About Transformation West Midlands (TWM)

Supporting local students and graduates into higher skilled employment and building a diverse graduate talent pipeline for West Midlands employers.

""The University of Birmingham, Newman University and University College Birmingham (UCB) have won a grant from the Office for Students (OfS) to help boost job opportunities for local graduates in the West Midlands region, seeking work close to home, by choice or by circumstance. 

Nicola Dandridge

Chief Executive of the Office for Students

“Graduates should not have to move to London to get good jobs. It is essential that those who stay in their home towns and cities can enter high-skilled work and are not locked out of the graduate labour market.”

Introduction to TWM

Funds of £500K has been awarded to target locally domiciled students and graduates, particularly from black and minority ethnic groups and students/graduates with disabilities, who may face wider challenges to securing graduate level employment. 

Barriers prohibiting progression into higher level employment can include: a lack of professional networks and social capital to gain knowledge and quality work experience; family commitments impacting on time to plan their career; a lack of ‘just like me’ role models to gain inspiration and direction. Even barriers from recruitment and selection practices can hinder progress, leading to negative perceptions of self.

This project seeks to re-address the imbalance, creating a level playing field. So that all who seek local employment and need more personal support, have the help that’s required to think about, plan and reach their career goal.

Led by careers services at each partner university, we will be working with final year undergraduate students and alumni (up to 2 years after graduation with an undergraduate bachelor’s degree) who are either currently in part-time work, seeking a graduate level job or unemployed. We will also work closely with employers, supporting organisations and other stakeholders to build a stronger local eco-system of support, resulting in:

  • Work-ready, local graduates learning skills which fit local Industry needs
  • The creation of a new diverse talent pipeline sought by employers to help diversify their workforce, igniting new ideas and innovation to remain competitive and enter new markets.

TWM Project aims & objectives

Transforming the skills capabilities of local students and graduates to fill the region’s skills gaps

Transforming the skills capabilities of local students and graduates to fill the region’s skills gaps will be via testing the effectiveness of provision that transforms students’ work-readiness. Activity includes skills workshops, online development and work-based learning, to build transferrable soft skills and hard skills.

Transforming the employment outcomes of local students who reside in the West Midlands

Transforming the employment outcomes of local students who reside in the West Midlands will occur by testing a variety of provision. In addition to careers advisors, a progression coach can be accessed, supporting in particular, those who are most in need of support from identified under-represented groups to help spur progress. 

Transforming how Careers Services work with individuals from under-represented groups

Transforming the way careers services work with diverse local under-represented students and graduates will be through testing a series of interventions that aim to progress individuals into a highly skilled job requiring a degree or further study. The Careers team will test one to one personal coaching and a financial fund with c.85 individuals a year (at each institution), as well as work-based learning, mentoring, sector deep dives, skills workshops and reverse mentoring.  Measuring the effectiveness of those interventions will be through using learning gain methodology. 

Transforming the way employers recruit and run their recruitment practices.

Transforming the way employers recruit and run their recruitment practices will be by testing reverse mentoring. Our aim is to help influence change, utilising students’ and graduates’ experience, backgrounds, perceptions and ideas to modify practice, paving the way to a more inclusive and diverse future workforce that represents the region.

Focusing initially on one sector to make a difference, mangers in the Business, Professional, and Financial Services (BPFS) sector will be mentored by  teams of three (students/graduates) from winter 2020. 

Project Legacy

The learning gained as a result of the three year project, should positively affect the HE sector and how careers services can assist under-represented groups and employers more effectively, levelling the graduate job playing field. Personal stakeholder data revealing names will not be used in any reporting. Please refer to the Privacy Notice below.

Project timescales 

Transformation West Midlands runs from May 2019 – September 2022. 

Project team

This project is led by Careers Network at the University of Birmingham, the Careers Service at Newman University and Hired@UCB.  

Project Consortium members

Supported by:

Background information to the Office for Students Challenge Fund

Further information regarding the Office for Students Challenge Fund, the reasoning behind the fund and the 15 institutions chosen, can be found on the Office for Students: No place like home press release. 

Privacy Notice

Privacy Statement - Transformation West Midlands 

Last updated 4 October 2021

Who are we?

