You haven’t heard from me for weeks and now 2 reports in as many days!! Very interesting information which I felt needed to be passed on to those thinking of entering university. It is from Liverpool University but I am sure is echoed by many other good universities. Includes information on graduate recruitment, application procedures, employability, avionic engineering, environmental careers and lots more.
University of Liverpool Connexions Conference 21.11.12
Introduction and Welcome – Julie Bond, Education Liaison Manager
The University of Liverpool believes itself to be ‘Life Changing and world shaping.’
It was established in 1881 and was the original ‘red brick university’ – the current Victoria Building designed by Alfred Waterhouse. The University is a member of the Russell Group and has 27,500 students. Julie suggested the total student population of the city of Liverpool is approximately 100,000.
The University has 3 faculties:
• Health and Life Sciences
• Humanities and Social Sciences
• Science and Engineering
The University offers over 400 programmes of study.
Julie claimed the University’s defining attributes as:
• Research orientated
• High profile
The University is engaged in ‘ground breaking ideas and research that is helping to shape our world.’ In particular in the areas of:
• Environment and climate change
• Security and conflict
• Sustainable energy
• Materials for the future
• Personalised and global health care
However, higher education presents a changing landscape. The recent reshaping began with the publication of the White Paper, ‘HE: Students at the Heart of the System.’ The aim of the legislation was to increase student choice and to support greater diversity in higher education. To encourage this public funding of HE was aimed directly at the students in the form of tuition fee loans.
With students far more seen as consumers of HE they naturally want to know not only what the degree programme entails but where and what it can lead to.
In 2012 student number controls on HE were relaxed with universities able to attempt to recruit additional numbers from a margin of 20,000 students with AAB grades at ‘A’ level or better. In 2013 the margin will be all students with ABB or better – a number estimated at 120,000. The result of this is, Julie said the University believes that students who do get ABB or better are very likely to get into their first choice of university. Across many Russell Group institutions ‘the offered grades’ are being lowered.
The University of Liverpool are spending £600m on the campus and this includes the development of Vine Court a 730 en suite Eco Hall of Residence on the campus which the group visited later in the day.
The University’s Careers and Employability Service – Diane Appleton
In 2009 the year immediately after the start of the current recession vacancies for graduate positions dropped by 17.8%. However, they have started to pick up again since 2010. However, different sectors have experienced very different challenges over the last 4-5 years e.g. look at retail – Comet, JJB etc have obviously had very tough times, but others e.g. Aldi have been very successful. Diane stressed there is not one typical graduate job market.
The Outlook for 2012:
• ‘Top’ recruiters are predicting a 6.4% growth in vacancies
• Almost a half of recruiters expect to recruit more graduates this year than last year and a quarter expect to recruit the same number as last year
• Public sector employers are planning to expand their graduate intake by 21.9% in 2012
These figures from High Fliers Research 2012
The sectors with the biggest growth in vacancies were:
• I.T. and communications – up 31.6%
• Engineering – up 22.4%
• High St banks – up 16.0%
• Retailers – up 11.5%
The largest individual recruiters of graduates in 2013 will be:
• PWC (1200)
• Deloitte (1200)
• Teach First (1000)
• KPMG (800)
• Ernst and Young (740)
However, across all organisations featured within the research, graduate recruitment in 2012 is still 6% below that recorded in 2007. However, 50,000 more students left university in the summer of 2012 than left in 2007.
The Careers and Employability Service recognise that a trend is developing i.e. a third of the year’s entry level positions for graduates are expected to be filled by graduates who have already worked for the organisation. Indeed, Investment banks say that 75% of recruits have previously been on placement with them. Consequently, sandwich degree courses, work placements, internships etc are becoming ever more important.
The University have established a placement team to source work placements for their students.
Diane said that most ‘top companies’ on average approach no more than 19 universities seeking graduate recruits.
The median salaries for graduates with one of the Times Top 100 companies was £29,000, but the average starting salary of all graduates was between £18,285 and £23, 635 depending on occupational area and region of the country.
Undergraduates must apply earlier in their final year than previously. One recruiter told the University that they had so many applications they rejected all that had even one spelling mistake. This meant they whittled the pile down by 92%. The moral is: ‘take very good care with your application!’
The Future Track Survey revealed that 4 out of 10 graduates are working in non graduate roles 18-30 months after graduation. The University of Liverpool put all their destination information on the careers section of the website.
