Having recently graduated despite the ongoing pandemic, third-year students of 2019/20 are now navigating an unprecedented world of work.

Graduates will now have to wait until April 2021 to graduate at Lincoln Cathedral. Photo: University of Lincoln website.

Uncertainties surrounding job prospects are among the challenges new graduates face, as the U.K. sinks into its deepest recession on record.

Despite this, Lesley O’Donnell, the University of Lincoln’s employment opportunities manager, hasn’t lost hope.

“Many employers are continuing to recruit for their graduate roles”, Ms O’Donnell said, “The fall in vacancies appears to have stabilised and they do not appear to be falling further”.

Despite a 57% decline in overall job postings, the Institute of Student Employers have shown that roles for new graduates fell less harshly by 12%.

“The good news is that current possibilities are significantly greater for graduates than non-graduates,” said Ms O’Donnell.

She adds: “Some employers have indicated that they may stagger their annual graduate intake and could recruit in the autumn if trading conditions have improved.”

The University of Lincoln moved to online teaching on 16 March, over concerns for the safety of students. This meant there were no face-to-face interactions between students and tutors, and all assignment content was moved online.

The university’s library, a vital working environment for students, was also shut.

The Linc spoke to recent graduates about the difficulties they faced finishing the final and most important semester of their degrees under these unforeseen circumstances.

Cherise Bailey, a Photography graduate, said physical subjects were altered dramatically.

“We were limited to our home resources, therefore we had no access to the photography studio. This meant our projects needed to be altered.”

The University of Lincoln moved to online teaching on 16 March. Photo: cottonbro via Pexels.com

“The market for any job now is more challenging. It’s hard to even get a job on a high street at the moment.”

Lauren Conley, who studied English and Creative Writing, said her tutors were “quick with responses” but completing assignments from a home environment was a struggle, and she found “concentrating at home with younger siblings to be quite challenging”.

She also said that the absence of face-to-face meetings caused complications with some modules: “I couldn’t understand specifically what my tutors wanted from the assignment to hit certain criteria.”

Both graduates were disappointed that graduation celebrations had to be cancelled, as Ms Bailey explained: “It made the experience of finishing our degrees not as exciting.”

As thousands of people across the U.K. make the transition from education to a workplace, Ms O’Donnell, the university’s employment opportunities manager, says it’s “important to remember just what you have to offer businesses in these challenging times”.

Students looking for further help can find more information from The Careers and Employability Team at the University of Lincoln by clicking this link.

By Eleanor Maslin

News Editor at The Linc.