Opportunities Strategy

Student Opportunities- Beyond your degree

Our role

We run the best range of student opportunities in the UK, no argument. We provide opportunities to learn skills, make friends and become more employable. And we provide student employment that’s fun, well paid and transformative.

The context

Some of our students are able to take advantage of the extra-curricular opportunities UEA offers but many are time poor or are on programmes that prevent participation. UEA’s Graduate Employment statistics hold it back from getting “TEF Gold” and students consistently feed back that they are worried about work, both while they are on their course and after graduation. And research suggests that participation in our activities isn’t diverse enough, with many students missing out on the friendship building aspects of activities altogether- and we’re missing out on talent from under represented groups.

Our ambitions

  • We want every student at UEA to take part in extra curricular opportunities, ensuring activities are student led and high quality.
  • We’ll support all student volunteers, activists, leaders and staff to use their experience taking part in student opportunities to benefit them in later life.
  • We’ll be an exemplar in relation to activities safety and risk assessment, and our facilities will be geared around the needs of our active members.
  • We’ll support the full breadth of student diversity to take part in the most diverse set of activities possible, reducing barriers to involvement and setting and meeting targets related to diversity.

In 2016-17:

  • We supported a record breaking 249 societies to thrive (now the most societies per head of any UK University), saw membership of groups grow to new heights (6777 societies, 3393 sport, 573 media) and involved dramatically more Postgraduate, International and Health sciences students through dedicated programmes.
  • We launched a Student Skills Training programme directly related to our opportunities offer, launched a new Student Events Support service making it easier than ever for students and student groups to put on events on campus, and supported groups to hold online elections with new positions in all groups focussed on first years and women in leadership.

In 2017-18:

  • We’ll transform the “low commitment” extra curricular opportunities offer across UEA- combining our “Give it a Go” programme with “Do Something Different Week” to create a year round programme of activity involving hundreds of University and community partners, culminating in a week long festival in term two. 
  • We’ll set and hit new targets for participation in Societies, Student Media and Student Enterprise- improving development planning support, back end systems and diversity analysis/action- and we’ll use tech to make it easier than ever to find others that want to collaborate on a project, group or activity.
  • We’ll work with partners at UEA and in the city to develop and launch a new Student Employment Agency- improving the range, quality and pay of part time work opportunities taken up by students, offering exemplar recruitment and selection practice and enabling students to boost employability from their experience.
  • We’ll develop a year round Student Events Strategy- improving support and coordination for flagship events like PMB, ZigZag and Go Global, creating at least three new major events and we’ll introduce an event maker volunteer programme to help students develop skills in event planning, organisation and management.
  • And building on BUCS’ “Take a Stand”, we’ll work with UEA to launch a programme of positive culture change within Sport- using events and activators to focus on team work, social leadership, Equality & Diversity and performance, and collaborating on a new UEA wide conduct and behaviour framework for student groups.

In 2018-20 we’ll go further:

  • We’ll take the lead at UEA on Community Action and Volunteering, improving the positive impact students have on the region- developing access to students for community groups and organisations, increasing the volume of student fundraising activity, and working on a community organising strategy to tackle community wide issues.
  • We’ll be a delivery partner in UEA’s new strategy for Student Sport- where we’re pushing for better club development, increased grant and capital funding, improved involvement in decision making by students, better access to facilities and provision for PG and health students that meets their needs.
  • We’ll boost up our work on Student Enterprise- working with UEA’s careers service and Norwich’s SME community to improve and expand support for students wanting to build social enterprises through competitions, campus markets, project support and SU outlet stockist opportunities.
  • We’ll develop a deeper understanding of friendship at University and the impact upon success rates, drop out and graduate employment, creating activities and programmes for those that miss out- and we’ll establish a fund to support students who face financial barriers to getting involved with extra curricular activity through our own SU opportunities access agreement.

The impact- by 2020:

  • 80% of students will be registered as having taken part in a UEASU opportunity (Now- 69%)[1]
  • 85% of those students will agree that taking part has helped them learn, develop and grow (Now- 80%)[2]
  • UEA’s DLHE statistics will have improved, with its graduate prospects in the top 20 of UK Universities (Now- 50th)[3]

[1] Unique students registered on as part of a society, club, enterprise, student media or PG/International activity

[2] UEASU Societies satisfaction survey 2017

[3] Complete University Guide University League Tables 2018