By Chris Milborrow, Vice President Activities and Development, University of Strathclyde Students’ Association
Our aim at the University of Strathclyde Students’ Association (USSA) is to ensure that every student has a positive experience, and is equipped for the challenges that lie ahead once they have left university.
This is why we place such a high emphasis on making sure we provide as many opportunities as possible to allow students to develop in a friendly and encouraging environment.
After deciding to run an employability campaign in February, I contacted Scotland UnLtd whom I had first become aware of at an NUS student activities conference. UnLtd offer funding to successful applicants who can demonstrate that they have produced an enterprising idea which has a positive social impact.
I really liked the social enterprise aspect of UnLtd because it can effectively appeal to everyone; having four different faculties here at Strathclyde, we wanted to help make enterprise more widely recognised as a valuable skill across all disciplines.
Additionally, community engagement holds a prominent position within our strategic plan, and so linking with UnLtd, who combine innovation and creativity with the end goal of helping others in the community, is a great way to continue to develop and broaden the work we do to make a positive impact in Glasgow and across Scotland.
I met with a representative from Scotland UnLtd who, after discussions, was excited about the holding an event at the union. We are currently accepting applications for ideas to be discussed at an initial drop-in session with UnLtd, to ensure that applicants are as prepared as possible.
In the final pitch, applicants will present in front of a panel with a chance to gain up to £5,000 towards their social enterprise idea. This is a really exciting opportunity, giving students the chance to be awarded funding to make a real difference in the local Glasgow community.
Students are taught to be innovative, creative, forward-thinking and socially aware throughout university life, and this is a fantastic way for budding entrepreneurs to get a foot in the door, gain valuable real-life working experience, and really bring ideas to life.
I definitely believe that the work UnLtd does can lead the way in ensuring that students are given the chance to make the social impact we all know they are capable of making. They provide the opportunity for students to own a project, develop it and make a real go of it, with professional advice and both financial and technical support.
The rest of our employability campaign is aimed at turning our building into a careers service for a week. We have teamed up with Bright Futures, who will be hosting a session on how to find the best graduate jobs, a networking event where students can come and meet employers from all three sectors, and an internship question-and-answer session, giving our students the opportunity to quiz past interns on the ways of getting paid internships and their value.
By providing such a broad range of activities, we hope that every student at Strathclyde finds something relevant and sees the benefits from attending and getting involved.