The Times Top 100 companies have approximately 20,000 graduate vacancies. Of these 46% are in the financial services. The ratio of applicants to jobs is 50:1.
It is still the case that between 60 and 70% of graduate recruiters don’t ask for any particular degree subject. However, recruiters are finally increasingly devious ‘weapons of mass rejection.’
In a 2009 survey:
• 70% only accepted online applications
• 2% only accepted paper applications
• 40% used telephone screening
• 36% used online exercises
• 64% used personality tests
• 80% used numeracy tests
• 71% used verbal reasoning tests
• 79% put candidates through assessment centres
TOWIE – The Only Way is Employability
‘Employability is being able to get a job, keep a job and if the need arises, find another job.’ (Carl Gilleard, Association of Graduate Recruiters)
Active, enterprising students are what employers want. The Future Tracks survey mentioned earlier found that 79% of respondents said that work experience had helped them get their job. Internships are increasingly important but are, of course, open to abuse, especially in the supposedly more glamorous industries.
The University of Liverpool won’t advertise unpaid internships but if students have the contacts and can afford to work for free there’s nothing to stop them.
Graduates can distinguish themselves by showing:
• Focus and drive
• Commercial awareness and business acumen
• Emotional intelligence
• Innovation and added value
• Studying or working overseas seems attractive too
The University of Liverpool have an employability strategy. They work with each faculty to develop employability plans based around CBI identified business skills. They are seeking increased opportunities for work experience in the curriculum and offering more employability sessions in the departments and more centrally held employability events (over 200 such events this year!)
The University have a part of their website called Liverpool Life which helps students identify what they can do outside their studies to boost employability.
The University of Liverpool Careers and Employability Service have a formula for enhanced employability. It is Q+WE+SxC=E or
Qualifications plus Work Experience plus Skills times Contacts equals Employability.
Aerospace Engineering and Avionics- Dr Mike Jump
Avionics and Aerospace engineering are distinct subjects at the University of Liverpool.
Avionics is mainly concerned with electrical and electronic systems that help a plane to fly. The vast bulk of the cost of any aircraft is consumed by avionics.
Avionics deals with radar, sensors, antennae, control systems
The University offers an Avionics with pilot studies course (there’s also an aerospace options with pilot studies). This course gives you the chance of flying an aircraft (only offers a taste of being a pilot you can’t qualify as a pilot by doing the course). ‘It’s a proper engineering degree with a bit of flying.’
The quickest way to achieve Chartered Engineering status is by doing a 4 year Integrated MEng degree that is appropriately accredited. All engineering degrees need to meet the requirements of the accrediting bodies and all engineering degrees at Liverpool do meet the requirements of the appropriate accrediting body.
There is also an Avionics with a Year in Industry option. This is a 4 year degree course or a 5 year one if the MEng route is followed. The Year in Industry is assessed.
Aerospace Engineering is the primary branch of engineering concerned with the design, construction and science of air and space craft.
Aeronautical – is concerned that craft that remains within the Earth’s atmosphere
Astronautical – is concerned with craft that operate outside of Earth’s atmosphere.
Liverpool do offer some astronautical engineering in their degree programme, though Dr Jump recommended Southampton and Surrey as better bets if that was a particular area of interest.
The current entry requirements for Engineering at Liverpool are ABB including Maths and Physics, though for Civil Engineering it is Maths and two other subjects. For the MEng it is AAB, though students can transfer from the BEng to MEng while on the course dependant on satisfactory academic performance. It is pointless applying to both the BEng and MEng at Liverpool as that uses up two choices on a student’s UCAS form.
Students are encouraged to take a take a ‘gap year’ or rather an industrial placement between their second and third years. However this is not mandatory, though they find that the placement can really help students with their final year project.
Applicants are encouraged to attend a Post Application Visit Day (PVAD) but if the applicant lives miles away and have already attended an Open Day, exceptions can be made.
Dr Jump maintained that engineering at Liverpool’s Key Selling Points are:
• Their approach to teaching and learning – Liverpool is different because students don’t just learn about it, they do it
• Their approach to employability – they are trying to make students employer ready
• The facilities
Graduates from Avionics and Aeronautical Engineering have in recent years worked in the aerospace industry e.g. Westland helicopters, but also in wind and wave technologies, yacht manufacturers, the Armed Forces, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), but also financial services careers.
