Graduate Recruiter’s Disability Café 14 (GR’14)
Hosted by EY
On 16th September 2014, the members of the Graduate Recruiter’s Disability Café Club (GRDCC), along with other recruiters, university staff and students met up to participate in the fourteenth Disability Café. While recent Cafes and Breakfast Seminars had been focused on employers, here universities took centre stage. The Café aimed to help universities and recruiters build more effective relationships on campus and to better engage with disabled students, through services such as the careers service and disability offices.
Helen Cooke, Director of My Plus Consulting, opened the event and spoke about why building relationships on campus was so important. She highlighted that research she had undertaken had found that nearly 60% of disabled students used the careers service in their search for employment, and a staggering 92% had sought careers advice from their disability service. Hence the importance of these services to employers wishing to engage with disabled students.
Following this introduction, Helen invited a panel of university representatives to speak about the careers support and initiatives in place at their universities. The panel included Kathryn Fisher, Disability Co-Ordinator at Warwick University; Damiola Odimayo, Careers Adviser at Oxford University; Ray Harte, Careers Consultant at Kingston University; and Kate Colechin, Careers Adviser at Bristol University.
This was followed by ‘Café Conversations’ with delegates talking in small groups about what they had heard and how this can be capitalised on going forward to better attract disabled students – such as targeting student-led societies, or helping sponsor university events or booklets. To ensure the conversations evolved and developed, and to maximise networking opportunities, there were 3 rounds of conversations each lasting for 15 minute with delegates moving to a new table for each round.
In the second half of the Café it was a chance for delegates to hear from studetns and recent graduates about how they used various university services in their search for employment. Jonathan Andrews, a student at King’s College London, spoke to the delegates about his personal experiences as did EY’s James Gower. Following this, there were again three more rounds of ‘Café Conversations’, allowing recruiters to discuss the issues Jonathan and James had raised in their speeches, as well as any general points on the topic they felt appropriate.
The final part of the event saw Helen take the delegates through the graphic recording of the afternoon. As delegates were reminded of what they had heard and the discussions that had taken place they were urged to think about their own top 3 learnings that they would take back to their organisation to implement.
As ever a drinks reception followed the Cafe providing the delegates with more time to make connections and identify those they may wish to liaise with going forward.
Many thanks to EY, who kindly hosted this Disability Café.