Improving soft skills

HiOA needed an improved career service - something more visible, and with a broader influence than the previous one-to-one career advice they’d been offering. A service that reached out and inspired a greater number of students, but that didn’t cost more than what the university was already spending on advising. Many students were unaware of how important it was to develop their soft skills - skills relating to how people interact with each other. On average, students with good soft skills excel in their chosen profession. EGGS was asked to help design a programme that not only advanced students soft skills, but also enabled the university’s career advisors to work in a much smarter way.

The programme is in three distinct phases: Insight, Opportunities and Job. Each phase is relevant to what year a student is in during their bachelor’s degree - either 1st, 2nd or 3rd. All phases are free and readily available to all students.

Creating a clearer picture

To successfully implement the programme, it was important to investigate students needs, and to get their views on the university’s current career service. Equally important was how the career advisors felt. To find out, we conducted a series of in-depth interviews and studies. We discovered that many students were unaware of their own personal capabilities. In addition, we realised that what the career advisors were offering wasn’t visible enough. With the insight we gained, we set about designing a new service strategy - one that’s a lot more widespread and based on the needs of all students.

Thanks to multiple formats including the clever use of social media, an informative website and app, both students and career advisors can connect with each other in a more useful and widespread way.

Huge Improvement

The result is a huge improvement compared to how HiOA offered career advice before. The career services are now organised on a campaign basis, and follow the three-phase learning programme. Plus students no longer have to chase up advisors for individual advice. Information is more clearly communicated, relevant and engaging. Not only between the advisors and students, but amongst the advisors as well. These days they have a common overview of the advice they’re offering. They can target a specific year group of students, and pass on the right advice at the right time.

Three-phase programme

The programme is in three distinct phases: Insight, Opportunities and Job - each phase being relevant to the start, middle and end of students studies. Insight focuses on their initial year, and encourages them to identify their interests, strengths and weaknesses. Opportunities focuses on students in the middle of their studies and gives them a broader outlook on what opportunities there are and how they can benefit from them. And finally, Job focuses on the transition from studying to work, which helps increase their ability to make good choices related to their education and job prospects. All three phases are free and readily available to all students through various courses, counselling and activities. Officially launched in spring 2017, HiOA’s new career ready programme will hopefully ensure that all graduates feel confident enough to take the world by storm!