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University of Derby

Page history last edited by Norman Jackson 13 years, 1 month ago

University of Derby Award Programme – recognising students’ extracurricular experiences and employer engagement

Asia Alder

Project Coordinator (Volunteering and University of Derby Award, Career Development Centre, University of Derby 



Students’ awareness of the rising competitiveness of the graduate job market is growing. More and more students look towards extracurricular activities for experience and to gain the competitive edge over other graduates, which they know will put them in a higher chance of securing a graduate job. This is why the University of Derby developed the Award, to recognise students’ achievements outside of the curriculum and provide necessary training. External endorsement by the Institute of Leadership and Management is seen as added value.


Over the last three years a growing number of the University of Derby students and more recently graduates have undertaken the Derby Award to gain extracurricular experience supported by theoretical knowledge gained during workshops under three main headings: leadership, management and employability. As part of the Award students undertake a leadership and management project of a minimum of seventy hours, which can be within the voluntary, public or private sector organisation. The real life experience with local employers is seen as an added value of the Award. From its planning stages the Award has had a strong support from the local employers.  The employers provide their expertise to support the Programme and offer student projects. The majority of student projects take place within the voluntary sector, building a strong relationship between the university and its local community. The Award projects provide an opportunity for employers to work with the University.


Research (Hutchinson and Dyke 2008) between University of Derby students who undertook the Award and those who did not shows a gap of knowledge on employability between the two cohorts and highlights the added value students gain from undertaking the Award. Research also indicates lack of general understanding of what employability is. The successful Derby Award model is currently being developed to support the delivery of PDP within the curriculum.


Keywords: employability, extracurricular activities, employer engagement, PDP



Hutchinson, J. and Dyke, S. (2008) Adding Value to Student Employability Skills – the role of the University of Derby Award, International Centre for Guidance Studies

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