EUSES Alumni was born 10 years ago on the day of a conference attended by two elite cyclists, Michael Barry (then a member of Team Sky) and his wife, Deirdre Dede Barry (silver medallist in the time trial at the Athens Games in 2004). They both sponsored an association that is now one of the great assets of EUSES with over 1,000 members. Sílvia Roche, founder and director, continues to lead Alumni. In this interview she reviews the past, present and future of the association of graduates of the Escola Univesitària de la Salut i l’Esport.
Although EUSES already had its degrees fully operational, the Alumni section was born ten years ago from scratch. Where is it now?
In fact, EUSES Alumni was only created when EUSES had already graduated several promotions. It was then that we realised the need to have an association that would support our graduates in the development of their professional careers and also allow them to keep in touch with EUSES. In addition, being part of Alumni allows our associates to keep or get in touch with other graduates and to create their own network of contacts, as well as having the possibility of benefiting from all the services we offer to them.
You have been a director since the first minute. Do you remember the early days?
EUSES Alumni started its trajectory at the beginning of the 2011/2012 academic year, but in the previous academic year we had already worked to clarify and structure what the association should be like and the services it should offer. In this sense, we defined the profile of our students and graduates, we considered the degrees we offer, and we analysed the professional needs that our members would have throughout their careers. We also considered that several classes had already graduated and that it would be necessary to contact former students who, not being at EUSES anymore, probably did not know about the creation of the association. We started our journey with two basic services: a job bank and a career guidance service.
What is the aim of Alumni Assotiation?
Our main objective is to be the point of reference between EUSES and all the graduates of its three campuses (Salt, Barcelona and Terres de l’Ebre). We hope to permanently connect our associates as members of the EUSES community by accompanying and giving them answers to the concerns that arise throughout their professional development.
Is the job bank the icing on the cake of your department?
We can consider it as such, in the sense that it is the most important service for us and to which we have devoted the most effort and time since the beginning. At present, our job bank has a wide range of offers, different disciplines and specialities from all over our territory and neighbouring countries as well, such as France. It is also part of the professional career service, which also includes the career guidance, resources and work abroad services.
Is it complemented by the Talent Day, which was launched last year?
Indeed, the job bank is fully complemented by the EUSES Talent Day, which is the EUSES job fair and career orientation day in a virtual format, which allows alumni and students from the three EUSES campuses to participate.
A job fair that will have continuity…
Yes, we are currently preparing the 2022 edition, which, following the success of last year, will last 2 days and will be held on 25th and 26th of April. This year we will have more stands of companies and centres presenting their offers and we will also organise several conferences and round tables. The EUSES Talent Day strengthens our professional career service and helps us to promote the relationship with the companies and centres in the sector, which is very important for us.
You also coordinate the academic volunteering, perhaps one of the events that give more visibility to EUSES…
Yes, I agree that volunteering is one of the events that gives the most visibility to the EUSES brand and also helps to raise awareness of the work of physiotherapist. They are also very interesting for our alumni, as they can participate as students’ tutors. After a period in which it has been impossible to carry them out, since last September the organisations of sporting events have been contacting us again and asking for our participation.
You also organise an annual day in the autumn. You normally use the formula of an in-house teacher and a special guest. Tell us about it…
Yes, every year we hold an annual day on the Terres de l’Ebre campus. We always have a special guest from the world of elite sport and an in-house teacher. This day allows our alumni to come back to EUSES and meet their former teachers and other associates again. The day is also an opportunity to present the outstanding awards for the previous academic year.
On the Salt Campus, the EUSES Alumni Day took place a few weeks ago…
And we took the opportunity to change the formula a little in the sense that, as we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the creation of the association, we considered that the protagonists should be our alumni. Therefore, at the annual conference on the Salt campus, we were able to count on María Goretti Font, a physiotherapist who graduated in 2014, co-founder of Gabinet Mèdic Girona and who took part in the last Olympic Games in Tokyo as a physiotherapist for the Canadian Olympic Committee; and Arnau Sacot, a CAFE graduate in 2015, a physical trainer for Bàsquet Girona and a teacher of the CAFE degree on the Salt campus. On the Terres de l’Ebre campus, we are still preparing it and the guests will also be alumni.
What else can an Alumni find in this section?
Apart from everything we have mentioned, there is a very extensive benefit plan that should be useful to our graduates in the exercise of their profession. Of all the benefits and discounts that our members can find, I would particularly highlight the one related to continuing education at EUSES to help them continue their training and education.
You also have your own account on social networks…
Social networks allow us to communicate more directly everything we do, and they are a good channel of communication with our alumni, who are our main followers. By having our own networks, the contents are not mixed with anything that can be published from EUSES, with contents that are obviously more aimed at its students.
Another distinctive feature is that registration to EUSES Alumni is free whereas in other universities alumni pay a fee. Why this decision?
EUSES Alumni was created at a time of prolongued economic crisis and with the intention of becoming an efficient service for our graduates and postgraduates when it comes to finding a job. To be consistent with this, EUSES Alumni had to be free, and this has been maintained.
What are the future objectives of EUSES Alumni?
The future objectives of EUSES Alumni are to continue to offer useful and efficient services to our graduates in their job search and in the development of their professional careers. Therefore, we are constantly improving and developing the services we offer to our members and adapting them to the evolution of the labour and professional market.