When is a good degree not enough?

Most students come to Northumbria to gain a degree or other training that will improve their job prospects.  

But did you know

  • Only 60% of employers rate a good degree as important - it’s your skills and achievements that will really set you apart in an interview.
  • Nearly 50% of recruiters said that without previous work experience graduates have little or no chance of receiving a job offer for graduate programmes.
  • 73% of employers prefer candidates with experience outside of their degree.
  • 70% of degree level jobs do not specify the discipline of the degree – what is it that makes you stand out?
  • Employers do want staff with skills in self-management, team-work, problem-solving, communication, business awareness and a positive attitude. [Source; CBI/NUS Working Towards Your Future Report, May 2011]
  • Most graduates will change their jobs and even careers at least once by the time they are thirty – what experiences and skills do you have that will help you manage that change?

These days a good degree isn’t enough to start building a promising career. Whether you are a final year, or starting at Northumbria, we have something for you.

How NSU helps you

NSU commits that volunteering with us gives you –

Valuable experience – We want all our volunteering opportunities to be meaningful to students, not just for employability but their chance to have a positive impact on the lives of your fellow students or people in the local, national and international community.

Many of our opportunities – particularly programme representative and committee members, will give you the opportunity to gain experiences that employers will want to hear about - from organising great events for hundreds of people to speaking up on behalf of thousands of students to the University to working with some of the most vulnerable people in our community.

Personal Development – Volunteering with the Union can be challenging and in many roles you will do things you’ve never done before and develop new skills – working in a group to achieve a common aim, negotiating with suppliers, helping people dealing with mental, emotional and physical issues, planning ahead and running to budget, even just listening to others. Whatever you do, our volunteering opportunities will help you develop into the person an employer wants to recruit.

Recognition – Every student who creates a volunteer profile, volunteers with the Union and logs at least 10 hours will receive an NSU/Volunteer certificate recognising your volunteering and your role(s) will be entered on your Higher Education Achievement Report. This lists all your academic achievements and work for an employer to see.

We also offer two advanced certificates – Excellence in Volunteering and Leadership in Volunteering.

In addition if your society completed our society recognition scheme, wins society of the month, you win rep of the month or you win an award at any of our three awards events, this will also get recognised on your HEAR.

Have a look at all our opportunities on www.mynsu.co.uk/getinvolved/volunteer/ and find what’s good for you.


Partnership  - We work with the University Careers department to promote their work and run specific sessions for volunteers to help translate their experience into job winning CVs and interview responses. Whatever year you are, now is always the best time to get in touch with them and use the resources on their portal



So my degree doesn’t matter?

Not at all; you are paying £9,000 a year for a degree that should make you stand out in the jobs market.

NSU works to make sure that happens by representing student views and pushing the University to do more when it designs and delivers programmes. If you think your programme could do more, or isn’t doing what it should to develop you then speak to your programme rep or drop us a line at su.reps@northumbria.ac.uk

We also sit on the University Employability Forum which oversees the work the University does in building student employability, whether in the classroom, on placement, through volunteering or through the work of the Careers Department, and through this feed into the University’s Employability, Entrepreneurship and Enterprise plan. If you have any comments or questions you want raised then contact your Officers who sit on the Forum; Karl Robson and Kristy Weegram