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Will graduates remain in demand?

Interesting briefing from Universities UK on Graduates, Skills and Jobs.

The UUK summary states that:

  • A requirement for graduates in the UK job market is projected to remain high, with graduate attributes continuing to be desirable amongst employers. This must be provided for.
  • Policy makers and universities should be considering the following:
    • how effective universities are at describing the skills of their graduates, how effective employers are at identifying their skills needs, and the role of improved university business dialogue to continually improve this skills matching
    • challenges for key sectors such as STEM; policy makers and stakeholders should seriously consider and implement the recommendations of both the Wakeham review and the Shadbolt review of computer science, and seek to learn wider lessons from these
  • Although not as severe as some perceive, tackling the trend of graduates being employed in non-graduate jobs must be a priority area with the reasons for graduates working in non-graduate jobs and the impact of skills mismatches needing to be understood and effective policy interventions identified and adopted. Stronger links between business and universities are a key foundation for addressing skills mismatches.
  • There is a broad area of crossover and collaboration between academic and vocational education, with universities delivering vocational qualifications and education and further education colleges delivering degrees, and often working in partnership. Pre-degree qualifications at Level 4&5 are also desirable for employers.
  • There needs to be a better understanding of this broad area of crossover so that both higher and further education can help address employers’ skills needs, especially in relation to apprenticeships. Different and flexible models of partnership between higher education, further education and business need

Technology and enhancing student employability

JISC have just published an interesting report on the role of technology in enhancing student employability. You can find it at via https://www.jisc.ac.uk/rd/projects/developing-student-employability, with the report at https://www.jisc.ac.uk/news/unlocking-the-digital-potential-of-graduates-02-dec-2015.

 

The impact of volunteering

Time for a guest blog from our current student intern Cameron who writes about the fantastic impact that getting involved in volunteering has had on him and his future:

“I enjoy putting time into things and seeing the final result. I believe merit is the key to true success.

I have become an honoured volunteer within my community. I have given something back to my community and the community has given something back to me- work and life experience, and the opportunity to have the honour of carrying the Queen’s Baton in the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. I believe I got this through merit.

All this started when I was told all through school that I needed to get more life and work experience, add things to my C.V and to help others. This was to give me a better chance at gaining employment as it is difficult to secure a job now in today’s tough job market.

In 2011, I was in 5th year of High school and I found an opportunity to volunteer with my local youth forum. Here we got together and discussed issues affecting youth in our local area of East Caithness. We then took this to Highland level at two conferences every year where all the local youth forums of the Highlands discussed their issues and ways in how to solve them, to try and help everybody. This was at the Highland Youth Voice. We went to a conference in November 2011 and discussed ideas on how to improve the image of youth in our area. In January of 2012, we took over management of Wick Youth Club so we now had a youth club in our area run for youth, by youth. Through its highs and lows, we managed the Youth Club. This kept us occupied as an extra-curricular activity for a year, where some of the forum started to drift off due to other commitments, however I stayed on- I remained committed as I did not want to see all the hard work put into the Club undone- I was staying until the end.
From July 2012, I also took time every week to volunteer as an administrative assistant at Caithness Voluntary Group. Here I aided the Volunteer Development Officer for Caithness in an admin role.

In June 2013, with all my voluntary experience to date, I was awarded the honour of a ‘500 Hour Saltire Award’, the highest award for volunteering a young person can receive.

In August of 2013, I became chairperson of Wick Youth Club’s committee and as I write this in June 2015, I still am, even though I am at university. We have a manager who deals with the day-to-day running of the Club; I act as an advisory, administrative assistant, IT-help, webpage designer, the list goes on. The Club has now become part of my life and it will stay with me forever, as I enjoy it and enjoy seeing how my commitment and hard work has made a difference in the community and created success. The Club is now thriving and we manage our local outdoor leisure and recreation facility, the Rosebank Playing Fields.
In the summer of 2013, I helped to manage the facility which, combined with all the hard work and time commitment given from my previous voluntary experience in the Youth Club, youth forum and voluntary centre, I was nominated to be a Queen’s Baton Bearer for my local area of Wick. The Commonwealth Games 2014 judging panel then selected me in March 2014 to be one, after all the evidence of my hard voluntary work.

On the 11th of July 2014, I got taken to my section, the stretch adjoining the Rosebank Playing Fields, where I helped manager at as part of Wick Youth Club. When I was given the baton, I had the opportunity to run into the Rosebank, where the Youth Club had put on a massive fun day where over a hundred members of the public turned out and I got to go round the public, giving them the opportunity to touch the Queen’s baton, which had travelled all over the world. It was a spectacular event, a remarkable atmosphere, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

It brought the community together and seeing so many people at the Rosebank reminded me why I volunteer.

Therefore I started out wanting to gain more experience, help others and add more things to my C.V where now I have helped my community, so much as I am going to volunteer in Fiji this August for 3 weeks.
I have so many things now on my C.V; I am able to pick and choose what is relevant as they won’t all fit!

I am currently working in an internship in the Career Development Centre as a Careers Intern and I know my voluntary experience has definitely helped developed my skills far enough to aid me in this job.
Therefore, through hard work and commitment, merit has allowed me to get a better chance in today’s tough job market.”

 

The relevance of enterprise in education

Lord Young, business advisor to the prime minister, recently released his report, ‘Enterprise for All,’ which looks at the relevance of enterprise in education.

The report looks at the role and place of enterprise education right from the early school years through to university. In the section on higher education the report calls for every university to have a plan for student enterprise, to offer credit-bearing enterprise courses to all students, to have an enterprise society, a student business start-up programme, support for social enterprises and for their participation in initiatives to measure the impact of these undertakings.

The university’s own pages on student enterprise (http://www.stir.ac.uk/research/postgraduate-study/student-enterprise/ ) explain that enterprise is about uunlocking student potential and that it is a pattern of behaviour that embodies a number of attributes such as confidence, lateral thinking, positive action and personal development. These are certainly skills that can enhance student personal development and employability, so should universities act on Lord Young’s recommendations?

You will find the report at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/321259/EnterpriseforAll-lowres-170614.pdf

As ever we are keen to hear your thoughts and comments.