed to create a tourism ambassador programme for the City of Edinburgh, creating a seamless journey for all visitors from their arrival at the airport and on to the main city attractions. No other city in the UK has an initiative like this which nurtures the talent of university students to help enhance the visitor experience and strengthen the city’s tourism reputation. The programme has helped 60 students secure paid employment in customer service tourism roles with Edinburgh International Airport, Virgin Trains at Waverley Station and Edinburgh’s St James. This summer, the project provided up to 18 students to assist visitors at The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Professor Joe Goldblatt, from QMU, is a world renowned expert in events management. He conceived the project with Juan Garcia, QMU’s Employability Adviser. Professor Goldblatt explained: “Since it started in summer 2014 in the international arrivals hall at Edinburgh International Airport, our University STARS students have welcomed 350,000 people from all over the world. The fact that our STARS students speak 22 languages between them helps to ensure that international visitors to Edinburgh are given a warm welcome, which is backed up with useful visitor information.” The students have all developed important customer service and communication skills that equip them with desirable skills for the tourism, events and other relevant industries. The introduction of a student coordinator’s role has provided outstanding leadership skills, with students who have held this position gaining graduate jobs in related sectors. Having worked as STARS Coordinator, Rebecca Neish went on to work for Disney World in Florida, later returning to Scotland to secure a graduate level position with the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce. The STARS team was excited about the project expansion with students working in a variety of different roles with The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Adrian Crighton, a PR, Marketing and Events student, is currently working as STARS Coordinator. He said: “I am gaining essential practical management skills over and above the academic knowledge I’m learning on my degree. It’s improving my confidence and developing my problem solving and leadership skills. It was a great opportunity for some of our STARS students to gain experience of working at this world famous event – seeing the growth in confidence in every STAR student was very inspiring. The skills that they have learned, such as problem solving and managing visitor numbers, will no doubt help them in their future careers.” Professor Goldblatt confirmed: “The model not only creates paid work and outstanding skills development for our students, it offers business solutions for our partners and could be easily transferable to other locations and universities.” ❒ QMYOU / News in Brief 5