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The Skills Agenda - View from the Campus

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In line with government employability initiatives, universities are taking a more pro-active approach to helping students develop and analyse their skills. This presentation outlines projects and ...

In line with government employability initiatives, universities are taking a more pro-active approach to helping students develop and analyse their skills. This presentation outlines projects and policies at governmental, regional and institutional levels, aimed at promoting skills development in Higher Education.

This presentation by Anne-Marie Martin, Director of The Careers Group, University of London, summarises the results of a survey across the Russell Group, the 94 Group and member institutions of AGCAS.

The talk was initally given at a GTI breakfast news meeting, to graduate recruiters and careers service heads

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The Skills Agenda - View from the Campus The Skills Agenda - View from the Campus Presentation Transcript

  • The Skills Agenda View from the Campus Anne-Marie Martin, Director The Careers Group, University of London
  • The sample
    • All Heads of Careers Services at Russell Group Institutions
    • Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow , Imperial, King's, Leeds, Liverpool, LSE, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Nottingham, Oxford, Sheffield, Southampton, UCL, Warwick
    • All Heads of Careers Services at 94 Group Institutions
    • Bath, Birkbeck, Durham, East Anglia, Essex, Exeter, Goldsmiths, Royal Holloway, Lancaster, Leicester, Loughborough, Queen Mary, Reading, St Andrews, SOAS, Surrey, Sussex, Warwick, York
    • AGCAS Officers
  • The survey
    • Careers Service involvement with the skills agenda
      • At government and regional level
      • At institutional policy level
      • Operationally with students and graduates
  • The Context
    • There have been many government initiatives intent on encouraging Universities to align more closely with business and students to acquire employment related skills.
    • Ex Polytechnics and Colleges of Higher Education were the first to introduce the teaching of employability skills into their curriculum.
    • Older Universities, especially those that are described as research-led have been slower to respond.
    • Research led institutions have, however, always been committed to the idea that the academic experience is more than attending lectures and gaining knowledge. They have been keen to encourage employability without diluting essential academic freedoms and rigour
    • This research uncovers a huge range of endeavours throughout the sector not only to improve the opportunities to develop skills, but also to help students assess their skills and articulate them to employers .
  • What’s going on at Government Level
    • “ I was asked to give evidence to Alan Milburn’s / Cabinet Office Fair Access to the Professions Panel. As a result of that my team is working with the Cabinet Office to produce a tool kit for employers considering taking an intern. “
    • The role of Universities in training individuals for the workplace has been the subject of a library of government reports and investigations.
    • Both Government and Universities now consult and listen to the views of careers advisers.
    • 80 Institutions and AGCAS contributed to the recent CBI/UUK report, ‘Future Fit’, which highlighted progress made in skills delivery.
    • Represented on or contributed to DIUS Higher Skills Steering Group led by David Lammy; DIUS Graduate Employment Forum which meets monthly and is advising on the establishment of graduate internships; and UK Skills Commission consultation
    • AGCAS Liaison Officers for all Sector Skills Councils ensure there is effective communication between careers advisers and the industries represented by the SSC.
    • HEFCE have pumped £50M into Universities via Careers Services under the Economic Challenge Investment Fund.
  • Regionally is where it’s at
    • Almost all Regional Development Agencies are working with Universities to increase the number of work placements and internships both for current students and, in response to the current recession, recent graduates.
    • General schemes include
      • Graduates for Business in the SW develops graduate employability skills through work placement and a 3 day ‘graduate directions’ course.
      • Yorkshire and Humberside giving 2/3rd wage subsidy to employers offering internships. Each of the 10 regional Universities will have 20 to 30 internships specifically for graduates. Skills development and training will be in integral part of the scheme
    • Others are focused on particular regional skills needs or disciplines
      • ‘ Wired Sussex’ is developing skills in the digital media sector
      • GradEast is helping small and medium sized enterprises employ and use graduates more effectively
      • The S E Physics network summer studentship scheme offers funded work experience and skill development for Physics and Astronomy students and graduates
      • AGCAS Scotland Financial Skills Gateway will enhance the development and management of skills within Scotland in line with future industry needs.
  • Institutions
    • Employability Strategies
    • “ My institution’s key ambitions are to increase the proportion of students exposed to work-based learning, enhance provision for skills development & increase employer involvement in curriculum delivery”
    • Learning and Teaching Strategies and Curriculum Reviews
    • “ I was fully involved in the review of the curriculum. I took soundings from all our major employers to identify skills gaps in our students. This has resulted in a new cutting edge course, which will be compulsory for all students from 2010, that aims to both broaden the thinking of the undergraduates and integrate key learning skills.”
    • Graduate attributes. Both skills and a set of desirable attitudinal dispositions.
    • Employability Awards/Skills certificates/Credits in recognition of the development of employment-related and other skills outside the curriculum.
  • Practical Assistance
    • “ We are seen as the skills provider. 82% of our 60+ skills sessions are delivered/co-delivered by employers. Students love them”
    • Everyone delivers career management skills training and transferable skills awareness training. Many are also delivering transferable skills training often in association with employers
    • Some are running these as modules embedded in the curriculum or providing consultancy to academic staff to assist them to do so.
    • Loads of online activity designed to encourage students to audit their own skills and identify ways of filling the gaps
    • Some specifics:
      • Developing skills clouds for every degree discipline
      • Delivering specific training for students working and volunteering on campus eg client interviewing skills for students volunteering to work in the Legal Advice Centre
      • A student internship bureau
      • ‘ How to Analyse and Promote your Skills to Employers’, Skills4Work
      • Joint module with the enterprise department on commercial awareness
  • You can take a horse to water but…
    • Students are independent adults
    • Whilst at University, whatever they may say in response to surveys, they aren’t always focused on life after graduation
    • They will engage with skills development if they see it as relevant to their academic endeavour
    • Whatever the Government, University or Careers Service does students won’t engage with careers or employability skills until they are good and ready.
    • An attitude they often come to regret!