Graduates are now realising that it takes more than just a degree to make a career a success. By Ciara Duffy

For the first time in 10 years more finalists are hoping to stay on at university to follow a postgraduate course rather than start a graduate job. The reason for this is clear: recent statistics have shown that male postgraduates can earn 20 per cent more and women 34 per cent more than graduates who go straight into employment. Candidates with a postgraduate degree are regarded as highly motivated and well qualified. According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency the vast majority of postgraduates find employment within the first year of completing their study. The current unemployment rate for postgraduates is 3 per cent, compared with 5.5 per cent for first-degree graduates.

With over 17,500 different postgraduate courses to choose from and hundreds of institutions, knowing where to start can be hard work. There is also the worry of how to fund your postgraduate study. It can be costly and mean another year without a salary, but in the long term there can be real rewards. Don't worry help is at hand...

ULCS Postgraduate Study and Training Fair is taking place on 29 January in the Business Design Centre, Islington, London. Now in it's twelfth year the Fair will bring together over 80 leading Institutions offering hundreds of postgraduate courses, from full time to part time, MAs to PhDs, diplomas to certificates, with subjects ranging from accountancy to the various sciences. With over 70 universities attending from the UK alone, visitors will be spoilt for choice.

It may be that you are looking to travel a little further afield to pursue your postgraduate course. If so, there will be plenty of institutions from all over the globe at the Fair. Visit the French Embassy to find out about the different opportunities available in France.

If it's elsewhere in Europe you're interested in, then visit the European School of Management, or the German Academic Exchange Service to find out what they have to offer.

You may wish to pursue something a bit more adventurous - perhaps looking to head down under? The Fair will provide plenty of opportunities for that with exhibitors such as the Australian National University, Australian Trade Commission, IDP - Education Australia and the University of New South Wales. If you want to combine your studies with the hustle and bustle of a big city and get a taste of the cosmopolitan life, then speak to St Georges University who are based in New York, New York!

Arts related subjects are becoming more popular for postgraduate study; this is reflected in the number of arts institutions attending this year. For the first time the Princes Foundation and Sotheby's Institute of Art will be exhibiting. Joining them will be Goldsmiths College, the Kent Institute of Art and Design, the London College of Printing, Nottingham Trent University, the University of Manchester and many more.

Whatever you are looking for, you will have the opportunity to discuss your future with experts in the postgraduate field. The "funding opportunities wall" will provide you with the latest ways to finance your studies. FunderFinder, the online funding guide (www.funderfinder.com) will identify trusts and charities that can help you search for funding, and you can speak to top representatives such as the Arts & Humanities Research Board and the Fulbright Commission.

The Fair also offers free information and funding seminars held by ULCS careers advisers to help you with your decisions, these include "Which postgraduate course?", "Improving your job prospects with a postgraduate course" and "Return to study for mature students". The funding seminars cover the different options available to those considering postgraduate study but also cover specialist subject areas such as "Funding for postgraduate study in the social sciences", "Medicine and medically related study", "Arts and humanities" and "Biological science and engineering".

Exhibitors will also be sharing their knowledge and expertise. The Teacher Training Agency will be discussing the different routes into teaching. Those interested in art can sit in on Sotheby's seminar. IDP - Education Australia will talk about the postgraduate study opportunities in Australia and the Chartered Institute of Marketing will give you advice on how to enter into a career in marketing.

For a full seminar programme visit: www.careers.lon.ac.uk/pgst

Expert careers advisers will be at hand with free CV checking, offering you tips and advice on how to make the most of your CV. New for 2004 is C2 - Premium Careers Advice. This is an enhanced CV check, which looks at your needs in greater depth in the context of career ideas. If you are unsure of which postgraduate course is right for you then it is an ideal opportunity to discuss your options, help define your career issues and begin to look at a career strategy. Each session costs £20, and further details can be found on the website.

A cyber café will be available to visitors. where you can research the universities, look into the funding available to you or put the final touches to your CV. The ULCS book stall will give you the opportunity to purchase specialist publications to guide you through your study and career options.

A catalogue, available before and during the Fair, will help you with essential preparation. It contains detailed profiles of all the exhibitors and information on postgraduate study. To order a catalogue visit the website for further details.

ULCS Postgraduate Study & Training Fair runs from 12.30pm - 8.30pm on Thursday, 29 January at the Business Design Centre, Islington, London. The event is free to attend but we recommend you pre-register online to save time filling out forms on the day. For further details about the Fair and to see a full list of exhibitors visit the website at www.careers.lon.ac.uk/pgst.

Ciara Duffy, Marketing Services (Fairs) Officer at the University of London Careers Service

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