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University of Leicester partners up with NEXT to train the next generation of successful business leaders

With the graduate job market becoming increasingly competitive, the University of Leicester has launched a new initiative with NEXT to enhance employability skills of its students.
The initiative is part of the Leicester Award, a skills-based programme that includes a range of employability courses available to University of Leicester students. Now, the University has introduced a new Award for Industry Awareness, through which students can receive specialised training from graduate recruiters at FTSE 100 company, NEXT.
Students will receive on the job training at NEXT headquarters in Enderby, Leicester, taking part in business case studies and mock interviews by internal graduate recruiters.
Zara Hooley, Leicester Award Coordinator in the University Careers Service said: "This module is a fantastic addition to the programme, NEXT will be giving students the chance to work in teams, and implement some of the core employability skills they have been developing through their degree. We’re delighted to be working with NEXT on this course.”
Over 600 University of Leicester students throughout 2012 will be completing courses and self development opportunities delivered as part of the Leicester Award. The programme provides a variety of opportunities within the University, giving students a choice of employability skills to develop.
Programmes include the popular ‘Leicester Ambassadors Programme’ as well as the ‘Student Communication Team Award’; which offers experience in the highly competitive marketing and PR industries, and the ‘Social Enterprise Way’ which focuses on the business side of social enterprise.
Final-year student Sian Pugh is taking part in the Experience Employability Leicester Award. She said, "I saw the Leicester Award as something a bit different that would hopefully put me ahead of some of the many graduates who I will be competing against for jobs. Like most students I volunteer and work outside of university hours, but the Leicester Award teaches me how I can use these things to the best of their potential in an interview.”
Chris Raw, Graduate Recruitment Officer from NEXT said: "We are delighted to be working in close partnership with the University of Leicester again this year and very much looking forward to being part of the prestigious University of Leicester Award. It will give the participants a unique insight into what we expect from graduates entering our business whilst giving them the employability tools to succeed after university."
Leicester Award Factfile
• The Leicester Award was established seven years ago to help University of Leicester students reflect on the employability skills they were gaining through extra-curricular experiences.
• It is a training programme which develops students commercial awareness, ability to critically self reflect and present themselves in a positive way to future employers.
• Leicester Award students have helped the local community in many different ways, running fundraising events, volunteering or even working as magistrates.
• The programme is run in partnership with national and local employers.
• Over the past seven years over 2000 students have completed the Award
The Leicester Award for Employability is one of the many ways that the University of Leicester aims to supplement the student experience. The Careers Service aims to improve the employability skills of students through a wide variety of activities.