The University of Birmingham, Newman University and University College Birmingham have won a grant from the Office for Students to help boost job opportunities for local graduates in the region. The project is called ‘Transformation West Midlands’ and the three university partners will work closely with key employers in the region to help them recruit locally and diversify their workforce. 

Key to the project is improving the employment outcomes of local undergraduate final year students and graduates* who are from the West Midlands region, seeking work in their home region, supporting in particular Access to Birmingham participants; Black and minority ethnic students/graduates and students/graduates with disabilities. The activities that we deliver are intended to help identify what enables the progression of individuals, so that we can share learning between our careers services and universities, to improve support and provision, boosting graduate job employment.  

The University of Birmingham is the lead partner and will report to the Office for Students and inform the UK Higher Education Sector of the outcomes of this project.  

A number of activities, online resources and information (e.g. skills development training; networks, mentoring, reverse mentoring and events across the West Midlands) will be available to you. This is to help raise your awareness of opportunity in sectors and locations and enhance your personal/professional development.  

What personal data are we collecting?

When you participate, you provide the project with your name, university, year of study, programme of study, student ID number, your postcode, gender, ethnicity, health/disability data and your engagement with the project, as well other information collected on the student record systems, such as Careers Network’s ‘Careers Connect’ which you may have accessed to register for any careers events. We will also collect your feedback e.g. through surveys, questionnaires, reflection logs and focus groups. Only personal data related to the Transformation West Midlands project activity will be held at the University and shared across the partner universities.  

If you are in receipt of progression coaching, we will be collecting further details from questionnaires that you have completed; your written answers to questions put forward to you mid-way and upon exit of coaching and other communications, to determine how helpful coaching has been to support your progression. We will also be collecting data related to your career destination, sectors/roles of interest and your career goals to determine if you reached your goals as a result of the support offered and your actions. We will also be collecting data that relates to the effectiveness and administration of coaching such as number of appointments; career development; any skills gaps or generic barriers; whether you accessed other support such as mentoring, so that we can review and create quality provision that enhances students’ and recent graduates’ employability skills and knowledge. 

To evaluate the effectiveness of progression coaching, coaches from each of the partner universities will be producing a small sample of anonymised case studies for their own reflective practice, to assess challenges, development, results and learning points in order to explore what makes the difference to progression. Additional data collected that may be used, will be from coach notes, action plans and any email correspondence between the coach and coachee that links to progression and barriers to help improve support. 

How will we use it?

This project aims to develop your knowledge, confidence, skills/competencies so that you are better prepared for the workplace and for what local industry demands.  We will test a number of interventions/activities to create a stronger support network, with the goal of leading to higher level graduate employment or further study for individuals that live in the region. 

We will use your personal data to: 

  • Deliver additional services and facilities to you, related to careers which are part of the Transformation West Midlands Project and include the partner universities; 

  • Communicate effectively with you including the distribution of relevant newsletters and invitations to take part in other careers related activities; 

  • Evaluate, monitor and report on how students and recent graduates are accessing our services, plan for future courses and activities, and plan/provide help or reasonable adjustments; 

  • Evaluate to what extent we are enabling progression, (which may lead to a graduate level job, further study, employment or self-employment) and which interventions are more effective, to improve how careers services work with local and under-represented students/graduates; 

  • Review and report on coaching using data from coaching sessions for creating small anonymised case studies in order for the coaches and the project team across the partner universities to share their reflections on coaching as an intervention for enabling progression towards graduate employment.  

  • Communicate anonymous feedback to others for the purpose of knowledge sharing. Feedback includes offering insightful reflections that identify key themes and progression enablers; activities found to be beneficial to progression; generic tips and guidance that would assist others to progress their career endeavours.

What is the legal basis of the processing?

We consider the processing of your personal data for these purposes to be necessary for: 

  • the performance of our contractual obligations with you; 

  • the performance of tasks we carry out in the public interest; 

  • the pursuit of the legitimate interests of the University or external organisations (e.g. to enable your access to external services). 

We do not use your personal data to carry out any wholly automated decision-making that affects you. 

Who will your personal data be shared with?

Your data will be securely shared between the University of Birmingham, Newman University and University College Birmingham to enable the project to evaluate the success of Transformation West Midlands. Coaching conversations, action plans, coach notes will remain anonymous, so your privacy is protected.  Within the University of Birmingham, succinct coaching notes including plans outlining your actions will be shared along with your personal data with Careers Network staff for the purpose of providing you with additional support and service delivery.

