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Freshers are using DMU’s new employability week as a half-term break, say second and third year students.

But second and third years are responding to the scheme and are benefiting from the week.

Amber Browne, a first year art student, said: “It’s an unofficial half-term really. I’ve used it to catch up on everything. We’ve had talks and workshops but they aren’t compulsory so I haven’t gone.

“Helping us find a job in three years isn’t useful to us right now, so maybe it’s better for third years.”

Employability week, which took place in week six, hosts special lectures to help students with appealing to employers. But students have reportedly not been attending the workshops and have used the time as a half-term.

Zak Cuerden, a second year drama studies student who ran a workshop during week six, said: “Out of the 20 people we expected to turn up only one person showed from the module. We had to combine two different groups and could only cover half of the subject material.

“It was disappointing. You can say it was optional but they are paying for this. If you aren’t going to engage with the course then what’s the point?”

Meanwhile Emma Webb, a first year interior design student, said: “I haven’t been to any. It didn’t look like they were anything to do with our course. One was on grammar.”

Second and third year students have found the week arguably more useful. Yassin Hassan, a second year psychology with criminology student, said: “I’ve found it really helpful. I had no idea what I was going to be doing after my degree. They let me know what my options were and helped me with my CV.”

Naomi Scotty, a second year dance student, said: “It’s been good. We’ve had loads of talks and activities that wouldn’t normally happen. They’ve given us lots of opportunities we wouldn’t normally get.”

But Lucy Madahar, Head of Careers and Employability for Student and Academic Services at DMU said: “This was the first time that DMU had suspended teaching for one week, to concentrate on employability and career development activities on such a large scale.

“Talking to students and academic staff, the overwhelming feedback indicates that week six has proven to be successful. There were a few teething problems, such as ensuring sessions didn’t overlap or duplicate, students had clear communications about their sessions or that students didn’t find it too basic or too difficult. But as this was a pilot, these issues are expected, and we will be addressing these.

“I think the majority of students did make the most of the week and attended sessions and came away with a sense of achievement about what they had learnt. I’m sure there were a few students who couldn’t see the relevancy of the week and unfortunately, they missed out on some great sessions. The key issue here is that career planning and managing your career goals and expectations should be relevant to every single student at DMU.

“It is the responsibility of every student to proactively manage their careers. All that Careers and Employability service and the faculties can do is provide careers support, information, advice and guidance. The ultimate career decision maker is the student themselves.”