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Students experience lab based environment

Great story at http://www.eppltd.com/news-resources/students-experience-working-laboratory-environment-epp/

The Graduate Market in 2016

The research is based on a survey of the organisations featured in ‘The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers’, conducted by High Fliers Research in late December.

The key findings presented in the report are: –

  • The number of graduates hired by the UK’s leading employers rose by 3.3% in 2015, a much smaller annual increase than had been expected. –
  • A sharp rise in the number of graduates turning down job offers or reneging on offers that they had previously accepted meant that over 1,000 graduate positions were left unfilled last year, reducing the graduate intake at almost a third of the UK’s leading employers. –
  • Employers plan to expand their graduate recruitment by a further 7.5% in 2016, the fourth consecutive year that vacancies have increased, taking the number of graduate jobs available to its highest-ever level. –
  • Employers in nine out of thirteen key industries and employment areas are expecting to take on more new graduates than in 2015. –
  • The biggest growth in vacancies is expected at public sector organisations, banking & finance employers, engineering & industrial companies and the Armed Forces. –
  • The largest individual recruiters of new graduates in 2016 are Teach First (1,870 vacancies), PwC (1,540 vacancies) and Deloitte (1,100 vacancies).
  • The median graduate starting salary on offer from the UK’s leading graduate employers is expected to remain unchanged at £30,000 in 2016 but graduate pay is set to rise at the top investment banks (median of £47,000 for 2016), law firms (median £41,000) and accounting & professional services (median £30,300). –
  • There is very little evidence that graduate starting salaries are rising in reaction to the introduction of higher university tuition fees – most employers that have opted to increase their graduate pay in either 2015 or 2016 appear to have done so in order to compete effectively with other employers recruiting graduates. –
  • More than 90% of the UK’s leading graduate employers are offering paid work experience programmes for students and recent graduates during the 2015-2016 academic year – an unprecedented 14,049 paid work placements are available. –
  • Recruiters have confirmed that they expect a third of this year’s full-time graduate positions to be filled by graduates who have already worked for their organisations, either through paid internships, industrial placements or vacation work.
  • As you may have already seen, the research was featured on the BBC this morning, as well as appearing in a number of national newspapers, including
  • the front page of the ‘i’: The Independent – http://ind.pn/1OzHJjR
  • Daily Telegraph – http://goo.gl/EwYKfq
  • The Times – http://thetim.es/1QhHHlg
  • ‘i’ – http://tinyurl.com/hu32mjo
  • The Scotsman – http://bit.ly/1RP0ki6
  • BBC News – http://bbc.in/1QhitDJ

Update on the graduate labour market

Stephen Isherwood, head of the Association of Graduate Recruiters, has provided an overview of the graduate market that I thought might be of interest:

“The AGR’s headline data reports a healthy market for graduate job seekers. For three years in a row the number of graduate vacancies has increased; this year, AGR employers are predicting an overall rise of 11.9%. The highest growth sectors are IT, Telecoms and construction, all reporting a 20% plus increase in planned hiring. But the graduate market is not one homogenous whole, it’s a series of distinct labour markets with different traits. Vacancies in the FMCG sector, for example, are flat this year.

And the healthy headlines hide the dysfunctions in the graduate market. In 2014, nearly 50% of AGR employers didn’t fill their vacancies. That’s 1,422 positions left vacant because employers couldn’t find enough graduates with the required mix of knowledge, skills and attributes.

A day doesn’t seem to pass without a report published highlighting the UK’s skills shortage. At the AGR, we are seeing some employers reconsider how they recruit young talent. The word student is replacing graduate in many a recruiter’s job title as employers create school-leaver programmes. High profile graduate employers are ditching UCAS points as a screening tool to increase the diversity of their intake. Marketing initiatives that once targeted final year students also now aimed at first years. As the population of young people continues to decline and the demand for student talent increases, the pressures on employers, policy makers and educators are only going to increase”.