Anonymous data will be shared with the external funder, Office for Students, and their evaluators, as part of its reporting obligations to show progress and results. The Transformation West Midlands Steering Group** and colleagues of the three universities will receive anonymous data on a needs to know basis. At the University of Birmingham, this includes (but not restricting), Careers Network, to positively change any practice as a result of learning; the Student Access and Progress Committee that monitors performance against the University’s Access and Participation Plan (e.g. interventions to support A2B students); the University Executive Board and the Council to learn of progress and results.

Anonymous data may also be shared with other organisations and the public interested in the project, shared for instance on the Careers Network website to assist with other local students/graduates’ progressing; the OfS website; other higher education institutions to share best practice and local / regional employers to foster greater collaboration and job opportunities.

If we require your consent for any specific uses of your personal data, we will collect it at the appropriate time, explaining why we are collecting the data and how we will use it, and you can withdraw this at any time.  

Your rights

More information about how the University of Birmingham, the lead partner uses your personal data and your rights can be found on the How the University uses your data page and supplementary page student privacy notice.

*Graduates - West Midlands graduates (from the region) who have studied at Newman University, UCB and University of Birmingham, graduating in the last two years with a bachelors degree; currently unemployed or underemployed. The West Midlands area includes Birmingham and Solihull, Black Country (Sandwell, Dudley, Walsall, Wolverhampton), Coventry and Warwickshire, Hereford and Worcestershire, Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, Staffordshire. 

**Transformation West Midlands Steering Group – Black Country Consortium, Citi-Redi, GBSLEP, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, University of Birmingham Guild of Students, Uprising and the partner universities. 

Personal data provided for publicity purposes

Please read this if you are submitting anything about yourself (i.e. your personal data) for the purpose of University and Transformation West Midlands project marketing communications and publicity.  

It is completely voluntary to submit any personal data for the use of your photographs, recordings, vlogs, blogs, quotes, case studies etc. that you submit. That means it is your choice to include your full name, degree course, year of study/graduation year and any other personal data that may collectively identify you. Therefore, when you send your material to us, please do not submit any personal data that you do not wish to be used in the described ways.  

Your materials will be used to publicise the benefits of you using or participating in activity and to help demonstrate visually to other students, graduates, higher education institutional careers colleagues and employers/other providers what these services are like. 

Your materials may be used in the following sources or any others, as the University of Birmingham, Newman University, University College Birmingham and the funder (Office for Students) sees fit: 

  • The University’s world wide website and e-publications 

  • Paper-based University and publications 

  • Transformation West Midlands project presentations to students and graduates (provided as a link if you submit a video for example)

  • Transformation West Midlands project presentations to employers and careers colleagues in the Higher Education Sector (provided as a link if you submit a video for example) 

  • Transformation West Midlands reporting that evidence activity and project feedback 

  • Summative reports to the funder and its evaluators  

The lawful basis for storing and using your personal data for the described purposes is ‘legitimate interests’, which means we need to process the personal information to fulfil our objectives, we believe it will not adversely affect you and we think you would expect it. The legitimate interests are that it is necessary for the involved organisations to publicise the benefits of the use of and participation in this project and to demonstrate visually to other students, graduates, higher education institutional careers colleagues and employers/other providers what these services are like. 

Non-exhaustive examples of what form your personal data might take or how it might be used include: 

  1. Photographs
  2. Video Recordings  
  3. Voice Recordings
  4. Vlogs
  5. Blogs
  6. Case studies
  7. Written feedback 
  8. Podcasts
  9. The University using your written feedback, blogs or case studies to create a video or animation 

The personal data will be stored and used for as long as necessary for the described purposes. After this time it will be securely destroyed.  

If you later change your mind and wish to opt out of having your personal data used in this way, please contact Alison Sharp, Project Lead, Transformation West Midlands a.sharp@bham.ac.uk who will consider whether it is reasonable and possible to stop using / remove your personal data. We wish to treat people well and where it is reasonable and possible to stop using this personal data / remove this personal data, we will do so. However as the lawful basis for this use of personal data is legitimate interests and not your consent, the organisations are only obliged to stop using / remove any personal data where your interests outweigh the interests of the organisations. 


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