Focusing on First-Generation Students in Brazil
Career centres in Brazil struggle with a lot of the same challenges as the US and Europe, such as the need for employability to be a shared responsibility between all stakeholders at an institution, rather than just be a concern isolated within the career centre. Similarly, employability outcomes have a huge effect on an institution’s reputation in Brazil. However, there is one core factor that pertains to higher ed in Brazil specifically, and that is the fact that a large portion of today’s undergraduate students in Brazil are first-generation students.
A first-generation student, by definition, is a student who is the first person in their family to attend college. First generation college students sometimes have different needs than students whose families have been pursuing higher education for decades. Research has shown that some will inevitably need extra guidance and direction, both in choosing a career path and adjusting to the demands they’ll need to fulfill in order to succeed in their chosen field.
The following advice is beneficial for career centres dealing with any type of students, but is especially valuable for countries like Brazil with many first-generation students who may require an especially involved employability plan.
Launch the Employability Plan Before Students Are Even on Campus
From the moment a student applies for your institution, admissions officers should already be collecting critical data both about students’ career preferences and employability potential.
When your admissions team combines this preference-based data with information about students’ work experience, academic performance and soft skills, they will have a thorough enough profile of the student to assess his or her level of employability.
Work with your admissions team to have them categorise accepted students into “most employable,” “employable,” and “most challenging,” making sure to note this in a student’s file before they even begin their education at your school.
Create Plans Based on Students’ Employability Rankings
Once a student has been assigned an employability “ranking” agreed upon by your institution’s career services and admissions teams, career centres can begin making plans for each group of students. For instance, your career team might want to work closely with academic advisors of “least employable” students in order to ensure that together, you help the student adhere to a curriculum that helps him or her develop necessary soft skills.
You might also want to make sure you target these students with the heaviest outreach to promote their engagement with the areas of your career centre that will help them the most. Mentor programs might be especially useful for these students, since they lack a figure in their immediate family who has direct experience attending college.
Analyse Your Results to Produce Better Outcomes for the Future
With a tool like CSM Enterprise, you can constantly track employers’ engagement with your students, students’ engagement with career services and other metrics by which you can measure their success. This data empowers you to make any necessary changes to help first-generation students, or any students, while it’s still early enough for you to have an impact.
Furthermore, once students have graduated and become alumni, you can use students’ employability data (what jobs they’ve accepted, what fields they ended up in, etc.) to tailor your program to the needs of similar students in the future.