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Extracurricular activities to enhance the employment outcomes of Mathematics graduates. Nadarajah Ramesh Tony Mann and Kevin Parrott Department of Mathematical Sciences University of Greenwich Old Royal Naval College Park Row London SE10 9LS HEA STEM Conference 2014

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Extracurricular activities to enhance the employment outcomes of Mathematics graduates


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    1. Extracurricular activities to enhance theemployment outcomes of Mathematics graduates Nadarajah Ramesh Tony Mann and Kevin Parrott Department of Mathematical Sciences University of Greenwich Old Royal Naval College Park Row London SE10 9LS HEA STEM Conference 2014 University of Edinburgh, 30 April - 01 May 2014

    2. Introduction • We employ extracurricular activities to enhance employment outcomes. • They were organised under four strands • Professional Society Engagement • Employer Interaction • Mathematics Business Game • Advanced Skills Workshops Supported by a Teaching Development Grant from the HEA

    3. Extracurricular Activities These learning related extracurricular activities • are designed to help students identify & develop general graduate skills during their programme • aim to facilitate skills development so that students have a smooth transition from education to employment

    4. 1. Professional Society Engagement • Learned societies play a major role in the advancement of most subject disciplines. • Most of them have useful employment related information and resources. • They are also part of the support available to graduates in shaping up their careers.

    5. Professional Society Engagement • Work towards increasing students’ awareness of the professional bodies& their services. • Encourage students to take up membership & take part in local events related to their career management. • Main purpose is to help students gain greater understanding of their graduate skills. • Long-term benefits include CPD andnetworking opportunities.

    6. Professional Society Engagement • We organised a number of events to enhance student engagement with professional bodies (IMA, RSS, ORS). • Careers talk by Societies. • Membership awareness meetings. • Events with the IMAattracted good deal of attention: over 150 students signed up for e-student membership.

    7. Professional Society Engagement • Meeting/workshop with the RSS & ORS. • Events have encouraged students to utilise employment resources & attend local, early career events. • As a result, students have engaged more with professional bodies than before.

    8. 2. Employer Engagement • Worked towards greater engagement with employers and companies. • Employer interaction makes it easier to increase students’ awareness of the need to develop their employability skills. • We have arranged for leading companies to give students first-hand advice about careers.

    9. Employer Engagement • Representatives from Hiscox, GSK, Bank of England and HMRChave all come to talk to students about careers in their sectors. • Subsequently there has been greater interest among students in placements and internships.

    10. Employer Engagement • These events have made a positive impact on students’ attitude. • There is an increased interest among them to develop their graduate skills at an early stage. • As this has been very successful, in raising student awareness, our department is organizing the events regularly.

    11. Employer Engagement: Feedback • Q: Have the events given you a good insight into various employment opportunities in industries? • Q: Are you now better informed about the careers open to Maths graduates?

    12. 3. Mathematics Business Game • Business awareness is a graduate competency employers value highly. • We developed, with the IMA, a business game for Maths students to help develop their understanding of how businesses operate. • It aims to simulate business functions of a company producing an item according to client’s specification.

    13. Mathematics Business Game • Students were divided into “companies” and allocated various roles in the company (production, finance, marketing and design). • The groups then began the activities, marketing unit liaised with the customer & purchasing units negotiated with the supplier.

    14. Mathematics Business Game • Various activities (negotiation within groups, designing prototype, purchasing raw material, accounting for expenses) took place – keeping students busy. • Students soon began to understand whilst some discussion & planning was necessary, too much of it could delay production and impact on the cash flow.

    15. Mathematics Business Game Business game made them • realise how critical it is to delegate the jobs and focus on delivering output within deadlines to optimise profit. • recognize how different units of a company work together. • appreciate the importance of coordinating their functions to be successful in a competitive business environment.

    16. 4. Advanced Skills Workshops • Workshops to expand students’ knowledge of the practical use of software packages, in industry, as well as their advanced features. • We ran a number of workshops • Introduction to R • Matlab’sFinancial and Econometrics Toolboxes • Excel and VBA for Financial Modelling • Excel Pivot Tables.

    17. Advanced Skills Workshops • This initiative aimed to equip students with broader technical skills to help them succeed in their employment pursuit. • Knowledge of the packages & their advanced features could give graduates an edge in applying for specialised jobs where employers look for specific software skills.

    18. Advanced Skills Workshops: Feedback • Broader technical expertise, with a range of software skills, provides students with greater chances of success. • Student Feedback: Do you feel that the workshops have broadened your knowledge on practical applications and advanced features of the software packages?

    19. Impact of Activities Activities helped to: • Motivate students to develop (& reflect on) their graduate skills. • Raise awareness of professional bodiesand their values. • Gain business awareness and employer interaction. • Broaden technical expertise and software skills. • Enhance employment outcomes (DLHE Survey results, Work placement stats).

    20. Conclusions • We employed a number of methods to enhance the employability skills through extracurricular activities, alongside those used in teaching and learning. • Professional Society Engagement • Employer Interaction • Mathematics Business Game • Advanced Skills Workshops • They contribute greatly to stimulate skills development and impact positively on employment outcomes. Thank you!