Some of the transferable skills that engineering graduates have are:
• Management of the creative process
• Project cost and risk management
• Experience of interdisciplinary collaboration
• Communications and team working
• Experience of ethical consideration
• and numerical ability
In answer to questions Dr Jump said that further maths at ‘A’ level would help engineers when they start on their degree course and that Advanced Apprentices would need maths at ‘A’ level standard to be accepted onto an engineering degree at Liverpool.
The split of male to female engineering students at Liverpool is 90/10.
Environmental Management and Urban Regeneration: Planning- a career? – Dr. Peter Brown
Dr Brown started by asking ‘do you want a profession where caring for the environment will be an important part of your work?’ For example tackling the effects of climate change; promoting energy efficiency; finding sustainable transport solutions; or talking to people to find out what they want in their locality.
Previously much of the employment in planning was in the public sector, but there are more and more planning consultancies springing up.
Liverpool is the oldest school of planning in the world. The original School of Civic Design was founded in 1909 by a deed of gift from William Hesketh Lever, the result of his success in a libel action against the Daily Mail!
The degree seeks to train students to go out to work as professional town planners and the degree is professionally accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute.
If a student opts to follow a 4 year MPlan degree in Year 1 they will concentrate on Neighbourhood Planning and there is field trip to York; in Year 2 they concentrate on Urban Design and there are two field trips – one to Manchester and one to Cumbria; in Year 3 the concentration is on Environmental Planning and Project Management and there is a field trip to Lille in France; and in Year 4 the concentration is Spatial Planning in Action and there are field trips to Belfast and London.
Students can also do a planning practice placement, usually in the summer holiday between years 3 and 4. They also have the opportunity to specialise in years 3 and 4 and Dr Brown feels this increases their employability.
Liverpool offers a Postgraduate Masters of Civic Design which is a one year programme.
Liverpool is an excellent place to study planning, especially now as there is so much urban regeneration in the pipeline. Dr Brown referenced the Liverpool and Wirral waters schemes of Peel Holdings (‘Shanghai on Mersey’) and the ‘Atlantic Gateway’ which Dr Brown believed could create as many as 250,000 new jobs.
The current entry requirements for the courses in the department are:
• BA Hons Environment and Planning BBB
• BA Hons Urban Regeneration and Planning BBB
• 4 year Undergraduate Master of Planning (Town and Regional Planning) ABB
The department will accept General Studies as one of offered ‘A’ levels. Geography at ‘A’ level is desirable but not essential.
All 3 degree programmes have a common first two years and students who have done well academically can transfer to the 4 year Masters programme at the end of year 2 if they wish.
Planning has little recognition beyond ‘A’ level Geography students which Dr Brown feels is a shame as the subject offers good job opportunities (especially if the Peel Holding plans go ahead) and plenty of transferable skills.
Bachelor of Nursing (Honours degree) – Vicky Thornton
The professions allied to Medicine that are offered at the University are:
• Occupational Therapy
• Diagnostic Radiography
As well as degree programmes in Nursing, Dentistry and Medicine.
Nursing is still an NHS funded degree and there are currently no tuition fees. Students can be eligible for a means tested NHS bursary which if awarded would be paid monthly as students on these courses are in university for much longer than other undergraduates. Typically they get 8 or 9 weeks off per year.
Why choose a career in nursing?
• You are helping towards the health of the community
• It is an internationally recognised qualification
• The career offers continual professional development
• There are opportunities to study for higher qualifications
• Nursing has a structured career ladder and good promotion prospects
Nursing graduates can also move into:
• Health service management
• Private practice
Most University of Liverpool Nursing students are 18 year olds. They have far fewer mature students than at other local universities.
Liverpool’s Nursing degree is 7th in the Guardian University Guide 2012’s league table. It offers strong future job prospects and has small cohorts – typically about 45 students per year, though they receive over 1000 applications. The small cohort means the students get very good support.
Students do a variety of clinical placements including international ones.
Entry requirements: Nursing
• BBB at ‘A’ level (General Studies is NOT acceptable)
• BTEC in Health Care – DDD
• Access to Health, Nursing – 60 credits, 45 at level 3, all at Distinction.
• 14-19 Diploma in Society Health and development. An advanced diploma at B+ and a Biological Science at ‘A’ level grade B. They have had very few applications from this route.
