Session three: New Hub Project

Student Focus Group session two: Careers Advisers

Session overview

  • 26 November 2018
  • Number of Students: 3
  • CES Staff/Guests: Emily Packer, Alena Tkacova, Siwan Tyack (Careers Consultant).

Topic 1: What would the Hub look like?

Main topics of concern and interest

The discussion covered layout of an open space and what the front face wold look like. Having an information desk, flexible open space and designated confidential areas were suggested based on what works well currently. Additional considerations were given to marketing, digitalising information, signposting around the campus and making the space comfortable.  

Main discussion

The group discussed the layout in assumption of an open space set up. From the students’ point of view, it is important to have a point/desk for information however not in the sense of reception where everyone has to refer on arrival. Having a ‘’helpdesk’’ or an ‘’information desk’’ would allow students to approach a member of staff to find out where they need to go to access the right service. Students would also like to see a touch screen computer point where they could check-in. Also an interactive map of services which would show what services are offered and what drop-ins are running. This could also show some key websites in which to carry out own research. The group also liked the idea of having a magnetic board which would be for messages and updates. 

Further into the space, students imagined a large open-space area with tables, sofas and IT access. This area would also have a laptop booking facility, bookshelves with literature and resources. The group emphasised that there needs to be flexibility to change this space around and adapt it for workshops etc. similar to the current Hub idea. The far corner should hold inconspicuous confidential pods to ensure students feel comfortable accessing services which could be considered sensitive.

The group really liked the current large careers sign and they would like to see something just as light and large to advertise the new space, possibly indicating each area/service. Instead of having a board with paper vacancies, students suggested to bring digital posters which would be easier to update and maintain. Marketing around campus will need to be more visible and signage around campus was suggested necessary.

Finally, the group felt that the space should have a ‘’homey’’ rather than ‘’officey’’ feel. Students would like to have a coffee machine, vending machine and an absolute must – water station. 

Would like to see

  • Information helpdesk (not reception) for those who need to be signposted.
  • Digital checking-in system (like in GP surgeries) and interactive ‘’map’’ of services.
  • Clear advertising on ‘’what’s on’’ – e.g. a screen showing what drop-ins are running now.
  • Flexible open space area for drop-ins including IT access (laptop hire point).
  • Confidential and inconspicuous pods.
  • Digital posters that could be updated quickly (vacancies, events, etc.).
  • Signposting around campus.
  • Make the space ‘’homey’’ rather than ‘’officey’’.

Topic 2: Accessibility – When? How?

Main topics of concern and interest

The group discussed opening times, regular schedules for drop-ins and joint approach in booking or ways of accessing services.

Main discussion

The group confirmed that current opening hours are good as they cover the time when students are around the campus having a chance to pop in between lectures. 

Depending on the size of the space and the amount of services that share it, the group suggested that a regular day could be dedicated to different drop-ins. This could be advertised live on a large screen by the entrance or in the window. 

The main concern for students was the current differences in booking systems for each individual service i.e. some services book over the phone, some via email or online. The group felt that this is a great time to have a joint approach – ideally on one platform. The discussion acknowledged that this may not be possible due to technical or confidential issues. A solution was put forward to simplify the process and have a single webpage with links to services/bookings to make it easier to navigate between each department.

Would like to see

  • Keep the same opening times.
  • Regular days/times dedicated to various drop-in sessions and advertise it live on a screen by the entrance or in the window.
  • Joint platform for booking or one webpage offering links to each department/services to make it easier to navigate accessibility of each service.

Topic 3: Who would be included?

Main topics of concern and interest

Departments and services that were considered included careers, finance, learning gateway and the international office. Main concerns were around confidentiality and sensitive issues. Additionally, student expressed interest in ‘’pop-up’’ services based on the time of the year.

Main discussion

The group based the discussion on their research of what departments are included in the student services. Jointly agreed that it would be beneficial for Careers, Finance, International, Disability, Wellbeing and Learning Support to have a presence in the Hub and to possibly cluster the departments depending on sensitivity e.g. Careers could neighbour with Finance whilst Disability, Wellbeing and Learning Support could be clustered in the far corner. It was also suggested that the International office could be considered as one of the sensitive areas. To maintain confidentiality, anonymity and to make people comfortable in accessing services, the group would like to see inconspicuous pods that would be used by all services.

Discussing various different set ups in other universities, the group didn’t feel it would be a good idea to have the Chaplaincy there as they feel quite separate and people might not feel comfortable to express their faith openly. 

On the other hand, having other ‘’visiting’’ services would be helpful - Student Union could offer a pop up shop for designated days to promote volunteering etc. The drop-in services could also be adapted by the time of the year – e.g. tailor it for the first year students in the first couple of months.

Would like to see

  • Services grouped or clustered depending on sensitivity – Careers and Finance together, Disability, Wellbeing and Learning Support, International in more private areas.
  • Chaplaincy to remain separate as people consider faith sensitive subject and personal.
  • UPSU on designated days promoting volunteering.
  • Tailored pop up services depending on the time of the year – e.g. supporting first year students in the first couple of months.

Topic 4: Top 5 things it HAS to have

  • Private pods (inconspicuous) 
  • IT access (laptop hire)
  • Open space for drop-ins, make it ‘’homey’’ rather than ‘’officey’’ with vending machines/coffee machines, sofas etc.
  • Room for training sessions e.g. accelerate, workshops, etc.
  • Helpdesk for directions and triaging