ASTANA – Nazarbayev University (NU) held its third graduation ceremony last month, awarding 728 bachelor’s and master’s degrees and for the first time presenting nine PhDs.
With sheepskins in hand, what are the students’ next steps?
According to statistics from 2015-2016 provided by the NU Career and Advising Centre, 54.3 percent of alumni took jobs after graduation and 36.4 percent continued their studies. For the former, the centre is facilitating employment in the modern competitive labour market, both local and international, said Centre Director Yevgeniya Kim.
“The centre launched its activities in 2012 to ensure comprehensive support for students and graduates in planning their careers. We are providing unbiased and updated information about the current labour market and developing graduates’ professional skills in cooperation with NU employer partners. We work with alumni and help the NU Alumni Association to develop an understanding of how important it is to maintain interest and involve alumni in the life of the university,” she told The Astana Times. Last year, the centre benefited significantly by implementing CAC CareerNet, a career management system.
“Both students and alumni have gained access to the personal webpage to look at employment and internship listings, register for workshops and trainings and schedule appointments with career advisors and campus recruiters. They can also upload resumes into a searchable database, which our employers can then use to recruit applicants,” she added.
This year, the centre also started a career advising programme with sessions available to students and alumni.
“We encourage the students to use self-assessment tools to examine their values, personality, interests and abilities, and then, based on the results, discuss possible options to find the most suitable careers. Our career advisors help with resume critique, job search techniques and preparation for necessary interviews, especially for fresh graduates once they enter the job market,” said Kim.
The centre intends to continue sharing its experience during the annual Eurasian Higher Education Leaders’ Forum (EHELF) hosted by NU, aimed at bringing together experts in education to create a platform for an interactive dialogue on the challenges of the modern world. This year, the centre focused on ways to enhance graduate employability through creating employer relations.
“Certainly, employers tend to want things to be done their way when it comes to competencies, skills and attitudes toward work issues, while universities expect students to develop and exercise critical judgement. Here comes an important role of the centre to create a ‘win-win’ situation. The days where the mission of the career centre was ‘placement’ are gone. Likewise, universities are focusing more on career education to teach students how to manage and take responsibility for their career paths. We look at our services to students as providing resources, opportunities for networking and, most importantly, insight to help in determining and pursuing their career aspirations. The students feel safe and confident in the driver’s seat while navigating their career future,” said Kim.