• All students must have 6 GCSEs at C or above including a Science, Maths and English
• Mature students must have GCSEs in Maths and English at grade C or above
• 6 GCSEs at C or above including a B in a Science subject
• ‘A’ levels BBB including a mix of Sociology or Psychology or Human Biology or Biology
• 6 GCSEs at C or above including a B in Physics
• 300 UCAS points including a ‘hardcore’ Science subject
• 6 GCSEs at C or above including a B in Maths
• ‘A’ levels BBB including a Biological Science subject
• 6 GCSEs at C or above including a B in Maths
• BBB at ‘A’ level and preferred subjects including Biology, Human Biology or Physics
• 6 GCSEs at C or above including Maths, Science and English
• 300 UCAS points at ‘A’ level
The department expects evidence of recent work experience dealing with the general public. Voluntary work is valuable and an observation of nursing in practice is encourages as is experience in a hospital or community setting. These can help breakdown preconceived ideas about what nursing actually involves. However, the department realises it can be very difficult to get experience in such work experience, but feel that students should be able to work shadow. Volunteer work in a care home or a hospital café was suggested as especially useful.
The department places great store by the academic reference and there was a complaint that many references received are far too brief.
Nursing and Physiotherapy both interview candidates. The other 4 disciplines encourage candidates attend post application visit days.
On the Nursing selection day candidates:
• Attend a talk about the degree programme
• Go on a tour of the campus
• Sit literacy and numeracy tests. The numeracy tests are based around medical dosages so are obviously relevant to the degree.
• Take part in a group interview where they are assessed on how they interact with others
The qualities the admissions tutors are looking for are:
• The confidence to take on responsibilities
• Good communication skills
• A caring and empathetic nature
• Evidence of reflection
• A team player
All health profession course are 50/50 theoretical/practical and are made up of short terms, long placements and reading weeks which allows students to catch up with academic study.
All nursing placements are on Merseyside. Radiotherapy and Orthotics placements can be anywhere in the UK. While on placement the student is expected to fall in with their appointed mentor and so they will be expected to work shift work including weekends, but excluding nights. The first placement starts 6 weeks after the start of the course.
NB: The University of Liverpool only offers Adult Nursing training.
Computing: What is it all about? –Dr. Boris Konev
Computing science is NOT ICT as taught in schools. It is NOT about populating databases or creating spreadsheets.
It IS about what it is possible to do with computers; about making computers faster and more powerful; enabling computers to deal with complex problems; it can be theoretical e.g. reasoning about the behaviour of programmes; and it is very close to the boundary of Maths. Much of it is also practical.
Computer science is very important as computers are everywhere. The computer chip embedded in a mobile phone is more powerful than the computer services that were onboard the Apollo 11 spacecraft.
Some questions they try to answer on the Computer Sciences degree are:
• How do we tell computers precisely what we want them to do?
• Should we trust computers?
• Can we always guarantee computers get it right?
• Can we make computers intelligent?
Dr Konev used the example of Computer Games. He said computer games are nearly as old as computers. Playing them is fun (each to their own!) and creating games is even more fun.
The skills required for computer games development split into two main pathways:
• An art pathway (design, art, animation – definitely not computer science)
• Technical pathway –
Programming (languages, data structure, algorithms, quality issues, software engineers)
Maths (2D and 3D manipulations)
Physics (how objects interact)
All these are core computer science subjects
They offer 15 undergraduate degree programme options. There are 6 key undergraduate degree programmes, all with the option of a Year in Industry. Students can decide at the end of year 1 if they want to take up the Year in Industry option.
The department also has a joint programme with the management school – BSC e-Finance
100% of computer science students who have gone into work are in graduate level jobs. However, 50% of the graduates have gone onto postgraduate studies and 11.3% of 2012’s graduates are ‘still seeking’ (compared to the national average of 14.6%)
More information: www.csc.liv.ac.uk
Electrical Engineering and Electronics – Dr Harm van Zalinge
The department offers 32 degree programmes. However, only 3 – electrical and Electronic Engineering, Electronics and Electronics and Communications Engineering are exclusively within the department. The others are joint honours programmes with other departments.
All degrees have BEng and MEng options and offer a Year in Industry.
Electric Engineering is anything to do with electrical motors and generating electricity.
Electronics is making microchips smaller and more powerful and looking at ways of making computers smaller.
Electronics and Communications Engineering is for students interested in fixed and mobile communications, signal processing and associated techniques.
All programmes are accredited by the IET (Institute of Engineering and Technology) and have the entry requirements of ABB or equivalent.
