Professional Development at Surrey

If you are anything like myself, you understand the feeling of dread and terror associated with holiday time and seeing extended family that is all too keen to ask you “so, what are you doing after you graduate?” This question plagued my senior year of undergrad. The uncertainty of employment after graduation is undeniably scary and preparing for the application process, creating a resume or CV, and researching companies can seem like daunting tasks. Lucky for us, Surrey has a fantastic track record when it comes to graduate employability and numerous tools to help students combat the fear and uncertainty associated with the job hunt.

In 2013, Surrey was ranked number one in the UK for graduate employability with 97% of their graduating class securing jobs or positions in academic programs within 6 months of graduating. In the past five years, they have maintained employment rates of over 95%. This is due to numerous factors, however, a few of the most notable are Surrey’s Professional Training Year and Employability and Careers Centre.

  1. Professional Training Year (PTY)
    So, what is a professional training year? As I am sure you have gathered by now, undergraduate studies in the UK are typically three years long. However, Surrey offers its undergraduate students the unique opportunity to take a year from their studies to work full time in a job placement within an industry, commerce, the public sector, or a research institute. By opting to take advantage of this opportunity, Surrey students spend four years on their undergraduate degree rather than three but the general consensus is that this additional year of work enables students to feel more confident and competitive when it comes to the post-graduation job applicant pool. There is some flexibility with the professional training year but typically it is completed in the third year of study. Nervous about finding a company on your own? Thankfully, Surrey’s Employability and Careers Centre has over 2,300 partner organisations that are willing and wanting to take on Surrey students for the duration of their PTY.

    Interested in hearing more about PTY? Check out blog posts written by Holly Boothroyd, a fellow American Surrey student that is completing her professional training year right now. I suggest these:

    Into Placement

    Microsoft Placement

    To hear more about Professional Training Placement from University of Surrey, check out:,%207907-0616%20Oct%202016.pdf 

    For Postgraduates: 

    Professional Training Year is a fantastic opportunity and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit jealous when I realized that the equivalent did not exist for postgraduates. Still, there are numerous opportunities to develop professionally and gain work experience while undertaking your studies. Faculties are fantastic at arranging speakers from the industry to speak about employability and there are comprehensive “career fairs” multiple times a year. Furthermore, some postgraduate programs – “Euromaster programs” – are two-year programs and allow enough time to complete a placement in the summer between studies. Personally, I am on a Euromasters program and I begin my placement tomorrow! I love the structure of this program because it allows me to graduate with over a year of experience on my CV.

  2. Employability and Careers Centre

    Although there are individual schools within the university, Surrey’s Employability and Careers Centre collaborates with all of them and creates programmes and offerings relevant to students’ needs. The Centre offers a variety of talks, workshops, and frequently bring in graduate recruiters to provide Surrey students with a first-hand glimpse into the recruitment process.

    What I like best about Surrey’s Employability and Careers Centre is that they have an entire page online dedicated to international students. Within this page, resources are divided into resources for international students looking for jobs in their home country and students looking for jobs in the UK. Personally, I hope to stay in the UK after graduation and I found this feature on Surrey’s website helpful and reassuring while researching potential universities. To access this page, click the following link:

    Working in the UK aside, I also find the Employability and Careers Centre’s tips for preparing for post-application assessments helpful. Many major companies nowadays employ personality tests, numeracy exams, and verbal reasoning assessments prior to job candidates even receiving an interview. Surrey has an entire page dedicated to explaining the rationale and providing tips for how to best navigate these obstacles. Additionally, they offer links to help you practice. Check out:

I hope you found this post helpful and feel confident that Surrey can assist you in all your employability pursuits. For more information about Surrey’s Employability and Careers Centre, go to:

As always, if you have any questions, email us at!

Until next time –