On Wednesday 16th May, Middlesex University held Gradstock, its first ever careers festival, with bands, a chill-out space and a games zone alongside a more traditional careers fair and networking.
Thirty-eight employers took part, including Ikea, HarperCollins Publishers, Siemens Financial Services, Urban Outfitters and Capita IT Resourcing.
In a purple Networking Tent, experts offered insider insights in sectors from fashion retail to aviation, alternating with live music sets. Students could step inside the LinkedIn photo booth to get a professional head-shot for their profile; while those who impressed by how they presented themselves were handed a “Fast-track to interview VIP pass” by potential employers.
Keynote addresses come from Drew Morris, Head of Social Mobility at the Ministry of Justice – which is currently developing a bespoke internship for Middlesex students as part of its drive for a more diverse workforce - and Middlesex graduate Nick Chandler, a Partner at KPMG, which offers application bootcamps as part of its commitment to social mobility.
In a speech full of frank advice, Nick Chandler set out a series of qualities graduates should show in the workplace – including reliability, resilience, politeness and seizing opportunities - and in the job seeking process - being truthful on your CV, getting job interview practice and showing "you're a real person, get a rapport going" with interviewers. "It’s all obvious but we don’t always do it", he said.
Drew Morris talked about the importance for public policy organisations of recruiting people from diverse backgrounds, and declared that the Ministry of Justice is “genuinely committed to playing our part in transforming the UK in terms of social inclusion”. He praised the University’s Employability Service and urged current students and graduates to tap into its resources.
Feeling suitably inspired and informed, students could unwind with interactive games, creative workshops and a treasure hunt, and carry on to the Student Union's Summer Shutdown at the end of the festival.
Director of the Employability Service Alan Stuart said, "GradStock was a huge success with fantastic support from a wide range of active employers. Their feedback on the student interaction was hugely positive and we will be building on the success of GradStock 2018 next year. I was particularly proud to have our keynote sessions presented by Drew Morris and Nick Chandler and that in both their presentations it was clear that they hugely value diversity, culture and values of the individual and that MDX students have as much right to ‘a place at the table’ in their organisations as anyone else.