Over 90% of Swansea University students are recorded as being in work or further study six months after graduating, but plans have been made to give students even more of a head start as the institution launches a new “Employability Academy”.

It will focus on enhancing work placement opportunities, developing entrepreneurial skills and supporting enterprise. The main aim is to increase the proportion of graduates securing graduate employment; engagement by employers; employer representatives and professional bodies in student learning; and the number of students doing work placements, including overseas.

The Academy will be launched on the university campus on March 15th by Edwina Hart, AM, Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science.

Mrs Hart welcomed the initiative and said that encouraging entrepreneurship and enterprise was high on the Welsh Government agenda.

“Entrepreneurship is not just about business start-up but encouraging young people to have an entrepreneurial outlook and mindset regardless of whether they work for themselves, work for others or set up innovative businesses,” she said.

“In these difficult times it is vital that young people have a can-do attitude so they can adapt to new challenges and be motivated to succeed. This new Academy is not only designed to enhance the employment opportunities of young people but to widen their experiences, which is to be welcomed.”

Professor Hilary Lappin-Scott, Pro Vice-Chancellor, who will be heading the Academy, said: “This exciting new Academy will support economic development by producing graduates with excellent employability skills and a global mindset, which are in demand by employers.

“The Swansea Employability Academy will also encourage students to create opportunities through enterprise, by developing entrepreneurial skills and providing exciting start-up opportunities.”

Judith James, project manager, explained about the placement opportunities available to students.

“We are looking for different workplace challenges so that students can try new experiences and move out of their comfort zone.  For example, we already have placement opportunities in the Arctic, in the southern ocean region and at the CERN research labs inSwitzerland.

“A workplace challenge need not be international – it could be with a small company within the region; but it will be exciting and relevant so that the student can build an excellent CV. We hope that organisations and alumni will support us by challenging our students!”

The launch takes place on Thursday 15 March 2012, from 3.15- 4.30 pm in Café West, Fulton House.