New report on employability

Posted by ap507 at Jul 04, 2016 09:57 AM |
Professor Paul Boyle from the University of Leicester highlights concerns about lower professional employment rates among disadvantaged students

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 4 July 2016

President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester Professor Paul Boyle has highlighted concerns relating to employment among students from disadvantaged communities.

He has contributed an essay on employability in a new publication: Laying the Foundations: Examining the Relationships between Universities, Students and Society.

Published to coincide with the launch of the UPP Foundation, the collection features essays on the UPP Foundation’s themes (Access and Retention, Employability, Civic Universities and Global Citizens) from members of the UPP Foundation Advisory Board. It also includes a foreword by Jo Johnson, Minister for Universities and Science and an introduction by David Laws, Chair of the UPP Foundation Advisory Board.

Professor Boyle said: “The UPP Foundation will undoubtedly make a positive contribution to universities across the UK. It will support collaborations between universities and policy makers, and provide resources for innovative projects that tackle the biggest issues in higher education. I’m delighted to be a member of the Advisory Board and look forward to working with the UPP Foundation and its other members, helping to make a difference to the sector.”

For the UPP Foundation’s employability theme, Professor Boyle discusses why and how employability has become a key issue for universities to tackle in ‘A Lifetime of Career Success’. He highlights the concern, first raised by HEFCE[1], that lower professional employment rates among disadvantaged students persist across their early careers and concludes that partnerships are critical to delivering outcomes that graduates, employers and government all seek.

Professor Boyle says: “The White Paper speaks of universities fulfilling their ‘potential as engines of social mobility’. But this cannot be done alone. These findings - along with those of the Institute for Fiscal Studies more recently - highlight the complex web of factors that influence graduates’ employment. And whilst personal choices and economic factors play a significant role in employment success, so too it seems do individuals’ social and cultural capital. Addressing these micro-inequities does require more action. But the key question is what ‘more action’ could look like. It is here that there is real potential for new and innovative collaborations between universities, employers and policy makers. Collaborations that can make a lasting and tangible impact on students’ life chances.”

Raj Patel, Deputy Head of the Career Development Service at the University of Leicester, said: “Social mobility is something we are passionate about at Leicester. And in 2014 we took the radical step of creating a national award[2] that recognises graduate employers taking action to advance this. At the heart of this is our drive to create opportunities that reach the many, not just the few. Opportunities that foster aspiration. And opportunities that give everyone the chance to realise their potential. And whether this is through our curriculum, or outside of it, we work hard to find new and exciting ways to work with employers to achieve this.”

“One example of these efforts was recognised by the Association of Graduate Recruiters in March. And the Career Development Service was awarded the ‘Best Preparation for Work Initiative (Higher Education)’ at its annual Development Awards for skills development work that helped students with low-social capital secure internships in sought after employers  including Pfizer, Caterpillar and Jaguar Land Rover to name just a few.”

The essays examine the role of universities within both a national and international context, and through the lens of the individual students they teach. Using the framework of the UPP Foundation’s key themes, the essays explore the role institutions can play in preparing students for successful employment, the need to internationalise the student experience, and the contribution universities can make to our economy and society. The essay topics range from how to ensure students from all socio-economic backgrounds have access to the best education, to how to create systems to safeguard those same students, enabling them to remain in higher education.

The UPP Foundation has been established to tackle the biggest issues facing the higher education in the UK. It was set up by the University Partnerships Programme (UPP), the leading provider of on-campus student accommodation infrastructure and support services. UPP is the sole funder of the UPP Foundation.

You can access the essays here Laying the Foundations


Notes to editors:

1 HEFCE - Differences in employment outcomes - Equality and diversity characteristics (2015) (page 5)

2 The ‘Advancement of Social Mobility in Graduate Recruitment Award’ was created by the University of Leicester in partnership with GTI Media and forms part of the annual ‘Targetjobs National Graduate Recruitment Awards’. Past winners include: Credit Suisse (2014) and Enterprise Rent-A-Car (2015 & 2016)

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