In 2016 we set up our Alumni Network and recruited a Board to support longer-term engagement in social action. In 2017 we surveyed our Alumni for the first time. Here are the results.
Timeframe: The 2017 Graduate Impact Survey was live from 8th May - 30th June 2017.
Number of responses: 119. We acknowledge that these survey responses are from a small sample of the thousands of graduates who have taken part in Hub activities at university so far. We also recognise that some of our Hubs are too new to have a large, established alumni base.
Outcomes: The Graduate Impact Survey was designed to measure whether, as a result of taking part in Hub activities, graduates are more likely to:
Be confident that they can make a difference
Express social views
Pursue a career in social impact
Engage in philanthropy
Hub representation: We received responses from across the Hub network, with Oxford providing the highest proportion of responses (37%).
Graduation years: Respondents graduated between 2009 and 2016. We were more successful at attracting responses from recent graduates (2012 onwards).
Subjects: The largest proportion of students (34.7%) studied Social Science subjects. This was followed by Arts and Humanities (27.7%) and Science (16.8%). These results reflect larger Departments / Schools of our partner universities. Lower figures for disciplines such as Business suggest that we could more effectively target these areas (with Skilled Placements, for example), especially considering the growth of social enterprise.
Hub activities: 58.8% of respondents were involved in Hub committees, planning and running social action activities with support from staff members. 41.2% took part directly in volunteering. 42% took part in Skilled Placements (the Social Innovation Programme and Social Impact Internship Scheme). 37.8% took part in critical engagement events, such as the Oxford Climate Forum.
Respondents were able to select multiple activities because many students progress from one opportunity to another. This approach aligns with the ‘progressive’ quality principle created by Generation Change and Step Up To Serve. We design activities to support students as their interests and engagement with social action develop. For example, students may attend an event, start volunteering and then join their Hub committee, where they coordinate projects with community partners.
Where are they now?
Current location: Alumni are living across the globe. Many remain in Hub locations, including Cambridge, Hampshire, London and Oxford. Others live further afield in places such as Australia, Colombia, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Kenya, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the USA.
60.5% - almost two thirds - of Alumni still volunteer.
Of those who do volunteer:
Alumni volunteering activities include:
Assisting charity helplines
Visiting older people with dementia
Besides volunteering, Alumni respondents take part in the following activities:
of respondents think that one person can make a positive change in the world.
of respondents think that they can make a positive change in the world.
of respondents reported that their belief in making positive change was influenced by their engagement with Student Hubs.
97% of Alumni are employed or studying.
Of alumni who responded:
Of alumni currently working, areas of work include:
Of alumni currently working, levels of responsibility include:
74.8% of respondents believe that their involvement in Hub activities helped them to gain their current job. Because:
“Student Hubs encouraged me to seek alternative career paths and provided access to training, project management and communications experience.”
“I gained many skills through volunteering and I believe my current company values these experiences.”
“Early leadership experience was vital to improving my confidence, trusting my own intuition and learning how to work with a team.”
Current salaries range from under £10,000 to over £40,000, with 31% earning between £20,000 and £29,999.
89.1% of respondents feel they are making a positive impact through their career.
Conclusion: These results demonstrate that involvement with Student Hubs has positively affected our alumni. The data shows that the majority of respondents continue to engage in socially active behaviours. However, we understand that these responses do not cover the entire scope of experiences with the Hub network from 2007 onwards. We will aim to increase the sample size of the next Graduate Impact Survey. We also recognise barriers to graduate volunteering, such as time constraints. We will support our Alumni Board to develop convenient, impactful activities to fill this gap - for example, a mentoring programme that brings current and past student volunteers together through in person or remote sessions.
See what our Alumni have to say about their Hub experiences:
Then: Warwick Hub Coordinator
Now: Director of Generation Change
"As a student at Warwick University I was involved in campaigns and charity societies, and was also an elected member of the students’ council. But I saw that it was the same, small number of students who got involved in social action activities. I came across Student Hubs and was inspired by how successful the charity had been at other universities like Southampton and Bristol – so we decided to set up a Hub at Warwick.
