Handshake (@JoinHandshakeUK), the largest early career network, has announced that it has doubled the number of partnerships it holds with UK institutions, adding a range of universities including Birkbeck (@BirkbeckUoL), University of London (@LondonU), Kingston University (@KingstonUni), The University of Bradford (@UniofBradford), and the University of Central Lancashire (@UCLan).  

The announcement comes in the wake of news that Handshake was also selected by Brunel University (@Bruneluni), London, to power its Virtual Career Fairs in the academic year ahead. 

As more universities turn away from legacy tools, these new partnerships will see Handshake add more than 75,000 students to its user base in the UK. The platform will help these students to navigate a tricky post-Covid recruitment landscape and ensure they are able to seamlessly connect with potential employers and their university careers services. 

Handshake’s mission is to tear down structural barriers in the UK jobs market and help recruiters proactively engage with candidates based on their potential and aptitude for a role rather than their background or existing connections. This means universities like Birkbeck, Kingston, UCLan and Bradford – which recently topped a new university league table for England based on its impact on improving students’ social mobility – can unlock access to the broadest range of employment opportunities. It also means that businesses can significantly widen the talent pools they recruit from. 

Jo Beaumont, Associate Director Student Services: Careers, Employability and Engagement at the University of Bradford, said:

“Handshake’s track record for breaking down barriers between students from all backgrounds and top employers will be a true asset in our ongoing efforts to improve social mobility and boost outcomes for our graduates. But on top of forging these connections, the platform’s administrative tools and data also offer us the chance to streamline and target processes to deliver more for our students, making a real difference to their futures.” 

Paul Clatworthy, Employer Relationships Manager at Kingston University, commented:

“Handshake delivered open communication, a fast response time and a system that’s intuitive and easy to use. This platform offers the ability to share, collaborate and communicate like no other, and promises to make a significant impact on the work our Careers Services does. This opens up opportunities for our students, helping to level the playing field in the process. When running a careers fair collaboratively with Handshake recently, we saw first hand the difference that creating these connections can make and look forward to the platform opening more doors for our students.” 

Lucy Crittenden, Head of Career Services at Birkbeck, University of London, says:

“Birkbeck is proud of its diversity and recognises the value that this brings to university life. The College embraces and celebrates the differences between people, recognising the strengths and benefits of an inclusive society, workforce and student body. Being able to offer virtual careers fairs via Handshake will enable us to engage with our student base regardless of where they are and create authentic and new ways of recruiting for our non-traditional students. Our careers services team has an important role to play in ensuring equal employment opportunities regardless of gender, grade or background – and Handshake will help us achieve this.”

Carol Sanderson, Head of Careers at the University of Central Lancashire, said:

“During my time here at UCLan, no early career network platform has come close to the user experience and sophistication of Handshake. Getting ahead of the curve with technology can be a huge part of helping students find a rewarding career and a tangible path towards success. We believe Handshake will be the UK market leader in the next five years so we’re pleased to be early adopters, using the platform to support our students in making the connections they need to take the next step in life.” 

Dimitar Stanimiroff, General Manager EMEA at Handshake said:

“We’re delighted to add these trailblazing institutions to the growing roster of UK universities which are harnessing Handshake’s platform. Unlike other networks, Handshake doesn’t just offer a communications platform, but a dynamic way for students and employers to engage throughout their studies – ultimately leading to better skilled, better qualified, graduate recruits.” 

This news follows hot on the heels of Handshake’s announcement of a £1 million Covid recovery fund launched exclusively for UK institutions. 

The Fund will cover costs for 100,000 students to attend free virtual careers fairs, and Student Societies, which have been badly hit during the pandemic, will also be able to access funding.  


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