Student Employability in Communication, Media and Culture

Some great work is going on in the division of Communication, Media and Culture at the university as Dario Sinforiani, Head of Production Teaching, outlines:

“We are making both informal and formal employability opportunities available to graduating students who have taken a production pathway. In Summer 2014, major production employers Lion Television, Tern TV and Raise the Roof all offered production placements available on a
competitive basis. Students applied, were short listed and interviewed for a range of work placements. Following on from this, three students were taken on in paid roles at Tern through the Stirling Internship programme. Two of these now have continuing work with the company.

We are currently setting up more work placements for this year’s graduating cohort, and two more will be taken on as Stirling Interns by Glasgow based TV production companies.

These initiatives are helping to forge ever closer links between Communication Media and Culture and the media production industry. In addition, staff from some of these companies have
delivered workshops and masterclasses with final year students. They are influencing curriculum development, taking part in teaching delivery and making opportunities available for graduates to gain meaningful work. We look forward to building on this work in the coming years.”

Relevant work based learning is such a powerful and effective way to promote and develop student employability. Find out more at http://www.stir.ac.uk/employability/staff/components-of-employability/work_based_learning/

Saltire Success for Stirling

The great news for Stirling this year is that 8 of our students have been successfully recruited by the Saltire Foundation to intern in the US and Scotland with leading and entrepreneurial companies over the summer period.  The programme is a great opportunity to gain valuable global business experience as interns are placed with multinational companies all over the world. It also offers students the potential to increase their employability and develop their confidence.

Third year students can apply from October for next year and anyone who is interested should contact the Career Development Centre for more information and support with the application process.  All the best to this year’s interns for their placements and a fantastic summer!

You can follow their journeys on the undergraduate blogs:  http://saltirefoundation.thegither.com/#/blog

Does work experience really make a difference?

In our day to day work at the university we often come across students who seem to have clearly benefited from work experience. They return to their studies with new and enhanced skills, greater confidence and insight, and often really useful networks to help them achieve their career goals.

If, however,  you are looking for more concrete evidence of  the benefits of work experience to studens then look no further than the the Futuretrack study. This provides real evidence that such experiences positively impact on student outcomes. Futuretrack is a six year longitudinal study, tracking the career development of the 2006 cohort of applicants to HE, funded by HECSU and carried out by the Institute for Employment Research at the University of Warwick.  You can find the report at http://www.hecsu.ac.uk/futuretrack_research_reports.htm


Employability – what’s it all about?

It may feel like the term ‘employability’ is everywhere these days, and that the need to enhance and develop employability is now interwoven into most (if not all) university strategic plans and goals. The questions for many, however, are still, ‘what exactly is employability?’, ‘why is it important?’, and ‘what should I do about it?’ Our blogs, over the coming period, will hopefully explain, inform and inspire you to tackle these questions!

We’re going to start with that first, fundamental question, ‘what exactly is employability?’ A common misconception is that employability is just another word for employment. The definition of employability that we use here at Stirling, and the one that is accepted most widely across the sector, is that it is a  “a set of achievements, understandings and personal attributes that make individuals more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen careers, which benefit themselves, the workforce, the community and the economy.” (Yorke, LTSN Generic Centre et al. 2004).   So simply put employability is about the assets, attributes and achievements that make individuals more likely to gain employment, find success, and to be able to move between jobs and remain employable throughout their working life.

How students gain these assets, attributes and achievements whilst at university, and what impact this has on their experience and success is something that potential applicants, current students and external bodies from government to the media are increasingly focusing on. So, if we start to break it down into its component parts, what does employability development at university look like, and what needs to be in place across the institution, both within and outside the curriculum, to enable students to fully develop their employability? For us at Stirling there are six key components, as the diagram below shows:


Pam Crawford, and Lesley Grayburn, via the Employability Hub, are going to be working with colleagues across the institution to look at how the institution can continue to share and build on the good practice that already exists at Stirling around these six key components.

In the coming blogs we will be looking at each of the components – what are they are all about, why are they important and what you can do about them.

If you want to read more there is a great introduction to employability written for academic staff called Employability in higher education: what it is – what it is not (M. Yorke, HE Academy/ESECT, Learning & Employability Series).