Why is AGCAS important to me?
By Lucy Madahar, Assistant Director of Student Services at Birmingham City University and AGCAS Director of Quality and Membership
At Birmingham City University, we have over 25,000 students, of all ages, backgrounds and experiences, studying a range of subjects from the arts to health and engineering at foundation, undergraduate, postgraduate and professional level. The vast majority of these students come to university in order to pursue their career dreams and to enable them to realise their ambitions. The university supports a dedicated team of careers and employability professionals within our Careers and Job Prospects team.
Enabling students to achieve their career ambitions requires a team of highly skilled careers practitioners who have access to a range of resources, up-to-date training and professional networking opportunities. And this is where AGCAS plays a pivotal role in supporting practitioners who work in the field of careers, employability and enterprise.
AGCAS exists to lead, support and provide resources to facilitate the delivery of careers and employability services in collaboration with key stakeholders for the benefit of the higher education and related sectors - and to be the voice of professionals delivering careers education, information, advice and guidance in HE.
My team and I at Birmingham City University are active members of AGCAS as it provides us with access to:
• A professional network, support and expertise across the sector –
we have access to training conferences and events; peer support
online communities; and access to a wide range of online resources
where members can help each other.
• A very wide range of resources, publications, communications
and reports – regular updates on the graduate labour market, current
research, innovative developments and good practice in careers
education, information, advice and guidance for HE students and
graduates; and free access to a wide range of high quality digital
resources and downloads covering key aspects of service delivery to
an increasingly diverse range of students and graduates.
• High quality tailored professional development and training support –
training events, courses and conferences enabling development of
high level skills and opportunities for networking with graduate
recruiters; and opportunities to deliver training and contribute to
research and articles for the HE sector.
• Support for quality enhancement, impact measurement and
benchmarking – expert knowledge and advice on improving the
quality of our provision, the skills and motivation of the staff, and
the standing of our careers service within and outside the university;
resources to enable us to measure the impact of our service and
identify value for money and fit for purpose.
• Professional leadership and a strategic voice at national level
to influence policy and practice – the expertise and knowledge
contained within the membership of AGCAS enables careers
practitioners to inform and influence policy makers and the media
at regional, national and international level.
Whilst writing this article, I asked some of the Careers and Job Prospects team at Birmingham City University why they joined AGCAS. Here are some of their replies:
"I have a network of colleagues out there in the community who I can talk to and generate ideas that I can bring back and develop for my students"
"I can test the ground on new employability initiatives and know that I will receive realistic feedback from my peers"
"It gives us a voice"
"Without AGCAS, I wouldn’t have been able to undertake the training at such good cost and value for money"