The Higher Education Graduate Trainee Programme

Whilst still working as an intern at the University of Leicester’s Students’ Union I was made aware of a new grad scheme for higher education administration. The University of Nottingham have employed graduate trainees for a few years now, however this is the first year that a national scheme has been put into practice. Eight universities across the UK are taking part and have agreed to employ and fund two graduate trainees over 15 months. The universities taking part form three clusters, the London cluster, northern cluster and the midlands cluster. This year you could only apply to the instituion that you graduated from, however spend the 2nd 4 month placement of your contract at another university from your cluster. As the only 2 universities in the midlands cluster this year are Nottingham and Leicester, Nottingham is where I will spend my 2nd placement. As well as carrying out 3 placements in your host and guest university the graduates also become members of the AUA (Association of University Administrators) as part of the scheme and complete 1 module of a PG Cert in university management.

I have been lucky enough to gain a place on the scheme, after undergoing a long application process. After successfully making it through the initial application stage I was then offered a phone interview. Part of this phone interview involved giving a quick presentation of Post-Qualification Admissions (PQAs). Following this I was asked to attend an assessment day held at the University of Nottingham. There were 3 days, 1 for each cluster. The asessment day consited of a group task, 2 interviews, a comprehension test and a written test.The final stage of the application process was a formal panel interview. For the University of Leicester the panel consitted of 5 memebrs of staff, all significantly high up, including the Vice-Chancellor.

All 16 lucky graduates attended a week of training hosted by the University of Nottingham, which began on September 3rd 2012. This was a great opportunity to meet everyone, as well as getting a taster of the HE sector. The work wasn’t hard, but they worked us hard. Sessions were a mix of speakers from HE intitutions and related organisations, group tasks representatitive of HE administration issues, and self reflective activities. Overall it was well put together and a great starting point to the scheme. The majority of graduates including myself began work on our 1st placement at our host university on 10th September 2012.

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