Students as partners: enhancing employability skills through running transition book clubs


  • Gianna De Salvo Queen Mary University



employability, transition, book club, partnership


One of the challenges that many students face when they start university is finding a sense of belonging in a new and unfamiliar environment. Feeling connected and supported can have a positive impact on students’ academic success and well-being. That is why the Get Ahead Transition project at Queen Mary University of London launched a book club initiative to help students build a sense of belonging before attending university.

The book club was based on the book The Psychology of Effective Studying by Paul Penn, which offers practical and evidence-based strategies for students to overcome procrastination, improve academic reading and note-taking skills, and produce high-quality assignments. The book also features short YouTube videos that summarize some of the key concepts. The book club was led by current students who facilitated the discussions and shared their personal experiences of studying at university.

The book club was a great success as nearly all the participants had read the chapters and came prepared with questions and insights. The discussions were so engaging that the leaders suggested extending the sessions by an extra 30 minutes to allow time for Q&A. The participants also appreciated the opportunity to learn from their peers and get a glimpse of what university life is like.

The book club leaders also benefited beyond expectation from the experience as they enhanced their leadership, communication, and technical skills. They received feedback and guidance from the project team on how to highlight these skills to future employers. The book club leaders also qualified for two university awards for their contribution to the project.

Author Biography

Gianna De Salvo, Queen Mary University

Gianna De Salvo is the Project Officer for the Get Ahead Transition Programme at Queen Mary University of London. She moved into the role of Library Engagement Manager at Queen Mary in September 2023 but will still be involved in projects that support students in transitioning throughout their journeys in higher education.


Petrich, N. R. (2015). Book clubs: Conversations inspiring community. ie: inquiry in education, 7(1), 4.




How to Cite

De Salvo, G. (2023) “Students as partners: enhancing employability skills through running transition book clubs”, Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, (29). doi: 10.47408/jldhe.vi29.1081.

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