Trinity Employability Award Ceremony - Professional Services Pathway

Paccar Theatre, Science Gallery

26th March 2019


Good evening, everyone,

And welcome to the PACCAR Theatre for the Trinity Employability Awards, the Professional Services Pathway.

This is an exciting moment for us – for students and staff in Trinity and for our corporate partners. It’s the third year of the Trinity Employability Awards, and the first year of the Professional Services Pathway and our four new partners: Deloitte, EY, KPMG, and PwC.

The Trinity Employability Award was established in 2016 to give students learning experiences to enhance career knowledge and readiness. The Award is aimed at helping participating students become more aware of how employable they are, and better at articulating their personal attributes to employers, together with building up skills and knowledge to prepare for the workplace after graduation.

The first Trinity Employability Awards, in partnership with Intel, involved the STEM disciplines only. It was always our intention to open the Awards across the college, and we are absolutely delighted to do this now with the establishment of the Professional Services Pathway and the involvement of our four new partners.

It’s inspiring for the College to be partnering with these four. Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC are among the most significant international employers of our graduates; they are constantly ranked among the best companies to work for globally; they offer dynamic career paths to a wide range of graduates, coming from diverse disciplines. Having these four participate in the career development of our students, from senior fresh years upwards, is truly a game-changer.

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Let me say something about the importance of the Employability Awards and why we think they’re essential for the 21st century.

We are now close to completing the Trinity Education Project, our college-wide initiative to renew the undergraduate curriculum so as to reflect and anticipate the transformational changes that are happening globally, not only in higher education, but in society in general.

The starting point of the Trinity Education Project was to identify the Trinity graduate attributes. These are the attributes that our graduates will need in order to be successful in the 21st century world. I hope that all our students can now name the four Graduate Attributes:

  • to think independently;
  • to communicate effectively;
  • to develop continuously; and
  • to act responsibly.

We believe all graduates will need these four attributes if they are to make their way in a world

  • where they will likely change jobs, cities and countries frequently;
  • where they will need to constantly update skills to keep on top of changes in technology and work practices;
  • where they will have to be self-starting and remain open to learning new things throughout their careers, and
  • where they will have to take responsibility for global challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, and inequality.

Having agreed the attributes, our goal was to make sure that they underpin the education of every Trinity undergraduate. This has meant taking a new and different approach to how we educate.

We are currently in the 4th and final phase of the Trinity Education Project. One of the tasks in this phase is to implement seven features which will make the Trinity Education truly distinctive. These seven features are:

  • Co-curriculum reflection
  • Partnership in Learning
  • Trinity Electives
  • Trinity Open Modules
  • A Capstone project for every student
  • Global Mobility – with the aim that 1 in every 2 students does a global exchange; and
  • Trinity Employability and Leadership Awards

We’re educating in Employability in a variety of ways. Last year, for instance, we became one of just eleven universities worldwide to be invited to join the prestigious Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership Programme. Established by Lord Laidlaw of Rothiemay, this programme is designed to give students valuable skills in research, communication and leadership and to improve their employability by participating in workshops designed to develop self-awareness, initiative, motivation and creativity.

Like the Laidlaw Scholarships, the Trinity Employability Awards – they are about preparing students for transformative careers in a transforming world.

The Trinity Employability Awards enable students to deepen their engagement with the curriculum by encouraging them to use their skills in real-world situations, and they put focus on personal development beyond the academic. Employability Awards prepare students to thrive in the world of work. As we know, such thriving involves both academic skills and social, interpersonal, communication and leadership skills.

The Professional Services Pathway is a multi-level Trinity Employability Award open to students across all disciplines. It gives students the opportunity to participate in skills workshops, apply their learning to work-based situations, and reflect on and articulate how their participation in the Award has contributed to their personal and professional development.

Eighty-one students across the three faculties participated in and completed the Professional Services Pathway. Their feedback has been very positive. Students praised the workshops, the group discussions, the interviews and the tools and declared the experience has made them feel more career-ready.

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I well remember what it’s like to be an undergraduate and to harbour concerns around building a future career, finding a job that is interesting and challenging, applying skills and flourishing in a team environment.

Every undergraduate, even the most confident, has these concerns. The Trinity Employability Awards do much to address them. It takes the fear and mystique out of the workplace; it shows students what’s involved and how they can apply their learning. It gives them confidence that they are employable and at the same time spurs them on to acquire skills that they now realise are important.

I know it’s a cliché to say that it’s not about winning, it’s about participating. But in this case – my sincere congratulations to the winners who have achieved considerably, but I’m sure they’d also agree that the great gain comes from getting involved, stepping up to the mark, opening yourself out to learning from this programme.

I would like to thank most warmly and on behalf of the whole university, those in Trinity who have worked so hard to make the Employability Awards such a success - Orla Bannon, Fiona Hayes, Marielle Kelly and Joel McKeever. And I thank here today

  • from Deloitte, David Conway and the team;
  • from EY, Dermot Daly and the team;
  • from KPMG, Ciara Wrafter and the team; and
  • from PwC, Brian Leonard and the team.

I’m delighted that so many of you are here with us this afternoon. This says a lot about the importance of the Trinity Employability Awards, not only to our students and university, but to your companies.

We’re delighted that these Awards are now in our third year, that they have expanded greatly in terms of disciplines involved and corporate partners. The Employability Award is now part of the college calendar. We look forward to generations of students benefitting from it.

Thank you.

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