Through Student Hubs, I learned about social enterprise, community organising and social innovation. I also changed a lot as a person, channeling my passion for social justice issues into practical ways of making a difference. I became more resilient, driven to serve others and aware of my potential career options in the process. The training, skills and experience I gained through Student Hubs were crucial in helping me land my first two jobs after graduating.
When I did get those jobs, I was confident and able to show leadership and initiative. During an entry level role at City Year, I quickly ended up writing the business plan for what became Generation Change, setting up the charity board and becoming the leader of the organisation. I became the Director of a small social venture at the age of 23 and would never have got here without Student Hubs.
I’m also proud of the work we did in setting up Warwick Hub. There is a much wider involvement in charity, volunteering and campaigning activities at Warwick than when I started there as an undergraduate."
Then: Vice President for Publicity and Communications, Cambridge Hub
Now: Communications Intern, World Health Organisation
"The Hub offered the perfect opportunity to get to grips with Cambridge’s charitable and voluntary side. I quickly found that I loved communications work - creating campaigns, social media messages and our weekly newsletter. Alongside this, I coordinated the ‘Dinner in the Dark’ Halloween Fundraiser in 2015 and 2016. Due to the amazing response and money raised, these events are my proudest university achievement. They enabled me to take initiative and create something original.
The support and training I received from Student Hubs staff - both local managers and the national communications team - gave me confidence in my abilities. I recently began a communications internship with the Emergency Operations Department at the World Health Organisation in Geneva. Leading Cambridge Hub’s communications provided me with the skills, initiative and independence needed to work in a highly professional setting. Through this internship, I hope to gain an international perspective on charity work and learn about other exciting possibilities within communications."
Then: Oxford Hub volunteer
Now: Head of Community Development, Oomph!;
Co-Founder and Clinical Director, Fluid Motion
"I became involved with the Oxford Hub because I wanted to turn ideas into tangible results. As an undergraduate student, I developed various projects relating to gardening, health, climbing and construction. Not everything worked as well as I hoped, but this great community supported me to reflect, stay positive and grow the next idea. The guidance and skills training helped a lot. I'm now more confident at articulating my ideas and I can form concrete plans from blue sky thoughts. My ability to project manage and control a budget has grown hugely. I’m thankful for what I learned and the attributes I developed through Student Hubs.
After graduating I worked part-time for Hub Ventures while building my personal projects. I now focus on community health. I've continued to work in the social sector and will for the foreseeable future. I don't think I would have considered the social or charity sectors as career options without being connected to the wider Student Hubs network."
Then: Kingston Hub SIP Participant
Now: Community Banker, Barclays
"I applied for the Social Innovation Programme because I wanted to develop my skills. The SIP was a new experience but also closely connected to the university and my course. It’s different from other university opportunities because it allows students to tackle a real world problem, rather than only dealing with theory. Both the charity we worked with and Kingston Hub were interested in what we had to say.
The SIP supported my existing soft skills, like teamwork and communication. It helped me learn how to properly manage a team project and fit different parts of our work together. I now work for Barclays as a Community Banker. I wouldn’t have been offered this position without the SIP. The SIP looked very good on my CV as it showed practical experience of working closely with a client. The brief I worked on was a financial one, so that fit well with the role. I would definitely recommend that students get involved with Kingston Hub and the SIP. I know that some of my team’s recommendations are already making a difference, which is great."
Then: Oxford Hub volunteer
Now: Senior Impact and Evaluation Manager, Renaisi
"I ran The Series events for Oxford Hub, then became President of Community Volunteering. This involved training and supporting students who led various community projects, helping to set up new projects, sending the weekly newsletter and recruiting volunteers. Oxford Hub enabled me to realise the value of volunteering and sparked my interest in social issues. I hope that my contribution to the Hub helped to increase the number of students involved in social action and that those people have stayed engaged beyond university.
Being involved with the Oxford Hub was the highlight of my university experience. It was useful to build a community outside of College, which can sometimes be too much of a bubble. Since then, Student Hubs has given me a hugely valuable network of friends and colleagues with shared interests. My experience also shaped my career, as I spent the first four years after graduation working for Student Hubs. During those years I realised I had an interest in evaluation and impact, and gained skills and experience for my current role."