Speed Networking in Bath

One of the big challenges to universities now is to continually prove their ‘relevance’ to the government of the day. Bath Spa University’s reponse to this is to create a department specifically targeting Employability (in addition to careers).

Last week BSU held an open day in which local employers came and sat on panels in workshops to talk about their business, music of the 80s/and or the Stranglers, or anything else that they wanted to cover – it was rather like a convention, with several parallel events running at the same time, some better than others.

Yesterday afternoon and evening, BSU held their second segment on employability, this time in the shape of a speed networking event. Third year students who are graduating were invited to come and meet about a dozen local employers and talk for five minutes at a time. At the end of the five minutes someone would blow an eardrum-piercing referee’s whistle (my skull was still reverberating when I left) and everyone would move on. There were at least two students for every employer present, so there was inevitably some standing around, but the staff did a fine job of traffic control, pointing out employers who were free.  

If any of the employers and students wanted to, they could carry on talking after the main event, over a glass of wine and some nibbles (the free food was -despite rumours to the contrary- not why I went!). So why did I go? I have no need of job interviews, since I’m freelance, and a second year to boot, so I didn’t need to, in theory.

Au contraire. In fact, there were almost as many second as third-years there. I was looking for new contacts for potential contract work, placements, and well, because….

New authors are almost always told by their publishers to go to as many events as they can, and one of the reasons is that sometimes the unexpected crops up. Sometimes there’s a danger of over-extending – one author wrote recently, “I seem to do everything now, except actually write,” but generally there’s no substitute for getting out and about to meet people.

And kudos to Bath Spa for arranging it.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

• May 19th, 2011 • Posted in Appearances • Comments: 0