I am very excited about the upcoming University Alliance event “Growing global graduates: UK universities equipping graduates for the future” taking place at Going Global 2013. I will be chairing the event, which will feature Libby Hackett Chief Executive of University Alliance presenting a recent report on how our members are equipping graduates to succeed in the ever changing international higher education landscape.
Going Global, hosted by the British Council, brings together leading international stakeholders from tertiary education at a forum that benefits from the organisers’ enduring excellence in fostering cultural relations and bringing an international dimension to education. As a Vice-Chancellor of an Alliance university, and a Trustee in the British Council for the last five years, it has been rewarding to observe the growth in this event since its inception in 2004. The international regard and reputation of Going Global make it a perfect platform to showcase the leading work of University Alliance members.
“Alliance universities are leading the way in integrating employability across all aspects of the student experience.”
One of the critical areas in which our members are leading the way is on employability. The “Growing Global Graduates” report highlights that Alliance universities are leading the way in integrating employability across all aspects of the student experience. At Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), we are doing so through our Real World Project. This is the central forum for co-ordinating, promoting and supporting the University’s approach to employability. The project team undertake research on work related learning and act as a central hub and source of advice. The project also funds the Real World Employability competition where students from across the university get the chance to work on a short real-life task set by a graduate employer based in the region, such as BarclaysWealth, Santander or Enterprise-Rent-Car. Three prizes are awarded based on employer feedback and the winners receive a cash prize and a short internship with the employer. The projects and internships are an excellent way of improving students’ employability and adding value to their CV.
We also understand that in order to produce graduates with long term employability, we must encourage our students to be globally minded. The importance of globally minded graduates was confirmed by the British Council’s 2011 business poll “The Global Skills Gap” which highlighted that 74% of the 500 business leaders polled are worried that young people’s horizons are not broad enough to operate in a globalised and multicultural economy. At GCU we have identified a set of 21st Century graduate attributes necessary for students to become global citizens equipped with the necessary skills, confidence and experience to achieve their ambitions. These include:
- Global Citizenship
- Communication Skills
- Discipline Knowledge
- Learning and Research
We aim to cultivate these attributes in our students through an innovative and flexible approach to learning and teaching, and by ensuring Information Technology is integrated into all aspects of the Student Experience. As I am sure our event is likely to discuss, Higher Education leaders, our students and employers are all following an irresistible trend. We are all going global.