Henry Degnin’s opinions, expressed in ‘I’m talking ‘bout money money’ (Page 8, The Badger, 18.10.2010) raise some very important questions about the expectations students may hold about the process of career exploration and the services offered to students by the Careers & Employability Centre (based in Falmer House, and no longer called CDEC).

Careers Advisers do not tell individuals what to do – certainly not in the quick-fix way that Henry seemed to be expecting. Questions and discussion are part of a process to help individuals identify what is really important when considering their next steps – whether this is further study or training, work insights through internships, or just finding more about what’s out there in relation to the many different types of jobs that exist.

Careers Advisers do not make assumptions in individual discussions: our motivations, values, skills, interests, personality and ambitions make each person unique. There will be many ways to fulfill your employability potential whatever your degree discipline, but it’s a learning process.

Working with us from the moment you come to Sussex is the best way to benefit from all the services we offer, including:

– More than 2,400 jobs advertised each year.

– Via Sussex Plus, 120 places for work-shadowing and volunteering opportunities in schools and colleges.

– The opportunity to meet employers, with around 250 on campus each year.

– Around 100 employer events/fairs and skill workshops each year.

– 2300 individual career discussions.

– More than 100 bespoke careers booklets.

Finally, the computers to which Henry refers have been replaced with brand-new ones. Our website (www.sussex.ac.uk/careers) saves students time by highlighting the best sources of careers information.

From the customer-service evaluation we undertake, we know that that the majority of students do find the service is fit for purpose (students tell us that 98% of information and advice helped a lot or in some ways). More Sussex graduates achieved graduate-level jobs in the latest survey(2008) than the previous year and 86% of the class of 2008 were working, studying or both six months after graduation.

Henry’s comments make it clear we were unable to offer him the help he needed and we need to learn more about why this was the case. All students can make constructive suggestions and/or a formal complaint: we welcome (indeed, we need) feedback of this kind.

Sadly, we do not have magical powers to change the state of the economy but recognize that it’s tough at the moment for students trying to find part-time work or sort out their future after graduation. We are involved with a new initiative to create internships for students graduating in 2010 and further details will be announced shortly.

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