The University of Southampton

ECS welcomes Shadbolt Review focus on industry and employment partnerships

Published: 17 May 2016
Employer advice at a recent ECS careers fair

The publication today of the Shadbolt Review of Computer Science Degree Accreditation and Graduate Employability has been welcomed by academics at the department of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton, recently ranked first in the UK for graduate prospects in the Complete University Guide 2017.

Professor Paul Lewin, Head of Electronics and Computer Science at Southampton, commented: "The Review’s emphasis on work experience and the real-world application of the skills that students are learning is very much in line with our own teaching practice and the quality of our student experience here in Southampton."

Careers and employability has been a major and explicit focus of the department’s activities since it established its Careers Hub in 2008. In addition to its first place for graduate prospects in Computer Science, the department is also ranked first equal for its graduate prospects in Electronics and Electrical Engineering.

"In ECS we work very closely with a wide range of employers and industry bodies, ensuring our students gain relevant work experience through internships, as well as building a strong understanding of industry roles through regular contacts with leading employers", said Professor Lewin.

Employability prospects are a constant element of the department’s activities, with companies visiting regularly, engaging with students and academics, and providing valuable information about future career opportunities. ECS encourages all students to undertake student internships, or years in industry during their degree programmes and the department also runs its own annual careers fair which attracts blue chip, global multinationals as well as niche venture capitalists and leading startups.

The 2016 careers fair attracted over 90 companies earlier this year, an indication of the motivation of companies to employ ECS students. The ethos of the department is fully geared towards producing excellent graduates - capable of joining the world’s leading companies or of continuing their studies with research degrees. "Our students come to us from the UK and from around the world with the knowledge that their degrees will be highly valued by industry’, said Professor Lewin, ‘and we ensure that while they are with us they build skills and awareness that will enable them to make positive contributions to the companies that employ them."

ECS has a long history of engaging with cutting-edge industry, but also of working hard to provide a strong environment in which its academic activities will flourish. Its outreach activity and support for student activities has provided a national organization – Student Robotics, which now operates in schools nationally and internationally. It also employs its own Outreach Officer, Dr Reena Pau (an expert on the achievement of girls in computer science) whose role is partly directed towards ensuring a greater proportion of female students in these technical areas in future years. ECS also runs annual summer-schools for pre-A level schoolchildren to ensure a greater awareness of the opportunities for studying these important subjects at university.

In the spirit of enterprise and new directions, the University of Southampton also recently established a new venture – Future Worlds – to showcase and advance its student and academic entrepreneurship.

"The skills our students are gaining here are vital to the future development of industry," said Professor Lewin. "We fully concur with Sir Nigel’s assertion that universities and employers need to work in partnership to meet the future challenge."

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