The Seven Steps for Success (7S) - A student-led employability programme led by the University of Portsmouth Students’ Union

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This case study reports on the innovative Students’ Union (SU) led ‘Seven Steps to Success’ (7S) Programme at the University of Portsmouth, whose objective is to build employability knowledge and thinking across the student journey. Following election on a manifesto to develop student employability, the Learning Experience Officer, worked in partnership with academic schools and the Careers & Employability Service to create a meaningful professional development programme in which information, guidance, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities are tailor-made for each disciplinary area. The programme existed to support student engagement, with opportunities offered across the institution, and to improve graduate outcomes. Approved at university committee-level, the programme was piloted across 5 schools in 2022-23. Through participating in the 7S programme, students were able to gain the key skills needed to achieve their career goals, and receive an official University of Portsmouth and Students' Union joint award of recognition, presented at the prestigious Union Awards. The strong partnership formed between the elected Learning Experience Officer and the University of Portsmouth has contributed to the programme’s success. This awareness and greater school-level partnership between academic schools and the Students’ Union might have meant more staff were invested in the aims of 7S, and may have led to greater staff contributions in relation to ensuring students engage with the programme from the start of the academic year, by linking the awards programme to their promotion of all existing school activities. This case study provides a project report of the evaluation of the first year of 7S, as well as reflections from both sides of the partnership (University and SU).
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Educational Innovation, Partnership and Change
Publication statusAccepted for publication - 4 Oct 2023


  • Professional Development Planning
  • Work Integrated Learning
  • employability
  • career management
  • Students’ Union
  • Student Engagement

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