The Guardian University Forum
Venue: 8 Northumberland Avenue, London
Date: 26 February 2014
Competing on a global stage
The Guardian HE network is running a one-day forum to explore the future of UK higher education policy ahead of the next General Election. The event will focus on how universities can foster student innovation and what impact immigration policy will have on the UK’s world-class skills and research base.
This is a must-attend event for senior higher education professionals.
- Rt Hon David Willetts MP
- Madeleine Atkins, HEFCE
- Dr Pericles Lewis, Yale-NUS
Members of the University Alliance will receive a 30% discount. Simply quote GP30 when booking your place.
For more information, click here.
Stepping up and responding to employability
Having recently published a report into employability with the CBI, aimed at helping students make the most of their time in higher education and now as we roll-out our landmark Graduate Employability Award with Pearson, which universities can use to formally recognise students’ employability skills consistently at a national level, NUS is living our commitment to increase the focus of our work on employment. When we surveyed students in preparation for the CBI research, 79% of respondents said they went to university to improve their job opportunities and recently one report 97% of students recognised the importance of developing employability skills whilst at university. The data tells us that more than ever, students are concerned about their future employment prospects and as a sector; we need to step up and respond.
And it is encouraging that so many universities in the UK are already working to put the mantra ‘think globally, act locally’ into practice by supporting their student communities, both domestic and international, to enhance relationships across borders. And youth unemployment really is a serious issue across the globe. According to the World Bank, there are 621 million young people who are not in education or employment. In order to sustain current global employment rates, 600 million jobs need to be created in the next fifteen years, and staggeringly, 1.2 billion opportunities would need to be created if every young person across the world were to be in either education or employment. From the future-focussed global level, right down to the national and regional level, the data is fascinating. In the UK, the regional trends in graduate recruitment show one in every five graduate vacancies is based in London, while just 3.8% are in the North East of England.
Understanding and engaging with the modern labour market involve much more. Issues NUS will be working on in the near future include identifying excellence criteria for modern graduate careers services, and seeking to increase the link between graduates and SMEs – an important part of the graduate recruitment market which is often ignored and neglected at a national level. We will also build on existing work with our member students’ unions and other partner organisations, to launch an Employment Commission, on how students’ unions can increase access to employment opportunities throughout study in paid internships, work placements and work-experience.
As our recent Pound in Your Pocket research into students and employment points out, some groups of students including student parents have numerous additional burdens with which to contend. The world of student employment is rugged terrain I’ve traversed myself, and as I move towards the end of my term in office at NUS, and prepare to enter the labour market once again as a graduate, is one I’m particularly mindful of.
Across NUS, we’ve got a lot going on in this area because our members have identified how important it is to them. To find out more, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are all global
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.
Growing global graduates
Graduate careers are under the spotlight like never before. Students recognise the value of higher education in improving their employability. Students want to ensure their degree and time at university will help set them up for a rewarding and fulfilling career in a rapidly changing world.
Our new report, Growing Global Graduates, which is launched this week at the British Council conference Going Global, explores employability from an international student perspective. It looks at why Alliance universities are so effective at equipping students for long-term employability and why students are choosing to study at them.
|New research shows:
- 87% of international students at Alliance universities study so that they can get a good job (83% other UK universities/83% globally)
- 81% of believe that their learning will help them get a good job (80% other UK universities/76% globally)
- 72% felt there were opportunities for work experience/work placements as part of their studies (69% other UK universities/66% globally)
This work supports the cause, that we and the wider sector share, around ensuring that the UK truly is an ‘open economy’. International students place huge importance on getting a good job and being able to work in the UK after they graduate. Post-study work in the UK needs to be more than a possibility for the lucky few. It should be an attractive and feasible option for more of our highly motivated graduates. The benefits to getting this right reach far beyond the students and universities involved, affecting the UK’s international competitiveness, economy and society.
Check out Growing Global Graduates.