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New work placement scheme for Classics students

Posted on 16/10/2013
Ideas meeting

Classics department: foregrounding employability

The Classics department is committed to helping students prepare for their futures, and on 23 October 2013 launches its new competitive work placement scheme, open to all undergraduate students in their second year of study on single, joint and combined honours degree programmes within the department. Following in the footsteps of similar successful schemes already operating, for example in the Departments of English and Media Arts, students can compete for a selection of 'micro-placements' of one to two weeks, that will take place after their second year summer exams. 

As Dr. Richard Hawley, Classics' Employability Lead and scheme convener observes, "The placements will be given by a range of providers across different careers fields, to be arranged in discussion with the students themselves. Our students are well suited for so many different kinds of careers, not just teachers, archivists and museum curators, as some may think. They are successful in finance, law, the civil service, journalism, events management, politics, communication, and human resources to name but a few."

Department–specific training is provided over the year through interactive workshops on compiling successful applications, drafting CVs, interview techniques, and giving a winning 'pitch'.  Dr Hawley adds, "The staged selection process we operate mirrors such processes in the world of employment, and gives our students a wonderful opportunity to practice and develop their skills before having to face the 'real thing'."

This new initiative is currently the only such scheme in a UK Classics department, and is one of several other innovations this year by the Classics department to enhance student awareness of the wide range of employability skills that they gain taking such degrees. Chief among these is the new first year half-unit module Studying Classical Antiquity, which is required for all students taking single honours programmes in Classical Studies or Ancient History, and optional for those on other programmes within the department. The course offers practical training workshops on a range of key transferable employability skills (such as time management, oral presentation, and team work) as well as skills useful for research in classical subjects (handling modern scholarship, essay planning and writing, handling material evidence, and classical reception). The course involves coursework exercises that assess key skills and offer an opportunity for final self-reflection on skills gained over the term.

The Classics department remains committed to integrating employability awareness into its curriculum and its culture, and to working with the Careers Service and the student-run Classical Society to ensure the highest quality of careers advice and support for all its students, both undergraduate and postgraduate. It is always keen to maintain links with its successful body of alumni, in an impressively wide range of fields, who can offer practical networking opportunities for current students.

For further information, please contact Dr. Richard Hawley: richard.hawley@rhul.ac.uk.



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