Innovate CV speaks to Aaron Porter, NUS National President

We’re thrilled to announce that Innovate CV has partnered with the National Union of Students. Together, we’re aiming to assist students and recent graduates with current issues of graduate unemployment. As well, we’ll be providing innovative tools so that students can utilise new technologies to increase their chances of securing a job soon after graduation.

How…? Details to follow! But needless to say, we’re very very excited…

Innovate CV and NUS - working together to help UK students.

We spoke to Aaron Porter, National President of the NUS, to find out his thoughts on issues facing students.

Why did you originally choose to get involved with student leadership?

I studied English Literature at the University of Leicester and overall had a fantaIntstic experience. As a student I got involved in the Students’ Union, through sports and societies, socially and also as editor of the student newspaper. It was through this interaction I realised that Students’ Unions were really important, and I started to get involved in the democracy of the Union and eventually more involved with NUS – particularly with their ongoing tuition fees campaign. I think that the opportunities that SUs and NUS provide is crucial for extra-curricular offerings, but also to make sure the quality of education is constantly improved and focused on the needs of students.

The NUS has an active blogging and podcast network, and enjoys strong presence on Twitter and Facebook. Why are you using social media so extensively?

It’s really important that NUS is doing everything it can to try and communicate with students. Obviously students themselves are often users of Facebook and Twitter, and therefore we keen to ensure we have a presence ourselves. I think there is more we can do, but I’m certainly committed to making sure NUS can move toward being at the cutting edge of social media as it continues to evolve.

Every generation has it’s stereotypes. For better or worse, what stereotypes do you think Gen Y gets labelled with?

It’s true to say that most generations gain a stereotype, although often it’s not always fair! However the stereotypes that appear to be associated with Gen Y particularly relate to communication, and an increasing intensity and volume of communication they participate in.

Gen Y are also associated with having culturally liberal opinions on issues like sexuality and race – which is obviously great.

Rather than stereotypes that sweep across an entire generation, I think it’s important individuals are treated on their terms, and there is an acceptance that everyone is different.

Aaron Porter

Nearly one in 11 graduates are unemployed six months after leaving university – the highest proportion for 17 years. What’s gone wrong?

Clearly the impact of the recession has been dreadful, but it’s also fair to say that young people have probably been most hard hit by the economic downturn. In my opinion the Coalition Government have cut vital forms of support to unemployed young people particularly the Future Jobs Fund which is utterly unacceptable. The decision to reduce the defecit so deep and so hard is also widely acknowledged to have a negative impact on growth, certainly in the short and medium term, and so this is another added pressure for young people.

Schools, colleges and universities also need to do more to support those leaving education to make sure they know how to navigate the jobs market, can offer strong applications, and can give a good account of themselves in interviews.

What options are available to current university students do better position themselves for the inevitable job-search?

Most obviously the overwhelming majority of universities will have a careers service. It’s important to try and use this, to make the most of what it offers. But it’s also important that students themselves are organised and proactive in taking up opportunities that can be presented to them. For some this might be going out to seek work experience, practicing interviews and also beefing up the content you could put on a CV like volunteering, Students’ Union activity and part-time work.

What are thoughts on the Innovate CV concept? What does the NUS hope to gain for students with their Innovate CV partnership?

In such a tough jobs environment, any tools which can help students to build their CV is clearly a great thing – particularly when it’s free, focussed on the needs of students, and can also help draw you to the attention of employers. I think that NUS needs to take an increasing role in supporting students as they graduate from university or leave college, and through our work with Innovate CV I believe this will be a helpful support for students.

And finally Aaron, what do you feel are the three most important issues facing the nation’s students in 2011?

Crucially we need the Government to start making some decisions which support students, rather than attack. I would like the Coalition to protect the Education Maintenance Allowance for the poorest students in our colleges, get serious about ensuring the new tuition fee proposals don’t act as a deterrent with a comprehensive system of student support, and that universities and colleges are providing a world-class quality of education to ensure that students are getting value for money.

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Categories: Articles for Employers, Articles for Job Seekers, Current Affairs, Current Affairs

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6 Comments on “Innovate CV speaks to Aaron Porter, NUS National President”

  1. Charles F
    January 13, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

    I haven’t been impressed with the student protests, but well done to Mr. Porter for realising the importance of student unemployment, and it’s urgency.I look forward to hearing more about the Innovate CV/NUS activities.

  2. Bill Mc
    January 13, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

    “But it’s also important that students themselves are organised and proactive in taking up opportunities that can be presented to them.”

    Also important? I’d say this is the fundemental! While universities and government should do what is reasonable to help, students need to take personal responsibility.

    • Bec Sussex
      January 14, 2011 at 8:39 am #

      Bill, universities and the government are there to help – not hinder. This is a fundemental aspect of society! As such, students have every right to expect that these parties will provide absolute help to students – a cornerstone of students’ jobsearch strategy

      • Geoff R
        January 16, 2011 at 7:12 pm #

        ‘Bec Sussex’, your comments have shed light on the huge gap between my generation (er, ‘Babyboomers’) and yours.

        Fascinating. That’s all I have to say.

  3. Farrah
    January 13, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

    We’re behind you 100% Aaron!!!!

  4. Alex Chung
    January 14, 2011 at 6:57 am #

    Aaron Porter speaks for me!

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