Graduates preparing for work (where available)

From the BBC:

Students should get work experience to boost their chances of getting jobs in the downturn, the head of the CBI says. Richard Lambert says students must get skills and first-hand experience of work while still at university.

In launching the report with Universities UK on preparing graduates for the world of work, Lambert said competition for jobs in 2009 will be particularly intense. The report, ‘Future Fit’, also includes a survey of graduate recruiters and HE institutions. As the BBC says:

Of the 581 recruiters surveyed for the report, 78% rated employability skills, such as team working, as essential. And of the 80 higher education institutions which responded to the report’s survey, 91% thought it likely or highly likely their graduates would acquire five out of the seven desired employability skills while at university.

Those employability skills in full:

    Team working
    Business and customer awareness
    Problem solving
    Communication and literacy
    Application of numeracy
    Application of information technology

But also an entrepreneurial approach and a ‘can do’ attitude are valued by employers. Without wishing at all to be cynical It is possible that we could have guessed the content of the list without the survey though. Moreover, universities are unlikely to suggest that their graduates aren’t, by and large, going to acquire these skills.

It’s an interesting report and highlights the value which students and their future employers can get from developing such skills further – especially when the learning is accredited. It also notes the difficulties for both universities and SMEs of pursuing this agenda with companies which are smaller.

Suspect the survey behind the report was undertaken before the economy fell off a cliff but it is helpful nevertheless and arguably even more relevant.

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