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Careers Spotlight: What happens after University?

8 November 2023

There are around 2.8 million students currently enrolled in higher education in the UK. This number has grown year on year since the reforms of 2012, with more and more of these numbers embarking on masters level courses. Female participation in particular has increased as has the numbers of over 30s. However, under 20s are still the largest group with around 1-in-3 18-year-old school leavers choosing university over work or an advanced apprenticeship.

Some students will enrol on a course with a fixed path in mind. This could include careers in subjects where a degree is absolutely essential, such as veterinary science, dentistry, or law. Others will enrol on a course that fits their interests and strengths and see where that takes them. Whatever degree is undertaken, key skills such as carrying out research, presenting, formal writing, working effectively with peers, time management, and commitment to learning something at a higher level have huge value in any industry.

Many businesses run graduate programmes where a cohort of graduates are taken on each year and put through a standard programme of in-house learning that is designed to suit the needs of that particular business and industry. Often, these are larger organisations with established structures that have identified the need to recruit and shape fresh talent on a more formal basis.

For some graduates, the path is less formal, with some graduates going into self-employment and others joining much smaller businesses with varying levels of support in place. Whatever path is followed, there is no doubt that, with rising enrolment numbers, it is likely that workforces will contain more and more people who are degree-educated. Does your company offer entry level roles for graduates?

Here, we are talking to El Leetham, a University of Hull graduate who now works as a Project Coordinator at The Edge Hub in Hull.

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I’m El, and I’m the Project Coordinator at The Edge Hub. I moved from Bradford in 2017 to study at the University of Hull where I completed my undergraduate degree in History, I then completed my Master’s in history at the university and got a full-time job at The Edge Hub whilst finishing my studies.

The Edge Hub is an inclusive and diverse technology centre revolutionising availability and access to training across the region. We take a new approach to up-skilling, improving existing methods to offer advanced courses unavailable in the current climate to raise the bottom line and meet the demand for immediate, relevant and high-quality training for people to develop their careers in technology. The Edge Hub offers a modern and innovative work environment with access to hot desking, venue hire, events and more, sitting in the heart of the city we are working to build a community of likeminded people, promoting collaboration and development.

I am the Project Coordinator at The Edge Hub and my role stretches across all departments to oversee the smooth running of operations including being responsible for project delivery, internal affairs, organisation, and the development process. My work overlaps with other departments to ensure communication and project delivery are to the highest standards resulting in highly successful developments. My main responsibilities cover the training and upskilling operations, working with several of our local and global partners to deliver state of the art digital training.


My Master’s degree finishing overlapped with me starting my current position. The venture and company was just starting, so it was an exciting time for me to join and my boss Antonio gave me the opportunity to build on my skills as a graduate even though they were not necessarily linked to the job. As a history graduate, working in a technology hub seems to be a juxtaposition but a lot of my research and methodology skills overlap with what I currently do in my role so being able to apply my degree to a role that challenges me is really rewarding.

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I love being able to come into work every day and deal with a new challenge. The nature of the role means that no two days are the same and I’m able to meet and deal with new people frequently, dealing with a multitude of tasks and gaining experience. I also love being able to work with such a close-knit group of people who really encourage and support me in my role.


I think as a Project Coordinator you gain the most from hands-on experience; as you deal with people and situations daily you can never predict what will happen so having as much experience as possible is a huge help to prepare you for the unexpected. I think working in a technology and business industry you don’t necessarily need to come from business or tech background, I apply my history degree to the work I do daily as it’s not always about the content but the skills you gain and use.

I think the main thing when coming out of university as a graduate is not to get stuck with the idea that you have to go into the field of your degree as you learn so many invaluable skills as a student no matter the field and content. Follow what you enjoy doing and the rest will fall into place.

Thank you to El for her valuable insight into her job and for more about one possible route after university.

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