What makes an engineer?
• Someone who understands the basic underlying science
• Someone who can identify needs and problems
• Someone who can apply science to create solutions and to troubleshoot
In 2012 50% of graduates went into postgraduate study; 42% went into employment; and 8% are ‘still seeking.’
‘Engineering is the ultimate transferable degree’
More information: email@example.com
Evolutionary Anthropology – Prof. John Gowlett
Anthropology is the study of humankind and humanity. Biological Anthropology adds the study of genetics and bloods while evolutionary anthropology adds the time dimension. How we became human.
Evolutionary Anthology is related to ‘A’ level subjects like Biology, Human Anatomy, Psychology, Sociology, History, Archaeology, Earth science and Geography.
The degree at Liverpool involves:
• Archaeology (earliest materials/cultures)
• Anthropology (hunter gatherer/ethnology/primatology)
• Biology (Anatomy, Evolutionary biology, genetics)
• Earth sciences (Geology/Environmental reconstruction)
• Psychology (Cognitive evolution)
Why study Evolutionary Anthropology?
There can be no more important subject than the origin of the species. It offers graduates a series of valuable transferable skills e.g. analytical and computing skills and there is a focus on inter disciplinary study and how subjects relate to one another.
Liverpool is the only Evolutionary Anthropology undergraduate course, though there are similar courses elsewhere in the UK. At Liverpool the degree has a small intake – approximately 10 – but they can find themselves being taught in much larger groups in certain modules.
They normally ask for ABB at ‘A’ level, but if you apply and are predicted BCC or equivalent they will probably make you an offer, though that offer wil be higher than BCC.
More information: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or www.liv.ac.uk/sace
Combined Honours – Dr Kathy Johnson
5 good reasons to do a combined Honours degree at the University of Liverpool:
1. The University
2. You can study more than one subject as part of your degree on an equal basis; to the same level of achievement as a single honours student; and without doing more studying
3. You can get exposure to subjects that you may not have studied at school
4. you mix science and humanities subjects e.g. Maths with Music; Biological Sciences and Business Studies
5. You graduate with a degree that has a breadth of subject knowledge; that shows you are willing to be flexible; demonstrates an eagerness to stand out from the crowd.
Until 2013 it works like this:
• BA Combined Honours – 3 subjects in first year (Y001)
• BA combined Honours – 2 subjects in first year (L000)
• BSc Combined Honours – always contains at least one science
• All subjects offered in all 3 as 3 year degrees except Modern Languages – 4 year degrees.
From 2014 it will work like this:
• Single Honours – only 1 subject though doing a subsidiary module in another subject may be possible
• New Humanities Curriculum – (“ humanities subjects; no science subjects – can be taken equally or with one as a major and one as a minor)
• The New Humanities Curriculum offers named degrees e.g. English and History
• Combined Honours – 2 science subjects or 1 Science and 1 Humanities or 3 Humanities in first year and no science and then 2 Humanities
• The New Humanities Curriculum is a work in progress and full details should be available in spring 2013.
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
• Economics, Business Studies
• Law, Sociology, Criminology
• English, Communication Studies, Philosophy, Music
• Modern Languages (French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese)
• Latin American Studies, Irish Studies, History, Politics
• Classics – Egyptology, Archaeology, Ancient History, Anthropology
Faculty of Science and Engineering
• Geography, Geology, Planning, Earth and Ocean Sciences
• Computer Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
• Biology, Microbiology, Zoology, Biochemistry, Genetics
Students can choose 2 or 3 subjects from across all 3 faculties of the university or can do one from one faculty and one from another. If a student does one subject from the Science and Engineering Faculty and one from the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty they can choose whether to graduate as a BSc or BA.
Combined Honours-Key Facts:
• 50/50 weighting in terms of content and mark contributions
• Students follow the core of the corresponding single honours programme – consequently may have less option choice
• Modules and assessments identical to corresponding single honours programmes
• Project or dissertation in final years depending on subjects
• Administered by the Combined Honours office
• Psychology curriculum in Combined Honours as BPS recognition
• Language students study abroad in Year 3 so the course is a 4 year degree
• The Combined Honours Law curriculum offers some exemptions on the Graduate Diploma in Law but is not a qualifying Law degree
• Entry requirements – ABB. There may well be subject specific requirements
• Personal statements – look for evidence of a range of interests, extra curricula activities and curiosity
More information: firstname.lastname@example.org